13 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Poor Hotel and even worse Travel Company
"We booked a 7 day holiday with Thompsonâs holidays on the internet.
The holiday was for the Hotel Excelsior in Amalfi arriving on the 13th June 2014
We left from Manchester Airport flying with Thompsonâs airline.
On arrival in Naples the problems started.
There was no Transfer bus to meet us and we had to walk a good half mile in blazing heat with our cases to a derelict coach park. On arrival their still no transfer coach and we had to wait 1 hour in the heat with no shelter or liquids available. Eventually the minibus arrived and we were taken to the hotel mid-evening.
On arrival at the hotel we were taken straight through the hotel out through the back door and down a steep slope approx. 200 yards and at the bottom of it was a small brick building that was a lift. We were put in and taken 50 yards down the mountain side to a group of concrete buildings that resembles garages or out buildings. We were informed these were the garden rooms. We were taken in to one of the rooms and there was no electricity and it was dark so we were told to go to the dining room where we were served a fried Aubergine sandwich for the main course.
One and a half hours later we returned to the room and the electric was back on. We found faeces in the toilet despite a hygiene label put over the toilet. We found bare wires to both bed side lights that were dangerous. No plug for the bath and it transpired the hotel could not find one to keep the water in. The balcony was dirty and could only accommodate 2small rusty chairs. Balcony looked in an unsafe state of repair.
I complained to the hotel and explained that my booking was in the main hotel and was told that Thompsonâs only pay for the cheap rooms and that was what I had been given and they would not move us. It was now late at night and so we decided to take our cause up the next morning. In reality what we should have done was to take our cases to reception and not moved until we were given a room in the hotel that we had paid for.
I noticed the room was on stilts with garbage and vermin running around. The wiring to the room was potentially dangerous bare wires and undersize cable.
The following morning we asked the hotel again to be moved and were given the same answer as the night before. An hour later Thompsonâs Rep: arrived and we took our case up with her and she promised to see what she could do. She came back and said they had no rooms but maybe the next day might be forth coming.
We showed the Rep: Internet advert for the hotel and she agreed there was no mention of garden rooms out building or any accommodation outside of the main hotel.
We arrived on the Friday and on the Sunday night we were given a room in the main hotel that was acceptable.
During the whole stay the food was deplorable and we found breakfast meats were put out in the heat at 6.30 a.m. and still there at 10.30/11 a.m. and probably recycled the next morning.
On return home we visited our local Thompsonâs Travel agents in Goole we explained to them the problems we had encountered and asked them to check on their system the accommodation advertised. They explained to us that if you were to be given accommodation outside of the main hotel they are issued with a code so they can tell the client that there may be external accommodation. There was no code on their system that would indicate accommodation outside the main hotel.
On Checking the advert this week, it is still not clear that hotel guests may be accommodated in the main block or external out building
I am 70 years old and having to walk up steep slopes in pouring rain to the main hotel was not acceptable as the week we were there it poured with rain in the evenings.
On returning home we contacted Thompsonâs after travel care and spoke to a young woman who was rude and disinterested and stated we received what we had paid for and what could she do about it. She was uncooperative and simply would not answer my questions related to advertising etc.:
Room Tip: Make sure you are in the main hotel or better still choose a better hotel "
- Travel date: Fri 12th of September 2014
"We packed warm clothing for this holiday, what with it being the end of October and all that, and we thought we may need warm clothing for the trips we had planned, standing about looking at old stuff, shivering. Indeed, the previous week in Amalfi had been very wet and a bit nippy, according to 'weatherunderground.com', a rather accurate weather site I use. But it did forecast good, warm weather for the week we were going to be there. And it was totally accurate!
When you arrive at Naples airport, you are shepherded into an old hanger the Italians use for tourist charter flights, the only thing in there being a carousel for retrieving your baggage. Which is fun when three flights arrive at once. However, all the bags duly appeared and we went to our respective transport for the trip to our destinations.
