We spent a week at the hotel and wish we'd read all the reviews prior to arriving at the hotel as we would have been better informed. We booked via the Thomson website and paid extra to get a 'Junior Suite with Balcony'. We were told we had been upgraded to a better suite so I was therefore disappointed to find that the Thomson described 'balcony' was a courtyard with a small table and two upright chairs (ie no sunbeds, which would have been nice) overlooking the tennis court and carpark and that there was no sea view. We carried our own luggage from the carpark, (the huge gates opened with a key we were given) however we later saw a uniformed gentleman taking people's luggage on a glamorous gold barred luggage trolley. This would have been nice too! The lovely gardens were to the side and to the rear was what appeared to be a farm from where we heard gunshots during the day and night. The first night was disturbed as the two single beds, pushed together to make a double, had metal headboards with metal crowns which squeaked and the metal frame clanked whenever I moved. The beds seem, from research today, to be typical of the area.
We had a jacuzzi corner bath with a shower screen. The shower was not powerful, but adequate, however the surface of the bath was slippery and there was very little flat surface making it hazardous. There was no rubber mat. My husband was concerned as he recently had a hip operation and didn't want to fall over. With our upgraded suite we had tea/coffee-making facilities and I was glad we brought our own tea as we are not keen on fruit tea. We took milk from the breakfast table. The kettle had a broken lid which didn't shut and being slower than usual on holiday, I forgot to mention this to Reception. It was however dangerous as it didn't turn off on its own.
We were not told about the private, chargeable, beach and have since found this out through reading reviews. We did walk along the beach, which is stoney but clean and busy with locals at weekends. It was just outside the hotel so no car park charges would be necessary. Fees are paid until mid September to park. The staff always greeted us with smiles and even the gardeners wished us a good day. We didn't see any family, who also live there. We ate in the pool bar on the first day at lunchtime: 2 x bread - 4 eu, 2 caesar salads - 26 eu, 2 espressos - 3 eu and a bottle of house wine - 20 eu - total 53.00 euros. In the evening we had bread, a starter, main course and shared a dessert with another bottle of house wine - total 115 eu. We had spent 184 eu since lunchtime and found the food very oily and expensive so decided to find another restaurant nearby. This we did exceptionally well and I have reviewed this separately. Breakfast, when 10am closing approached was usually uncomfortable as the food table was cleared very fast as if the staff had another job to go to. Don't be late as they shut the gates! Room service is available.
The pool is large, a good temperature for cooling off and I loved the gargoyle overlooking the pool. I could have taken him home! When we arrived we were given a quick mini tour of the site, shown where the restaurant was, the pool from the top of the steps, the bar area (where later that evening we paid 16 euros for two shots of grappa) and we were shown the outside door of the Spa. On departure we found out that the Spa had a sauna and was larger than the front Spa open area with treatment beds which we had seen. We regularly visit a spa at home so were not keen to pay for treatments.
We had a good holiday but feel that a few areas at the hotel could be improved, including the bar prices which are too high for British. A car is needed as the island's sights are many and it the hotel is not central to Taormina.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to Castello di San Marco charming hotel & SPA, a boutique romantic hotel immersed in a luxuriant park, on the glittering Jonian sea, between Taormina and the volcano Etna, this noble castle represented a splendid example of Sicilian Baroque architecture and well describe a part of the Sicilian History. The unique beauty of Castello di San Marco is timeless and is adapted to romantic and relaxing holidays, with its tranquil exteriors and elegant, softly lit interiors.30 elegant and charming suites take place in the park surrounding main building, SPA & beauty center , fine restaurant, wine lounge with a selection of 250 fine wines, very large swimming pool, private beach, tennis court, private parking, mediterranean park. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Castello Di San Marco Charming Hotel And Spa
- Castello Di San Marco Calatabiano