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“Disappointing experience”

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Sea Club Conca Azzurra Resort
Ranked #9 of 47 Hotels in Massa Lubrense
Reviewed 3 February 2014

Just been looking at previous reviews on this supposedly 4 star hotel, as it was around this time last year that we were looking for a family holiday ourselves in Sorrento. We did a bit of research and wanted to use the hotel as a base to explore Sorrento, Pompei, Capri etc. The previous year, as a family, we had cruised this beautiful coastline and hoped to meet the Italian people, experiencing the culture of their country. Having read the wonderful reviews on Trip Advisor, we chose the Conca Azzura Beach Club Hotel. It seemed perfect for us a as family of four adults and three children - all inclusive was a bonus and so booked through Thomas Cook. As other reviewers have previously informed, the location of the Conca Azzura is just outside of Sorrento. No problem here we thought - we were prepared to book the transport offered by the hotel to take us via train or boat from Sorrento to visit our sightseeing destinations.

First of all the transport. Unfortunately, after disembarking from the coach which transferred us between resorts from the airport, were we're transferred to an old wreck of a mini bus which was, in my opinion, unsafe and unroadworthy. As the hotel is based at the bottom of a cliff accessed by hairpin bends, then it can be a bit of a journey for the faint hearted!! Nevertheless, to escape the Conca, this journey is required. Don't get me wrong, I must say the journey was always fun and we did get used to it. The drivers know the route like the back of their hands and drive this many times daily, week in week out, so they must feel safe. However, I often wonder when this poor old machine will die - one day it will need to be laid to rest before it lays others at the bottom of the cliff lol!! Joking aside, if your lucky, there is another mini bus which is not as old, depends on which you manage to catch.

The only other problem with the hotel transport is that the bus requires booking for return journeys.
Great for the outward journey but as a tourist, who cannot anticipate the return time - this is Italy for goodness sake - we don't know how long we're likely to stay in Pompei and what time train we will catch on the return journey!! Nevertheless we did manage and if we did arrive too early for the transport back to the hotel, we either had a drink or a meal in Sorrento - great!!

Now about the food - breakfast was an event which could easily be missed. Nevertheless, as there were no other eateries at the bottom of the cliff, we required to attend as hunger would have got he better of us! Loved the dry cake and pastries - a good start to welcome the day ahead lol! Yes there was some hot food but I won't comment on this. It always surprises me what some people consider as wonderful food, believing what was said on previous Trip Advisor reviews - just what do they eat at home I wonder??? Nevertheless, lunch time was a great experience, especially for for an all inclusive holiday! We were always well looked after by the staff. The Head Waiter and his team were very friendly, polite and eager to please. Regarding the evening meals, we only had a few evening meals in the in hotel as we preferred to escape to experience a more lively atmosphere in Sorrento. The nights we did stay in though, we found the meals uneventful and the night time entertainment to be one organist - the only entertainment provided. Even Margarita Pracketaan (forgive the spelling - those of an older generation will know who I mean) would have been worried about this guy - but he was a happy little man who did get his audience to join in with him. Unfortunately, unless you ventured out of the hotel, this was the only evening entertainment. As for the kids in the complex, they provided their own entertainment, keeping themselves entertained day and night with their electronic gadgets - I've never seen so many in one lounge! Sadly, this was the only way the kids could entertain themselves for longer periods - thank goodness for Apple!! You might think that we are the type of family who doesn't want to spend time with our kids but far from it. We felt responsible for taking them there and gave them the opportunity to have a treat on their usually restricted games!!