The journey was undertaken in the dark, most of which was on the famed 'Amalfi Drive', the bendy, meandering road that connects Salerno with Sorrento, Amalfi being about halfway. Anyone who gets travel sick would be advised to consume enough travel sickness tablets to render them immune to any motion sickness whatsoever, as, and I'm quoting a guide here, there are 1643 bends in the Amalfi drive, and in places it's a single track road, vehicles having to regularly give way to each other. But in the daylight, this drive must rank as one of the most scenic roads in the world, it is wonderful!
Our hotel, The Grand Hotel Excelsior, to give it it's full title, was stunning. It is set halfway up a hillside, overlooking Amalfi itself, and all the rooms have balconies which look out to sea, and with them facing south, you get the sunrise from the left, coming up over Salerno, and setting to the right, disappearing behind the hills towards the island of Capri. Breathtaking.
The hotel is in a time-warp from the 60s/70s. There are nice touches everywhere and the furnishings are an eclectic mix of ancient and modern which is quite appealing, as you soon come to realise that this is not done for effect but for practicality.
The rooms are a good size, very clean with maid service everyday, and she kept them spotless. As the hotel is tiered, the rooms at the top are smaller than the ones lower down. Subsequently, the balconies of the lower rooms are bigger as well. Reclining deckchairs are provided for each balcony and as you get the sun nearly all day this is a welcome addition.
We were on half-board, with a continental buffet breakfast, which was fine, and a 3/4 course evening meal, waiter served. This was marvelous, the food was excellent.The waiting staff were very efficient and professional. We could not fault this one bit! Mind you, whether this says something about where we've stayed before or what remains to be seen!!
A courtesy bus provided by the hotel takes you into Amalfi approximately every hour free of charge, or you can walk, downhill, in about 30-45 minutes, but care should be taken as the steps are very steep and there isn't always a hand rail.
As with most tourist places, Amalfi was expensive if you wanted to eat and drink. A coffee and a lemonade was about Â£6.50-Â£8, about the same price as a decent pizza! I can recommend the Grande Marina for a good meal, right on the beach.
We did 2 trips, 'Herculaneum & Pompei' and Capri. The Pompei trip was very good, we had a fantastic guide called Alexandra who was very knowledgeable and knew her stuff, and she gave us a sort of potted tour around Pompei, which is so big, you need a couple of days to really do it justice. Not so with the Capri trip though. You would be better to do this trip yourselves. There is a boat which leaves Amalfi everyday around 9.30 to Capri and returns back there for about 5.45 giving you a good day to explore Capri. We did an escorted trip and subsequently didn't get the chance to have a good poke about on our own. We were whizzed about looking at this and that and kept getting tantalising glimpses of the designer shops which we would have loved to browse in but didn't get chance.
Just have to go back again!
All in all, this was one of the best holidays we've ever had. There was no one thing which made it stand out, rather a combination of everything.
But if pushed to pick my favourite thing, it has to be the views."
- Travel date: Wed 4th of November 2009
This was the destination for myself and...
"This was the destination for myself and husband for our honeymoon last year. The hotel is beautiful, very traditional with a grand main room to the adjoining restaurant. Breakfast is served in another room upstairs which overlooks the coast, and on a clear day the view is quite breath taking.
The food on the whole is very "mass catering" and nothing spectacular for a 4* Italian hotel, but nether the less the service was very good. The staff at the hotel were second to none and especially the waiting staff were of the highest quality and made us feel very welcome - their attentiveness made our stay memorable.
We were lucky as the weather was very good for that time of year which always makes the stay better, however, although the pool area was very attractive it was not very big for lots of people to sit around.
There is a hotel bus service down to the main town which is very handy and reliable. When you get to the town there are lots of shops and bars and there are many boat trips to other resorts and islands including Positano and Capri.
The only thing to watch out for is the tab service, where you can get carried away with drinks and snacks etc and then get hit with a big bill at the end of your stay!
Overall, a very good and memorable stay.
- Travel date: Mon 20th of August 2007
"I would advise anybody not to waste money booking a holiday here. The food was very disappointing and the head waiter was awful. The room was very old fashioned and on one occasion we went back to our room to find workmen re decorating."
