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“Convenient Hotel in the Centre of Town”

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Mercure Catania Excelsior
Ranked #17 of 49 Hotels in Catania
GreenLeadersBronze level
Reviewed 20 June 2012

I spent a week at the Excelsior Grand Hotel in May/June of this year while in Sicily on business. The hotel was clean, comfortable, relatively well appointed and had large guestrooms, at least compared to many other European hotels that I have stayed at. The location in the centre of town is excellent, within walking distance of most of what Catania has to offer in terms of sights, shopping and eating. Traffic getting to and from the hotel can be quite bad, but it is no worse than any other large Italian city. Morning breakfast was good, with more than your typical continental breakfast available. Staff were helpful in pointing out areas of interest in the city and arranging for tours (such as to Mt Etna or Taormina). My one complaint would be about the water pressure in the showers; it was weak at the best of times. Note that because of its relative proximity to the Catania ring road and its size, the hotel does tend to cater to large tour groups. If this is a problem for you, then I would not recommend it, otherwise it is a great, central location to base a Sicilian visit from.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled on business
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3  Thank famille_enroute
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 15 June 2012

Stayed in the Excelsior Grand Hotel in Catania while on business. The lobby, restaurant and common areas are clean and attractive, and the staff was friendly. The rooms, however, were in need of updating – the bathroom in my room had what appeared to be mold growth and the shower barely worked. While I did not spend much time in my room, I still prefer a passable shower.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled on business
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1  Thank NY_Huns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 May 2012

My 2011 guidebook stated that Excelsior Grand Hotel is a serious competitor of UNA Palace Hotel, yet I found out why Excelsior ranks far below UNA Palace on TA based on traveler reviews.

I was on a business trip in the Catania area, so my colleague and I booked a 15-night stay at Excelsior Grand Hotel. For a supposed 4-star hotel, there was a lot to be desired. Upon arrival, I found no bell service. The elevator was relatively small, so that it would have been a very tight fit had someone else gotten in the elevator with me and my two pieces of luggage. When a coach bus is parked in front of the hotel, expect to just use the stairs, as it has taken more than half an hour to get in the elevator when that many guests and their luggage are either checking in or checking out. The lobby has a concierge desk with a desktop computer, but I never saw anyone there. When I finally inquired at the front desk about their concierge service, I was told that the front desk staff were also the concierge staff. Desiring to visit Agrigento, I sought assistance from the front desk staff. The assistance provided was minimal and perfunctory – he called a couple of phone numbers off tour brochures stored behind the front desk and told me the only option I had was to book a private tour for approximately 300 euros. No information was provided about alternate options, such as using one of the buses at the central station or a group tour company. Don’t rely on the concierge at Excelsior for your sightseeing needs in Catania/Sicily: do your own research beforehand and make your own arrangements.

My deluxe room on the 4th floor was adequate in size, although the king bed dominated the space. My colleague had a friend stay with her in her room for the weekend, and Excelsior charged the second guest 25 euros/night, even though no additional service (e.g. extra bed, bedding, etc.) was provided. I had a full view of Mt. Etna and Piazza Verga from the balcony of my deluxe room. However, if I wanted to sit out on the balcony, I would have to drag one of the heavy old-fashioned chairs from the room as the balcony did not have any furniture. The room had a mini-refrigerator with assorted drinks available as part of the mini-bar, although only the still water was complimentary. Unlike many U.S. hotels, the room does not include an iron or ironing board. If you want your clothes pressed, you would have to send it to housekeeping for a fee. The only two English language television channels were CNN International and BBC World News, even though on the TV menu, if you selected English-only channels, it listed seven. The other five channels were in Italian. Some days, I would get lucky and get English subtitles on one of the Cinemax channels, but for most of my two-week stay, I did not do much television watching. Internet is available in the room for a fee. Wired internet access (Ethernet cable is available in the room) is 15 euros for a 24-hour period or you can get a bundle that includes movies for 23 euros for a 24-hour period. Charges for the wired internet connection appear as “miscellaneous” on the hotel bill. Wireless internet access is available via Swisscom for either 17 euros for a 24-hour period or 68 euros for 7 days. Charges for wireless internet connection appear as “Swisscom” on the hotel bill.

