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“Great Place for Getting Ripped Off”
Review of Hotel Villa Athena

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Hotel Villa Athena
Ranked #1 of 25 Hotels in Agrigento
Certificate of Excellence
Paris, France
Level Contributor
128 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 147 helpful votes
“Great Place for Getting Ripped Off”
Reviewed 22 February 2012

This is the most pretentious hotel imaginable. If you like to be treated like "royalty" like some reviewers suggest it basically means that the staff treat you like an imbecile who knows nothing about luxury hotels, wine, or just about anything else. While I found the other guests very pleasant I could not have been more disappointed with the rest.
Not all was bad: We had a deluxe room that was very spacious and well-appointed, although more in the style of a Hilton hotel than a small luxury hotel. The bathroom was beautiful but no slippers were provided, which was inconvenient given that tiles in Sicilian winters feel very cold.
Now to other "gripes" - although the hotel claims to be "nestled in the Valley of the Temples" there is actually NO direct access to the temples from the hotel. If you walk the quarter mile to the valley entrance you have to cross a very busy road to get to the very rough pedestrian walkway on the other side of the street. Even so, you basically take your life into your hands, particularly on the steep climb back up the hill to the hotel. If you drive from the hotel instead, you will need to park down the hill and then walk anyway. Next time I go to the Valley of the Temples (glorious and DEFINITELY worth seeing) I will stay in a different hotel and simply drive to the Valley.
Now to the restaurant experience: The food was delicious but the service among the worst I have experienced anywhere. It all began with the waiter showing us a bottle of "local wine" before we had even ordered our food -- at the price of 50 Euros! When I asked to see the wine card the waiter responded in a huff and brought a rather substantial leather-bound wine list. I picked a 40 Euro bottle of 2009 Chardonnay from Marsala, one of the nice wine regions of Sicily. When I wanted to order the bottle the waiter first argued with me that our fish dishes would also go very well with the local red wine he had suggested, which I am sure cost only a couple of Euros in the local supermarket. When that didn't convince me he told me snobbishly that the Marsala Chardonnay was out of stock and that he would bring me "another bottle that also costs 40 Euros." Before I could even ask him what kind of wine and to show it to me on the wine card he departed, only to return a few minutes late with a 2010 white wine that was way too warm, of poor quality, and did not come from a grape that I at all recognized. He poured about an inch into my glass to let me try to wine and when I suggested that it needed to be chilled he left in another huff and returned with a huge ice bucket into which he placed the bottle. That was the last time he touched the bottle -- I had to pour the wine for us throughout the meal, as well as refill our mineral water from the bottle we had ordered. At that point there were 3 American couples in the restaurant, two sharing one table and another one sitting by themselves. Certainly not enough people for two waiters to be unable to provide acceptable service at a supposed 5-star establishment!
The next round of huffing and puffing came when we ordered only one appetizer to share, as we had had a very late lunch and didn't feel like eating too much. He asked us incredulously several times if we were REALLY only getting one seafood appetizer! The main course (we each had a fish dish) was very good -- thank God the chef has been much better trained than the wait staff.
More huffing and puffing when we didn't order desert -- by this time we were so thoroughly annoyed that it would not have tasted very good. The poor and arrogant service basically ruined our appetite.
Not that there was much choice in any case: The "menu" was on a folded thin piece of paper (the kind you would get in a diner in a really cheap diner in the United States) and offered 3 appetizers, 3 main courses, and 3 desserts -- all in Italian only. The translation provided by the waiter was once again offered with utmost disdain. Sorry for not knowing Italian well enough, signor! I would have expected a bi-lingual menu in such an expensive restaurant catering basically only to foreign tourists.
The bill for this dinner came to exactly 100 Euros -- an outrageous amount for the location.
So my overall advice is to avoid this hotel at all costs -- stay in a near-by hotel, find a good restaurant in Agrigento, and drive to the Valley of the Temples. That is, of course, unless you want to be treated like "royalty" and don't mind being ripped off by an establishment obviously specialized in treating foreigners like cash machines.

Room Tip: Many of the rooms face the parking lot and restaurant, so make sure you actually get a room facing t...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
8 Thank Angkor2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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rinaic
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 February 2012

We were here with our family, and had 4 rooms. We arrived at night, which is a plus.
Walking into the room you could see the spectacular illuminated temple picture-framed perfectly in the window. This amazing effect was replicated in one or two windows in each of our rooms. It's hard to describe a view that should be experienced first-hand.

The very friendly front desk staff upgraded us on arrival and the head of our family was given a corner suite at no additional charge.

The rooms were spacious and well appointed with modern bathrooms. Free WIFI from the lobby could be picked up in a few of them.