- Travel date: Sun 30th of July 2006
An awful stay
"When going to amalfi I didn't expect that this hotel is going to be so bad. The location is horrible, the Excelsior hotel is situated not in amalfi but in Pogerola which means that to get to the beach you need to wait on the bus stop for the local bus (every thirty minutes) or to the free hotel bus which goes five times a day! the ride on the bus takes another 20 minutes... the other terrible thing is the room - the furniture is so ancient that can break while using (the same with bathroom).. the food was OK exept pasta every evening. the best thing about this hotel is staff but that not the reason for choosing it."
- Travel date: Sun 16th of July 2006
"After reading some of the reviews we were a little worried our stay in Amalfi would be ruined.
We arrived at the hotel at 10.30 pm and immediately thought it was a little dated, but we were in Italy, not UK and after travelling around saw the style was pretty much similar everywhere else.
The manager informed us the restaurant was closed but organised a cold meal for us and brought it to the room himself.
The room was basic but immaculately clean with large modern bathroom, no bath but that suited us fine and a mini bar, telephone, balcony and tv. The beds were just a metal frame an chipboard base but they did the job just fine.
The views were stunning from every place in the hotel.
The hotel ran a free bus to Amalfi and the private beach which was very useful as although it was easy to catch a bus from Amlfi square, we may have been waiting some time for one from outside the hotel.
Breakfast was continental and plenty for us as we were up early to go on excursions every morning.
Evening meals were on the whole very good, the starters are bigger then the main courses and so if you like to eat a lot I suggest you have pasta or noodles for starter to fill you up more. Drinks were not too expensive and there was a good choice of starters and main courses. A lady on a table near us told the waiter she didn't fancy anything on the menu and so they made her something else, which clearly impressed her.
As for being resigned to one table the whole stay? Admittedly I went in with the intention of sitting outside whatever and asked to sit on the terrace which looked quite busy but there was a space available soon enough and we sat outside the whole week, at different tables. It would seem you have more chance of sitting outside if you go to dinner early (7.30pm) or later (8.45pm) as the busiest time seems to be in between.
The only bad thing that irked me this holiday was that we had to check out at 11.00am but werenn't being picked up until 4.00pm and so faced a long wait. I asked if we could pay extra and have the room until we went but was told that was not possible as they needed the room at 3.00pm to which I asked if we could keep the room then until 2.00pm, but no we couldn't. This meant sitting around the hotel for 5 hours or going into Amalfi for a while and travelling in dirty clothes and being sweaty. When I voiced my concerns we were told we could use a guest room to have a shower and get changed and so fair enough. Although the lady in the next room to us could keep her room until she went by paying extra?
I wouldn't recommend this resort for young children as the barriers are what I would class as quite flimsy to say the drop is so big and older people may have a problem with the amount of walking involved in being located on the side of a cliff, but we really enjoyed the holiday.
The other holiday makers at this hotel seem a bit older than us (I am 22, my partner 33) but I would not let this put you off this quiet and romantic resort.
The staff on the whole were friendly and nice, the girl in reception was a bit prickly but that could have been just my interpretation of her.
Overall, a fantastic holiday, breathtaking scenery and good food. I would definately recommend although I don't think we would go back as once you have seen Amalfi and Positano etc, they are all beautiful but quite similar in scenery."
- Travel date: Sat 24th of June 2006
Book Somewhere Else!!!!!!!!! Listen To The Reviews!!!!!!
"We planned the vacation of our dreams for our 10th Anniversary. We cruised over from New York to Southampton on the Queen Mary II and we spent 2 nights in Paris, 3 nights in Nice, 2nights Rome, and 2 nights Amalfi, First Class European Rail, before cruising on to Tunis and Malta for another 4 weeks in the Mediterranean.
We loved every bit of it except for this hotel in Amalfi and their staff.
Trust me, don't waste your time, money, and possibly ruin your vacation.
1. If you have a heart condition, pregnant, anything crucial to your health, don't want to deal with rude people, AVOID THIS HOTEL LIKE THE PLAGUE
and avoid going to Amalfi by land, take a boat from Naples or where ever it is you are coming from or from another point....
the cliffs are terrifying and
the way they drive is 100 x worse and
the road is only one lane each way,
look down and it's thousands of feet to the sea below.
The hotel is not in town, not even within walking distance!!!!
