The only reason for going to Agrigento is to see the temples (and the archeological museum, which is mostly full of the same old stuff but has the occasional interesting, unusual piece); the main reason to stay at the Hotel Villa Athena is that it is easy walking distance to the temples, and you have a great view of them from the hotel.
The hotel itself is very clean, comfortable beds, air conditioning - all you can ask for except (as usual) poor quality pillows. Why is it that so few hotels at least offer the choice of feather-filled pillows? After a hard day in the heat I do not want a piece of unforgiving foam to lay my head on.
The pool is quite big and there was plenty of space around the poolside with sufficient umbrellas; breakfasts were good; can't speak of dining in the evenings as we ate out at one of the (many) good local restaurants.
So the only drawback of the hotel is the price; our nightly rate there was €315 per room, which is far from being cheap. But the hotel has a captive audience and little or no competition. And in a way I found the temples slightly disappointing, in just the way that I found the Graeco/Roman theatre at Taormina disappointing; very touristy, and there are more impressive sites in the Middle East - now sadly inaccessible in many cases due to conflicts.
As for Agrigento; a sad atmosphere, with tower blocks of shoddy ugly flats packing out the place; the seafront at night is full of cheap rip-off consumer goods being sold by immigrants trying to eke out a living, while the gritty Sicilians wander along and choose a restaurant. It felt quite raw and I must say I liked it enormously for its authenticity. The hotel was fine, no complaints, very helpful staff, good breakfasts - try the iced cream coffee.
- 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