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Calabria 9th May 2019
Post: #1
I have just returned from my  trip to Calabria. It was made easy to get to know one another as it was an excellent group of 16 and unusually  9/7 split ladies to men. We had an excellent tour manager in Sue Dunford. Please be aware if you are considering this trip a point not mentioned in Brochure or on the website even though it mentions Hotel built into cliff it doesn't say there are about 90 steps from the main gate drop off to the Hotel main entrance. There is a sloping driveway up if the steps are too much and hotel will also pick you up in minibus or a buggy. Once inside there are again about 10 steps up to the lift for the other floors.

Day 1.  Checkin fairly straight forward once it was found and reasonable flight of 2 hours 40 mins. Pleasant transfer to Hotel along coast road about 1 hour 30 mins. Plenty of time to settle in and explore before dinner.

Day 2.  After breakfast at 10am we met Ornella the owner on the terrace for our brief history of the Hotel and tour of its grounds. Lovelly lady but typical Italian why use one word when a hundred would do and after about an hour we had walked about 100 yards. We then did tour the beautiful grounds which was challenging in places due to slopes etc but stopping to pick fresh strawberries was a bonus. We finished in the farmhouse with nibbles (including chillie chutney) and a chance to try plenty of there own wine.

Day 3.  Sila Mountains etc  8.45 start and first stop to see Giganti Pine Trees (3-400 years old) reasonable  walk through the forest partly on duckboarding and look out for the white fronted black squirrels. Then onto Sila National Park with an excellent lake if however you decide to do the forest red walk of about 3kms this has many steep climbs and a reasonable level of fitness is required. Returned to hotel at 6pm. Just enough time to freshen up and then out again for 7pm for evening meal local restaurant again set high in sea facing cliff. Unfortunately quite a few of us were disappointed with the meal. Returned to hotel about 10.15 so a very long tiring day. May have appreciated the meal on another night.

Day 4.  Altomonte Hilltop town and another steep climb to the top but Sue had arranged with the owner of a small cafe at the top to come down in his car and pick up anyone who couldn't manage the climb. Excellent views but the tower was closed for renovations. Then onto historical liquore museum and production centre for a tasting and I think they only gave us 11 different types to try !!!! (fennel, lime, liquorice, mandarin) don't remember the others and I think we then drove back to hotel.

Day 5.  Belvedere & Diamonte  Again another steep climb up to town centre but worth it for the views. It was nice to have some flat ground in Diamonte and walk along the seafront and the murals are superb.

Day 6.  Consenza  The theatre in the old town is certainly worth the visit and we were able to go backstage as well. Again another lovely old hilltop town. Onward to the new town where 3 hours of retail therapy was on offer not really my cup of tea but the sun was out.

Day 7.  Hotel  A day free although Sue did arrange a tour of Contraro with a local guide and wine tasting for anyone who wished to go. We had rain until lunchtime but it cleared and I made my way down to the beach via the many steps and the lift which I was a bit wary of as one of our ladies had got stuck in it at the bottom for about 5 mins on her own on day 1. as the buttons didn't work but fortunately the phone did and she was rescued. All was fine and a nice walk towards the Marina however on return to the lift it again refused to take me up. However a member of staff from the beach restaurant came and gave the doors a sharp bang and all was well.
 
I think we had a lift jinx as I and 3 others broke the hotel lift as it refused to let us out on floor 4 and we had to be rescued also on the first evening. We couldn't find the service to break that as well.
 
As it was early season we had the Hotel to ourselves.  Hotel and staff superb. Andrea in the bar etc and the Maitre'D were great characters.

A certain knowledge of the Italian language would be useful for this trip as unlike most other Italian regions I have been to not many Calabrians speak English. Fortunately  Sue had arranged restaurant lunch stops for us each day and was able to translate the menus in some cases and sort out individual payments afterwards. I don't know if this is done by other tour managers.
                             
