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Caparena Hotel
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All reviewsflowering shrubsprivate beachelectric trainbeautiful hotel sethalf boardthe free shuttle busbest of both worldslarge poolend of juneevery eveningshower headfresh orange juicethe hotel offersroom with a sea viewa wonderful holidayexcellent breakfastisola bella
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Reviewed 23 September 2012

just reurned from sicly taormina hotel caparena not 4* , drinking out of plastic cups day & night at beach bar , no bar in hotel except our last day because of a wedding just a makeshift bar & first time with glasses, never no hot water in after complaining, lunch time beach bar no choice only toasted sarnies etc or dried looking rice or pasta, beach bar rest to expensive also staff at lunch time at beach bar did not seem interested , half board not good food always cold we sent back more meals than we ate , there was no pool bar to get a drink around the pool, also you were cut off unless you used schuttle bus , the good points were very clean &well maintained hotel & gardens as was our very nice room, oh also to andrew beach bar barman at night was very good apart from those horrible plastic glasses. backhurst michael

Room Tip: try & get a room with balcony & sea view & good luck
  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank michaelcranleigh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GHG_Taormina, Direttore at Caparena Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 9 October 2012

Dear Mr Michael,
thank you for your kind rewiev and your feedback.
We would like to inform you that, as per the italian law, the use of plastic cups, glasses, cutlery, plates is compulsory in all bars and restaurants serving meals and drinks on the beach. The main reson is for safety and security purposes.
We hope to have clarified this matter and to welcome again at Caparena Beach in Taormina on your next holday.
The Management

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 September 2012

We stayed at the hotel for the first week of September in 2012, and we enjoyed it thoroughly.

The rooms

First off, I’d definitely recommend getting the deluxe/superior rooms. These rooms have balconies that overlook the sea (unless you’re on the ground floor, in which case you have a view of the gardens since the hedge at the end of the gardens is too tall to see over), and since the sun rises towards the deluxe rooms, you can enjoy the sun as soon as it rises. The rooms are clean, spacious and well air-conditioned with a small fridge which would need re-arranging to fit your own drinks inside. The standard rooms face in the other direction, which only has a view of the entrance to the hotel, along with a driveway, a few plants, and a sheer, 15 foot wall. The sun only seems to hit the windows in these rooms (they don’t have balconies) in the late afternoon, so it might seem pretty dull. However I can’t pass judgement on the rooms since I didn’t have a look inside, so I can’t compare the room I stayed in to the standard rooms. However the deluxe rooms were definitely the right choice and it was a free upgrade from a standard room because we booked 60 days before our arrival. There is a train track which runs alongside the hotel, between it and the beach. There are about two or three trains an hour which are fairly loud if you are used to a quiet area, and they do have freight trains at night which might disturb the lighter sleepers. But after a while you do get used to the sound and noise of the train, and it doesn’t affect the ambience too much. The tunnel from the hotel to the beach runs under this track, and it might be a bit of a shock if you walk in this tunnel while the train travels over you. The train track does hinder the potential views of the hotel since we stayed in the second floor and we couldn’t see the beach for the hedge that provides a wall between the gardens and the track.

The beach

The beach is privately owned by the hotel so only people from the hotel will be there during the whole day. People who aren’t staying at the hotel can also use the beach, however, but they have to pay for the use, and during our stay we only saw unknown faces paying at the beach entrance once on the Sunday, but otherwise it was only resident there. There are a few local sellers that patrol the beach with sunglasses, jewellery and all that kind of stuff who can hassle you a bit, but they’re not too much of a problem if you aren’t interested in what they’re selling. The sand itself was rather coarse and uncomfortable on the feet, so flip flops or similar footwear for walking might be advisable. There are varying sizes of sand grains from sand-sized to large pebbles along the short walk from the deckchairs to the seafront which can annoy you if you walk barefoot into the water. There are two plastic walkways that extend halfway down the beach to help ease the walk, however, which is very helpful. There are enough deckchairs for everyone, but be careful about borrowing towels, since you can only borrow one per day, and you have to sign a sheet saying you’ve taken the towel out so you can’t easily get around borrowing another.

