We stayed at La Darsena from Oct. 13th to 24th on an Air Transat Holiday package and overall it was a very pleasant stay and one that we would most definitely recommend with the following provisos.
Be aware that the drive from Rome to Agropoli will take approx. 4 ½ hours, some of the group were not aware of this and were upset. Thankfully because of information here on TripAdvisor, particularly some great information from Serenjdipity, both in her review below and in information she sent me, we knew all about the length of the bus ride.
Another thing to know is that from September to the end of October, the guests at La Darsena are 95% French Canadian as this venue is heavily marketed in Quebec by Transat Holidays. If you don’t speak French and there are no other English speaking guests there, you may feel left out as, naturally, the guests are all speaking to each other in French. We used our very rusty and limited French whenever we could and the Quebec guests spoke to us in English when they could. There was only one other couple there from Ontario and we ‘bonded’ and had a great time with them. Apparently in the summer, particularly in July and August, the guests are more multi-national, however we were told that the heat in these month can range from the mid 30’sC to mid 40’sC. Sweltering!
Check-in was very organized and efficient and Monica and Lea both speak excellent English and were extremely helpful during our stay.
The first room we had was room 301 and it fronts onto the street and the train track, so was very noisy. So noisy that for a light sleeper like me, even with ear plugs, it was impossible to get a night’s sleep because the trains run through the night. Thankfully we got a room change after 3 days and after that had wonderful sleeps.
The rooms are spotlessly clean and Maria does a great job. The soundproofing between rooms and in the hallway is not very good and sounds carry. We were there at a quiet end of season time and the hotel wasn’t overly busy plus the guests tended to retire early, so sleeping (other than the first few nights) wasn’t a problem. Also being on the top floor was great because no-one was above.
We ordered a fridge for our room and were glad we did. This is very worthwhile if you want to have snacks, a cold beer or keep water cool and only costs 5 euros a day.
In the restaurant, tables are assigned, so request a window table and if one isn’t available, ask to have one when it becomes available.
The food at all meals was pretty good. Breakfast is serve yourself and consists of cheese, ham, some fruit, pastries, rolls, cereal, coffee and tea and is available from 7:30a.m. to 9:00a.m.. Lunch and Dinner are both 3 course meals with a bottle of wine at each meal and also a bottle of water. The chef did a good job with the food and the presentation was good. Lunch is served from 1:00p.m. to 2:00p.m. and dinner from 7:30p.m. to 9:00p.m. Each day you have 2 choices for meals and you fill out a form with your preference. Pasta or soup is served as a starter with lunch and dinner or you can request a salad. The servers in the restaurant, Alexandra and Susanne are both multi-lingual, and Rita’s English is pretty good too. These ladies were wonderful, and did they ever work hard.
Although the weather was very warm, 24C-28C (high 70’s to mid 80’s) the air conditioning had been turned off for the season, both in the rooms and the restaurant. Thankfully we had a window seat in the restaurant so usually had a little breeze. The interior of the restaurant could get pretty hot. The bedrooms all had shades which kept out much of the hot sun but there were times when we wished for at least a fan.
Agropoli is a delightful Italian town with wonderful and friendly people. The walk from the hotel into town is along the beach walk and we walked it many times. Because this is not a typical tourist town, very little English is spoken here, in restaurants, shops etc., so try to learn some Italian before you go and bring an Italian/English phrase book...really helped me.
From Agropilo, it’s relatively easy to get around, by taxi, bus or train. We took a train to Solerno and then a boat along the Amalfi coast, and spent the afternoon in Positano. It’s definitely worth taking the time to do this trip, particularly if you’ve driven (or been driven!) along the Amalfi coast and then see the same sights from the sea. Both are simply breathtaking.
We took a bus to Santa Maria, a beautiful little town just south of Agropoli. From the town square we then took another bus to the top where there’s a castle/fort/church. The view is fantastic.
If you’re taking a taxi anywhere, have the hotel order it for you. We met some people who were charged more than double what we paid because they called a number that someone gave them, instead of having Lea or Monica at La Darsena order it.
We also took organized trips to Pompei, Mount Vesuvius, Sorrento, Amalfi, Positano, Ravello and our guide, Angelo was fantastic. No question was too much for him and the information he gave us for all the sites was excellent. Grazie Angelo!
A trip to Capri had to be cancelled due to heavy seas and unfortunately we didn’t have another opportunity to go. If you want to organize your own trip to Capri, you can get a train to Solerno (40 minutes) and either take a ferry to Positano (40 minutes) and then another ferry to Capri (50 minutes), or after taking the train to Solerno take a taxi to the marina that has direct boats to Capri. Personally, this is one trip that it would be better to take an organized tour to.
I recommend Agropoli and La Darsena to anyone who wants to experience the ‘real Italy’, yet be close enough to also experience all the other fabulous touristy places (Sorrento was one of our favorite) in the Amalfi area and the Transat Holiday package is extremely reasonable, considering all the inclusions.
If anyone would like more information, I would be happy to answer any questions.
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- Also Known As:
- La Darsena Hotel