Another excellent JY experience the weather wasn't the best a bit cold and wet at times but that is the one thing JY can't organise but everything else was spot on

Finally I would like to say a big thank you to my travelling companions for making it a wonderful trip. Better start planning the next one.
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Post: #2
(18/05/2019, 01:54 PM)Paul N Wrote: I have just returned from my  trip to Calabria. It was made easy to get to know one another as it was an excellent group of 16 and unusually  9/7 split ladies to men. We had an excellent tour manager in Sue Dunford. Please be aware if you are considering this trip a point not mentioned in Brochure or on the website even though it mentions Hotel built into cliff it doesn't say there are about 90 steps from the main gate drop off to the Hotel main entrance. There is a sloping driveway up if the steps are too much and hotel will also pick you up in minibus or a buggy. Once inside there are again about 10 steps up to the lift for the other floors.

Day 1.  Checkin fairly straight forward once it was found and reasonable flight of 2 hours 40 mins. Pleasant transfer to Hotel along coast road about 1 hour 30 mins. Plenty of time to settle in and explore before dinner.

Day 2.  After breakfast at 10am we met Ornella the owner on the terrace for our brief history of the Hotel and tour of its grounds. Lovelly lady but typical Italian why use one word when a hundred would do and after about an hour we had walked about 100 yards. We then did tour the beautiful grounds which was challenging in places due to slopes etc but stopping to pick fresh strawberries was a bonus. We finished in the farmhouse with nibbles (including chillie chutney) and a chance to try plenty of there own wine.

Day 3.  Sila Mountains etc  8.45 start and first stop to see Giganti Pine Trees (3-400 years old) reasonable  walk through the forest partly on duckboarding and look out for the white fronted black squirrels. Then onto Sila National Park with an excellent lake if however you decide to do the forest red walk of about 3kms this has many steep climbs and a reasonable level of fitness is required. Returned to hotel at 6pm. Just enough time to freshen up and then out again for 7pm for evening meal local restaurant again set high in sea facing cliff. Unfortunately quite a few of us were disappointed with the meal. Returned to hotel about 10.15 so a very long tiring day. May have appreciated the meal on another night.

Day 4.  Altomonte Hilltop town and another steep climb to the top but Sue had arranged with the owner of a small cafe at the top to come down in his car and pick up anyone who couldn't manage the climb. Excellent views but the tower was closed for renovations. Then onto historical liquore museum and production centre for a tasting and I think they only gave us 11 different types to try !!!! (fennel, lime, liquorice, mandarin) don't remember the others and I think we then drove back to hotel.

Day 5.  Belvedere & Diamonte  Again another steep climb up to town centre but worth it for the views. It was nice to have some flat ground in Diamonte and walk along the seafront and the murals are superb.

Day 6.  Consenza  The theatre in the old town is certainly worth the visit and we were able to go backstage as well. Again another lovely old hilltop town. Onward to the new town where 3 hours of retail therapy was on offer not really my cup of tea but the sun was out.

Day 7.  Hotel  A day free although Sue did arrange a tour of Contraro with a local guide and wine tasting for anyone who wished to go. We had rain until lunchtime but it cleared and I made my way down to the beach via the many steps and the lift which I was a bit wary of as one of our ladies had got stuck in it at the bottom for about 5 mins on her own on day 1. as the buttons didn't work but fortunately the phone did and she was rescued. All was fine and a nice walk towards the Marina however on return to the lift it again refused to take me up. However a member of staff from the beach restaurant came and gave the doors a sharp bang and all was well.
 
I think we had a lift jinx as I and 3 others broke the hotel lift as it refused to let us out on floor 4 and we had to be rescued also on the first evening. We couldn't find the service to break that as well.
 
As it was early season we had the Hotel to ourselves.  Hotel and staff superb. Andrea in the bar etc and the Maitre'D were great characters.

A certain knowledge of the Italian language would be useful for this trip as unlike most other Italian regions I have been to not many Calabrians speak English. Fortunately  Sue had arranged restaurant lunch stops for us each day and was able to translate the menus in some cases and sort out individual payments afterwards. I don't know if this is done by other tour managers.
                             
Another excellent JY experience the weather wasn't the best a bit cold and wet at times but that is the one thing JY can't organise but everything else was spot on

Finally I would like to say a big thank you to my travelling companions for making it a wonderful trip. Better start planning the next one.

