Dear viewer, I encourage you to think twice before booking this place especially if you are travelling with the family.
Firstly, this hotel is not a classic all-inclusive as for instance in Turkey. Most drinks (including bottled water), ice cream, beach towels, safe and other essential all-inclusive attributes are for extra charge. Given a very remote location of this place from grocery shops, bars and restaurants, this fact could seriously hit your mood and wallet.
Staff. Unfortunately, only two ladies at the front desk managed to solve the issues during our 2-week stay there. The rest were unfriendly, unhelpful and in some cases even rude (like a Russian speaking lady at the reception).
Internet. Keep in mind that there is no wi-fi coverage on the territory at all, except for the main building and if you are sitting very close to the signal.
Insects. They are everywhere. Flies in the canteen that are crawling on the food. Mosquitoes, ants and other bugs are frequent guests in the room, especially if you are lucky enough to live on the first floor.
Noise. Any sea resort is a noisy place, it is true. But living in the room next to the entrance door on the first floor of C block in Garden Resort Calabria has outperformed all my previous experiences. Every night for my small kid, wife and myself was a nightmare. Keep in mind that the first floor of each block is a passage yard. Thus, if you are a risky person who decided to spend some time at this hotel, try to book a room upstairs and not too close to the elevators. Try viewing a room before check-in, if staff allows you to do that (in our case I spend 30 minutes for debates with the front desk personnel).
Safety. I did not notice any cameras in the living areas, thus we did not feel safe enough in the hotel. Living in a building next to the forest would be a sort of nerves tickling.
The sea. It was our main reason of choosing this hotel. The pictures from Internet are perfect but in fact you will get a garbage basin full of plastic bottles and seaweed. Also you would need to walk about 15 minutes from the hotel through the forest, find a place on the beach and walk 100 meters from the sunbeds to the water. The forest is wonderful actually but those walking activities will start to get nervous on the third day.
In conclusion, Garden Resort Calabria welcomes guests with old infrastructure, poor services and room equipment, tasteless deserts, wine in plastic cups (in Italy!), insect swarms and dirty sea for a significant amount of money under the fake all-inclusive slogan. If you do not want to waste your vacation, I would recommend finding a better option somewhere else in Calabria (e.g. Tropeo or Regio).
Hotel has a beautiful and extensive garden, all blocks are surrounded by greenery and are a very nice "ground +2" level that fit perfectly into the scenery. Two swimming pools wich shallower parts for kids and deeper ones for adults. No special infrastructure for kids. Nice multiple tennis courts. WIFI only in the public areas and with constant request for connection(not automatic).
Restaurant: very tasty food, always present a few stations (pizza place, pasta place, roast meat, fries + fried meat. Desserts : always pastry and fruit (plums, peach and melon). When fully book, there is queuing.
Rooms: We reserved a family room that translated into a spacious room with one double bed and two single beds. Modestly but sufficiently furnished. Well cleaned. Stayed in B block which was quite far from the beach path and restaurant, so managed to switch to F (exceptionally) facing the pine trees.
Beach: Hotel is separated from the beach by a small forest of pine trees that is a public area. Very nice in itself, still implies a good walk. The beach is of rough sand that continues with pebbles by the time one gets to the water. The entry into the water is rather steep so not good for small kids (non-swimmers). On calm days the water was crystal clear in the morning, to be covered every afternoon with micro plastic particles and other plastic elements.
Not eco friendly: Need to consider replacing the plastic spoons at the bar and restaurant with metal ones at all times, to reduce plastic. Same for the plastic glasses at the beach and in the restaurant with paper ones. There is already enough plastic in the sea.
It's currently our 4th day here and unfortunately, I must say that this has been our worst and most disapointing experience in a hotel/on a vacation ever. The accomodation, facilities and customer service are definitely not worth the money. Clearly, the management doesn't care about providing their guests with pleasant customer service (you really don't get much for your money here).
To make it clear:
- It is not a 4* hotel! (The facilities are rundown and outdated - see photos).
- Rooms are rundown, old and noisy. I spoke to the reception on our first day because of a weird smell in our room (literally smelled like nobody has been living there in years). They've sent the poor cleaner girl to wash down the walls with desinfection. I asked them to fix the rundown noisy AC - nothing has happened so far. Moreover, the smell in the room is back again. They refused to change our rooms - as they said, they have no free rooms. Our delegate told us they are repeatedly reluctant to do so and treat customers in a very rude manner when having problems with their rooms. It can take up to days to get something done here in that regard. ADVICE - you should bring earplugs if you want to get some sleep here.
- Extremely rude and unprofessional reception staff.
- Although we paid for an all-inclusive stay, this is not an all-inclusive hotel. You have to pay basically for everything (besides food). Beach towels will COST you EXTRA (2 beach towels 32€/week - IT IS NOT A DEPOSIT!). Upon our arrival, we had to pay a registration fee (2€/person/day). Poor coffee (you'd expect at least a good coffee in Italy, sadly, the opposite is the reality. If you want to have some decent coffee, you have to PAY EXTRA).
- Food is okay, but it's average. Poor breakfast selection (it's always the same, there's no fruit after 9am - see photos)
- There's just 1 pool bar next to the main pool which is very noisy, so if you want to get some quiet time next to the other pool and get thirsty, you have to walk to the pool bar on the other side.
- Location - it's in the middle of nowhere, there's not much to see or do around here. You can't go for a walk in the evening (besides going to the beach but there's nothing open/going on there). Either you rent a car, pay quite an amount for some trips or you're locked in the resort.
- Poor animation team/programme
+ Swimming pools
+ Rooms cleaned every day (the cleaning lady is literally the only friendly person so far. Although we don't speak the same language, we somehow manage to communicate and she's been able to help us more than the rest of the staff here).
Very friendly staff, big green area, two pools, mini club for kids, funny animators, big room, good food, local beer and beverages. Really, all is cool.
The first drawback is English on the reception only, but I believe they'll change this situation. The second drawback is some trash in the forest, that you can see when you go to the beach, but it isn't their issue because the forest belongs to the community and it depends on people who rest there. The last one is to rent a car with automation transmission. For me it was expensive, but they aren't accountable for that. Europcar suggests the cars.
Summarise, I can say - Welcome to come there.
At started I must say that I was in this hotel in the last week on September before they closed this object. This is important becuse in full season I think could be other feelings.
The room was clean, with balcony, fridge and clean bathroom. Place is very big and You feel like in park or small estate. The food is delicious and perfect in one week. You can try everything, pizza, grill food, seafood, cheese , a lot of cheese. Breakfest are this same everyday but I dont thing that is minus. They have very good coffe. Staff helpfull and kind, even I was last week they keep high level service. Hotel have 2 pools, free sunbets on beach too. For kids special please to play, for tennis player too. Animations was only to 15.09. so I dont know about this. But every evning was life music (mostly Italians great hits :) ). On the beach can take canoe for free. Beach is very big, with bar and food service. If You want go to nearest city PIZZO , hotel offer bus 2 times in day (5Euro for one person), or You can rent a car. But this is not cheap. 71 Euro per day for Fiat Panda... This hotel have 4 stars and I thing this is real.