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“A hotel with real character”

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Taormina Park Hotel
Ranked #61 of 87 Hotels in Taormina
Reviewed 9 September 2010

Stayed at the Bristol Park with a group of friends, as two other friends were getting married in Taormina. We all enjoyed this hotel, which is a real character property in a great location with lovely views. The rest of the crowd preferred the Bristol Park to the places they were staying (the nearby Bel Soggiorno and Ariston hotels).
The decor in the public areas is dramatic, opulent, eccentric with antique furniture, huge paintings, sculptures etc. I can see why it wouldn't appeal to everyone, but I liked it!
Room (101) was OK, with more vintage furniture, a modern bathroom and a large balcony with a side view of Etna. Also a useful minibar (clear it out and fill with your own much cheaper supplies from nearby shops). The rear facing rooms are called "garden view" in the Thomson brochure, but that is a bit optimistic. The front is lovely with great views to the town, sea and Etna. There is a nice pool area at the front, which was never that busy and was well looked after by the staff. Be aware the pool is up to 3.4m deep, although this was clearly signed.
I thought the hotel staff were all professional and smartly turned out. Cleaning service good, and reception helpful. The breakfast was fine, buffet style and the same each day. (Although the fruit juice was odd, as other reviewers have noted).
Some of the criticism is justified: the aircon was decidedly variable, the TV reception was poor and the bar prices were steep. However I think the hotel's pluses definitely outweighed the negatives.
Taormina is a gorgeous and historic town, perched on clifftops above the sea. The main drag (Corso Umberto I) is about 10 min walk from the hotel and runs between two gateways in the old city walls (the Porta Messina and the Porta Catania) passing through the three main squares. The place attracts an upscale crowd of all ages, a lot of Italians, quite a few Brits and various other Europeans. English very much the second language of the town, on most menus and a lot of signs. As other reviewers have noted, the price tags reflect the upmarket feel. Lots of good restaurants, partcularly if you like seafood.
Try the Sicilian wines. Reds such as Nero d'Avola are good, whites are more variable, some good, some bland. As anywhere you'll pay a premium for eating and drinking in the main squares, check the prices first as some bars are pricey. Check out the alleys and side streets, there are plenty of nice places to eat and drink tucked away. I'd recommend the Nero d'Avola wine bar/restaurant which is down an alley beside the Porta Catania. One nice thing is when ordering drinks in most places you get some nibbles included, ranging from a bowl of nuts to a generous spread of bread, olives etc.
The place feels very chilled, perfectly safe late at night and refreshingly yob-free.
If you are feeling energetic climb the small hill (with the big crucifix on top) for great views of Taormina and nearby Castelmora, which is perched on an even higher outcrop. Look for the signpost "Varo" on the main street. The path up has scuptures of the 12 stations of the cross at intervals. The amphitheatre (teatro greco) is well worth a visit too (EUR 8 entry).
Mount Etna is also a must see. (Book locally, a good bit less than Thomson were looking for). Will cost about EUR 75 from various agencies in town. Don't bother with cheaper option, which only goes part of the way up. It's an interesting day out, and far higher than any UK mountains at over 10000 ft. Dress for high altitude, and mildly rough terrain (trainers fine). If you don't have anything suitable you can rent jacket and boots at the cable car station for a modest fee. There's nothing too strenuous involved, but you do notice the effect of the high altitude and you may splutter on the sulfurous fumes too!
All in all I really enjoyed my week in Taormina, my first visit to Sicily. I'll be back!

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank PeteEdinburgh7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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82 - 88 of 281 reviews

Reviewed 23 August 2010

Good first impressions of hotel, assisted with luggage, faded when we got to the room. They knew it was our honeymoon, no extra effort to upgrade or even put flowers in the room was made. Our bed was twins push together! Room had a chipped floor, where ant were coming from, plastic coverings falling off. The staff seemed ok, the cleaners were expectional! Room cleaned everyday. The director made you feel unwanted by not interacting with a single guest! Bar not brillant, dont touch the hotel bar menu! 10 euros for 3 pieces of bread, some tomatoes and a slice of ham and cheese! The bill for everything purchesed within the hotel is settled on the departure day.

Location good, next to main bus terminal, lovely resturant almost next door- Al Giardino! Recommeded highly. Overall I believe the hotel should be re tested, the decor needs an update- broken chair in dinner room!

Don't come here for a honeymoon! Come here for a low key holiday. ( Be prepared for no internet, no free parking, no gift shop, extra charges for cot hire! However bath contiments are unlimited.)

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank peggypatch88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 August 2010

Beautiful hotel and very good for single rooms for teenagers. The boss is very eccentric and never addresses most of the guests, which makes you feel that you are not wanted there.
However, the staff nice. The cleaners above average. the breakfast room beautiful with views of Etna and the breakfast ok.
Air con a bit hit and miss depending which room you get (no safe)and the beers at the pool are an astonishing 8 euros ( five star prices). Average in the town 4 euros and at the Mini mart nearby 1.89 euros. So beware.
As reagrds things to do; Etna an interesting trip and a day on the yacht was lovely.Its very cold and windy at the top of Etna so take some thermal ware with you and trainers.Hotel gave us breakfast to take with us. Beware that buses from Guardini are haphazard and a taxi might be required. The sea was warm but the shores very stony and crowded. Weather was 31C all week and sunny, which is priceless whatever the hotel you chose.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank Paul247
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2010

