Although we read the reviews prior to making our reservation, I decided to disregard them, mainly because the hotel appears in the Karen Brown guide to hotels in Italy, and she made it sound wonderful. When we arrived to check-in, the Front Desk staff told us our room number, gave us the key - and pointed. The gruff man who'd picked us up in his clunker from the ferry seemed irritated to assist us with our luggage but he finally showed us the way to our room. It was so disappointing. The bed was made, but the cover was put on it crooked and it was rumpled, made us wonder if the bedding had been washed. Everything seemed a little dirty. No one showed us where the pool or restaurant were located. When we explored on our own, we were disappointed with the grounds which were unkempt (dead grass, pasta and other food strewn about on the sidewalks, dirty outdoor furniture, cigarette butts everywhere). It wasn't until we saw the pools that we were informed that our two-year-old daughter could not go into the one with the caves which is heavily sold on their website. Our stay, which was $350 Euros/per night - approximately $500 US dollars per night, included a one-day pass to this "special wellness pool" however now we were being informed it was for adults only. The other pool offered a dangerously narrow stairway down into a pool that was about 5 and 1/2 feet deep all around. No shallow end for children. Every day 1/2 dozen large red mattresses, covered in mold, were stacked on a landing above the pool to dry in the sun. These were from the disco they turn the pool area into at night. I felt bad for guests whose rooms faced the disco. . . fortunately ours did not.
The front desk staff was forbidden from telling guests about any restaurant other than the one located at the hotel, or another restaurant owned by a relative. If you asked them about any other place, they would act confused, and repeat that the only restaurants were those two. It was almost comical.
Breakfast was included in the price of our room, thank god. However, there is a surly woman who is assigned to watch guests as they fill their plates at the buffet. I asked for two glasses of orange juice to bring one to my partner, and after scolding me by waiving a finger "no", she gave me one. My partner had to come get her own juice! In addition, one morning we brought the tray of food to our room, when we returned to get some fruit, we were questioned how many people were in our room. We said three. They said we were taking too much food and needed to call room service to pay for it. We told them we were willing to pay. They rolled their eyes and said, "Dingo!" Whatever that means. We interpretted it to mean that we could take the food but we were being rude and greedy. After seeing how much food other guests were consuming we could not believe this interrogation - what is the purpose of making guests feel bad about returning for a few pieces of watermelon?
The rooms, as previous reviewers have noted, are small, dingy, and have thin walls. One night, we were awakened at 1:30 in the morning by a loud and violent-sounding argument by the guests next door. They were intoxicated and yelling at one another for approximately 45 minutes which woke our daughter. For the remainder of the stay, we heard a dog, kept in a room at the other end of the hallway, barking and whining for hours on end.
The island of Ponza is beautiful, and we had a wonderful time there. If we are ever fortunate enough to return, we will not be staying at this hotel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to the Grand Hotel Santa Domitilla, one of the most prestigious hotels on the island of Ponza and the whole Mediterranean coastline.Our elegant and refined common areas have a cool Mediterranean décor and our splendid gardens with their abundance of Mediterranean and exotic plants are surrounded by typical Ponza-style terraces.Two seawater swimming pools are hidden behind a mass of purple bougainvillea, and our fabulous Wellbeing Course winds between lemon trees and fox grapes to the picturesque Roman Grottos with their different temperatures (from 19 to 37°C), numerous hydromassage jets, and the exquisite Arabic style and chromo-therapeutic lighting of the Turkish Bath. Then there is the prestigious restaurant and wine bar, “Il Melograno”, that offers gastronomic delights in wisteria draped bowers. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grande Hotel Ponza