Siena - Hotel Athena - Bad Experience

Old Oct 1st, 2001, 09:41 PM
Paul Roos
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Siena - Hotel Athena - Bad Experience

My wife and I recently stayed a night (14/09/01) in Siena at the Hotel Athena ( - a reported Four Star hotel. It is the worst 4-star hotel I've ever stayed in. (I preface by saying my wife and I have lived and traveled in Europe extensively.)

We were given a basement "B&B" next to the bus stop for $130/night. It was dirty with observable "dust bunnies" everywhere, the t.v. reception was none, the bathroom had one 25-watt bulb for illumination, the shower drain was clogged, the shower curtain too small to hold water in, and there were bars over the "street-level" windows that no one could possibly have gotten out of if there was a fire. But, we had fluffy towels.

Unfortunately, in the morning when we tried to shower, there was NO Hot Water to go along with the "fluffy towels." The Hotel's response was, "Well, we'll have hot water soon," as we were checking out. The front desk staff was observably indifferent to their guests regardless of nationality. I asked them who awarded them the 4-stars? The two front desk clerks looked at each other like "deer in headlights" and just ignored me. If you read this and stay at the Hotel Athena, you deserve what you get.


Paul Roos
Maui, Hawaii
Old Oct 2nd, 2001, 02:13 AM
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Hotel Athena can be an okay place (I have had lots of people stay there and no complaints in 7 years) BUT I need to let people know how the star system works in Italy. It is not based on how nice of a hotel but on the things they offer. Here is a FAQ answer I found about this:

What do the star ratings mean as to hotels? What are the differences between 3-star, 4-star and 5-star hotels?

The ratings give a relative measure of the facilities and services afforded by hotels. They also tend to give a relative measure of the quality of those hotels. However, ratings can be misleading because it is possible to find excellent 3-star hotels which represent much better value than poor 4-star hotels in the same cities. Price rises with the number of stars. But price ranges do overlap, with the best of 3-star hotels priced higher than the least desirable of 4-star hotels. In general, hotels with 4 stars will be larger, have more elaborate lobbies, more extensive facilities -- such as meeting rooms, restaurants and swimming pools --and offer more in the way of personal conveniences like hair dryers than will hotels with 3 stars. 5-star hotels are associated with luxury accommodation and the highest level of service and price. 5-star hotels are often priced at three times the cost of 3-star hotels in the same cities.

So essentially, because the lobby is large there, they have parking and meeting rooms, they are 4 star instead of 3. The price though is pretty normal for Siena. Here is their website

Next time you might want to try the Palazzo Ravizza which to me should be a 5 star but it is 3, or the Villa Liberty (much lower in price but wonderful anyway).

Old Oct 2nd, 2001, 03:08 AM
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Sorry to hear of this bad experience. We stayed at the Athena for 1 night on 28/09/01 and had no problems. We had a nice room (with "fluffy" towels - not large sheets that we have had elsewhere) and the staff were at least reasonably accomodating, they rang forward to other hotels for us at no charge. I agree that it pushes my own idea of 4 stars but hey, it was just 1 night.
Old Oct 2nd, 2001, 09:26 AM
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I completely agree with Paul, the Hotel Athena is a dump. I wouldn't dream of staying there again.
Old Oct 2nd, 2001, 10:08 AM
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are there vineyards in Sienna? If not, does anyone recommend a good vineyard/winery to visit?
Old Oct 3rd, 2001, 03:17 AM
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Hi , after reading this posting it is amazing how different one room from the other can be in the same hotel.
We spent 3 nights two years ago at the Athena hotel in Siena.
We booked directly , checking the room first, it was in the 8 th floor , I guess that this floor is used only for
individual booking not tours.
The room was very nice , it also was large, the room had a fine view over the Tuscan countryside. The bathroom was very nice too.
The furniture was elegant and pleasant and we had cable, etc.
Breakfast was excellent, we have breakfast early, so we had breakfast in one of the several breakfast rooms they have and we did it before anyone else was in the room, which was delighful. A good buffet, it was a lovely small brakfast room decorated with the different contrada flags.\
We had free parking .
I always believe in making our own reservations, checking the room first,
...and making sure we get our money worth. -

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