We arrived at the hotel with some trepidation having read of the calamities experienced by a reviewer earlier in the month.
The good thing about the hotel were:-
Location
Views
Friendly staff
Cleanliness
The disappointing aspects were mostly minor but could easily be put right with a little thought and investment. The breakfast was something else and not at all in keeping with a 4 star hotel. If you wanted sausages, fried egg or fried tomatoes you had to cook it yourself on a grill provided. The fruit juice tasted like nothing I had experienced before and the overall choice was poor when compared with other hotels stayed at in Italy.
When we arrived we decided to have a lunchtime snack and examined the extensive menu. Only one item was available a cheese,tomato and ham sandwich made from the breakfast menu with bread that must have been the cheapest available from a supermarket. The lack of choice continued throughout the stay. Although the hotel did not provide anything worth eating, bringing your own snack to the poolside was not allowed.
On return to the hotel on the first night for a final drink we were informed the bar closed at 8.30 each evening, on the orders of the owner and clearly to the embarrassment of the clearly frustrated staff.
The furniture in the hotel looks superb but do not expect to be able to relax in a comfortable, well padded chair, they don't exist. Finally, if a hotel is going to put TVs in rooms make sure they have a reasonable reception and with so many Brits staying there provide an English language station. I know that most people do not go on holiday to watch TV but the occasional 10 minutes to catch up on the news is needed by some.
Overall I would recommend the hotel for its very convenient location but if returning to Taormina would investigate the few other hotels in similar positions

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank ShropshireJohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 July 2010

Judging by some of the other reviews the Bristol Park is a bit of a lottery - when everything is working it's fine, but when it's not you might wish you were staying somewhere else. On the first night of our stay the air conditioning wasn't working - but they promised to have it fixed by the next day and it was. One of the bathrooms had a constant drip from the ceiling and another appeared rather alarmingly in one of the corridors one night. As for some of the electrics - well it might be best not to look too closely. It seems the Bristol Park is rather like a dowager fallen on hard times - trying hard to keep up appearances but sometimes falling short. And yet...

Cleanliness throughout couldn't be faulted. The staff were without exception friendly and helpful. Rooms are spacious. And the views of Etna and the bay at Giardini Naxos must be among the best anywhere (see my picture attached). The pool and surrounds are clean and well-appointed. The breakfast room is large and airy with fantastic views - the buffet breakfasts are OK but not spectacular but still you might enjoy cooking your own eggs and sausages on the griddle provided.

Bar and dining facilities are limited but with Taormina only five minutes walk away that's not really an issue. Just don't expect a party at the hotel every night as it's not that kind of place. If you like your hotels in the modern minimalist style then the Bristol Park is definitely not for you - but if you're up for something quirky and possibly even a bit mad then look no further.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled with family
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Thank TheReluctantTourist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 July 2010

What’s sad about this hotel is that it could all be so different. The location is superb; the hotel’s main public areas are intriguing and the balcony views encompassing Etna, the historic town and the sea are eye-popping. Unfortunately, a lack of management, hospitality and chronic under-investment quickly conspired to ruin our stay. Here’s what happened last week - everyone at the hotel was effected similarly.

On day one the air conditioning stopped working; it blew warm air for two more days then completely stopped for the remainder of our stay. Not a puff. On day four there was a power cut - for 24 hours. This meant showering, in cold water, in the dark. The balcony shutters are electric so we couldn’t let any natural light or air into our stuffy room. No electricity means no lifts. The powercut was due to a problem at the hotel and was fixed by installing very noisy equipment that kept us awake at night - this was exacerbated by the need to now open the previously immobile shutters (no aircon remember?) - the rash of mosquito bites the next morning compounded the misery. Then, on day five, to top it all the water supply stopped completely for the whole day - not a drop of water in the whole hotel - no water for washing, showering or flushing toilets. When it did return it was light brown and had black lumps in it. How a riot didn’t ensue I don’t know - perhaps the combination of those hypnotic balcony views and the very sedate English clientele content with their Catherine Cookson’s? What made this even more unbearable was the complete lack of urgency, understanding or compassion by any of the staff. Time after time again complaints were greeted with a nonchalant shrug or a despondent ‘the technical man is coming in one hour’. No one was in charge. I half expected a plague of locusts to descend on our last day.

OK, so we were unlucky, we picked the wrong week, it was a one-off right? Maybe so. With hindsight however, the place has an over-riding sense that guests aren’t really welcome; there’s no bar for pre-dinner drinks, no music, no entertainment or well.. anything like that at all! Just wishy washy coffee, undrinkable breakfast juice and a fleeting ‘buongiorno’ from the cleaners. Unlike vibrant Taormina with its warm and welcoming residents, the Bristol Park is dead and soulless like the old Italian guy who tinkers around barking orders at the staff pretending to run the place.

In the end, I couldn’t wait to leave and pitied the new arrivals as they expectantly marched off the plane. Taormina is stunning; the only thing stunning about the Bristol Park is its incompetence.

PS: If you do stay, the little mini-mart 200 meters up the road is the cheapest place to pick-up essentials like bottled water.. The elderly couple who run it were charming and create fantastic paninis whilst you wait.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Madonna1Uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 June 2010

The service was really friendly and helpful from all of the staff,our room was always well cleaned with towels and linen changed every other day,the hotel is located about 5 minutes walk from the main shopping/eating street,everything about the hotel was great the only down side would be the actual prices in the town of Taormina

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank kevinkvgreen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Taormina Park Hotel

Address: Via Bagnoli Croce 92, 98039, Taormina, Sicily, Italy (Formerly Bristol Park Hotel)
Region: Italy > Sicily > Province of Messina > Taormina
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#33 Luxury Hotel in Taormina
Price Range: £92 - £203 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Taormina Park Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 52
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Bristol Park Taormina
Hotel Bristol Park
Taormina Park Hotel Sicily

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