I stayed here in July 2013 with my wife and kids (age 6 and 8). We had a great time in Sestri Levante and at the Hotel Helvetia. The hotel is situated in the corner of the Bay of Silence. We had an amazing view of the entire bay from our hotel room. The view from the upper pool levels is even more impressive.
The staff were friendly and helpful. Our room was a large 2 bathroom, almost 1-bedroom - there was a heavy curtain that was used to separate the bedroom area from the living room that contained the fold-out bed for the kids. There was separate A/C controls for both "rooms".
There is a small elevator that was useful for getting the luggage to/from our room.
The continental breakfast had a wide variety of foods to choose from. Our only complaint was that breakfast wasn't open until 8:00am, which we found to be a little late, as our kids are early-risers. I took advantage of the later breakfast to get in some early morning runs along the Baia delle Favole (Bay of the Fables).
There is a wonderful two-level pool with a waterfall and several loungers on the upper level. We didn't spend a lot of time at the pool so I can't really comment on lounger availability or if people would "reserve" them all day.
The sandy beach is virtually outside the door of the hotel. The beach area closest to the hotel is slightly rocky when walking in the water. I would suggest walking down the beach a little (at least past the pier) to avoid the rocks.
Hotel guests on the first day are allowed to use loungers and an umbrella compliments of the hotel. Otherwise, you have to pay the lifeguards for their use. Other vendors down the beach also rent chairs and umbrellas for a cheaper price. We chose a vendor slightly down the beach outside a beach restaurant and camped there for the day - we really appreciated the easy access to the restaurant and had a wonderful lunch on the beach.
When it was time to leave the hotel for the train station, the gentleman at the front desk offered to drive us in the hotel vehicle. It would have been a 15 minute or so walk, but with luggage and kids, the free ride was much appreciated. A tip was offered for the generosity but was politely declined.
Note: There was loud music (pounding dance music!) and party noise from somewhere near our beachfront-facing hotel room. I believe, but can't so with certainty, that it came from the beachfront cafe in front of the hotel. With our room overlooking the bay in the front of the hotel, the noise was bothersome.
Our short stay at the hotel was definitely not cheap and was probably double the price we paid at any other hotel, villa, or apartment we rented during our travels in France and Italy. That said, we all enjoyed our stay immensely. If cost was not a factor, I would certainly return here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Boutique hotel, direct to the beach, private pool overlooking the sea, tranquil and romantic hotel, perfect for couples Wi-Fi and bicycle free of charge ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Helvetia Hotel Sestri Levante