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Review of Hotel Villa Ducale

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Hotel Villa Ducale
Ranked #1 of 87 Hotels in Taormina
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 16 May 2007

We selected Villa Ducale on the basis of the excellent Trip Advisor reviews - and the hotel completely lived up to our expectations. Everything people have said turned out to be true - thoughtful, friendly, efficient and cheerful staff; beautiful views of Etna and the sea; characterful and clean rooms; a gorgeous terrace; and riotous geraniums at every turn! It bore out the truism 'small is beautiful' - so different from an impersonal hotel chain with synthetic customer care. A few reviewers have referred to the 15-minute downhill walk to the town - but you don't get spectacular views without a bit of a climb and, in any case, it doesn't take much forward planning to catch the local bus or arrange a lift on the hotel shuttle. We're not in the first flush of youth but had absolutely no problem with the location.

  • Stayed: May 2007, travelled with family
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17  Thank Rob G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,509 - 1,515 of 2,076 reviews

Reviewed 16 May 2007

Well appointed rooms with balcony and/or terrace. The hotel’s rooms and public areas are nicely decorated and furnished in a variety of local styles. For example the new cast iron benches in the outdoor areas are an advanced form of Italian shabby chic, with imitation rust! Situated 1000 feet above the sea and 500 feet above Taormina, both the main terrace and the rooms have superb views over the town, the coastline and Mount Etna. There are frequent buses for those with weak legs. Exceptionally helpful, friendly and efficient staff provide excellent service. No restaurant but there are plenty in town and a good one just along the road. Also the hotel serves good pasta dishes etc, either as room service (at no extra cost) or on the public terrace.

Taormina itself is an attractive town with a well-preserved Greek/Roman theatre in a tremendous setting, but it is packed with tourists (like you!) visiting the many shops aimed at them along the long main street.

  • Stayed: May 2007, travelled as a couple
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20  Thank AllanKnaik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 May 2007

Made our reservations from the hotel website not knowing they used "Fastbooking" a fact the hotel subsequently denied. Even though we had a confirmation number from the hotel itself we were told upon our arrival that we had no reservation and nothing was available. The hotel argued among other lies that it had notified me that 2 days after the confirmation that it had ceased doing business with "Fastbooking" because it claimed amongest other things its rates were 6 years out of date! They never notified my travel agency or me. Be careful when you deal with this hotel. The view maybe lovely their polices and practices are not. We subsequently were accomodated at the Villa Angela which is a true gem in all respects.

  • Stayed: May 2007, travelled as a couple
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18  Thank adrlarry_123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VillaDucale, Manager at Hotel Villa Ducale, responded to this reviewResponded 30 May 2007

It is sad to receive this comments. Having a small Villa just 17een room we do not work with an overbooking philosophy. They never had a confirmation from us and/or a room booked.


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Reviewed 4 May 2007

For better and for worse, one of the Villa Ducale's defining characteristics is its location.

First, the "better" : Perched high on a mountain, Villa Ducale has a staggeringly beautiful view of the town below, the ocean, and (when the weather permits) of Mount Etna. Even if (like us) you take a room that faces the inner courtyard, you still get to enjoy the breathtaking view during breakfast, or any other time you want to linger in the common area. One night, we returned back to see the lava glowing along Mt. Etna--a sight that will stay with us forever. Plus, you're pleasantly removed from the craziness that is the tourist-mobbed Corso Umberto.

The downside of the location is that, any way you slice it, it's going to take you at least 15 minutes to get to and from the hotel from the center of town. There are two walking routes you can take. One--which leads past the Madonna de la Rocca church--features constantly beautiful views, but takes about half an hour.. The second is pleasant rather than beautiful; it takes about 15 minutes. (That's downhill. The path follows a very steep series of steps, and we never attempted to take it uphill. I imagine it would take rather longer!)

True, the hotel offers a shuttle service, and the town has a bus system--but there are long enough gaps in the shuttle/bus service that you can't just show up and expect to get a ride. If you fail to plan around the schedule, you could have a wait of an hour or more. Cabs are plentiful, but cost about 15 euros to the hotel.

Once you get on a shuttle, bus, or taxi, it will also take you about 15 minutes to get to the hotel from the center of the town. It's not far as the crow flies, but cars have to travel slowly on the windy, steep road.

(It wasn't until we were about to check out that I looked at the booklet in my room and discovered that there was a free shuttle directly to one of the lidos at Mazzaro beach. I wish the staff had mentioned this to us when we asked about getting to the beach!)