Now for the hospitality. The bar manager at that time, Christian, (who is no longer mentioned on Trip Advisor, so I assume is no longer there now) was infamous for his generosity of alcoholic beverages even before we arrived. Everything that was written about him on Trip Advisor was true - had it not been for his entertainment and the Italian 'Casanova' bravado, our days and nights would have been intolerable. All was tongue in cheek by the way but he tried his best lol! To be honest, he was a real nice guy who played his role well! Christian's philosophy was based upon 'why have good measure when you can have the full bottle?? This is the honest truth. There was always a drink placed in front of you whether you asked for it or not and on occasions a help yourself bottle of brandy whether you wanted it or not!! We often wondered if the hotel ever made any profit because of his extreme generosity - it was all good branded alcohol too! Even giant size bottles of Coca Cola were handed out - not the watered down syrupy rubbish. He was an interesting character to say the least! From what I gather, the all inclusive drinks are no longer in the same measures now, so beware!! From reading the Trip Advisor reviews last year (all highly rated), I believe these may have been gained via the extremely generous measures offered by the bar - do people actually remember their stay or was it a blur lol!!

Next the accommodation. Yes the rooms were generally clean and for what we paid, were acceptable. Nevertheless, they were quite dark and dingy and could have done with a bit of an update. Also, my daughter's room always had a fowl smell of drains. Although we asked for something to get rid of the smell, this never materialised. Please note, I say 'asked' - and politely too, because as you continue reading this review, you may think we are one of these moaning families who are never happy unless they have something to complain about - far from it!

The manager of Conca Azzura Beach Club was a pleasant and approachful man - however, his counter part, the assistant manager was a surly little person. He hardly ever raised a smile but hey ho, we just kept smiling in the hope it would catch on. As I mentioned earlier, the waiters were hard working but always had time to say hello and to be helpful. Interestingly though, the Head Waiter, who had always been attentive, became less so after giving him his tip on the last day - a decent one too. Probably thinking about the next coach load of visitors I imagine.

Safety - a must to mention. Just a word of warning when returning to your room after dark - there are a few trip hazards ie steps which suddenly appear from nowhere - they are not easily distinguished from the pavement - there were a few trips, from adults as well as children! To be fair, when this was brought to the attention of the night time staff - yes, the surly little man at reception, a piece of A4 paper was placed on one of the columns near one of the steps the next day.

Nearly finished now but I feel I must mention the housekeeping standards. I feel outdoors, at the back of the complex could have been maintained to a higher standard - the rooms were cleaned daily but it was always interesting to see how many of the staff would allow a build up of dirty plates & glasses - a few days was quite normal!! As mentioned earlier, the hotel was at the beginning of it's summer season and the day before we left there was a lot of painting walls etc. perhaps we poorly timed our visit but even so, I believe that a hotel should be well maintained throughout seasons if open to paying guests. For example, the children were so excited to be going on holiday and swimming. However, the jacuzzi was not in working order and the main pool very scruffy and cold, they were disappointed not to have he experience they had hoped. The sun beds were old and rusty and the main pool sitting area was rough concrete - I think not a pleasant area to sit, even if the sun had been shining.

In my opinion, this hotel has excellent potential for a good holiday however, some of the basic standards need to be improved upon. The mini bus, even though is a talking point requires putting to rest. Why is it when English people go on holiday, they don't take this sort of thing seriously? If this transport was offered at home there would surely be an inquisition. It seems to me that when purchasing a holiday, we get what we pay for. Sadly, I feel we were short changed in The Conca Azzura Beach Club - sorry!

Room Tip: Try one in Sorrento!
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  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with family
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8  Thank Funfamily1951
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ilaria G, General Manager at Sea Club Conca Azzurra Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 6 June 2014

Dear Guests,
thank you for being our customers.


The Sea Club Conca Azzurra Hotel & Resort in Massa Lubrense on the Sorrento Coast, with its a unique position right in a natural bay digged into the cliff where the Mediterranean maquis and blue sea of Sorrento, is a real oasis of peace and comfort.
An exclusive Resort facing the Islands of Capri and Ischia and very well connected to Sorrento town centre.
It is the ideal holiday location for those who wish to combine relaxation on the beach to sightseeing, sports and gastronomical tours.
Is with the comments and suggestions of our guests, positive or negative, that we can improve our service but in this case we cannot agree with your review concerning your stay in August 2012.