The bathroom was adequate in size as well, allowing for a tub/shower, a bidet, and a toilet. The bathroom amenities were lacking: although there was a gold-ish facial tissue box cover, there was no full-size box of facial tissue. Instead, what I got was a pocket-size “pack” of facial tissue (three pieces), which was never replaced after I used it the second day. The tissue box cover disappeared after the third day, never to be seen by me again. Toiletry amenities included an intimate cleanser, shampoo, lotion, body wash, shower cap, and a vanity set (comprised of 3 swabs, 2 cotton rounds, and a small emery board). I did not get hair conditioner until the second day and a bar of soap until the fourth day (after I had already purchased my own as well as a liquid hand soap). There was no consistency in the replenishment of toiletries. One day, I got two hair conditioner bottles and I subsequently mistook one as body lotion. The hand towels were similar to tea towels. No wash cloths were provided during my two-week stay, although a terry cloth hand towel eventually replaced one of the tea towels (which came in handy after the “I-thought-the-conditioner-was-lotion” incident).
Le Zegare, Excelsior’s restaurant, was another disappointment. Touted by my guidebook as one of the top dining places in Catania, I was surprised to see that there were only four entree items listed in the menu of the week. Given that I had dinner there the first time on my second night stay, I thought I’d give it another chance and returned the following week. I was surprised and disappointed to find that it was still the same exact menu. I guess their “menu of the week” is really the menu of the year. Fortunately, my colleague found Pagano Ristorante (see my review) and so that is where we had most of our dinners. Excelsior serves breakfast from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m. A variety of continental breakfast items, such as pastries, cheese, and deli meats were available, as were a variety of drinks (apple juice, orange juice, sparkling wine, tea, coffee). There were also hot food items available, such as potatoes, scrambled eggs, mini sausage, bacon, grilled cucumbers, eggplants, and tomatoes. I often found the eggs runny and the sausages dry. The bacon was limp. As one previous reviewer stated, it can be difficult to find a seat at breakfast when there is a tour group staying at the hotel as they tend to come to breakfast en masse and early before they board the coach bus for their next destination.
Excelsior’s location at Piazza Verga is a convenient walk to either the Centrale Stazione or Via Etnea (about 20 minutes). Grab one of the maps available at the front desk when you check in and don’t wait until a large tour group checks in, or the maps will run out rather quickly. I did not use any of the city buses, so I can’t speak to them, but per previous reviews, there is a bus stop in front of the Excelsior that goes to CTA. There is a Banco di Sicilia ATM right outside the Excelsior. Don’t be intimidated by the homeless person’s belongings or presence right next to the ATM; he did not bother me during the two weeks I walked by him. Some people might by daunted by the smell of urine when walking by some bushes, presumably used as the toilet, toward Via Ventamiglia.

Excelsior Grand Hotel appears to be every inch the 4-star hotel with its luxury furnishings and elegant lobby, but this impression quickly fades beyond a one-night stay, as I found out. The review I provided here is intended to give other travelers a real-world perspective of Excelsior, beyond the usual glossy descriptions from tour guides and online hotel sites. I’m sure that those who only had a one- or two-night stay at Excelsior had a more positive experience than I did. As for me, I’ll be booking at another hotel on my next business trip to Catania.

Room Tip: Deluxe rooms have a balcony with a view of Piazza Verga and Mt. Etna, but street noise and noise fro...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled on business
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5  Thank CCC_wanderlust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 May 2012 via mobile

If you're looking for a traditional, comfortable and classy hotel, the Excelsor is it! Quiet, clean rooms with good service and if you have a car, under ground parking too!

  • Stayed: May 2012
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1  Thank Pastalisious
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2012

Great location, friendly staff and breakfast was fantastic with lots of choice! I came here for a long weekend with three other friends. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay her. Rooms were clean and comfortable, everything was walking distance and the airport bus (457) stops just opposite the hotel making it easy (and cheap - fare was just €1!!) to get to the airport. Train and bus station are 10 min walk.

  • Stayed: March 2012
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3  Thank RumanLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 January 2012

This was my first holiday alone, first time to Sicily and would like to say that without such brilliant helpful staff, who guided me on where to visit and how to get around, it would have been a different experience. I felt safe, Piazza Giovanni Verga is very central to the main routes, within walking distance to the terminal bus station, from which I visited many beautiful places on the island. The hotel was a delight to return to after a busy day walking and sightseeing. Would definitely go back and visit yet more of this beautiful part of the world.

Stayed: January 2012, travelled solo
2  Thank Suzzanne118
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 December 2011

Loved every minute in this hotel, rooms are very well kept and the service is top notch. The staff are very helpful at the front desk, restaurant and housekeeping. Excellent breakfast and the garage space is a plus. Not to mention the central location. Will definitely return. A big thanks goes to Vito, Rosa, Patrizia, Giusy, Mary, Francesco, Daniele , Gianluca and all the staff. Merry Xmas

  • Stayed: December 2011
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2  Thank Malena70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mercure Catania Excelsior

Address: Piazza Giovanni Verga 39, 95129 Catania, Sicily, Italy
Region: Italy > Sicily > Province of Catania > Catania
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Green Hotel in Catania
#12 Luxury Hotel in Catania
#14 Business Hotel in Catania
Price Range: £69 - £140 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Mercure Catania Excelsior 4*
Number of rooms: 176
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A PRESTIGIOUS FOUR-STAR HOTEL SITUATED IN THE CITY CENTRE. Welcome to the Grand Hotel Excelsior Catania, a prestigious four-star hotel in Sicily's beautiful second city which lies in the shadow of Mount Etna. Black volcanic rock and white limestone have given Catania its own striking visual aspect, which makes it an ideal tourist destination. Our hotel is also well-adapted to meet the needs of business travellers. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Excelsior Grand Catania
Hotel Excelsior Grand
Mercure Catania Excelsior Sicily

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