We arrived in the early hours of the morning due to a late flight, a 2 1/2 hour drive from Bari and a none too accurate Sat Nav !. However, we were greeted, at 3 am, by a cheerful and very helpful member of staff (Amane) who booked us in promptly so that we could get to bed.
Although our room was very nice, we were disappointed to see that the view from the our balcony faced the rear of some concrete blocks along to top of the building (room 107). We got to bed and in the morning, we asked if another room was available. We were told that by the time we had finished breakfast and visited the beach, we would have another room and that our luggage would be transferred. Low and behold, when we returned around midday, we were in room 207 with a beautiful view across the spacious grounds to the sea beyond.
The room was lovely, with a spacious bathroom with both bath and shower, all the usual shampoos etc. plus personal bathrobes and slippers. The balcony was a fair size with a bench seat plus a table and 2 chairs. The only problem was that the balconies are close together with just a thin divider between them so, if you have someone next door phoning his wife at 11.30pm every night and smoking … it is as if they are in your room with you and your balcony door will need to be closed to keep out the smoke.
It is a shame that they do not really cater for English tea drinkers in the rooms, with only a coffee maker with no facility for boiling water. We managed to overcome this each evening by asking reception for a teapot full of boiling water and some tea bags which they readily supplied. A kettle in the room would, however, have been more convenient and perhaps the hotel would consider have some on hand for tea dinking guests in the future. If this concerns you in the mean time, be sure to pack a travel kettle.
The grounds are beautiful and the electric buggy is always on hand to take you to the beach or even the restaurant of you are really lazy. We chose to walk most times as it was very pleasant and a lovely 34 degrees.
The walk from the 5 star Gusmay hotel, which is where we were, to the restaurant for breakfast is a mere 5 minutes walk via an underpass under the road.
Breakfast itself was a dream. Everything you could want from a selection of continenental meats and cheeses to eggs and bacon, croissants: Plain or with cream or chocolate filling, a massive array of cakes, exotic fruits, cereals etc. and a large selection of speciality teas and coffees served at tables which were dressed with white linen table clothes and spotlessly clean cutlery.We had a regular table by the window looking out onto the lush grass, exotic plants and an old row boat. My wife particularly loved the seemingly endless supply of Oranges next to the juicer and started every day with a glass of fresh orange juice.
Now the beach: Beautiful, soft sand which stretched out to sea. Very safe for kids as you could walk out for 100 metres or more before the warm sea came up to about your waist.
My only criticism here was that the beach umbrellas and beds are a bit too close together and if you get smokers next to you (which we did everytime we visited) it can be very unpleasant. I have never smoked and why anyone should want to pollute the fresh sea air with cigarette smoke still baffles me ! It would not be too difficult to move one line of beds closer to the sea to spread them out a bit. We could not choose a different sunshade as it came with the holiday and it was chosen for us. Whilst I am moaning ... and these are small moans: The beach bar could do with selling something to go with the coffees, such as small bars of cholcolate, biscuits or even croissants.
Make sure that you have a car when you visit as you will be stuck without one. The two closest towns are Peschici and Vieste, each roughly 20 minutes drive in either direction. Both towns are great to visist. A combination of old narrow streets full of small shops selling, in the main, very nice locally produced articles, wines, sweets, jewellery etc. There are also historic areas and both have seafronts with very nice beaches and of course, loads of restaurants and pizzarias to choose from. Parking is not always easy but be patient and you will find a space. If you have a 'Blue badge' there are plenty of disbaled parking bays.
We enjoyed a boat trip from Vieste which lasted for 3 hours. It took us out to visit the caves and you will be amazed at how the large boat can get in and out without hitting thre sides or roof ! . It then dropped us at a beach bar along the coast for half an hour before an exciting return journey at speed. The 3 hour trip for 2 cost us E50.
If, like us, you enjoy seafood, just as for the 'Frutti de Mare' or the 'Cozzi' (Mussels) and you are in for a treat. With regard to Pizza, we found that the roadside Pizza restaurants had the edge on the ones in the towns which were average. Bar 'TEXAS' about 5 minutes away on the road to Vieste was amazing.
Despite one or two bad revues on this site, the hotel staff DID speak English and combined with our smattering of Italian, we had no difficulty in making ourselves understood at the hotel, either town or roadside restaurants etc.
Be aware that the roads are not particularly well marked and are a little tricky to negotiate at night. The are typical windy coast roads, often without white lines or cats eyes and dont be surprised to drive round a bend and find a car stopped in the middle of the road to chat to someone on the rosdside !
The mortorway between Bari airport and the resort os good and uncrowded but do watch out for the speed cameras, particularly on avehead gantries. There are advance warning signs so if you get caught speeding, it really is your own fault !
If you are feeling energetic at the hotel, my wife used the hotel gym every day and also had a relaxing massage which really worked.
All in all, we had a brilliant holiday in early September, not too crowded anywhere, few children making a noise, still a great buzz about the place and superb weather with hot sunshine every day and a couple of thunderstorms overnight for a bit of excitment !
I can thoroughly recommend this resort. Nothing was too much troble for the staff, including the 'Prince Harry look alike' on reception in the evenings, the room was spotlessly clean and very comfortable, brealfast was fanatastic, the pools were clean and the surrounding lush and attractive.