About the type of bus used to transport down to the Sea Club Conca Azzurra, I guarantee you that it is a law in Italy revise all means of transport, which are tested and therefore if the bus that carried out the shuttle service from the Sea Club right up to the entrance of the resort and vice versa was not even beautiful, I can reassure you that it was required by law to be able to perform this type of service.
Do you think that Capri for taxi use of small vehicles with an engine capacity of 50cc. (I beg you want to view this link http://albums.photoonweb.com/cavareporter/LApe_calessino_modello_Capri/) like you said this is also a way to discover the customs and cultures of our people.
For the shuttle service to Sorrento hotels that offer it, it is normal to reserve the time of departure from the hotel and also the return.
If our Guest likes change the time of return, can do it, just call the hotel and change the time. Also, if the guest wants to stay then more in the city is free to do so and still be able to use the means of transport (taxi) to return to the hotel.
As for the kitchen, I'm sorry that is not liked by you and your family, but also according to what we hear from our other guests, is very good.
The menus are prepared daily are prepared with fresh, seasonal, as well as the desserts that are prepared by our pastry chef at the hotel.
Surely the food is subjective, like a garment, which may appeal to a person and not like another ...
As I wrote above the Sea Club Conca Azzurra is primarily a place where our guests find relaxation, peace and love to be able to disconnect from the routine of everyday life.
I am very sorry that your children have not enjoyed duty and who have used the tablet or anything else to have fun.
For what concerns the music of evening entertainment are sorry that was not to your liking, perhaps the musician was not the top, but I guarantee that manages to maintain harmony in the entire resort for the whole evening.
For portions of the drink is not true that before everything was bestowed abundantly and not now, the guest can have anything he wants and that is included in the All Inclusive.
Regarding the rooms, the style is very fresh and modern, for the bad smell in your daughter's room I think the staff has checked everything and did everything possible to eliminate it.



I am always available for my guests and I wonder why you never came to me during your stay and talk about these problems.
We hope to welcome you back to the Sea Club Conca Azzurra and our staff are looking to offer their service and to take care of your every need.



The Manager

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Reviewed 3 November 2013

We arrived at the resort 11/10/13 when unfortunately the hotel had only just had a flood. This was due to an unusually heavy rainfall, beyond the hotels control. All cleared up by the time we arrived however there was evidence on the sofas in reception together with a damp smell!
Hotel I would describe as a bit tired.
Food very good, preferred lunch menu to evening meals.
Staff very friendly and helpful.
Courtesy bus 'fun bus' to top hill was possibly unroadworthy.
Bedrooms although tired, kept very clean,daily clean towels.
Biggest criticism was the bar, purely because they ran out of basics such as Limoncello would you believe, these were not replaced before we left, they were on order! Cocktails etc not good. It felt like because it was the end of the season,literally the bar had been really run down and choices were poor.
Would I recommend the hotel, possibly not.
Would I go back, probably not.
Biggest problem, MOSQUITOS! Hotel did eventually get some citronella candles.
Not sure why they bothered with fridges in rooms.
Tea/coffee making facilities in rooms would be a nice addition.

Room Tip: Don't have 311, small and inadequate!
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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5  Thank Chris H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 November 2013

We spent 2 weeks here in September, mainly to visit Pompeii, Herculaneum, Vesuvius, Amalfi, Capri, and of course Sorrento. We did all the trips ourselves, apart from the Amalfi coast, which we visited by private taxi, sharing with other hotel guests. Although the hotel is situated out of Sorrento we were able to get about very easily because of the free mini bus, which always arrived on time, or even before time, and was very reliable, although rather dilapidated.

Our room was on the 1st floor, and was adequate for our needs, if somewhat tired. It was kept spotlessly clean, with clean towels daily, and fresh bedding every other day. The bed was one of the most comfortable I have ever slept in, and I do have some back problems. The pillows, however, had seen better days. There was also a free safe, which was a bonus, and lots of storage space.