Forgot to mention Hotel food. Continental breakfast with excellent homemade jams etc and scramble eggs made fresh to individual order. Served on outdoor terrace with superb views out to sea and of Stromboli unfortunately weather conspired against us most mornings. Dinner served in main restaurant with menu on table each evening containing choice of 4 starters including homemade tomato juice and a soup followed by 3 mains varied choice except one evening when 2 veal courses on offer. Usually choice of 2 sweets. However if nothing on menu suited they would give you a choice of something else not certain if this is offered when hotel full. Some of our group chose a starter for main (soup followed by lasagne). Excellent meal every night and you certainly wouldn't leave the restaurant hungry.
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Post: #3
Paul

Glad you had a good holiday.

Just arrived for my Highlights of Tuscany tour and I really like the hotel, haven’t met Marie yet but we are all due to meet later for dinner, so I will say hello. Looking forward to the whole week, oh and fingers crossed it doesn’t rain. Sue
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Post: #4
(20/05/2019, 10:51 AM)Paul N Wrote:
(18/05/2019, 01:54 PM)Paul N Wrote: I have just returned from my  trip to Calabria. It was made easy to get to know one another as it was an excellent group of 16 and unusually  9/7 split ladies to men. We had an excellent tour manager in Sue Dunford. Please be aware if you are considering this trip a point not mentioned in Brochure or on the website even though it mentions Hotel built into cliff it doesn't say there are about 90 steps from the main gate drop off to the Hotel main entrance. There is a sloping driveway up if the steps are too much and hotel will also pick you up in minibus or a buggy. Once inside there are again about 10 steps up to the lift for the other floors.

Day 1.  Checkin fairly straight forward once it was found and reasonable flight of 2 hours 40 mins. Pleasant transfer to Hotel along coast road about 1 hour 30 mins. Plenty of time to settle in and explore before dinner.

Day 2.  After breakfast at 10am we met Ornella the owner on the terrace for our brief history of the Hotel and tour of its grounds. Lovelly lady but typical Italian why use one word when a hundred would do and after about an hour we had walked about 100 yards. We then did tour the beautiful grounds which was challenging in places due to slopes etc but stopping to pick fresh strawberries was a bonus. We finished in the farmhouse with nibbles (including chillie chutney) and a chance to try plenty of there own wine.

Day 3.  Sila Mountains etc  8.45 start and first stop to see Giganti Pine Trees (3-400 years old) reasonable  walk through the forest partly on duckboarding and look out for the white fronted black squirrels. Then onto Sila National Park with an excellent lake if however you decide to do the forest red walk of about 3kms this has many steep climbs and a reasonable level of fitness is required. Returned to hotel at 6pm. Just enough time to freshen up and then out again for 7pm for evening meal local restaurant again set high in sea facing cliff. Unfortunately quite a few of us were disappointed with the meal. Returned to hotel about 10.15 so a very long tiring day. May have appreciated the meal on another night.

Day 4.  Altomonte Hilltop town and another steep climb to the top but Sue had arranged with the owner of a small cafe at the top to come down in his car and pick up anyone who couldn't manage the climb. Excellent views but the tower was closed for renovations. Then onto historical liquore museum and production centre for a tasting and I think they only gave us 11 different types to try !!!! (fennel, lime, liquorice, mandarin) don't remember the others and I think we then drove back to hotel.

Day 5.  Belvedere & Diamonte  Again another steep climb up to town centre but worth it for the views. It was nice to have some flat ground in Diamonte and walk along the seafront and the murals are superb.

Day 6.  Consenza  The theatre in the old town is certainly worth the visit and we were able to go backstage as well. Again another lovely old hilltop town. Onward to the new town where 3 hours of retail therapy was on offer not really my cup of tea but the sun was out.

