Praia Art Resort
What We Love
- Daily buffet breakfast is included in the Jetsetter rate
- Intimate retreat; just 12 rooms with private patios surrounding a tree-shaded pool
- Private beach club within a protected marine reserve with hammocks over the sea
What To Know
- Free WiFi and parking
- The property is around 10 miles from Crotone Airport or a four-and-a-half-hour drive from Naples
- There's a small spa that specializes in holistic massage treatments
- A city tax of approximately $1 per person, per night, will be collected by the hotel at checkout
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
On the Ionian Coast in southern Italy, the Praia Art Resort sits between the mountains and the sea. The intimate 12-room retreat spills out from a tree-shaded pool, and the decor is a collaboration between local artists and specialist craftsmen. Flower-lined paths lead from the white wood reception area to the brightly colored low-rise cottages, alfresco restaurant, central pool and lounge bar, and on to the pine woods that lead down to the sandy beach. Local stone, wood, irregular clay bricks and painted tiles have been used to create a natural, shabby-chic look.
Bed and Bath
Thick brush strokes of white and off-white paint shade the guest room walls, and the palette extends to the bathrooms, which feature twin glass sinks and rain showers. Molton Brown toiletries, plush bathrobes and beach flip-flops come standard. The resort’s signature painted clay tiles decorate the floors, wall trim and showers. Each room is individually styled; some have carved furniture, small porthole windows or cute alcoves, but all showcase works by local artists.
Meals are served in different locations depending on the weather and the preference of the chef. Breakfast is typically served poolside, and lunch may be a BBQ with Mediterranean salads dished up in the pine woods surrounding the resort. The gorgeous Pietramare dining room has stone walls and is topped with a bamboo roof, and it overlooks the herb gardens. You can peer into the glass-walled kitchen from communal tables and dine on rustic dishes from the Calabria region, flavored with hot peppers, extra virgin olive oil and wild chicory. Seafood features heavily; the local marine reserve guarantees the largest variety of uncontaminated fish in Italy. The sandy beach is steps from the resort, and beach hammocks sway above the shallow waters.
In the Area
Known for its unpopulated fine sandy beaches and clear seas, the Ionian coast in southern Italy lures those who have traversed Tuscany and uncovered Umbria. The port village of Le Castella, with its traditional trattorias and magnificent “floating” fortress dating from the Aragonese period, is a few miles away and is one of the region’s main tourist attractions. The area has ancient Greek origins dating to the Magna Graecia period; visit the famed Capo Colonna, a solitary column that was once part of a seaside temple. A little farther away you’ll find the monumental castle of Santa Severina, complete with encircling walls and moat, known as “the stone ship” for its rocky position above the sea.
How to Get There
My husband and I visited Calabria for the first time and stayed at the Praia Art Resort. It was the perfect place to while away the hours relaxing and enjoying the beauty of this peaceful hotel. The ambience is perfect, wonderful pool and bar area, gorgeous beach with an upper deck to relax on some sofas and look out to sea. The restaurant serves the most exquisite food. The recently awarded Michelin star is deserved. The breakfast and lunch by the pool are perfect. Lori and all her friendly staff are the perfect hosts. We will definitely return.
Really beautiful small beach and spa resort, great rooms (with outside patio or terrace), clean and comfortable - as the bathrooms. Nice private beach, not crowded. Excellent breakfast at the pool restaurant. Friendly and careful staff.
The problems start as soon as you leave the resort. Very dirty surroundings and not to much to do in the area...
This is a 5-star resort that is trying too hard. As other reviewers have pointed out, it is situated in amongst a holiday complex. As we were here out of season it was generally pretty quiet, but we can imagine what it must be like during peak season... We stayed for 7 nights.
First the positives:
- Decent beach with lounge chairs and fresh towels daily
- Clean room, with fresh bottle of water daily
- Comfortable bed
- Shower amenities (Molton Brown stuff for those who like that)
- Plentiful and generous breakfast
- Generally speaking the staff were all courteous and friendly. This is one of those hotels where at times there seems to be too many staff around though, but this could be that we were at the end of the season.
- The bar food menu is offered for both lunch and dinner. It is easy to get bored of the choices here.
- We had a patio room which was comfortable, albeit small, but suffered from thin walls, and guests above, causing us to know when they'd used the toilet...
- The cost of said food in the poolside bar borders on silly. A small piece of fish €30 (just the fish - nothing else), spaghetti al ragu €19, caesar salad €16. This would be understandable if you were in St Tropez but you are in Calabria, one of the poorer parts of Italy. Eating out in the local nearby towns will be 30-50% cheaper, and arguably much the same quality and standard of food, minus the linen napkins.
- Cold water - the hotel seemed to suffer from a limited supply of hot water. On two separate occasions there was no hot water at all, which required the hotel staff to reset our boiler and then took a full hour for the hot water to run through. Regularly, we ran out of hot water and settled with luke warm showers. Not good enough for a 5-star hotel.
- The poolside bar wants to be something that it's not. What's wrong with a simple pizza and burger? Even the caesar salad that was served was drowned in pink peppercorns and lacked a simplicity that one should expect with such a classic dish.
All in all, we were pretty disappointed with our experience of this hotel. It promised a lot but delivered very little. The beach is a strong point which cannot be faulted, but the reality is that if you don't have a car there is very little else to be offered here. This is further compounded by the prices of eating at the poolside bar - it is hard to enjoy a holiday experience when it feels like you are being ripped off. In the end, we preferred the short drive to Le Castella for good, local, fresh food at reasonable prices. The real irony of all this was when the "Customer Relations Manager" informed us at check-in that the poolside bar chef took great pride in the quality of pasta as a result of being mentored by the michelin starred chef who worked on-site. What this actually meant was that he cooked up some Barilla pasta and then charged €16 for it.
Ultimately, it feels like this is hotel is trying a little too hard to be something that it doesn't need to be. A few modest changes here and there and it would tick a lot of boxes, but on this occasion it came up short.
We enjoyed five nights at this wonderful hotel and would gladly return in the future. There are a lot of positive things to say about the resort, but the food and the room impressed us the most.
* Food: If you've never been to Calabria before, you'll find that the food is quite a bit more spicy than elsewhere in Italy. We generally like that ('nduja is incredible!), but the heat has to be used wisely. Safe to say that not all restaurants you visit during a vacation manage to pull it off, so we had built up an appetite for something less explosive, or at least more balanced. The cuisine at Praia Art Resort is probably a bit more traditional Italian than what you typically get in Calabria. We tried both the regular lunch/dinner restaurant and the Pietramare gourmet restaurant. Whether it was simple (try the linguine with green pesto) or finer dining, we always felt that the dishes were intelligently balanced. The prices weren't bad either.
* Room: Hotel rooms in Italy generally are a bit underwhelming, even in five star hotels, but Praia Art Resort has some of the better rooms we've stayed in. The bed was very comfortable and the room even had a huge jacuzzi.
and it became real in this fantastic place. Nice room with a big balcony. A clean and nice pool in the garden and also their own beach. They have a restaurant by the beach, by the pool and a real good restaurant - Pietramare Natural Food. They promise a culinary journey - and they keep the promise.