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“Friendly, pretty, cheap”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of 5 Balconi

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5 Balconi
Ranked #7 of 293 Catania B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Friendly, pretty, cheap”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 November 2013

Had a great few days staying at the 5 Balconi. The penzione has four rooms, prettily decorated with high ceilings, huge windows and balconies. The price is kept ultra low by the two shared bathrooms, but these are kept spotlessly clean and there was never a wait in the days I was there. A great breakfast (with freshly baked croissants) is included in the price, and there's an area where you can help yourself to tea, coffee and water all day.
The penzione is near the castle and five minutes' walk from the Piazza del Duomo. (Don't miss the incredible fish market, nearby). Best of all though, is the treatment you get from owners Rob and Cristina, who are completely charming - they can help with all kinds of questions, lend you guidebooks and maps, and find out bus times.
Catania itself is much more beautiful than the guidebooks give it credit for, and dotted with baroque churches and pleasingly rundown piazzas - it can only be a question of time before the city council realises it's sitting on a goldmine and gentrifies everything, but for now it's still a pocket of authentic, unspoilt Sicily, with excellent and cheap restaurants and a population that's largely oblivious to tourist interest.

Stayed November 2013, travelled solo
Helpful?
3 Thank JezebelBates
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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248 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
Date | Rating
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English first
Oxford
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 November 2013

In a three-week trip around Italy and Greece, this was easily the best place we stayed. Rob is an excellent host, furnishings are quirky and great, food is excellent and location is REAL Sicily.

Absolutely nothing to fault here......

Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank pmd24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 November 2013

5 Balconi is a charming B&B in the heart of Catania. It's a great base for exploring the southern and eastern regions of Sicily with Mt Etna and Taormina within easy reach. Cristina & Rob provide a fantastic service - warm and welcoming. Beautifully decorated rooms, delicious breakfast and all for a great price!

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank louisemjm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, England, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 October 2013

You rock up to this address and think ohh, it looks a bit shabby ! How wrong could i have been, After all Catania is a real city, don't get me wrong its safe but full of life, so dripping with life.
Ping the buzzer and you are greeted by the owners, whisked upstairs in the lift, the door opens, and the place is both lovely and homely. So warm and friendly but uniquely attractive, like the owners.
After a comfortable sleep, even though the road outside is busy, the breakfast is fresh and fulfilling. I didn't bother wifi-ing local info even though it works well, as the owners are local oracles of the island of Sicily. They know their stuff, and if they don't they will find out for you. I got loads of local info and as a travelling photographer that was gold dust, plus I got them to extend my car hire as I didn't speak good Italian. This truly is a little gem dare I so a pearl.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jim B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 October 2013

My initital e-mails with Rob & Cristina after finding this boutique B&B in the travel guide of the Guardian were friendly and helpful. As a result I had most of the information needed to hand. Rob checked us in and took time to show us on a local map the most interesting historic places to visit and we therefore did not waste any time. These sites are within easy walking distance of the appartment and were all well worth visiting especially the Fish Market and Monistero dei Benedetini where you can have a very interesting guided tour. We were also given a list of recommended restaurants, one of which we used on our first night located near the castle ten minutes away. Eventually we found some of our own choice. Eating in Catania is almost guaranteed to be good and very reasonable. We stayed for 9 nights and became the 'honoroured guests' with every need catered for in fact we were seriously spoilt. Sharing the bathrooms was not a problem as they were always spotless. We were in Room 2 for 7 nights and this was very spacious and less noisy than No. 4. Unfortunately in Sicily there is very often noise of traffic and people and this is difficult to avoid. Breakfast was excellent with a good choice of fresh local bread and croissants (Rob bought us special ones each day) and good sicilian organic jam, fruit, cereals and meat and cheese if required. Tea and coffee on tap. The position is very convenient for the airport, the train station and the bus terminal which has links to the rest of Sicily. We thoroughly enjoyed Catania and were not bored for a moment and would recommend staying in the 2nd City as it is known for a few days.

Room Tip: All the rooms give out onto a busy road, but if you are a couple or family choose Room 2 as a prefer...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Sicily2406
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 October 2013

As a previous reviewer has said, we too arrived in a highly stressed state in a hire car from Ortigia, a haven of peace and quiet. However Rob came to the rescue and found a parking space directly opposite the B&B. He is very relaxed and made us feel welcome and spent time chatting about the area and possible restaurants to try in the evening. (We tried one in the fish market and it was excellent.) And this was in the middle of us arriving a bit early and other people leaving! The room was clean and lovely to look at but maybe a little lacking in comfort if staying for more than a day or two. The breakfast was plentiful and good. The B&B is convenient to the centre of Catania and the room we had looked out onto a main street (bit noisy) but it was nice in the morning to stand and look out of the balcony windows and watch Catanians going about their business. We didn't meet Cristina but thanks Rob, we enjoyed our stay.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank 60AnnieB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Truro, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 September 2013

A lovely welcoming homely oasis in a busy untouristy city. Don't be put off by the slightly down at heel communal entrance - this is a mixture of smart chic and personal touches. A spacious 2nd floor appartment, with tastefully decorated high ceilinged rooms, with balconies over the street. Cristina was so friendly and helpful on restaurants, activities and taxis. A great place to stay before flying back to UK as not too far to the airport. Good breakfast and could help ourselves to tea and coffee when we wanted.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Caroline J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about 5 Balconi

Property: 5 Balconi
Address: Via Plebiscito 133, 95121 Catania, Sicily, Italy
Region: Italy > Sicily > Province of Catania > Catania > Centro Catania
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 293 B&Bs / Inns in Catania
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Cristina (Sicilian) and Rob (English) welcome you to the "5 Balconi Bed & Breakfast," a sunny palazzo built in the 1800's, with lots of color, character and charm. We are situated in the historic heart of Catania, in the quarter of the famous fish market and right above the 13th Century Ursino Castle, which dominates the piazza and gardens of Federico di Svevia. Here you can wine and dine "al fresco" on delicious typical dishes at very reasonable prices, while soaking up the atmosphere of an authentic Sicilian quarter. We offer elegant & luxurious rooms to accommodate singles, doubles, triples, with inter-connecting family rooms for up to 5 people. All have 5 metre high domed ceilings and chandeliers, very comfortable beds with mosquito nets, duvets in winter and flowering balconies of iron and marble.NB: Fresh linen/towels, air conditioning & heating are standard in all the rooms.Wi-Fi, iron & ironing board, a fridge, chilled mineral water, organic biscuits & tea/coffee making facilities are also available for guests, any time and free of charge. We also provide a list of our recommended restaurants, local information & book excursions to the volcano.Our breakfasts are nutritious and delicious and can be taken in your room or in the communal dining area.NB: We serve locally produced organic oranges, bread & marmalades. Savoury breakfast alternatives are available for guests who don't have 'a sweet tooth'. We are only 10 mins. By bus/car from the airport, a 20 min. Walk to a golden sandy beach and a convenient base for exploring the East coast of the island (Taormina, Etna, Siracusa, Pantalica & Enna are all within 1 hours drive).Parking is free, infront of the B&B and in the surrounding streets. We are situated on the 2nd floor and have a lift for our guests comfort and convenience. A City Tax of €1-00 per person, per night, up to a maximum of 3 nights, is payable on departure. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
5 Balconi Catania, Sicily

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