Ok, we are very frequent travelers 2-4 nights per week every week of the year, in business level hotels. I have felt compelled to write a review on this hotel because the disparity between some prior reviews and what we experienced was so great. We expected a 4-5 star destination resort. What we experienced was a poorly managed 3 star hotel.
My husband and I are consultants, and because we travel so much on business we are in the highest level in most hotel chains, including hyatt, Starwood, intercontinental, and Marriott, of which this hotel is a member. We treat ourselves once a year by using our hotel credits to go on a vacation with our children. On this European trip we have stayed at some wonderful hotels in the other chains and had a terrific trip until we arrived at this hotel.
To start, as a previous reviewer warned (thankfully), the entrance and reception is odd--you cannot drive up to the reception making it difficult to unload with bags and children etc. There is also no one around to greet you. After a very long drive, we waited with our driver for about 20 minutes while my husband searched for someone to come out and help us with our bags. If I had been traveling alone or with young children it would have been even more difficult.
Next we went to the restaurant: a very limited menu, mediocre for an off the beaten track American restaurant, poor for an italian restaurant in Italy or a metropolitan restaurant in the US. Then there was the loud comedy show/ Karaoke/Open Mic night which blasted from the outside bar into the restaurant above and to the surrounding buildings, ruining any ambience provided by the natural surroundings.
Then we went to our rooms. We were taken aback, to say the least. Since European rooms usually only accommodate 2 people, we had booked 2 rooms for ourselves and our 2 daughters. Nonetheless, at the the hotels where we had just stayed, nothing was as small as these rooms. The rooms were sightly larger than the width of the bed. To be accurate for the sake of this review, I measured it, just above 9 feet wide and about the same in the other direction. We had read reviews on this site about and had driven from the coast (off our travel path) for the spectacular views describes by prior reviews, many of which talked about the views from their room. I guess I should not have been surprised, however, given the other let downs, when we looked out the window and saw a view of a fence. To make matters worse, we had requested and been told upon checkin that we had connecting rooms with our daughters. Unfortunately, this was not the case. So my husband and I split up so our daughters would not be in a separate room away from us. We called to address this with the manager, but the phone rang and rang without anyone picking up. Finally after several attempts, we reached someone at the front desk. My husband requested to speak with a manger. Although he was told someone would call back, no manager ever called back. Eventually, we called back and were told that they could not find the manager. Again we were told they would pass along the message to a manger, again no call--this is a hallmark of a poor hotel.
The next morning when we attempted to take a shower we found that the shower doors were off the tracks and were left leaning on the side of the shower. When my husband called to have someone fix the door, the front desk said that there was nothing they could do. When my husband asked once again to speak with a manager, they said that they do not have managers.
As far as the decor and furnishings go, it is a strange combination of rustic with cheap tacky updates. The property is in no way luxurious or four or five star. The layout of the hotel also reflects a cheap conference facility, with low rise additions connected with a series of halls and elevators. The furnishings in the rooms were updated to a level you would see in a marriot courtyard, not a Weston or a Hyatt (what I would describe as a 4 star) much less a Ritz Carlton, an Intercontinental or a St. Regis (what I would describe as 5 star).
I agree with a prior reviewers assessment that this is a "conference hotel". In fact I know, because we happen to be in the medical/scientific field, that this hotel hosts many scientific conferences. Having seen the rates charged for these "all inclusive" conferences as well as seeing the "deals" offered to stay in this hotel, I believe that the positive reviews given to this hotel are not given by people who are comparing this hotel to high end hotels, but rather to budget hotels. We spent 100,000 points for the two rooms per night and expected a Ritz Carlton level hotel. Instead we received less than a marriott courtyard. (Marriott Courtyards are much better managed.) I may add, that for the equivalent number of points in the intercontinental and Hyatt chains in France, we stayed at the nicest hotels in the cities where we stayed and were always upgraded for our status.
For any Marriott frequent guests, do not waste your rewards on this hotel; rather, stay at the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman or The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay or even the ones in Florida. I suspect this hotel is cajoling it's conference organizers, who are themselves not paying their own way, to write glorifying but undeserved reviews. Don't be duped!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover a blend of Italian elegance and refined comfort at the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa. Situated on 1,700 acres in the heart of the Serchio Valley, our luxury hotel offers the perfect destination for your Tuscan getaway. Enjoy ideal access to charming and historic attractions including Barga, Lucca and Pisa. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Il Ciocco Hotel
- Il Ciocco Barga
- Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa Italy - Province Of Lucca