I travelled with my sister to the Caparena for the first week of October and we were basically looking to get away from it all. I was a bit nervous after we had booked as we had the half board (what if the food was awful and we had to eat there every night?), I was worried about the train going through the grounds and I also had concerns about having to get the shuttle up to Taormina and not having the freedom to walk (the road has no pavements). If you read the other reviews on here, these are probably the things that will worry you too. Well - DON'T WORRY!
The food here is really excellent. Breakfasts are buffet style - ham and eggs, fresh bread, lots of pastries, fruit, cereal, yoghurts, fresh coffee (the lattes are the best) and some kind of strawberry tart that seemed an odd breakfast choice but once sampled had to be consumed every day. Dinner was in the beach restaurant literally overlooking the sea - an amazing setting. A choice every day of about 15 - 20 mains (or pizza) and starters and then a set puddings list. We had one disappointing evening of food and I think that was more because we'd had a fight! The waiting staff are LOVELY and if you try and speak italian (we were terrible but we tried!) they seem to really appreciate it. Every night you get a little taster when you arrive - deep fried olives, rosemary bread, an amuse bouche I suppose, as well as a huge bread basket, half a glass of prosecco and a bottle of water - this and the 3 courses are all included in your half board - great value. I guess if you are used to Michelin starred dining you might not find the food up to scratch but I expect a lot from restaurant dining and I was really impressed. Wine is extra - house white was 8 Euros a glass. You also have the option of pizza as your main course and I would recommend you have at least one whilst you're here, they're top notch. We had some fantastic tender lamb, succulent beef in a lentil crust, parma ham and melon salad, octopus salad - a real variety and very tasty. Lunch is not included in half board but the beach bar caters to every need - £4 for a huge cheese and ham toasted sandwich and £1.30ish for a bottle of water. Ok maybe it's a bit pricey - hardly expensive though! - but if you want to save money then others made sandwiches at breakfast and ate them at lunch and if you go into Taormina you can get a big 2 litre bottle of water for 3 Euros and take that to the beach instead. I was a bit worried about the lunch costs after reading others' reviews on here but even with those you'll barely spend £6 a day.
The rooms here are not all mod cons 5 star and if you want that you will be disappointed. I'm extremely particular about hotel rooms and I hate anything dated or old or mothbally. These rooms had an air of faded glamour that totally fitted with the wonderful resort. REALLY CLEAN which was important, very comfortable, a TV, mini bar, air con and our balcony looked out towards the sea. Ok so they weren't all glass and chrome but that didn't matter at all. We were actually quite close to the train track and this was something I was worried about but it never woke us once even though I am a very light sleeper and had taken lots of earplugs (I never used them). In fact, I thought the train was lovely! There are high hedges either side of the track so you hardly notice it on the ground and the trains that go through look kind of old school so it adds to the atmosphere. Plus you just have to walk up the beach to Letijana (I think that's what it's called) and you can jump on a train to Messina and from there to Palermo and other cities - convenient! The only thing I would say with the rooms is go for the second floor. We were initially shown a room right at the end on the first floor and just didn't like it - I'd paid for a sea view and wanted a sea view but you could only really see the roof of the beach bar and the garden. Some people I'm sure would say I was being silly but I asked to change rooms and the reception staff happily swapped us round with no bad feeling at all. The second room they showed us was spot on.
The private beach here is heaven. The beach bar area is all white decking and comfy chairs and there are plenty of sun loungers. They give you free towels (each day) with your free beach pass and there are lifeguards who keep an eye on swimmers and get rid of any unwanted beach hawkers. There are toilets and changing rooms in the beach area and the 'tunnel' you go through to get from the hotel to the beach is about 5 paces long! I thought it would be an actual tunnel, kind of damp and nasty, but it was a really nice little arch really - romantic! The sea is great for swimming and the views from the beach are just lovely.
There's also a pool which is free and also has lifeguards and lots of sunloungers. It opened at 9am and shut at 5pm but I think that's because we were there low season. The one thing that was an added extra we didn't foresee was that you have to pay for the gym - 10 euro a day. Steep if you're a daily gym user. However, the rest of the trip was such good value for us that it didn't matter in the end. We got a discount pass - 6 sessions for 50 euro. We had pre-dinner cocktails every night in one of the bars (every cocktail comes with about 4 different types of snacks!), wine when we wanted it with dinner and lunch at the beach bar when we felt hungry enough for it and we barely spent £100 each the entire week (on top of the cost of the holiday). The free shuttle to Taormina is really useful and there are also trips you can do from the hotel to Mount Etna and Palermo. There's free wireless in the hotel reception but not in the rooms - I thought this would annoy me as I am a freelancer and needed to work each day but there are lots of really comfy sofas in reception and you can get a coffee from the bar whilst you work.
To sum this hotel up, it makes you feel really really well looked after. The service is fantastic, the staff are really helpful, the hotel has everything you could possibly need for a relaxing, pampered beach holiday, the gym and spa are excellent, the food is top notch and the rooms are very comfortable and clean. I cannot recommend this place enough - they make you feel like royalty. I don't think I have ever returned from a holiday feeling so thoroughly chilled out and ready to hit real life again. THANK YOU CAPARENA!
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Priceline, Ebookers, Odigeo, TravelUp, TripOnline SA, Traveltool, S.L.U., Evoline ltd, HotelQuickly, Cancelon and HRS so you can book your Caparena Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Caparena Hotel Taormina, Sicily