Complaints about location aside... If the idea of a beautiful but slightly remote hotel appeals to you, then you truly can't do better than Villa Ducale. Breakfasts were delicious and generous; rooms were spotlessly clean; the grounds were nearly as pretty as the view; and most importantly, the staff was wonderfully friendly and helpful.

All in all, I still rated the Villa Ducale highly despite my complaints about the location. For us, on the balance, it was probably worth the tradeoffs. But if you want a more central hotel, a good place might be to look near the Porta Messina, which would put you close to both the town center and the cable car to the beach. And if the beach is going to be the focus of your trip, you might want to look into a hotel in Mazzaro or even GIardinia-Naxos, Taormina's less-posh neighboring town.

  • Stayed: May 2007, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank NW_London_Eater
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 April 2007

Taormina is, indeed, one of the top European destinations for holidays. We chose this hotel because it got rave reviews fronm different travel books, the Michelin Red Guide rated it in red (charming features) and its website was attractive. We were not disappointed!
Perched on the high part of town, the hotel --specially its breakfast terrace-- provides a breathtaking view of the Ionian Sea and the Etna volcano. The rroms are elegantly appointed, with wonderful decoration and fabrics. The rroms are big and clean.
Finally, the service staff are top notch: courteous and helpful to the extreme.
Really, a delightful place!

  • Stayed: April 2007, travelled with family
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17  Thank BasqueTraveller13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 April 2007

The caring and professional staff of Hotel Villa Ducale provides guests with the very best of Italian hospitality, from a truly sumptuous breakfast feast on a gorgeous terrace, complete with beautiful music and hand-crocheted linens; to lovely rooms with eye popping views of the Ionian sea and Mt. Etna steaming in the distance (and large bathrooms); and immediate attention to all requests for restaurant reservations and booking of personal guides. We were in heaven.

  • Stayed: April 2007, travelled as a couple
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17  Thank CarolnRobb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 2007

it's true what they say - this hotel is wonderful - a real, real gem - it was fantastic.

The weather was so awful while we were there, so we were sad we couldn't really see Mount Etna, but the views from the breakfast balcony were so breathtaking and so romantic. The staff were so helpful - absolutely perfect in every sense.

The hotel is situated outside of Taoromina - in a place called Castlemola and this is the real gem. If I were you - i'd only spend a day or so in Taoromina itself and then head up to Castlemola - it was fantastic - such a beautiful little town.

We were recommended a fabulous restaurant (La Taverna de Etna) in Castlemola and it was the best meal we had in the whole of Sicily. The views to Etna from their balcony is stunning.

I have a slight bug bear - we were not told that we would have to pay for parking - the gentleman just took our keys - we were extremely grateful for having our car parked and thought it was part of the service - but it wasn't. it wasn't much - 10 Euros a day - but we felt that wasn't the point and we should have been told.

I wish i'd also known that it is a good 15 min walk to Taoromina down some very very steep steps!!

but it was all fabulous.

  • Stayed: April 2007, travelled as a couple
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17  Thank lc74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VillaDucale, manager at Hotel Villa Ducale, responded to this reviewResponded 20 April 2007

Dear Sir or Madam,
Thank you for your beautiful feedback.
However we would just like to make a short note to your comments.
The Hotel Is located in the highest part of Taormina that is why we have such breathtaking views, Castelmola stays 3 kms away. We have a free shuttle bus service and the town bus runs almost every hour from outside the main gate from 0,50 Euro. As stated in our descriptions It takes 15 min to walk down the steps into town. As per sign in reception and hotel information folders in every room parking is at 10€ per night. Parking along the main street (where permitted) is for free.

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Additional Information about Hotel Villa Ducale

Address: via Leonardo da Vinci 60, 98039, Taormina, Sicily, Italy
Phone Number:
Region: Italy > Sicily > Province of Messina > Taormina
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Taormina
Price Range: £129 - £342 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Villa Ducale 4*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Taormina Hotel Villa Ducale is small luxury boutique hotel perched in an elevated position above the centre of Taormina km 1,3) commanding a unique outstanding view over the Mediterranean sea and Mount Etna.Our hotel,member of HIP hotels, is incredibly pretty, with flowers and colours adorning every angle, and a view to die for.Every bedroom is individually designed with the highest attention to detail, furnished with great taste in a mix of Sicilian traditional and Italian design contemporary style, each has its own private panoramic terrace or balcony.The hotel is able to offer a variety of personalised services, such as cooking lessons, wine tasting and tailor made meals, special romantic candle-lit dinners which can be arranged easily with the super friendly staff.Eleven Double rooms and six suites with full aminities and free wi-fi connection.Free shuttle to center and the beach. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ducale Hotel Taormina
Hotel Villa Ducale Taormina, Sicily

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