The sunbathing areas were ok, but no beach, and a lot of concrete. The lawn area was bare in places, but that could have been down to intensive use during the summer season. 2 of the pools seemed to be emptied at night, and filled up again every morning, the water often left running so that it flooded the sundecks, and soaked everything in its wake. We notified the Manager about this on one occasion, but although the problem was rectified that day, it continued to occur on subsequent days, so we gave up! Pools very cold, especially the Jacuzzi, not for the faint hearted.

We were impressed with the food on most occasions. Breakfast was adequate, the bacon not great, but no-one could go hungry. Lunch was chosen from an a la carte menu, and everything was freshly cooked, no problems there. Dinner was the same 5 nights a week, 5 choices from the menu for antipasta & main course, with a 'help yourself' salad to start, and buffet choice dessert. I would have liked to see the salad, and the desserts refrigerated & covered during this time, as it was quite hot, and there were an abundance of flying objects, The other 2 nights consisted of a barbecue, (better the 2nd week than the 1st), and a Neapolitan Carvery. This was let down by the fact that the potatoes & vegetables were ' serve yourself' in uncovered and unheated dishes, and consequently were cold.

There were a good choice of drinks, the wine was very quaffable and abundant, and the beer always cold and refreshing. International brands were available, but on a number of occasions the bar 'ran out' of certain popular alcoholic beverages, and whoever heard of a bar with no tonic water? The local substitutes tasted weak and unfamiliar.

The staff at this hotel were excellent, and really helpful, and the service was excellentl. It would be difficult to pick a favourite, because wherever you were, restaurant, bar, reception, or maid service, all went the extra mile, (not forgetting the guys who drove the minibuses).

All in all we enjoyed our holiday. I'm not sure we would rate this hotel as 4 star, because of the lack of amenities like lifts, nightly entertainment, and other facilities. I'm not sure what criteria is applied in Italy to qualify fore 4 stars, but we have stayed in 4 star in Turkey & Canaries, and had more amenities. We also will not return to this area because of the abundance of mosquitos, which did somewhat spoil our stay. Having said that, we were pleased that we had chosen Conca Azzurra, as we felt it to be value for money in Sorrento.

Room Tip: All Rooms face the sea. If you do not have mobility issues, I recommend 1st or 2nd floor.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Almondson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 October 2013

We stayed at Sea Club Conca Azzura Sept 6th - 17th. The hotel lived up to all expectations after reading the excellent reviews before we booked . The staff were all excellent , From management to the cleaners. The rooms are a little tired and in need of a lick of paint but are kept very clean with clean towels daily and bed changed every other day. The food couldn't have been better (although there were some people who werenot satisfied ) . It was buffet breakfast , With a good selection , not a full English But you are in Italy. A realy good choice off a menu with waiter service at lunchtime and an evening menu with a choice of 5 starters and 5 main course Also waiter service and dessert which you helped yourself to. . We would definately return to this Hotel . Our only complaint was that we were on the ground floor . When we booked we asked Thomas Cook for a Sea View and we were told that was what we had . But the manager told us you have to askfor a High floor as well as Sea view when booking . He even showed us the booking confirmation from Thomas cook and the request was not on it , So it was no fault of the Hotel. If anyone has any questions .Please do not heitate to ask

Room Tip: Request a high floor
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Linda H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 October 2013

