A weekend at the Cala di Volpe, Porto Cervo
Elite Status: Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum Lifetime
Room Booked: Classic Room
Rate Booked: 226.00 euros per night via Best Rate Guarantee
Room Upgrade (without complaining): Premium Room
Room Upgrade (after complaining): Deluxe Suite
Due to the fact that I have arrived by ferry from the mainland (Livorno-Golfo Aranci with Sardinia Ferries), an early-arrival was unavoidable. So there was I standing in the empty lobby at 8am, with the clothes from the day before (I wasn’t able to shower on board of the ferry as I hate their showers). Anyhow a kind front desk attendant was greeting me in a nice way and asked to do all paperwork. Then he offered me to have breakfast on their amazing terrace and honestly, the original Cala di Volpe charm even got me caught. Breakfast was amazing each day – excellent quality, wonderful coffee, perfect service, wide selection of things and a fresh orange juice in addition to a live cooking station where they prepared any style of egg without further charges (a surprise being it Porto Cervo). Exactly one hour after breakfast I moved back to the reception to ask where I could leave my luggage and change for the beach.
To all my luck the room was ready and as a Platinum Lifetime guest I expected a nice suite upgrade. Unfortunately, the upgraded room was a Premium Room and therefore I was not happy with the situation. I registered immediately that the man from the front desk did not want to offer me a suite and so I stopped arguing, contacted the twitter site of Starwood Preferred Guest for instant support and hit the beach meanwhile. There is a shuttle boat from the hotel’s pool to the hotel’s beach every 30 minutes all day without breaks which is extremely convenient! The beach is very clean with wonderful water and a sandy beach although not the finest sand. Service at the beach was different each day, first it was bad, the next day slightly better and on the last day alright. Tough they always asked for the room number, guests only got a bottle of San Pellegrino on the third day – interestingly I didn’t get one, maybe this is because the hotel has a rejection towards younger guests (from 20 to 35). Of course the main target group are people over the age of 50 and staff definitely tend to be friendlier to guests who seem to tip a lot – an absolute no-go in days like this but it’s Porto Cervo and as I felt, this town will be dying out with the current target group. There are so few young people and this is by good reason.
When I returned from the beach, I got a call from the reception that they don’t have a suite available. As I checked the website and confronted them with this information (they had rooms of all categories available), they found one available Deluxe Suite. I could really feel the embarrassing situation for Angelo of the front desk but he was kind enough to show me the “only” available Deluxe Suite, which had no sea view and was very dark. Then they told me that I could change to another suite the next day which I kindly accepted. So I stayed one night in a Premium Room (their highest room category) and imagined how a Classic room must have looked like. I also thought about how travellers without a Platinum status might end up (Later during my stay I met a British couple who are regular guests at Cala di Volpe and told me about their room and the fact that the hotel is getting worse every year – during my stay they complained so badly that they even used the words “rubbish” related to their room – then they got warned by the Concierge that the hotel will call security if they don’t behave!!! Arrogant achieves a new level at this hotel.)
After the breakfast on the second day, I could move to the Deluxe Suite overlooking the hotel and the sea. Interestingly the suite was available at 10 am, so I am sure it was available the day before as well. Again a sign of arrogance from the front of the house team. All in all the suite was very clean, spacious and perfectly furbished in local design. As usual the bed was truly heavenly, the bathroom had a separate shower and tub plus lots of Acqua di Parma toiletries (even in 70ml bottles), a living room with terrace and wine cooler (including bottles of Laurent Perrier, Krug and Ruinart as well as a balcony next to the bedroom. I have to admit that the Deluxe Suite was faultless and a SPG Upgrade at its best! When it comes to savings, I am sure this has been the best value for SPG Plat status so far.
On the last evening we had dinner in the restaurant. During the shoulder season months (June and September) they seem to offer a 50 percent discount off the 200 Euro set menu price. So for 100 euros I was able to order 4 courses, which is an incredible good deal for Porto Cervo (since a simply restaurant check for one person can set you back 100 euros without wine). Due to the fact that I booked one of the nights via Virtuoso I even got a 200 USD F&B voucher, so the dinner was free of charge though. The first night was booked with a Best Rate Guarantee (227 euros per room and night due to a better price online) and so my stay was a super cheap adventure. When it comes to value for the money I have paid, it would be an absolute 10 out of 10, however for standard rates of 450 euros in low season and nearly 2000 euros per night and room (Yes we reached the peak: this is Italy’s most expensive hotel!), I can only grant 6.5 out of 10 points. There is simply too much room for improvement.
Go there if you want to:
- be on the international luxury radar for a few days
- have a 0,25ml coke for 10 euros at the world's most expensive hotel bar
- see one of the most wonderful and most exclusive beaches with great sun beds and no crowds
- stay in an old-school grand hotel with all the up- and downsides