Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4635: Ville in Italia, Villa Luisa
3bed/2bath villa outside Sorrento, Campania
June 2010, 1 week
We stayed in Villa Luisa in June 2010; looking for somewhere close to the local town with good transport links to visit other places such as Pompeii and Capri etc. The first thing to say is that you need to drive in order to get around! The Villa is at least an hour's drive from the airport, and with the poor sign posts in Italy anyway, it would be a nightmare to get there unguided. Having said that, the confirmation details you are given when booking the villa give excellent directions on how to get there, taking you along the back road rather than the bustling town centre.
The villa is located 15 minutes from Sorrento on very, very windy road that follow along the cliff tops. The area is pretty secluded but close to some of the major hotels in Sorrento (if you are using public transport to get there e.g. a taxi, it is highly recommended that you use the hotel names as a guide, because they will not know where the villa is).
The surrounding area is fairly quiet and peaceful but has poor bus links. The villa is situated on a very steep road, that is very difficult to get a car up, and is on a fairly small piece of land that has the owner's house directly next door.
Walking, is not an option at all; as said before it is vital that you are hiring a car, or renting a scooter as these are by far the quicker and safer ways. The main town of Sorrento is a 15 minute drive away, and would take far longer on foot, if you would dare to walk it. There are no footpaths alongside the windy road, meaning that it would be very dangerous to walk there.
The villa is situated approximately five minutes away from a couple of very good restaurants, such as the Villa Le Palme, which offers stunning views on the balcony dining area. With the villa being self catering, it proved very hard to find a decent supermarket. Is you take the road into Sorrento on the left of the Villa, there is a small grocery shop called Conad, situated on the entrance to the town (15 minutes away). There are however, some bigger supermarkets at the other end of Sorrento (20-30 minutes away) we only found these towards the end of the week.
Apart from this, there are not many other major establishments near, just the odd few restaurants and mainly hotels.
The villa itself looks very traditional from the outside and in good condition, with a balcony leading off the landing upstairs and a separate one leading from the master bedroom. There is a small drive with electric gates, room enough for two rental cars (plus the owner's car). The owner's house is right next door, which is not ideal if you want privacy on your vacation.
The main entrance to the villa opens up into the living room that consists of three sofas (one of which is a sofa bed) a coffee table and a dining table. Walking out of the kitchen you find yourself in a hallway that has a door to the kitchen on your left, the downstairs bathroom straight forward, the staircase, and an entrance to a second dining room, which lead to the downstairs double bedroom.
Upstairs you are met by the entrances to a large master bedroom with double bed, patio doors opening up onto the balcony, a door to the twin bedroom, and a door to the upstairs bathroom. There is also another door to a locked room which you do not have access to. All in all it is very quiet and not much traffic driving past.
You can view the property directly: Villa Luisa.
The villa has a front garden that occupies the pool, which is attended through the week. There are many plants and towards the end of the garden some lemon and orange trees. There is another small garden below the villa, however we did not venture in here as the gate was locked. There is a large balcony leading from the main hallway upstairs, suitable for lounging on the chairs (provided). Another balcony leads from double doors in the master bedroom. Both offer stunning views of the coastline and Mount Vesuvius.
To be blunt the villa is not what is seems from the pictures displayed on the agent's website. We were very disappointed. There is plenty of furniture in the living room, enough for the six of us who stayed there; all of the furniture is in good condition; however it is not very modern, so you need to have an open mind of the Italian culture. It was nice to have the double doors of the living room open on an evening and during the day whilst in the villa, however, the living room soon became full of flies and what we would call 'daddy long legs'. There were several large spiders the lingered in the corners of the rooms also.
The first of the bedrooms upstairs, was a very grand double room with a large solid wood bed, wardrobe and dressing table the room was very clean and airy with lots of light and stunning views. The second bedroom upstairs was a small twin room with enough room for storage as well. The bathroom upstairs was very dated, with a run-down bathroom suite that had a shower-bath that only seemed to run 'warm' water rather than hot. The downstairs bathroom was also very dated, with a small shower cubicle with doors that were difficult to shut, and a washing machine.
The downstairs bedroom however, was by far the WORST room of the entire villa. My partner and I stayed in this room, as we were sharing the villa with four other people staying upstairs. It's fair to say we struggled to stay in this room all week. Upon opening the door to the double bedroom, you are greeted by an overwhelming smell of damp and moisture. The room has very little ventilation (two very small windows which were facing the back of the villa and let in very little light). All of the sheets, mattress and pillows were damp and smelt. I recommend also, that you do not use the wardrobe and drawers because these smell rancid of damp and will probably ruin your clothes. The most disturbing by far however, was that running all along the bottom of the wall was cracked paint, and white furry mold that grew where the paint peeled way. Subsequently from this damp, I became ill with a sore throat and stuffed nose.
The kitchen was a lot smaller than seemed on the picture from the website. There were sufficient amount of plates and bowls etc for everyone to eat from, along with cutlery and preparation knives. There was a lack of cooking utensils though, and we certainly did not want to use the copper ones above the cooker, as these seemed more for decoration. There are no cupboards to store your food in, they are all filled with other things, so we initially stored them on the kitchen worktop, however mid-week we discovered the worktop was infested with ants and had to move or throw away most of the food we had bought. We then stored our food on the small table in the middle of the kitchen. The hot tap in the sink does not give off hot water, so we continually had to boil water on the stove. There is no microwave or kettle.
Problems or Bonuses
I would say overall there were more negative aspects of the villa than good. If you were staying in the master bedroom, you may have a more enjoyable stay, but we were sorely disappointed.
It was also very annoying that in the picture the swimming pool appears to be set into the ground, as would be at a hotel for example, however it is a standalone pool with a metal frame that has been built up assumingly by the owners. Upon arrival you are given a set of rules to the pool which you must obey, these are as follows: you must have a freezing cold shower in the garden before getting into the pool, You must then wash your feet in the tub before getting onto the ladder, and most ridiculously ... you are required to wear a swimming cap that you must purchase from the owner for the cost of €5 per cap!! None of this is explained on the website.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We did not book the villa ourselves, as it was my partner's parent who did so. As far as I know, there were very little problems when booking the accommodation other than they had no reply to their first request. Disappointingly, the owners of the villa who greeted you on arrival, speak very little English and the instructions and notices within the villa are poorly written. For the villa we paid €1200 for the week, and were required to pay a €400 deposit on arrival. The full amount of which we received on our departure (minus €15 per person for cleaning costs). Some of the pictures on the website are a little misguiding, but nothing major.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Personally, I certainly without a doubt would not stay here again. It is not at all worth the money they ask for, especially to stay in a place that has a moldy damp bedroom and ants in the kitchen. It made all of us feel very uneasy that there was a strong language barrier between us and the owner, and I would not recommend it to anyone who cannot speak Italian.
Things to do in this area
The only upside to our stay was that Sorrento is a beautiful town. There are so many restaurants and small shops that are welcoming to anyone. Our favourite restaurant was the Villa Le Palme (close to the villa) the owner spoke very good English and the food was amazing. The shops in Sorrento open early in the morning, close around early afternoon, but then re-open early evening and stay open till late. The Sorrento port has daily frequent boat rides to Naples, Mali, Capri and other places for an average cost of €20. All in all the prices of the local shops are very good and the quality of the Italian food is excellent. I also highly recommend the ice-cream parlour in Sorrento town that offers over 40 flavours of ice-cram (I’m not sure exactly of the name, but the owner seems a local celebrity).
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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