Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 97: Rentvillas, Cocciaio
apartments in a villa near Cortona, Tuscany East
March 2001, 5 days
My name is Karen and my sister, a friend and I rented Cocciaio II (an apartment in a villa) in Cortona for five days in mid March, 2001. We booked directly from the agent at Rentvillas.com. I specifically requested that we have a check-in date for Monday as opposed to the customary Saturday and told the agent that we did not care if we were charged for the days we would not be there. I called her several times to make it clear about the check-in date and time.
We arrived at 4 PM on Monday and found no one home at the place where we were to pickup the keys. Two hours later someone answered the door and then he called the owner. The owner came from work and told us he had no knowledge of us coming. He expected us on Saturday and assumed that since we did not show up that we were not coming at all.
In addition the apartment is advertised on the website as having an oven. We had made plans to cook and bake using local ingredients and could not do so. When we returned to the USA, I contacted Rentvillas.com and told them what had happened. After a week the agent emailed me and offered to waive the booking fee on any future rentals and a 5% discount on future rentals. I have no intention of ever renting from this company again.
The apartment was great, except for no oven and the owner was delightful and very nice. I have no complaints about the place, location or owner.
Note from SlowTrav: We can learn from what happened to Karen. Rentvillas is a large US agency (formerly called Rentals in Italy and Elsewhere) who represents the large Italian agency Cuendet. They have hundreds of properties in Italy and other countries. They cannot possibly know all the properties they represent. When you book with them, they pass your booking on to Cuendet.
Most vacation rentals in Italy go from Saturday to Saturday, with arrival at set hours on the Saturday (usually 4 - 7pm). It does not seem such an unusual request to arrive on a day other than the Saturday, especially if you are paying for the unused days. The agency should have managed to pass this information on to the property owner. If you are planning to start a rental on other than the first day, and are booking with a large agency where they do not contact the owners themselves, get the phone number of the key-keeper and call them yourself to avoid something like this happening.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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