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Review 3524: Select Italy, L'Annunziata

www.selectitaly.com

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Review by geewiz from MA

5bed/5bath house in Annunziata, Campania


When

april 19-26,2008, one week

Location

This villa is in the very remote quaint village of Annunziata(church, great restaurant, small market and a bus stop), which is located in Massa Lubrense. The center of Massa Lubrense, (small village center with shops, restaurants and markets) is about two miles from the villa and about six miles south of Sorrento.

The villa is on a small hill. It is a very private and a very scenic location with a magnificent views of Capri and very beautiful sunsets. There are other buildings around the backside of the villa, but the villa is enclosed with a high wall and electric gate. A dead end street runs in the front of this villa and ends at a scenic viewing spot and hiking trails. There are no obstructions to the view of the sea.

We all loved the area.

Nearby Amenities

We did shop at a small market within walking distance(a ten minute walk), but since there were nine of us, for most of our groceries we took a car to Massa Lubrense less than a ten minute drive.

The very fine restaurant, "La Torre", served lunch and dinner and was a two minute stroll past a lovely little park and the historic church. I suppose they would have served us coffee as long as they were open, they didn't open until 1pm. We had two very wonderful meals there. The staff, the food, the atmosphere, all were very warm and wonderful.

The House/Apartment

The villa is in great shape. If you saw a picture of it, you would say, "that's in Italy." The location is very quiet. The villa consists of the main house and an annex. You can also rent the villa without the annex. The annex has one bed and one bath, so without it would be a 4bed/4bath property.

The grounds are on three levels. The electric gate opens to a small parking space that is described as large enough for two cars, but we could only manage to park one there. The other car we left on the street. The annex is located on the first level in this parking area. I had thought the annex was connected to the main house, but it is totally separate.

You enter the annex through one of two sliding glass doors into a small, neat, sitting room with fireplace, which leads to a fully equipped kitchen corner. The double bedroom and modern bathroom is on the right of the sitting room.

There is a wide, easily climbed staircase leading from the parking area up about 20 steps to the main house. The kitchen, dining room, fireplace living room, laundry room, two bedrooms and two bathrooms are located on this level.

A staircase leads to the two upper level bedrooms and bathroom.

You can view the property directly: L'Annunziata.

Garden

The grounds were very well kept, private and spacious. There is a lovely sitting area with a view of the sea and Capri from the annex. On the second level(the main house), again looking at the sea and Capri, there was plenty of outside dinning space with tables and chairs leading to the kitchen and inside dinning room. The medium size pool was located on the third level with access to the upper bedrooms. This is also a spacious area with plenty of chaise lounges and chairs.

Furnishings/Cleanliness/Living Areas

The furniture has a lived-in appeal. It was all very comfortable and homey. Good for the kids. The dining room table was plenty large enough for 12. We did use one kitchen chair for use around the dining table. The living room was more than adequate for us. But we did have three kids who sat mostly on the floor in that room. I think nine adults at one time in that room would be pretty crowded.

Housekeeping was mandatory and arrived three times for about four hours of cleaning each time. The place was spotless.

Bedrooms/Bathrooms

I like a firm mattresses and firm they were. I slept very well. The bedrooms were not the Ritz, nothing fancy, but double bedrooms and very comfortable like the rest of the furniture and rooms. This villa is very livable.

Counting the annex we had five good-sized clean modern bathrooms.

Kitchen

The kitchen was very large with a huge table in the center. The strove had six burners and was great. The pots and pans were plentiful and gourmet. There were plenty of dishes, nothing fancy. We, three ladies, cooked a few meals together and it was great fun. There was plenty of counter space and plenty of room for the three of us to work together. We all like to cook and the kitchen was very important to us.

Problems or Bonuses

Surprises were many. The villa itself could not have been more perfect for us. There is enough room for the nine of us at the main house, but the annex gave the older folks a little away time and much needed distance. It was great! It was better than the pictures. The area too was perfect for us. It was just were we wanted to be. It was very quiet and peaceful. The village people were kind, considerate, and very friendly.

However, now for the not so good stuff. The pool was not usable. With three kids, looking forward to the pool it was really a shame. Also, the Italian agent was none too helpful right from the start. She refused early entree even though "Select Italy" said there would be "no problem" checking in at 1pm. This Italian agent said the contract says no earlier than 5pm and 5pm it is. This was very difficult for the family who traveled from California that day! Also there are no supplies at all at the villa. Nothing is provided. There is no kind of welcoming. No toilet paper, no soap, no bottled water. Only one set of towels is provided per week per guest even though the housekeeper cleaned the bathrooms every other day. When I mentioned that I thought it was kind of gross that the housekeeper folded the wet dirty towels, the agent suggested that we pay more to get more towels. She definitely has an attitude and it definitely showed. I bought liquid soap and some towels on a trip to Sorrento! The maintenance/groundskeeper person, who was at the villa for hours at a time, all times of the day and once till 10pm, kept on shutting off the hot water for the annex. Was he trying to be annoying?

Agency and Representatives (and price)

"Select Italy" did a fine job. They got us a reimbursement of $1,100 for the non use of the pool. We originally paid just under $6,000 for the week that was not in high season but included the pool, which was supposed to be open, and the annex. I feel it was a fair price even though it is a little higher than other agencies offered. I was surprised by the refund, but, it was one reason we went with "Select Italy." The thinking was that if we had a problem, an American agency (although slightly more costly) would be easier to deal with.

As I said, I was not favorably impressed by the onsite agent. She spoke excellent English, was rude, and was not helpful.

Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?

Yes, I would stay there again if the pool was open, only because this villa is really lovely and a perfect place for a family reunion. But, I would be a lot wiser.

At first I thought that the mandatory housekeeping and the constant presence of the maintenance person was excessive. But, as more than one person told me, it is a valuable property and the owner has a right to be protective. OK, I would not make their presence annoy me. I would make sure that my family arrived (with towels) in the Sorrento area at least one day prior to check-in at the villa so that they could leisurely shop and buy supplies. Arriving exhausted on a Saturday is bad enough, but waking up on Sunday morning to find no soap or toilet paper is a whole other story. I would also not expect to be treated as a guest, but simply as a necessary annoyance to be tolerated. And finally, I would bring a large box of chocolates to give the onsite agent to try to sweeten her up a bit. Then I would do my best to ignore her!

Things to do in this area

Through "Select Italy" we had a cooking class and diner at our villa with Rosa and Camilla. They are terrific!

"Amalfi-Drive Limo Service" owned by Fabrizio and Tony, picked us up in there minibus and took us on a tour of Pompeii and Vesuvius! Nino was our driver and Franco was our tour guide. They made the day wonderful! I wish I had booked more excursions with them.

We spent a half day at Marina del Cantone, a small rocky beach, about a 15 minute car ride from the villa. Parking is 2 and the beach chairs about 5 each. The bathhouse is spotless. There are a few restaurants and shops and snack bars. The kids really loved this beach and we didn't see any jelly fish!!

We explored the villages of Massa Lubrense and Sant'Agata. Of course we drove to Sorrento a few times to shop and eat.

My husband and I took the kids for a drive along the Amalfi coast and had a wonderful lunch in Praiano while their parents spent the day on Capri.

We had two wonderful gourmet meals at our neighborhood restaurant, "La torre." An important note: a car is needed!

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

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