We (family of four - kids 10 and 13) stayed at the Hotel Vilaggio Stella Maris in june, and would NOT recommend it to anyone, at least not international guests.
To sum it up:
- The personell do not take their guests seriously, and do not know what customer service means.
- Very few employees speak anything other than italian.
- It was close to impossible to get a good nights sleep because of noise from shows in the resort, fireworks and noisy guests
- The resort is in a deteriorating state and many of their "amenities" are unusable because of disrepair.
- The area in which the resort is situated is NOT suitable for holidays unless you have a car. (if you don't like going for a walk on roads filled with heaps of garbage, prostitutes and cars and scooters zooming by you in all directions).
On a more positive note:
- the layout of the site is very nice with lots of shading trees everywhere making it comfortable even on hot days.
- the pool area is excellent.
I'm sure the whole resort could be magnificent if the people working there would take more care of it and learn how to give customers the service they should.
OK, I'll elaborate on how our stay went in this place:
we had lots of trouble getting our stay at Stella Maris booked, even if we were months in advance of our holiday. After we finally thought everything was in order, and we had paid our advance deposit, we suddenly got a phone call 2 weeks before our holiday started, from someone at the Stella Maris talking about a mixup with the dates, and that the dates we had booked were impossible and so on and so on. After several phonecalls they finally agreed that everything was in perfect order and that we were very welcome to come on the day we had ordered... Hmm... what was all that about then?!? We didn't know, but hoping for good luck off we went to Italy.
We rented a car at the Fiumicino airport in Rome, and drove down to the Varcaturo area (only a few hours drive), looking for the resort. It was close to impossible to find, as there were no visible signs anywhere pointing us in the right direction, and the maps they have on their website or in their brochures are totally useless.
The area we found ourself in (Varcaturo) is a quite run down slum area, with huge heaps of garbage lining the streets (a common problem around Naples), and traffic chaos everywhere (as we later found out - this is the standard in southern Italy). We called up the resort after driving around for about an hour - and even if the person we spoke to managed to give us wrong directions we finally found it.
The sign outside the resort is broken so only half the name is visible, and the entrance is through a long narrow road lined by hight walls. (what is this - a concentration camp?) Above the wall we could see the rusty aircondition systems for the bungalows. This gave us even more bad feelings about the whole place, but we had nowhere else to go so we went in.
In the reception we got the impression that this had once been a elegant and very nice place, but it's not getting the maintenance it should. The paint's flaking off in places, and little things like that... A shame, because the room in itself is beautiful
The receptionist was nice enough, and BEWARE: the reception is the only place in the resort where you'll find someone able to understand a few words of English. We were told us that since june this year (2007) they only accept payment through a "pre-paid" system inside the resort. This means you have to put money into a plastic card, and this plastic card can be used to buy anything on the resort. We thought this sounded a bit strange, but what can you do...? We asked if it would be possible to get the money back if we didn't spend everything we'd deposited on the card - for this he had to check with his manager - and he said that "yes, the money will be given back"...
The receptionist followed us to the bungalow, but "couldn't find" the key to the kitchen of the bungalow, but promised to bring it to us later.
The bungalow we got was not very well cleaned. The bathroom was disgusting - the shower was black with fungus or something like that. We didn't complain about this right away, because we thought "different country, different culture, different cleanliness-standards"...
We had ordered a "residence only" stay, wich means no meals were included. We had planned on making most of our meals ourselves at the bungalow, and some times make use of the restaurant or the pizzeria in the resort.
First evening, as we hadn't stocked up on food or supplies, we thought we'd go to the restaurant. We went in, told the lady at the door our room number, and got a table - we were told it was a buffet, which was ok with us. We could see that everyone seemed a bit confused, and after a while the manager of the restaurant came over to our table and told us we were on "residence only" so normally we shouldn't be eating in the restaurant - but it was "no problem" - we could eat if we paid for the meal.
We said "of course - that was our plan" and he told us it was 20 euros for four persons - wine, dessert and everything included. We thought that was very cheap, even after seeing the miserable food they served. That's until we got the final bill - 80 euros. Seems the Italians have a strange way of using of the English language.. (20 euros for four persons apparently means 20 euros per person). We paid up, but decided to never do that again.