2. This hotel's description said they have a hotel SHUTTLE/bus to take you to town and that it is an Easy Distance...and you assume that the shuttle service is frequent.....ARE YOU KIDDING????? When we finally got to Amalfi, after a 45 minute hell ride in a taxi from Salerno Train station that cost 100 EUROS, we got out in Amalfi town assuming the hotel was near by and we could finally walk. At that point we needed to touch the ground. We looked around and saw plenty of hotels within easy distance of the town, but not this one.
I called the hotel, after I figured out how to operate one of their public phones and luckily I had a phone card from Rome. Everything is in Italian, and the Tourist Booth was closed (they only open a few hours a day). That's another thing, no one will sell you a phone card in Amalfi, they want you to use the hotel phone.
Anyway, The receptionist said the bus would be there in 5 minutes and that if I look up,
all the way up the mountain, I would see the hotel.
When I told my husband he lost his sanity and asked me to remind him why we decided to come to Amalfi, instead of stay in Nice a couple more days. Ooops!
All of a sudden it was my fault. You gals know how that is. As if the situation was not bad enough, everything put together, I was reduced to tears.
3. The minivan arrived, and low and behold he took us for another
10minute ride up a steep and winding mountain road, more cliffside terror.
Drove like a maniac.
I tried to concentrate on something else and looked at the road versus the cliffs and saw that there were no light posts. How do they drive at night?
I did not dare point that out to my husband, but he's no dummy and pointed it out to me when we got to the hotel.
We like to wine and dine and stay out late, so coming up here after dark posed a possible danger to our safety and would only keep us from enjoying the rest of our vacation.
4. Check In: My husband refused to stay at this hotel seeing how far from town it was and in looking at the shuttle schedule it wasn't even an hourly service, no street lights, and kind of out in the boonies.
I asked the hotel reception if we could cancel and suffer just the one night penalty as is the case with most hotels. The manager would not hear of it...he was some Korean guy that did not even speak English!?!?! So, I then asked the receptionist to see if she could get us a hotel in town. She was very rude, did not want to help, but eventually because they did not want their other guests to be upset by seeing that we were refusing to stay at this hotel, the manager ordered her to check availability elsewhere.
I later thought on that and guessed that we were probably not the only ones upset and they just did not want to have a riot on their hands.
5. We lost the cost of both nights accomodation. We paid for another 2nights at a 3 star in town called La Bussola. I thought it was a bit odd that I paid for the Bussola the same amount of money I paid for Excelsior but I did not care at the time, just as long as I can get someplace decent to stay in.
We went outside of the hotel to see about getting the shuttle back down, and the driver refused to take us down to town.
He took off.
Later I found out he probably went to pick up the people from the private beach....you see what they don't tell you is that, the shuttle is used for town and the beach which apparently, to get to their private beach the van goes up the mountain and down the other side and is not on the way to town. No wonder the shuttle operates town to hotel something like every 2 hours!
I am sure it must be lovely but we did not want to bother, the beaches near the heart of the town were beautiful and we loved the town.
6. We paid another 25 EUROS for a taxi to take us down hill, gass free in Neutral!!!!!!!
So, we lost something like 325 Euros that day....we tried to make the best of everything, whilst in Amalfi, eventhough we knew that it was high way robbery to lose the money for both nights accomodation and that we would be taken for another ride when we hire another taxi at 100 Euros to take us from town to Salerno again.
My husband and I figured that basically, Amalfi does not get much business in the winter, so all the town folk try to make their year's worth from 3 months of tourist season. We really could not see what all the rage was, lets face it, there are a million places in the Mediterranean that are just as beautiful and some even more beautiful and civilized. Amalfi town is very small and would not recommend staying more than 2 days.
We found the folks over in Malta to be extremely friendly and we can say that Malta was the only country where we really felt we were welcome by hoteliers and the general public, everyone was so great!!! And the little island of Gozo was so charming, 100 times better and more beautiful than Amalfi!!!"
- Travel date: Thu 22nd of June 2006
Don't stay here!
"Believe the bad reviews and not the good ones!
Stayed for 2 nights in May 2006
4 star prices for 2 star style
Hotel may have been charming 30 years ago but not today
Bedroom dÃ©cor dated and bed was a just a basic metal frame with a piece of chip board.
