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Lipari: Hotel Carasco

Porto delle Genti, Phone: 090.9811605; Fax: 090.9811828

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Reviewed by: MariaV from Sicily, review #412

When: October 2003

Photos can sometimes lie - theirs make me think they paid for their good reviews. Pretty hotel, but rude service and way overpriced. Rated 4 stars ... felt like 1.

I made a reservation at this hotel three days before going to the island, specifying at least three times the type of room I was reserving (two people, two beds).

I was quoted a price of 60, but when I said we would stay two nights, the price went up to 70 per person, per night. When I asked about the difference, I got a vague response of the second day was taking me into the week and therefore a higher price.

After reiterating again that this was one room, two people and two beds, I was assured that was what we would get. I requested a fax confirmation and was assured I would get one - after arguing a moment about why I wanted them to send me a fax instead of me sending them a fax confirming my reservation. Thinking there was a problem understanding English, I confirmed everything in Italian so there would be no misunderstanding. Everything was set for our late arrival at 11.30 pm on the last boat.

Signs on the island were not plentiful for the hotel and we ended up a little lost. We called the hotel and the night clerk gave me directions from the street we were on and when I began confirming, he rushed me off the phone saying "just go down that street and turn right on the beach and the entrance will be there". Upon arriving at the hotel, I was given the check-in sheet to sign and noticed it said double room, matrimonial bed.

Questioning the error of one bed, I was told that was what I requested "because that's what's written by the clerk." He said there was no way to change it because it was too late in the evening and no one was around to split the beds (splitting the beds would necessitate smaller sheets). He said he didn't know what kind of beds were in the room so I went to check and found out the bed couldn't be split as it was just one. He informed me there was no other room available and he would be happy to change our room the next day.

Working in the hotel business myself and knowing this was the next-to-last weekend the hotel would be open, I argued a bit saying they had made a huge mistake and are you *sure* there isn't another room with two beds (we usually always have at least one or two rooms set aside and available if a problem such as this arises) and if not we'd just go find another place. He soon found another room with two beds.

Unfortunately, I had never received a fax confirmation even though I had called again requesting one, and had nothing to show him. He took my passport, no problem. He attempted to say my friend's military identification wasn't good enough and then insisted he needed to keep it, along with my passport. We explained it couldn't leave her hands, that we needed to stay with the ID while he was entering the information, and we got an argument about that because he "really didn't have the time to enter it now."

The next morning upon check-out and receiving the bill to pay, I requested to speak with the manager. A British woman said she was who I should speak to. I stated my concerns with the staff treatment and was told, again, that since the clerk had written a matrimonial bed, that must be what I asked for. She asked if we'd been given another room and after saying "yes we did - after waiting for 30 minutes," she said "So what's your problem." This wasn't boding well! I requested the initial Sunday price since we weren't staying two days and she responded that this price was already in the system.

I was presented a second bill for "room service, breakfast" for 10 and said I had requested two espressos and was brought up two full continental breakfasts that I didn't request. She stated that was the charge since that's what I received. I commented that I was surprised at everything and it slipped out that I was in the hotel business and wouldn't dream of treating customers like this and she responded "Do you give your customers free room service or something?" I simply left at that point.

Was it because this was the next-to-last weekend of being open? Was it just that no one wanted to work on Sunday? Was I just in a bad mood? I don't know, but neither I nor my companion will ever go back to that hotel. The pictures on the website are gorgeous and they have a section called "press," where they seem to have gotten very high marks and lots of stars.

We found the service rude (including one worker who, on Saturday night, was arguing with the clerk helping us that she wanted to go home and was tired. Then she sat down, sighed and said "Fine, but how long until they're done?"), ungracious and unhelpful. We found the hotel pretty, but the beds extremely uncomfortable, the shower (no curtain or door) a mere trickle of a spray, and we were left to wonder where and when the site's pictures were taken.

Neither of us recommend this hotel even for one night. It is rated a four star. I would rate it a one. There are other hotels on the island that I'm sure are much better, though they are rated two and three stars.

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

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