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“A really relaxing, pampering stay”
Review of Caparena Hotel

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Caparena Hotel
Ranked #71 of 88 Hotels in Taormina
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“A really relaxing, pampering stay”
Reviewed 10 October 2011

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!

Room Tip: Avoid the first floor
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
11 Thank A P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (52)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 October 2011

We stayed for a beach holiday at the Caparena Hotel in August 2011 for 6 nights. After a fairly lengthy trip by road from Catania Airport and almost within view of the hotel, there is a dogleg junction in the busy road where an accident had just occured. We eventually got passed and fortunately, there seemed to be no injuries. This dogleg junction where traffic from the overhead flyover goes down to the lower, almost seafront road to the hotel was a regular cause for concern when travelling to or from the hotel. Regular accidents here often trapped the hotel bus when travelling into or out of Taormina. Arriving at the hotel, which is down a dip, you notice that two busy roads flank that side of the hotel. The flyover up above and under that the seafront road.

The hotel is significantly remote from Taormina high in the cliffs above. Its not impossible to walk into town along the beach and up cliff paths, but in the summer heat, its very arduous and you will arrive in town soaked in sweat. Taormina looks closer than it actually is. The hotel bus is essential and must be booked at the reception desk. You get a loosely timed ticket to go and another to get back. Tickets are presented to the driver at either end. The scenic winding journey, either way, takes around 15/20minutes.

The hotel itself is exceptionally clean and the staff very helpful and friendly. We found the Reception desk staff particularly nice and were certainly helpful. The sea facing side of the hotel has beautifully manicured gardens and are truely a pleasure to be in. There is also swimming pool hidden away in the gardens at the south end. However, there is a high trellis covered in creapers running the entire length of the hotel which very cleverly hides the main Messina/Catania railway line. There is a foot tunnel under the tracks which comes-out into the other half of the hotels beautiful gardens where the very nice looking hotel restaurant and beach bar are both located overlooking the sea. So, the hotels beautifull gardens are cut in half by the railway line, with trains rumbling straight through on their journey along the seafront. They clearly slow down to go through the hotel but its an all day event and into the night. Our spotless room faced the sea, so train activity was noticeable. Its fair to say that the hotel had disguised the railway very well, as well as it could really, but its there and can be significantly noisey.

The beach is shale with rows of unbrellas and twin loungers by the hundreds. There is also a fenced-off and little used "executive" beach area at the south end. You need swimming shoes to take a dip in the sea as the shale turns to larger rocks and stones at the waters edge. The beach is grand with all its umbrellas and its clear that lots of money has been spent on the beach area especially the restaurant.

The beach bar serves basic snacks like pizza and pasta, melon etc. Getting Coffee or tea is an education. For Italians to make such awful cappuccino is astonishing - mostly expensive foam. Laying on the beach was a pleasure except for the constant piped music coming from the beach bar. Likeable african hawkers visit the hotel beach to sell their things. Thai massage is also carried-out on the beach by non-hotel staff.

The main beach Restaurant, although great looking and facing the sea, was the hotels achilles heal. Significant numbers of guests use it for their evening meal and it was always full. The guests here are significantly obliged to use this restaurant because of the hotels location but in many cases the food and service were atrocious. The staff rarely look happy and appologies constantly, there is despare and flap. Little professionalism exists but it all looks the part. An order can take so long to arrive you get tempted to leave. When it does come its often not what you ordered or ingredients are missing. Family tables often recieved their meals unsyncronised leaving some unserved while others have finished and are ready to go. You tend to get caught in a trap in this restaurant, torn between wanting to storm out but stay because anywhere else is a way off, and, youve got hungry waiting. Some looked intimidated into silence about the scenario just in case they got worse treatment the next night. Politeness and some degree of concession was the only way to avoid an Etna in the room. They do try hard but some serious management training and a chef is required - fast.

Breakfast, served on what I believe was the top floor of the hotel, is the best meal of the day.
Its the only time you can get a proper full cup of coffee. Happier staff at breakfast clearly doing their best.

In summary, we did like this hotel, especially its cleanliness, its beach, and its staff were very nice - often lovely. However, its severley handicapped by its beach restaurant, the busy road system at the front and mainline trains passing through its grounds. I dont believe it warrants 4 stars. Its an extremely good 3 star hotel with grounds and cleanliness which are a credit to them.

Room Tip: High, sea facing at the south end or middle (middle is set slightly further back from the railway li...
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank Hugh C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tring, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
48 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 September 2011

We have just returned from a fabulous relaxing break staying at this Hotel - The Management have it running like clockwork and the staff are all very polite and happy to help. One critique was the extortionate cost of beverages at the Beach Bar. 3 Euros for a can of Tonic water.
Having read some of the reviews concerning the railway before leaving, I think that the comments are way off! It was not intrusive at all.
The food was excellent at the Beach Restaurant and the waiting staff were very knowledgeable. Only Critique there was that the meals were a little dry - ergo sauces and condiments had to be asked for.
We had a seaview room on the 2nd floor, no problems there except that we couldn't sleep with the balcony doors open without letting in mosquitos - I suggest they put in nets to keep them away. All in all though we would be happy to return there again - tommorrow please!!!!

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Reikiman56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
111 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 September 2011

A beautiful Hotel set in exotic gardens with its own private beach.The pool was warm and large enough to do some serious swimming.Towels were provided for the pool and beach.Excellent food served mainly from the beach restaurant looking across the bluest of seas.It certainly lived up to all our expectations.The room was cool and spacious with a balcony and sea view.

Room Tip: rooms over looking the gardens are best.From the first floor upwards there is a sea view.
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank eddie059
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
manchester
Level Contributor
20 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 September 2011

Just back home from Taormina in Sicily. Stayed at the Caparena Hotel and had a lively time. The hotel claimes 4 stars,.but isn,t realy, (I don,t know who comes up with these staring systems or what they base them on!) This, however, isn,t reflected in the standards, the Hotel is very well run, very organised, allways clean and tidy and the gardens are credit to the gardeners. There is a regular stuttle bus service to and from Taormina town that runs until late. There is one element of the Hotel that deserves a 4 star rating and that is the evening meal! It,s expensive, but then everything in Taormina is expensive. There is a very unusual situation regarding the local railway that we had never come across before, it runs right through the middle of the complex and the beach is accessed by a tunnel under the line! The entire time We were there no one mentioned the trains passing through, and after the first day we ceased to notice them too! Make up your own minds.

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank richard c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 September 2011

This Hotel does not deserve 4 Star status.Service in Dinnig area extremely poor, food cold, bad location for elderly and young children, despite having a Bus to take guests in to main town there is a main road directly in front of hotel with no walk ways.Good luck if you managed to speak with Manager to complain..
Hotel very clean but i would not return.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank pauline l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Taormina hotels

2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 5 September 2011

We had a junior suite with sea view.
The view was beautiful except for one thing.. They don't tell you that there is a train track between the hotel and the beach which could be annoying. The service was ok. Coming from the US we expect certain things like bringing spoons for the coffee. Overall, service in Italy sucks. They need to aim to exceed the customers expectations.

  • Stayed August 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Happinesss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Caparena Hotel

Property: Caparena Hotel
Address: Via Nazionale 189, 98039, Taormina, Sicily, Italy
Region: Italy > Sicily > Province of Messina > Taormina
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#9 Spa Hotel in Taormina
#21 On the Beach Hotel in Taormina
#35 Luxury Hotel in Taormina
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Caparena Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 88
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Also Known As:
Caparena Hotel Taormina, Sicily

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