Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3890: Italian Encounters, Cuculaia
4bed/2bath house near Cortona, Tuscany East
August 2008, 2 weeks
We found Italian Encounters through the Internet and after a few phone and email exchanges with them, we went ahead and booked the Cuculaia property through them. All these initial dealings with David were very pleasant and helpful.
We chose this agent and their property for the amenities the property offered and its location on the border of Tuscany and Umbria.
The house is located up a gravel track and although the website tells you that it is not suitable for low sports cars, what they fail to tell you is that it's really not suitable for any car except 4x4s.
You need to drive up and down this track to get to any nearby amenities. The nearest supermarkets are about 5-10 minutes drive away, and the nearest large town (Cortona) is about 15-20 minutes drive away.
On arrival, the property was as described on the website and we were all very pleased. The house was moderately furnished and the pool was lovely. A four bedroom house with two bathrooms, we were two families holidaying together and found the layout very suitable - two bedrooms and a bathroom each.
You can view the property directly: Cuculaia.
The garden was nice, a bit scrubby. The pool was lovely, with good views over the valley and hillside behind.
One of the attractions for this property, as with most of the properties rented through Italian Encounters, was the advertised two hours daily cleaning. We therefore expected a much cleaner house than we found. Our promised two hours daily cleaning amounted to either the garden being watered or the pool being cleaned - on alternate days. At least the pool was taken care of!
The house was "cleaned" once (a sweeping of the living areas, not even of bedrooms or bathrooms) during our two week stay. The linen was only changed half way through the two week period on our request, the cleaner looked surprised that we would make that request (even though, again, it had been advertised on the website).
Matters were made more excruciating on the discovery of the kitchen mouse.
The beds were not very comfortable, quite lumpy, although all the rooms were fairly spacious.
The kitchen was similar to many rental properties - a lack of sharp knives and pots/pans with missing lids. But otherwise, it was a good size kitchen.
The kitchen mouse was an excitinig discovery though! Luckily it only made its appearances at night time.
Problems or Bonuses
The only real problem we had was the absence of the advertised cleaning. We had paid for it as part of the accommodation rental and we did not receive it.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
On our return, we contacted Italian Encounters and offered our feedback, both positive for the property and location etc. and negative about the absence of cleaning. They absolutely did not acknowledge our detailed comments beyond thanking us for our email.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
The lack of feedback from Italian Encounters indicates to me that they do not care for our comments, nor for our return business. We will definitely not be booking through this agent again.
We mostly enjoyed our holiday, despite a few niggles, the property and location was fine. The lack of concern from Italian Encounters about our feedback means that we will not recommend them to anyone. If you find a property linked with them, try to book it directly with the owners or another agent rather than use Italian Encounters.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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