The restaurant

Good and bad points about this place, but I will start with the good. There are two restaurants in the hotel – one near to the beach, and one upstairs in the hotel. During our stay we would eat our evening meal on the beach restaurant unless there was a wedding party on, in which case we would eat upstairs. I believe lunch each day we were there was also at the beach restaurant, although we only ate lunch once. The food is excellent, high quality and fresh and with brilliant presentation. The portions, although smaller than expected, definitely fill you up. The free food for half-board guests is part of a set menu consisting of three courses, with an optional desert as well. As a bonus, if you don’t like anything on the list for, say, the starter, you can order something from another course as a starter for no extra cost. You can also, if you prefer, order a pizza from the pizza menu and also have two other courses (or one course and a dessert) also for free. Be warned, the pizzas are like no size I have ever seen before. Roughly, the pizza was 15 inches wide, so it’s enough for two, or to take back to the room with you (they do give you a pizza box on request) and have for lunch the next day. Breakfast never changes; it’s always upstairs with the same cereals, yogurts, cheeses, hams, toast and pastries with very streaky bacon and scrambled egg (or fried egg on request). Tea (Twinings) and coffee is provided, and the coffee is definitely one for the black coffee lovers! The bad points – on the days where a wedding party took place (three days consecutively during our stay), the service in the upstairs restaurant was somewhat lacking. One day they forgot about us for almost an hour before they brought our starters, and we were sat for just over two hours for a three course dinner. Compared to the service on the other nights, it was a bit disappointing. It seems they would rather cater and prioritise the wedding party over the other hotel guests. The only fault in the food was one night we ordered a ‘Pizza Rosa’, which ended up arriving with a rock-hard crust and with the toppings three inches in from the edge! Be warned, ordering a bottle of water for dinner adds 4 Euros at the end of your bill for each bottle, and it’s roughly a one litre bottle. In the summer they have a disco at least once a week which the local young people attend en masse. The staff seem more preoccupied with their needs over the paying hotel guests.

The staff

The restaurant staff are very friendly, and they did speak enough English for us, although they did appreciate us trying to order food and wine in Italian so it might be worthwhile to try if you can’t speak Italian yourself. Half of the receptionists don’t seem to speak as much English, and seem to look at us blankly if we had a complaint and just nodded their heads without seeming to take anything in, but the other half were friendly and spoke English well. The managers of the restaurant and reception areas are extremely friendly, however, and liaise with the guests frequently. The cleaners are also very friendly and most can speak English well enough for a short conversation.

The town centre

The hotel is located far away from the town (about 10-15 minutes by car) and with the lack of pavements it’s impossible to walk to. There is a free shuttle bus that runs from the hotel periodically every 45 minutes all through the day (even on Sundays) which is extremely beneficial. They do request that you book a seat on the coach, as well as booking a return time at the reception desk in advance, but in our experience in watching 30 people trying to cram into a 20-seater minivan clearly some people didn’t book or didn’t catch their correct minibus. The town is lovely though with its authentic feel, spectacular views and historic buildings and gardens. Be warned, though, the prices for drinks and food in the town is quite expensive near to where the minibus dropped us off. The further along the main high street you walk, the cheaper it does get. There is also a place to buy cheap bottled water (since they recommend you don’t drink the tap water in the hotel) at the other end of the town in a super market, but it does involve carrying the water along the street for about half a kilometre to the bus stop.

If you wanted to do some sightseeing of Mount Etna, I would recommend hiring a car rather than paying for the excursion. The cost of hiring a car is 65 Euros for up to two days (we rented a Fiat Punto, with automatic transmission from a company which was recommended by the hotel, and was the cheapest price of any local car company we had checked out prior to the holiday), while the coach trip is over 200 Euros per person. One thing to be careful of is Italian drivers and their reckless driving/overtaking, especially when they realise you are tourists in the car. Even the pedestrians refuse to move out the way if you are travelling along the road towards them! Etna is fairly easy to get to - the motorway which runs all down the coast of Sicily to Catania has a few places to leave and its very well signposted (look for a brown sign saying ‘Etna’) once you get closer to the place. On our days out to Etna we left the motorway at Acireale for the South, heading towards Nicolosi, and Fiumefreddo for the North, heading towards Linguaglossa.