This hotel was great. All the good reviews we read beforehand were correct. We got there at around 9 pm after a long day. A full dinner menu was waiting for us. Food excellent. Good choice each night. Happy, friendly, helpful staff in the restaurant and in the bar. Free Mini bus service to and from Sorrento was reliable and regular. You need to book but is easily rearranged if you are not ready/late. We just rang the hotel and they rearranged. No coffee making facilities in rooms but we took our own so was no problem :) Entertainment not great but that didn't bother us as that was not one of our priorities. In fact the quiet evenings were preferable. Free wifi in hotel lobby was reliable. Mosquitos were a bit of a pain if I am honest but didn't spoil our stay. We did all the trips ourselves. All trips easy to arrange. Train and bus station in middle of town and tickets all sold in the same ticket office. We got a boat to Capri ourselves also. There was a lift down to the marina so we avoided the steep steps! Guides also selling tickets at the marina. Packed lunch was made available every day if you wanted. Rooms were cleaned daily and fresh towels were provided every day. Sheets also changed. Weather was mixed during our week. One day of drizzly rain and one morning of heavy rain. The rest of the time was quite warm. I would say it reached 75-80 degrees one day. Overall this was an excellent holiday and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. If we ever go back I would stay again.

Room Tip: We had a ground level room which had its own little garden which we didnt use as we were too busy ou...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Liz W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 October 2013

we stayed the week the hotel got a flood. we had a great stay, hotel clean, staff very friendly and the food was great. as other reviews have said do the trips yourself as it very easy to do and work out a lot cheaper. the train can get very crowded and sometimes run late. The views both at the hotel and up at sorrento are amazing. this hotel is a little gem . We hope to go back again next year

  • Stayed: October 2013
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Thank gillypolstead
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 October 2013

First of all I have to comment on the latest review of 18 Oct 13. You cannot fault a holiday or resort for having mosquitos or a crack in steps, that is an unfair reflection on what the hotel has to offer and the service it provides. Also, the mini bus served its purpose and always got the guests to and from the hotel FREE of charge I might say.... Who cares if there were a few holes in the stairwell of the front passenger doorway?

We stayed as a family for 2 weeks and came away after having a great time. It was definitely and relaxing holiday and something we very much needed.

The highlight of the holiday was the excellent quality of food and the kindness of ALL the staff, from Luigi the manager, to the waiter staff (Uncle Franco, the other Franco (hallo!!), Franceso, Tina and Salvatore) and Alissa, Mauro and Ramon behind the bar. Oh, and also Tony for staying awake for over 24 hours with his hosepipe and, along with rest of the staff, for getting the hotel back to top shape after the Great Flood during our first week!

The food was al la carte (both lunchtime and evening) and it was always a varied selection and of the highest quality. Each week the hotel also broke up the a la carte with buffet and BBQ evenings.

It would have been nice to have had some coffee/tea making facilities in our room but it wasn't an issue as this was served throughout the day at the bar. Rooms were cleaned to a high standard each day and bottled water was provided. TV channel selection was a bit limited (CNN, BBC World News) but hey who comes on holiday to watch TV??

Yes, the mosquitos were a pain and persistent but with the rain we experienced and the warm weather, this was always going to be an issue but not something that should reflect bad on the hotel.

The free lobby wi-fi was reliable and a godsend on those rainy days we had. The evening entertainment was limited, one guy came a couple of times a week and played the electric keyboard and sung a few songs. He did ruin a few right enough but that brought a laugh for those we made company with during our first week.

We organised the sightseeing trips ourselves and used the hotel shuttle bus (which ran at regular preset times during the morning, day and evening) in conjunction with the public transport. Bus or trains were easy and very affordable to use, so if you plan to visit Mt Vesuvius, Pompei and Ercolano like we did, this is the way to do it. The train stops directly at all these sights.

All in all we had a great time and would highly recommend this hotel to anyone looking to go. The staff, food and location made it for us and we would definitely love to visit again in the future.

Room Tip: We had room 211 on the first floor and had a balcony with great views of the sea and the island of C...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank steve2909
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sea Club Conca Azzurra Resort

Address: Via Villazzano 3, 80061, Massa Lubrense, Italy
Region: Italy > Campania > Province of Naples > Massa Lubrense
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Massa Lubrense
#3 Romantic Hotel in Massa Lubrense
#8 Luxury Hotel in Massa Lubrense
Price Range: £805 - £871 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Sea Club Conca Azzurra Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 50
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Also Known As:
Hotel And Resort Sea Club Conca Azzurra

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