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“Excellent” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Mandranova / Villa La Robazza / Il Casello

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Mandranova / Villa La Robazza / Il Casello
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Excellent”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 September 2011

We stayed here from the 22nd - 26th August as the first part of our honeymoon and thought it was great. After so much stress planning a wedding, we just wanted somewhere we could relax and do nothing for a few days, and for that, Mandranova is perfect.

I had read some negative reviews about the road before we went, and on our first day it was noticeable, but it's not exactly like standing on the hard shoulder of the M25 - the road is a couple of hundred metres from the hotel and all you hear is a light (but constant) humming. After the first day, however, I got used to it and it really didn't bother me at all.

We stayed in the Oliva, which is the suite and it was great - two bedrooms, two bathrooms (one with a bath, both with a shower) and a lounge. From inside the bedroom there was no road noise whatsoever. The rooms were spacious, the bed was comfortable, and I would definitely recommend it. Some people have commented that the rooms are vastly over-priced, but we felt we'd got the deal of the century at £250 a night - we had looked at other hotels on Sicily that were over £1000 a night for a standard room.

The food was brilliant - it is simple, but delicious, and there is plenty of it. Lunch is always a hearty affair, and whilst there is no 'cooked' option at breakfast (for the 'Full English' crowd), there is plenty of bread, cheese, fresh fruit, yoghurts, cake and cereal etc to fill you up nicely.

The wine list is fantastic and an absolute bargain - most bottles are priced between 10 and 18 Euro, with the most expensive at 45. Other drinks are also remarkably good value, with a standard beer being just 3 Euro. This was a very pleasant surprise given that I had paid 7 Euro for a can of Orangina elsewhere in Italy a couple of months ago!

The pool was small, but we weren't on honeymoon to swim a mile a day - all we wanted was somewhere to cool off when the sun got too much, and for this it is perfect. There are no parasols over the sun loungers round the pool, but there is a large shaded area about four metres from it where you can sit.

The staff at Mandranova are lovely - very polite and welcoming, and nothing is too much trouble for them. Sylvia is a great cook and Giuseppe is a great character.

We didn't see any evidence of rubbish being burnt.

Mandranova is in the middle of nowhere, so if you want to see some of Sicily's great sights, this is not the place to be, but it's very quiet and friendly and if all you want to do for a few days is sunbathe, eat, drink and sleep - this is the place.

I normally have a low boredom threshold and always want to be doing something, but I would definitely go back here as we had a thoroughly pleasant experience.

Room Tip: Go for the suite - Oliva.
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Osian J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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196 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Mirano, Italy/ New York, USA
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 August 2011

Very nice place great taste of the owners very sophisticated and cool, how ever the area is very under developed so be prepared for that. We ate only at the villa and the food was very nice prepared by the owner and also enjoyed the olive oil produced in the farm. I think that pool could have been a bit better.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank JF V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milan, Italy
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 August 2011

We are a widely travelled family staying in hotels from budget to ultra luxury worldwide. On this occaision we booked through Mr and Mrs Smith and feel mis-sold and then mistreated by the hosts and relatively unsupported by the agent.

Positive points
1. Lovely property - nicely landscaped with 10 room intimacy
2. Good value home cooking
3. Pretty room
4. Close to Agrigento for visiting the Valley of Temples

Negative points
1. 150m from the motorway - constant traffic noise across the entire property 24 hours
2. Nothing within walking distance
3. Only a small plunge pool with very little shade
4. Basic breakfast - not even a cappuccino on offer...

In summary, we found the property not relaxing due to the motorway. With a young family the only option is to go elsewhere during the day to get away and relax. We requested to leave early but the hosts insisted on full payment for the entire week booking, even though they ' have a queue of people trying to get a room' - subsequently the welcoming facade turned hostile. The hosts eventually after a days holiday wasted in negotiation allowed us to leave 2 days early without penatly, as a result of Mr and Mrs Smith intervention. We have never ever left a hotel early before, unfortunately the hospitality here is a thin veneer and any criticism was taken by the hosts personally.

Our advice is only book a couple of nights if you are in transit and wish to see the world heritage valley of the temples (30 minute drive). Basically its akin to an upmarket travel lodge next to the motorway - nothing to see, not much to do, not a place to relax but convenient and pleasant enough if you need a place to sleep (with earplugs)

Room Tip: Find another hotel
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank familytravelabc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2011

We stayed for five nights late in July, having booked with i-escape, which had given us excellent detailed positive and negative information - including, for example, the fact that there is a quite busy road not too far away (only the occasional motorbikes were significantly noisy). If you want absolute peace in the countryside, go elsewhere. Our room looked out over the olive groves. Giuseppe and Silvia are charming hosts, who have arranged things in such a way that you can keep yourself to yourself if you wish, or you can mingle with the other guests. For example, at around 8:00, when people often congregated on the terrace area for an aperitif (and some olives, of course!), our sociable hosts amiably led by example. This made our stay very memorable, since we met various pleasant and interesting guests. The breakfasts were excellent; the dinners likewise, and reasonably priced. Giuseppe's guided explanation of the process of olive production was charming and informative - and we say this as two teachers!

