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Reviewed 8 June 2013

We stayed for five nights on a short holiday in Italy and had an excellent stay. We arrived without a car via Nice. For those who'd like to know, one bus to Nice Gare de Ville, one train to Ventimiglia, one train to Imperia Porto Maurizo and then a taxi to the hotel which is on the SP39 road to Vasia.

Our hosts (Pamela & Roberto) were very welcoming and happy to see us. Although they were a little surprised at our lack of transportation they were full of advice for which buses we could take and taxis to order. In the end we could take a bus at 14:20 down to Imperia and catch one back at 18:50 from Imperia Oneglia both of which were easy to catch! Also the walk to the nearby village of Dolcedo was absolutely amazing in terms of its views and the sights you pass as you walk. If you walk back in the night then prepare to be delighted by the night being lit by firebugs and the little lights in the many villages below. Also the little village which lines Via S.Michelle looks positively atmospheric at night.

The hotel itself was a small but gorgeous affair with very large and airy rooms complete with a raised bedroom area, living room (with fire), kitchinette (I'll cover this later) and toilet/shower. It also had a private garden area outside. The pool area with infinity pool commanded epic views of the valley below but is not heated. If you like a cool pool (like I do) then you'll be delighted.

The hotel offers breakfast only but the breakfast is also pretty epic with lots of meats, fruit and cakes on offer to satisfy any breakfast fan. Also it seems to last until 11-11:30 so time for that relaxing lie in! ;-)

The place also has lots of lovely sunbeds and seats overlooking the valley and providing a comfortable place for people to relax and soak in the views.

The location as you may imagine is hilly and if you're driving, please be advised that the road up to the hotel from Imperia is pretty steep and can be difficult to drive in the dark. The bus driver seemed to take it in his stride and drove like the mental child of Colin McRae and Richard Burns around most of the hilly roads in the valley! It is this hilly location however which provide the hotel with peace and quiet as well as those incredible views.

And now the nit picks. This is an excellent hotel but there are a couple of things I'd need to point out.

Firstly the kitchen. Our room (number one) had a large kitchen area with a four ring hob and a large fridge with ice box. Also consider that the hotel only offers breakfast and basic food during the day such as salads. Despite all of this however there are no extra utensils such as kitchen knives or saucepans for example. This severely curtails one's ability to cook your own meals if you have neither the ability or the motivation to go out for dinner in the evenings. The ability to cook your own meals would encourage people to enjoy those spectacular views. It was rather baffling as to why provide such a large gas hob and nothing else. In our view if you don't want people to cook then just provide just a kettle and nothing else.

Also another issue: no milk. We're British and whilst we understand that Brits aren't the number one visiting nation to Relais San Damian we *love* milk with our tea. Thus it was simply cruel to provide such a spread of gorgeous teas in the room, the ability to brew tea but no milk to make it complete! Even little those little tubs of coffee creamer would be great!

Finally, we'd love to see more information in English. There was a well researched information board in the hotel but mostly in French, German and Italian which was disappointing as it seemed people of other nationalities were getting information about the area that english speakers weren't. We'd love to see this place marketed more in the America, Canada and the UK which would be a huge market for the hotel and to enable this the hotel needs to cater more for the Anglo-Saxon market!

Finally if you're young or able and happy to walk and use the bus then it is perfectly possible to have an immensely enjoyable time at Relais San Damian. As I mentioned, the walk to Dolcedo is absolutely brilliant so why not provide a nice mapped route for visitors? Also it looks as though there are other walking route through out the valley. We were happy to "road test" as it were the links to Imperia and walking link to and from Dolcedo and hope our feedback will be given to families and couples visiting who also intend to leave the car in the car park and strike out on their own :)

The above nit picks are strictly nit picks. We loved Relais San Damian and hope to visit once more!