One final note would be to explore the rest of the seafront. If you walk up the beach and then, in about 50 yards, there is a black, metal stairway leading up to the road and there you can find several beach cafés which are reasonably priced. We went to the restaurant ‘Tropicana’, which served up excellent selection of pasta and pizza dishes and had a lovely, local atmosphere.

Room Tip: Book in advance to get a superior room for sea views Email the hotel in advance for a personal request in picking out a room
  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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4  Thank Jo O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 September 2012

Stayed in late September some years ago and the memories are overwhelmingly positive. 

The rooms are big. A nice design touch is a doorway from the bedroom to the space inside the main door / cupboards / bathroom which in effect creates a small changing room. The balcony over looks the beach and the traintrack is invisible. View of sunrise is exquisite from the balcony. Watching the fisherman standing in small boats peering into the water was fascinating. 

The pool is great as is the beach. The garden was full of bougainvillaea - wonderful blooms. If you want a beach day this hotel is an excellent choice - on another holiday in Taormina we found the famous public beach to be unspeakably crowded and the restaurants nearby to be of indifferent quality.

The hotel has a great open lounge  (with a traditional cart parked on the side for no reason other than "why not?")

Reception staff were really helpful. 
The packed breakfast - for the very early starts were just right. 

Taxi prices mounted up a bit - but that was a personal choice, because we liked go up toTaormina for dinner. 

Breakfast was more than adequate. 

The general feeling in the hotel is one of quiet professionalism. 

We will return. 

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank TravelsInItaly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 August 2012

Although not in Taormina the shuttle bus is great, never heard the trains at night not sure they run at night. Go on hotels wine tasting and try to fill the bus to 8 people to reduce transport costs, eating and drinking on slopes of Etna fantastic. Staff were not always attentive as they could be but it was August and very busy.

Room Tip: Sea view was booked and that's what we got with a massive balcony room 204.
  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Thank Ray B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 August 2012

To start, it is by no means a four star hotel. The rooms are ancient!! cheap ceramic tiles, bathroom with towels, some of them threadbare, water coming from the ancient shower cold....
We had made a reservation of a sea view room THREE months in advance, only to get there and find we were on the first floor, with a view to the roof of some building, PLUS the railway track! They said we were facing the sea..(yes, in the direction of the sea, but no sea view) Finally after raising up my tone, and after I had been assured there were no more rooms, "by miracle" they found a room for us on the second floor. This was a hint of what was to come...The hotel privileges friends, outsiders that are not even staying in the hotel..On the beach, same system, you will never get front row umbrella because that is for their "friends" , at night, they invite you to dance in the beach bar..The only thing you do is to spend money on drinks, BUT they don't let you sit at the bar, because EVERYTHING is reserved to friends coming from God knows were...I had paid for 2 rooms for 10 days, and I didn't have the right to sit at the bar....Too much!!
Breakfast leaves much to be desired: no natural juices, no fruit salad (and you are in Sicily) Pastry must be supermarket bought...I forgot to say that the beach staff is the rudest I have seen in years...One of them came at 6pm (best time on the beach) and he closed my umbrella, and put my things and clothes on the sand, because he had to leave...a real nightmare!!

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank Cristina L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GHG_Taormina, Direttore at Caparena Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 4 September 2012

Dear Mrs Cristina,
thank you for your kind review.
We regret that your stay at the Hotel Caparena has been unplesant, but we hope you have appreciated our efforts to change immediately your room even if in a high season period.
We hope to welcome you again in Taormina in one of our properties.
Best regards,
The Management

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