Day 7.  Hotel  A day free although Sue did arrange a tour of Contraro with a local guide and wine tasting for anyone who wished to go. We had rain until lunchtime but it cleared and I made my way down to the beach via the many steps and the lift which I was a bit wary of as one of our ladies had got stuck in it at the bottom for about 5 mins on her own on day 1. as the buttons didn't work but fortunately the phone did and she was rescued. All was fine and a nice walk towards the Marina however on return to the lift it again refused to take me up. However a member of staff from the beach restaurant came and gave the doors a sharp bang and all was well.
 
I think we had a lift jinx as I and 3 others broke the hotel lift as it refused to let us out on floor 4 and we had to be rescued also on the first evening. We couldn't find the service to break that as well.
 
As it was early season we had the Hotel to ourselves.  Hotel and staff superb. Andrea in the bar etc and the Maitre'D were great characters.

A certain knowledge of the Italian language would be useful for this trip as unlike most other Italian regions I have been to not many Calabrians speak English. Fortunately  Sue had arranged restaurant lunch stops for us each day and was able to translate the menus in some cases and sort out individual payments afterwards. I don't know if this is done by other tour managers.
                             
Another excellent JY experience the weather wasn't the best a bit cold and wet at times but that is the one thing JY can't organise but everything else was spot on

Finally I would like to say a big thank you to my travelling companions for making it a wonderful trip. Better start planning the next one.

Forgot to mention Hotel food. Continental breakfast with excellent homemade jams etc and scramble eggs made fresh to individual order. Served on outdoor terrace with superb views out to sea and of Stromboli unfortunately weather conspired against us most mornings. Dinner served in main restaurant with menu on table each evening containing choice of 4 starters including homemade tomato juice and a soup followed by 3 mains varied choice except one evening when 2 veal courses on offer. Usually choice of 2 sweets. However if nothing on menu suited they would give you a choice of something else not certain if this is offered when hotel full. Some of our group chose a starter for main (soup followed by lasagne). Excellent meal every night and you certainly wouldn't leave the restaurant hungry.

Hi Paul.  

Thanks for your review, and I'm pleased that you had a good time.  This is a trip I looked into when JY first offered it, but I quickly realised that mobility issues would mean that it wouldn't work for me.   I had to do a lot of research on Trip Advisor to convince me though, as apart from a cursory mention the first time it was offered about steep slopes and steps, JY have never mentioned this since.  I'm not travelling with them this year, because of continued health problems, and wish that they would follow the lead of another singles holiday company and be upfront about any potential mobility problems during trips.  

Anyway.  Glad you had a great time, in spite of the weather and the dodgy lifts!  Smile
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Post: #5
Hi,

I did this wonderful trip on September 26th 2015 after I had had my hip replacement! I did a lot of research with regards to the steps/slopes, and took my stick to be on the safe side.

If you look under Reviews and "Calabria September 26th" you will see what I wrote regarding mobility. There was another lady there who had just had a knee replacement and she seemed to manage fine, but be aware there are a lot of steps.

Excellent hotel and wonderful food/wine etc.

Cheers,
Hils
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Post: #6
Hi Paul

Thank you for the review and glad you enjoyed the tour. I did this tour in late August early September 2014 and enjoyed it. The lift down to the beach is very ancient and temperamental, but good fun to try it. I went down to the beach and up again in the lift without any problems so guess was lucky!

Regards

Jaya
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Post: #7
Hi Hils and Jaya
Your comments were a large part of my decision to go on this trip.
Many thanks
Paul
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Post: #8
Hi All
Just remembered in some of the rooms you will need the three in line small pin adaptors as usual euro two pin will not fit. Lovely lady on reception does have some for FOC loan. 
I think that's it I'll shut up now. (Who was that said promise!!!).
Thanks for reading this. Have great JY holiday where ever you choose to go and now I'll start planning the next excursion.
Paul
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Post: #9
Hi Paul

Glad to know that Hils and my reviews played a part in you booking this trip. The hotel is lovely. My bedroom was not in the main building and there were quite a few steps down to the rooms. I remember a heavy thunderstorm one evening and we were escorted down to our rooms with someone carrying a large umbrella - they wanted to make sure we reached our rooms safely. I think this is really a nice touch and shows how caring the hotel is.

Jaya
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