Staff unhelpful and gave incorrect information regarding buses to Amalfi (Donât consider walking and a taxi costs 30 euros for a 10 minute ride
Pool size okay, but bathing area a squeeze
Breakfast was a sorry looking affair.
The only plus points are:
Beautiful views from the hotel in a wonderful part of the world"
- Travel date: Thu 1st of June 2006
"My husband and I have just spent our Silver Wedding Anniversary at this hotel and have to say we could not fault it. The staff were all lovely and nothing was too much trouble for them. The rooms were nice and very comfortable and the views were stunning. The food was also very nice and if you didn't like the dessert of the evening they would happily bring you the most wonderful ice cream or fruit, most of all we found the staff all very cheerful. The hotel is situated very high above Amalfi and it takes about 15 minutes to get down to the town, we knew this in advance and hired a car for the duration of our holiday. However there is a shuttle bus that takes you down but a car is more convenient. Yes the roads are very winding and the drivers are quite fearless, but I have to say we had a wonderful time and would recommend it. I was slightly apprehensive about the hotel having read some of the comments on this page, but they all proved unfounded."
- Travel date: Sat 27th of May 2006
"While I can understand some of the reviews, our experience was a very pleasurable one, I found the whole place charming to be honest. The decor is a little tired but would describe it as a bit shabby chic, although there are signs of recent renovations all over the place. Our room was very large, very clean and with breath taking views, the heating/air conditioning was definitely free.
The breakfast was basic but adequate, did not eat in the hotel in the evening as booked in for bed and breakfast only, but the hotel runs a very reliable coach service into Amalfi town and if you miss that you can easily get a SITA bus for only 1 euro into town which stops right outside the hotel, and you can have a whole choice of food. We ate at many different places and found all to be very good.
The staff are very friendly, did not experience any surly people at all!
The Excelsior retains a certain charm and I came to Italy with a romantic expectation of the hotel, people and Amalfi and was not disappointed. The hotel is remote but then it does say that in all the literature, however you can easily get around by bus. As long as you are looking for a restful retreat or romantic holiday, think it is the perfect place."
- Travel date: Wed 17th of May 2006
appealing views and appalling food
"As we were driving along the coast, we were looking for our "Hotel with beach". Having run up and down the beach road 3 times, we decided to give the hotel a ring to check it was actually in Italy. Turned out the hotel is 5 miles from the beach but it does own a stretch. Truth be told: to get there is a James Bond experience, going down in an elevator though a tunnel cut out in the rocks. Be aware though : this experience costs you EUR 20 pp every time you innocently take the hotel bus to the beach...Our room was spacey and clean, with amazing views from a very large balcony. We were pleasantly surprised to see that the restaurant has even better views and we sat at a romantic balcony table. But then the real surprise came: horrific food straight from a can. Bottom of the food chain soup, schnitzel that reminded me of my shoe soles on a wet English winter day, and cray fish salad without cray fish. Come here but avoid the food."
- Travel date: Sun 13th of November 2005
Perfect place to send the mother in law!
"My husband, baby son and I have just returned from our worst holiday ever - and it's because we had the misfortune to stay at the "Grand" Hotel Excelsior in Amalfi. We had expected some 4 star luxury, but instead we received little better than 2 star basics. Stuck at the top of the hills, we were forced to eat dinner every night in the hotel "restaurant" - and I have to say that it's the worst food I've ever been served. If you're a veggie don't even consider it - the options range from uncooked courgettes and aubergines with a side of silverskin onions to DEEP FRIED CHEESE SANDWICH!?!?! However, the lounge area was very impressive - an extremely well preserved example of 1960's decor (the bad stuff) - complete with formica side tables and brown and blue sofas with tassles. Honestly, if we could have found alternative accommodation we would have - we even tried to find flights home, but had to stick it out for the full 7 days. It's made us very cautious about ratings awarded to hotels by travel agents - as this is in no way a 4 star hotel. Please, if you want to enjoy the beauty of the Amalfi coast and enjoy pleasant evenings with good italian food and wine, then don't stay here!!"
- Travel date: Thu 6th of October 2005