Review of Hotel Villa Maya, Pisa – welcome to the boot camp

Good – 15 minutes drive from Pisa airport. Beautiful old building from exterior with impressive entrance hall, stairway and ceiling window in lovely grounds.

Bad – far too many rules and regulations and additional charge warnings. Not very clean, small bedrooms with no balcony or terrace. Difficult to find and you have to drive to find a restaurant as hotel restaurant is currently closed. Staff not very friendly.

Rating out of 10 – 3

photo courtesy of Trip Advisor

I selected the Hotel Villa Maya because of its proximity to Pisa airport for the last night of our touring trip of Tuscany and Umbria. Our flight didn’t depart until evening but I didn’t want to have a lot of driving on our final day in addition to hanging around at the airport, the flight and the drive home from Edinburgh. The cheapest price I found for a double room including breakfast was 74 euro on the hotel’s own website. It was the most expensive hotel at which we stayed during our trip but I was captivated by the photos of the late 19th century villa, set in a large garden with bedrooms furnished with antiques and wood beamed ceilings with Tuscan cotto tiles. It sounded a delightful contrast to the standardised boxes of a modern hotel.

My initial impression of the Hotel Villa Maya was that their car park was awful, it was a small graveled area in front of the fence around the grounds. It had rained earlier that day and the potholes were full and water and the clay stuck to your feet. I was glad that I wasn’t wearing expensive high heeled shoes.

I was then further annoyed to be “welcomed” to the VIlla Maya by a warning sign on the front door saying that if you checked in after 23:00 there would be an additional charge of 10 euros per person.

Our room was at the front of the Villa on the ground floor, which meant that anyone coming in or out of the villa came past our window. The room was pretty small and the bathroom was starting to show signs of wear. The rooms shown on the Villa Maya website looked much larger than the room we were allocated. My husband found used soap from the previous guests in the shower soap dish and a couple of hairs in the sink and I found a large dead fly on the bedroom floor.

When I was reading the guest information in the hall, there was a large sign informing guests that they could only consume food and drink purchased outside the hotel in their own room, not the hotel gardens. In a way I can see their point but as the rooms didn’t have balconies it would have been nice to have a cup of tea (made with my travel kettle) or a glass of wine outside. The garden was probably the best part of the villa with a gazebo and cool shady areas ideal to sit and read.

Had I booked into the correct hotel? The website describes the hotel as making you “feel right at home with a warm, family welcome in a refined, relaxed atmosphere, ensuring that your stay with be a highly enjoyable experience that will stay with you long after you leave”, Well the last part is correct as the bad memory has stayed with me.

As we were leaving to go out for dinner the receptionist informed us that if we arrived back after 23:00 we should ring the bell as the front door would be locked and we only had a room key. Now if they are don’t want to give guests the front door key and are going to be disturbed by late returns anyway why should they charge late arrivals an additional 10 euro?

Breakfast was served in an out building which had a plastic awning so you could enjoy the garden views. The lady serving breakfast was pretty surly and my husband saw her moving the ham with her bare hands. There were large signs saying that it was not permitted to take items from the breakfast buffet to consume later.

I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a hotel that had so many signs advising guests what they can’t do. and how much they’ll have to pay if they do it. I was very disappointed by this hotel and had a far larger, more comfortable, quieter, cleaner room, better breakfast, friendlier staff and a proper tarmaced car park at a lower cost per night at hotels which are part of chains such as the Holiday Inn in Perugia.

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