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Polizzi Generosa: Agriturismo: Donalegge Al Castellazzo


Reviewed by: Stephen O from UK, review #2686

When: August 2009

Donalegge is an overpriced, unfriendly, unclean, charmless and cockroach-infested hotel. Avoid this place at all costs.

We were hugely disappointed with Donalegge, which was recommended by the thinkSicily travel agency.

Our rooms were fairly expensive (Euro 240 per night for a family of 4) so we had high expectations about Donalegge. These hopes were dashed when we were given 2 spartan and small rooms. There were used shampoo sachets from previous guests in situ. The rooms had clearly not been cleaned properly.

The breakfasts were meagre, and one gets the feeling that the owners are penny-pinchers to the extreme. Coffee pots were about one-eighth full as a rule, something that became a running joke amongst disappointed guests. We didn't try the expensive lunches or dinners (Euro 35 per head) based upon the disappointment of breakfast.

Donalegge's primary disappointment was the unfriendly nature of the owner-managers. Greetings were usually met with stony faces & silence. One got the feeling that the owner-managers simply weren't interested. There was no advice about things to do, places to see, etc.

Our rooms were infested with cockroaches: we killed a couple of the creatures each day. Cleaning supplies were almost non-existent: we bought our own soap and shampoo supplies in a local village. Our polite request for a knife & plate (for a melon) was refused in bureaucratic fashion: 'these items are only for use in the kitchen'. In other words, buy our expensive food or we don't care!

This was a huge shame. The setting of Donalegge is excellent, there is a good infinity pool overlooking the countryside, and the renovation of the farmhouse complex is good (small rooms aside). Sadly, some people make good hosts and some don't.

I have reported my concerns to thinkSicily.

Reviewed by: SJ1234 from UK, review #2006

When: May 2007

This hotel is overpriced and does not give the 'authentic Italian experience' it claims to. We were kept awake by what we think was a rat's nest under the floor.

Whilst the setting was beautiful and the farmhouse restored to a high standard we were extremely disappointed with some other aspects.

On our first night were woken at 6.30 in the morning by the very distinct noise of several rats running underneath our floor. Having experienced mice in our own home on several occasions and being familiar with rats through a close friend who keeps them we were under no doubt that these were rats, possibly a nest.

Of course we understand that staying in a farmhouse brings the risk of small animals, but we certainly did not expect to be woken by several rats underneath our floor. More importantly it was the way that Donalegge dealt with the problem that annoyed us most. They expressed disbelief that there were animals under the floor and offered several alternative explanations; the cat on the roof, the farmers outside and even ants. We made it very clear that we had heard small animals (which we suspected to be rats) underneath the floor.

An apology and move to another room would have sufficed for us to have enjoyed the rest of our stay. However, we felt that we were treated as hysterical teenagers, we were laughed at, ignored and not taken seriously. On our request we were moved to another room, all the while heads shaking in disbelief at our behaviour.

The following night the same rats made the same noises underneath our friend's room from 4.30am. Quite frankly, it was impossible to sleep with the noise of a rats nest that was so loud it felt as though they were in the room. Once again, on checking out, we felt that our complaint was not taken seriously.

Perhaps a gesture of good will on their part would have made us feel happy. Instead we were charged for wine, water and coffee taken with our meal, which in my opinion makes the half board arrangement not value for money.

In addition, some more general points about the our stay: the service was at best acceptable and at worst surly. On arrival our cries of 'Buongiorno' to the man on reception were ignored. They appeared not to understand that we wanted two rooms (there were three of us) despite my relatively good Italian and the fact we had made this clear on the booking through i-escape.

We were shown to our rooms in silence. The website evokes an image of authentic Italian charm "Retired owners ... whose daughter oversaw the futuristic restoration, run it with old-fashioned grace". In fact, whilst the owner was visible she did not introduce herself. We were not advised of local attractions or activities, shown the farm or the shop or offered a lift for a one-way hike.

Whilst the dinner we ate was excellent it was rather a surprise that both the chef and waiter were Polish - not quite the authentic Italian experience we had hoped for. Breakfast, described as a 'fantastic spread' was more than a little disappointing. It consisted of bran flakes, a bowl of oranges, a jam tart and coffee in a flask (a photo is available on request).

We left Donalegge with a feeling that we had been fooled into experiencing a truly amazing family-run Sicilian experience which was in fact an over-priced, poorly run, pretty charmless hotel. Although we cannot disagree that the setting, pool and rooms were good, but not worth the money.

Reviewed by: colleenk from MA, review #1567

When: April 2006

Beautiful agritursimo in the countryside of Sicily between Palermo and Taormina.

Agriturismo Donalegge Al Castelazzo, photo by Colleen Kochman

Located in the beautiful countryside near Madonie Park, this 12 room agriturismo was gorgeous in the rain and clouds - it must be spectacular in the normal sunshine of Sicily.

Run by a wonderful family who also provide cooking lessons, this newly refurbished farm makes for a very pleasant stop from Palermo on the way to the east coast of Sicily.

An hour from Palermo, 30 minutes from Celafu and 1 hour and 15 minutes from Taormina, its central location lends itself to many of Sicily's top attractions.

Traditional in form but modern in its amenities, the farm was designed by the architect daughter and blends in well with the surrounding coutryside. The interior is very contemporary with heated floors, brand new modern bathrooms and very comfortable beds. We were here during a cold spell and found this heating system a bit chilly but in warmer weather this should not be an issue.

During the high season there is a restaurant on the premises. The food we cooked during our class and ate for dinner was delicious. The family couldn't have been nicer and all except the mother spoke excellent English.

The typical Sicilian town of Polizzi Generosa is a 10 minute car ride way some interesing churches, an excellent restaurant and great views of Madonie Park. I am not sure of the price as it was booked through my small tour group, but if I were in the area again I would be happy to stay with this lovely family.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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