Room Tip: All of the rooms are absolutely excellent!
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Prestwickuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
sandamian-slowliving, Proprietario at Relais San Damian, responded to this reviewResponded 12 June 2013

Dear Peter and Alex,

we are very pleased that you had great days here in San Damian and that you found the time to write about us! Liguria is a wonderful region, the sea and the hills offer beautiful sceneries and walks, though often steep!
Our House was originally established as a farmhouse; then, at the beginning of the 90's we made a small country hotel out of it. Our rooms were originally individual apartments, this is the reason why they are very spacious. Of course we kept the little corner of the kitchenette ( as Roberto says , you never know !......) and as we explain on the pages of our website, they are not equipped for cooking but just to prepare hot water for tea and for cold meals.The rooms are provided with a minibar in the fridge; our guests of course can use the fridge to storage their own food in case they eat cold meals in the room.Each room has a small picnic basket with plates, knifes and forkes for cold meals ( salads or cheese plates for exp.).
We offer rooms with a hotel service and not selfcatering apartments, this should be quite clear from the web! This is the reason why the kitchenettes are not equipped for cooking!
As you can see on the web, however, we have an apartment, the apartment that we rent weekly as "Terrace Suite Apartment" with a kitchen fully equipped for cooking.
As for the milk I'm sorry you did not come to the bar where we have all day someone to fulfill your wishes !! We would have given you fresh milk!
Unfortunately this year the temperatures were colder than usual ( as in all Europe!), and the pool was a little cool .....but now the mild climate that distinguishes our region is back !
We look forward to your next visit and send our best wishes,
tanti cari saluti,
Pamela and Roberto

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 May 2013

We stayed here for one night on a driving holiday to Italy. What a find. (Actually has it's issues on directions, but worth a bit of a detour and it pays to really study their directions carefully). The location is on a hill looking over the valley and sea with great views and very peaceful. They have a beautiful garden and pool and the breakfast was execllent. The owners are friendly and helpful.
The rooms we had (we travelled with friends) were huge and have their own kitchen area, dining table and sofas as well as the compulsory en suite shower room. There is plenty of outside seating away from the pool.
San Damien does not have a restaurant but when we arrived the owners had left us a substancial snack which was lovely. If you have had a good lunch this would probably be enough but if you are relying on an evening meal you need to drive back to Imperia which coming back along narrow lanes in the dark could be a bit nerve wracking. We had not eaten sufficently at lunch so drove back to Imperia and went to the supermarket and bought salad, bread etc which we were able to prepare in our rooms. Although there is a kitchen there is no oven and only a hob to heat the kettle and no pans to cook with and they do state only cold food to be consumed. If I have a slight critism it would be that due to the location and providing a more than adequate areas to eat in/at, at San damien there is a shortge of crockery and glasses provided. Yes we would certainly return and would like to stay longer.

Room Tip: The whole place is quiet!
  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Medstead
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 October 2012

Relais San Damian is a beautiful agriturismo in the hills overlooking Imperia. Our room was huge & tastefully furnished, with a mezzanine bedroom, large bathroom (no bath), a large private terrace with outdoor furniture & fab views, a handy fridge and even a four-ring hob. Really outstanding accommodation. The breakfast, as everyone has said, is exceptionally good, one of the best I've ever had in Italy. Owners & staff very warm, friendly and efficient. Loved it. The only thing to note is that, because the agriturismo doesn't do evening meals, you always have to drive somewhere to get dinner. The owners' recommendations for restaurants were all very good. San Damian is about a 20 min drive into Imperia (which is a great working city by the way, with lovely centro storico and working port area of Oneglia with good Saturday market).

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank BettyBlueCat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2012

We have been several tmes to this fabulous and tranquil place off the busy riviera track. Family owned and run with a lovely couple who keep the place tidy and always do their utmost to help our every wish. Breakfast al fresco with a nice view of Imperia and the sea is highly recommended. Nice and clean rooms and several good restaurants nearby.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Xyzzy63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 July 2012

We fully enjoyed our stay at San Damian. The large rooms (almost suites, combined with the comfort of an hotel), the whole location with a terrific pool are fantastic and the service is extraordinary generous - the best we ever experienced. Breakfast is wonderful, including a broad variety of homemade cakes. For dinner we preferred to take the about 30 minutes walk through the olive grove attached tot the location down to Dolcedo - since the wine there is very good. For the way back there is a taxi (Angelo, for his number ask the staff at San Damian) or one could walk back through the olive yard (wiht maglite no problem). We also took the bus to the beach (imperia or porto maurizio) - the bus station is directly in front of the areal. San Damian is a magnificent place in every respect.

Room Tip: all rooms are magnificent, quiet, large and furnished with excellent taste.
  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank hannah m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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