We booked our stay at the Hotel Santa Lucia through Long Travel who specialise in southern Italy but booked flights and car hire ourselves. We stayed in Conversano for two nights as the flight arrived late evening but we could have driven straight to Ostuni as the motorway runs straight down the coast and is quite fast. Our first impression was good although service at the desk perfunctory. When we saw the accommodation though we were shocked. It looked as if we had been transported back to 1960's Butlins. Two long rows of flat roof chalets, with a walkway between each row of apartments. Each had a patio area with 6' wire fence covered with greenery for added privacy, although this seemed to reinforce the cell like apartments. The room itself was quite small with only just enough storage space: a wardrobe with hanging space to the left and a shelf on the right with safe and small fridge underneath, plus one small three drawer unit like the type that goes under a computer desk. Fortunately, we travel reasonably light. The bed was standard smallish double and the bathroom was tiny. There was a patio door, with sliding mesh screen, and no window. Wait for it, I'm coming to the piece de la resistance: a horrible mdf blue headboard and blue shelf on which rested a small old fashioned tv - see photos. There was nothing stylish or inviting about this room whatsoever. It got worse. At about 6 pm we thought we had drifted into a time warp episode of Hi-Di-Hi when we heard a tannoy. We later learned it was a camp site a few hundred yards away. Fine, ok, so it wasn't noisy all the while but the noise carried on until 1 am over the weekend. The problem was that the air conditioning was so noisy, I turned it off and opened the patio door but then still couldn't sleep because of the noise from the campsite. At midnight on our third night I stormed up to reception but the person on duty didn't speak English; a waitress who was going off duty and spoke a little English managed to translate to the receptionist who phoned the campsite to ask them to keep the noise down. Like that had any effect?
My other major complaint was the shower. It ran as slightly more than a trickle, was never better than tepid and on more than one occasion stone cold. We complained twice but was told it was a problem with the area. It obviously hadn't occurred to them to do something about it.
The hotel has won an eco award but the question begs how much comfort do you forgo in respect of helping to save the planet. At the prices the Santa Lucia charge, not that much.
OK. That's got the major moans out of the way. There were positives. First of all the pool was fantastic: large enough
for a good serious swim but with a shallow area and separate area for non swimmers. There was a lifeguard and free pool towels, also a bar area. There was another area 500 m from the Masseria near the sea, which was grassed and had sun loungers, parasols, attendant to give out towels, lavatories and a buggy to take you there and back if you couldn't manage the walk. There was a rocky area with steps down to the sea in a little cove where you could swim. A short walk away, was a small sandy cove with a beachside bar although this wasn't part of the hotel.
Back to the hotel: there was some rather souless seating to the side of the reception area with a large tv and tables and parasols outside where you could have drinks. The little bar area to the side of the tv area was open all the while and staff were always smartly dressed. The coffee came on beautiful Villeroy and Bosch crockery. Entertainment was provided each night, usually in the bar area although the Masseria has an outdoor theatre where we enjoyed watching a folk group performing one evening.
We love our food and I suppose this holiday would have been disastrous had we not enjoyed the food. The breakfast was the best we have had in Italy with a terrific choice of cakes, meat, fruit and very strong coffee. The buffet on the Friday night was spectacular and the atmosphere wedding like, with children racing about and couples dancing to the live music. Hugely enjoyable.
So. Would I go again. Yes to Puglia - the area is relatively unspoilt and untouristy for Italy; Ostuni is a good base. However, I wouldn't go back to the Masseria Santa Lucia. Although I have always maintained that you don't go on holiday to stay in a hotel room, the accommodation on this occasion was too expensive and too poor. Other aspects of the hotel were very, very good but the contrast between the good and bad too wide. The staff need a few lessons in customer service. Not once in the whole week did anyone smile, say hello, pass the time of day, look up when we (or anyone) went in and out. When I asked for directions to a particular Lido they were wrong and we gave up after driving for an hour or so. No-one apologised when I complained about the noise or the shower or came back with a reasonable response. As I said, customer service 0/10.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A white sculpture of oriental houses with terraced roofs and tucked between the slopes of the "murge" table mountains and the blue adriatic sea.This is Ostuni "the white quuen of the olive trees".in this superb corner of Apulia we Find the Grand Hotel Masseria Santa Lucia, a superior class hotel, that offers its guests a feeling of serenity and well-being thanks to' the beauty of its architecture and the natural scenario surrounding it. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Hotel Masseria Santa Lucia Puglia, Italy - Marina Di Ostuni