It was off-season here and we didn't use the pool, gardens, or outdoor eating, but it looked to be nice.
Off season meant no AC in the rooms either, a problem we ran into multiple times during this late November trip. Fortunately at this hotel it is quiet enough to sleep with open windows and get no disturbance.

We walked to the Valle dei Templi in the morning, it's about 5 minutes away.

I've visited many high end hotels in my life and this overall experience ranks up there with the best of them.


The on-site restaurant Il Granaio di Ibla was excellent and it's maitre d' was one of the best service industry people we met on our whole trip. Highly recommended!

The only mis-cue at this hotel was a front desk recommendation to Trattoria dei Templi restaurant for dinner our second night (see review).

Room Tip: If you don't get a room with a temple view, you will be missing out on a view of a lifetime!
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank rinaic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
in the southwest united states
Level Contributor
25 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 February 2012

villa athena is perfect--the rooms are beautiful (and silent), the grounds and views are immaculate, and the food was delicious. it was worth every penny to stay here and feel like royalty! i only wish i could have stayed longer. thank you so very much to the staff of the hotel, who were all true professionals! i hope to someday return for a week.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank asatwice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
California
Level Contributor
73 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 February 2012

Visited this while traveling with a group of friends, so didn't have to find or select it. Front desk staff was super friendly and helpful. Room was very luxurious - great bed and for an italian bathroom it is more than five stars. View from the hotel out over the ruins was fantastic and they are close enough you can walk. Restaurant was expensive but the food was excellently prepared and very tasty.

Room Tip: Try to get a room with a view of the ruins.
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank SargeantKinchloe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
42 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 February 2012

Villa Athena is an exquisite small boutique hotel slightly outside the centre of Agrigento. We selected one of the rooms with a view of the temples - floodlit at night – and the view alone was worth the price we paid. The room also had a large furnished balcony and, while not private, was shielded from the adjacent balconies by a barrier of plants and shrubs. Our room was advertised as a “deluxe” room which was priced at, I thought, a very attractive 129 Euros per night (low season). The slightly cheaper “superior” rooms seemed similar in both size and furnishings to the “deluxe” rooms but seemed to have smaller balconies while the even cheaper “classic” rooms presumably have no balconies and probably no temple views. In staying here you really do need to book one of the rooms with a temple view.
Our “deluxe” room was bright and airy with large comfy beds with quality linens. The restaurant was across the drive from the hotel entrance in a purpose built one storey modern block. I felt the restaurant lacked atmosphere but was more than adequate for breakfast. The restaurant had a limited evening menu – remember, we were staying out of season - but there were other dining choices nearby but you'd need a car. The gardens and pool area of the hotel were also very attractive.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank chadsworth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Almaty, Kazakhstan
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 February 2012

Beautiful setting amongst orchards and looking straight at the amazing ruins, which are lit up at night and look spectacular. A very small hotel and set up really well, there is even a porthole in the shower looking out at the ruins which we found very quirky. Breakfast was limited in January, but sufficient. Staff were lovely, the hotel was light and airy and a nice place to be. Wish we could have stayed longer.

Room Tip: point of staying at this hotel is to get a room on the side facing the ruins, not sure if there were...
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Kate C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tahlequah
Level Contributor
83 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 February 2012

We stayed here for two nights and had the most wonderful time. The hotel is situated at the valli di templi and from our bedroom we could gaze directly at the temple of concord. The staff were wonderful and very accommodating. The breakfast had a nice selection of sweet and savory delicacies. We would rate this hotel as one of the finest we have stayed at in the world. The restaurant was sadly closed for the season. The only negative is that the nearest highly rated restaurants are a fairly lengthy walk down a dark and busy road.

  • Stayed February 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank JasonandJen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Villa Athena

Property: Hotel Villa Athena
Address: Via Passeggiata Archeologica 33, 92100, Agrigento, Sicily, Italy
Phone Number:
Region: Italy > Sicily > Province of Agrigento > Agrigento
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Agrigento
#1 Luxury Hotel in Agrigento
#1 Family Hotel in Agrigento
#1 Romantic Hotel in Agrigento
#1 Spa Hotel in Agrigento
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — Hotel Villa Athena 5*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Villa Athena re-opened in July 2009 after an extensive and authentic restoration which lasted one year. The entire villa underwent a massive renovation to meet international luxury standards. The hotel features 27 large comfortable rooms and suites, most of them facing the enchanting Tempio della Concordia. A traditional cuisine-based restaurant Il granaio di Ibla, a Lounge bar, an outdoor swimming-pool and a gorgeous park complete the outstanding services of this new luxury property. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Athena Hotel Agrigento
Hotel Villa Athena Agrigento, Sicily

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