Room Tip: Our room was upstairs in the old Railway Station conversion, and is much recommended.
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  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank PHThonemann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 July 2011

I have used TripAdvisor for some time but this is my first review - prompted by the misleading press and information about this B&B, and the appalling time that we spent here at the end of June 2011. Potential guests need to know exactly what to expect if they chose to stay here - we felt badly misled.

We booked Mandranova as part of our honeymoon, and it was the fifth hotel/B&B that we stayed in during our three week holiday. It was also the only hotel that we left early (during that trip or ever in years and years of travelling around the world and staying in hundreds of different hotels of vastly varying costs and standards) - we booked for six nights but left hurriedly after one (and would have left during the night that we stayed there if we could have found anywhere else nearby).

As other reviewers have already noted, Mandranova is difficult to find. However, more significant than that is the wholly uninspiring (depressing even) location: set just metres back from the edge of the motorway, amidst scrubland and unsightly buildings. Photographs of the place that we say on MrandMrsSmith.com (which we used to make the booking) have clearly been very carefully taken so as to present the hotel in a much, much more favourable light than it offers new guests.

The approach to the hotel gates is not dissimilar to driving up to a prison and very nearly prompted us to turn around at that point and head back to civilisation (of, if only we had). The welcome we received was gruff (hardly the warm welcome that we were expecting); the room we were shown far more barren and low-budget than we had expected (and with charming views of the motorway, only metres away, from the only window); the room contained a TV but we were informed that the remote to operate the TV was only available on request (!) and upon payment of a further deposit; and, after dark, the bedroom transpired to be full of mosquitos (hardly surprising given the position of the hotel in something of a gully, near enough at sea level) but no mosquite net was provided, meaning that we spent the entire night trying to sleep entirely under the covers to avoid being bitten alive...

Dinner was average at best; breakfast just plain poor. The pool is a poor effort to offer guests some reason to stay here but is simply not good enough.

We were deliberating leaving the next morning when we were informed by the owner that, despite us being booked to stay for six nights, we were to be moved rooms twice during our stay to accomodate other guests that would be arriving after us. The concept of customer service is clearly not understood in this part of the world. However, the real pleasure was yet to come.

Shortly after finishing a very unsatisfying breakfast, the owners decided then would be the perfect time to dispose of their garbage. By burning it immediately behind the main reception. For the next hour (until we hurriedly left), vast quantities of burning plastic bags rained down on the courtyard (one of the few public spaces for guests to "relax"), and the entire hotel was enveloped in a thick, pungent smoke. My wife had to cover her head in a scarf whilst running to the car, to avoid choking on the smoke. I spent the rest of the day coughing and stinking of smoke.

This place is grossly over-priced for what it offers (which is very basic accomodation, in an unsightly setting, with very little to do by way of entertainment). I'm sure that some people, on a very tight budget, might enjoy Mandranova (principally, I presume, because it's a different experience from every-day life at home).

During 20 years of travelling the world and staying in every sort of accommodation imaginable (from dirt-cheap backpacker hostels in Bangkok and business airport hotels in various undesirable locations (perk of the job) to hugely expensive (EUR1,000+ per night), luxury hotels, this is the ONLY hotel I have every left early in disgust.

Despite having booked for six nights but leaving after one (whilst the burning rubbish rained down on the courtyard, and the reception room filled with smoke), I was offered no refund for the remaining nights (during which our initial room was to be offered to subsequent guests). Frankly, though, I would have paid twice not to have to spend another hour at Mandranova.

As this was our last stop on our honeymoon, we were extremely disappointed by Mandranova, and the prospect of it being our last memory of our honeymoon was too much to bear. Accordingly, with the assistance of my good friend, Amex, we booked ourselves into the Verdura resort, near Sciacca - a completely different sort of establishment, for sure, and much more expensive but what a difference (truly one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in, and very much better value for money than Mandranova).

Do yourself a favour, don't stay at Mandranova: it's not good value; it's not attractive; there's nothing to do (and, if you're unlucky, you'll end up with a lungful of toxic smoke, or covered in mosquito bites, for your troubles). We have stayed in much cheaper, infinitely better B&Bs throughout much of Europe, including Italy. Do a bit more research, and stay at one of those instead...

Room Tip: Turn around at the main gates, and head towards another hotel...
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  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
14 Thank DmW_LondonUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mandranova / Villa La Robazza / Il Casello

Property: Mandranova / Villa La Robazza / Il Casello
Address: Palma di Montechiaro | ss 115 km 217, 92020, Agrigento, Sicily, Italy
Region: Italy > Sicily > Province of Agrigento > Agrigento
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 54 Speciality Lodging in Agrigento
Price range (per night): RM597 - RM1,243
Number of rooms: 9
Also Known As:
Mandranova / Villa La Robazza / Il Casello Hotel Agrigento
Mandranova / Villa La Robazza / Il Casello Agrigento, Italy - Sicily

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