After dinner we went shopping for some food for next days breakfast in the mini-market of the resort, but the receptionist had not managed to find the key to the kitchen yet. He rummaged through cardboard boxes filled with keys, but still couldn't find it. (no wonder, we thought ... normal hotels keep their keys hung on a nice tidy rack)
He suggested he'd bring the key to us in the morning, but after we pointed out that our milk and cheese would have to spend the night out of the refrigerator, he finally came up with keys - from the back room. And they were marked with a huge plaque too - with our room number on it - why was it so difficult to find? Or didn't they want to give they keys to us? Guess we'll never know...
Apart from the restaurant, the other eating-place in the resort is the pizzeria - they don't have a proper menu, but they do make decent pizzas. If you're a bit familiar with Italian pizza-types I guess you'll be ok, because you have to know what to order...
The pool area is the best part of the resort, I think. It has a pool bar, and the swimmingpool itself is beautiful. We spent quite a lot of time there. I just wonder what will happen when all those palmtrees are totally dead - now they're all dry, and some of them have been cut down too... Will they plant new ones? (this is another sign that the place is deteriorating)
The other amenities they offer - "football pitch", archery, boule, gym etc. - are all totally overgrown by weeds and is quite obviously in a state of disrepair and neglect. I wouldn't use them.
The private beach of the resort could have been quite nice, if it wasn't for all the garbage and dirt both in the sand and in the water. Going for a swim and having to push away used womens panty liners several times is not very pleasant.
Now, last but not least - back to the service of this "four star hotel":
Every time we asked the reception to fix something for us, nothing happened. (like the blocked drain in the bathroom sink - took 3 days, 3 talks to the reception and threatening to talk to the manager to get it fixed) The missing clothes-rack to dry towels on - was never fixed - we had to "steal" the one from the neighbour bungalow which was uninhabited at the time.
The people working in the villaggio mostly don't speak anything but italian, and if you try in English most of them will only look frightened at you and take a step backward while shaking their heads.
The noise late in the evening and during the night is unbelieveable. The nightly shows (though quite entertaining for some holiday guests) start at 23:00 and go on for an hour or two. this means no sleeping before 1 am. Most nights we also heard huge fireworks going off at times like 2:30 am, from neighbouring establishments (don't think Stella Maris had fireworks). And after that we had a whole camp of young people next door who would keep it going all night. (even after we notified the reception of this, very little was done about it) . Even if you don't end up with the youth-camp, you'll be lucky to be asleep early. No point in planning to get up early to go see things...
And to top it all off: after all the trouble we had with the lousy service and all, we ended up in a long discussion with the manager of the "hotel" because we thought we pointed out this and asked for a small compensation for all the trouble. All the things we pointed out to him about the things we were unsatisfied with were obviously not interesting for him, and he would not admit that anything was wrong in his establishment. We gave up - and then he offered us a free meal in the restaurant as "compensation". We turned the offer down, paid up, and got ready to leave the next day - so happy to be out of this dreadful place.
Next day we went to the reception to give the room key and the plastic "prepaid-card" back - and of course the receptionist then told us we could not have our 14 euros that were left in the card back. I had to count to ten before I told them in my calmest voice that "yes, you will give me my money back, because this was confirmed to me on the first day". After a bit of italian discussion behind the desk the two receptionists finally threw 14 euros on the desk. Their attitude was horrible, so I took the money, turned around and walked out of there without even saying good bye.
I've never been treated like this in a "hotel" anywhere, and I hope I'll never experience anything like this again.
So, as you can see - I would NOT recommend Hotel Villaggio Stella Maris at Varcaturo near Naples to anyone.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Hotel Resort Stella Maris is set in a wood and flora, typical of the Mediterranean area, which gradually descends towards an immense beach and sea.Is also the starting point for exciting excursions to discover the beauty of the Amalfi coast and the archeological sites of the area like Naples, Pompei and Vesuvio,Sorrento, and the island of Capri and Ischia.ACCOMODATION:Bungalow, Garden Room, Hotel Room ( Standard) and Hotel Rooms Superior. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Villagio Stella Maris Naples