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“Good location... Not so great accommodation”

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Villa Bianca Resort
Ranked #78 of 87 Hotels in Taormina
Reviewed 6 September 2013

My fiancé and I stayed here for 8 days. The location for access to Taormina is excellent (cable car literally next door) and access to beaches is as good as it gets (all an unavoidable long walk down.. And up... Some fairly steep stairs). However, the breakfast is VERY poor quality, literally one of the cheapest set ups we've ever come across (everything was of the lowest quality available). The room was fairly average (view incredible but that option is probably available in numerous hotels). It had an awful bed (two twins on wheels pushed together which slid all over the place with any slight movement) and the staff were a bit hit and miss. Some VERY friendly and kind and some just outright rude. Also important to note the private beach and pool are 1km away from the hotel... Not actually on any of their properties... There is a shuttle bus that takes you which is reliable and frequent but it costs 8 euros per person per day to use the beach and facilities... Which we were not aware of and certainly adds up over time. We wouldn't stay here again, nor recommend it, unless you want convenient access to Taormina town and something very basic. Organise your own breakfast.

  • Stayed: August 2013
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6  Thank HoRose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 August 2013

The only real problem with Villa Bianca is that it is spread over a variety of levels, not all of which are accessible by the lift. The view from our room was sensational, but it took 88 steps to reach it and for someone short of breath like me, that was a serious hike! We went with Thomson, and this company must – must – take into account access to rooms and people’s ability to reach them. If you are booking independently, be sure to insist that your room can be reached by the lift if you are worried about extreme climbing.

We found the staff to be pleasant and efficient. We stayed on a B&B basis, but they certainly spare every expense on breakfasts. If you are a muesli-cruncher like my wife, you’ll be fine, but otherwise the choice is extremely limited. There is nothing warm, not even toast, and the coffee more often than not was too strong, almost mud. They don’t even give you decent milk. What’s on offer is frothy skimmed milk and this does little to offset the bitter taste of the coffee.
Our room was liveable enough. There is no tea and coffee in the rooms or watchable TV unless you speak Italian, but the maid service was daily and she was very effective. Our sheets were changed every day and the bathroom cleaned to a high standard. However, for a hotel that claims to be a 3-star, surely a shower head with a wall fitting is not too much to ask? Having to hold the shower above my head reminded me of hostel travel back in my youth. Even so, the water was clean and hot.

Our biggest problem with the room was the lack of sockets for chargers. The hotel needs to realise that modern travellers come with a vast range of devices that blink and bleep through the night. We were lucky that we had brought a 4-way extension with us (pictured) and I strongly advise you to do the same!

Overall, Villa Bianca met our needs, but certainly did not exceed them. We were only a few yards from the cable car station, and the best café in town – the American Bar – is but a few steps away. The staff, the food and the draft Moretti beer in there were all superb. It rapidly became our place to be on returning from a day out, and a glass of Moretti in 100 degrees of heat is just sublime.

Taormina is expensive, so bring plenty of money, but living in Villa Bianca as a base is not at all unpleasant. Just be careful with those steps!

Room Tip: Ask for a sea-facing view and lift accessibility if you think you'll need it.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank alanbrown489
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 August 2013

Booked 'Villa Bianca' for our main holiday of the year. Booked B&B accomodation so we could eat out at the restaurants to enjoy the local food. Breakfast got repetitve after 14 days of eating ham,cheese and bread and jam. Boiled eggs or something warm would have made a difference!
The staff in the hotel were nice and friendly. Bruno the owner was especially nice.
Our room was in a separate block from the main hotel and consisted of walking up 103 steps from the top floor so we felt that we'd had our exercise every day. But the climb was worth the fabulous view from our balcony overlooking Mazzaro bay. The room we were given for my wife and myself with our 2 boys aged 9 & 13 had a double bed and 2 fold up beds. It was a bit cramped but we managed, and was better than having to pay for two separate rooms.
We used the cable car most evenings to get to Taormina to enjoy the views and food 'up town'. 3 euors per person per trip added up but was worth it to give us choices of places to eat.
On the days we stayed near the hotel we usually used the Ipanema beach club which was 5 minutes drive in the complimentary shuttle bus that picked up from outside the hotel. At the beach club we could either get sunbeds on the pebbly beach or around the pool. The pool has a swim up bar that sold drinks and sandwiches. We set a tab up at the bar and paid as we left on the evening. It was also possible to charge things to your room bill. Vincenzo who worked at the bar was the star of the bar and was helpful and friendly. Shame the attached restaurant wasn't open for a bigger choice of food, but we often walked down the beach to one of the nearby ones for lunch.
Overall it was a Fab Italian holiday and would totally recommend it!

Room Tip: I think all rooms have a good view?
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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4  Thank jimleeds_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2013

We booked this hotel through Thomson because it offered the cheapest accom in Taormina.
Having read the reviews afterwards I had a heavy heart and was worried about what we might find. To our delight the hotel is perfect.
Friendly
clean
great location for the beach or the cable car up to town
basic but charming rooms
excellent food at great times
outstanding view
quiet.
The hotel is located at the bottom of the cable car , right at the bottom !
After dinner its easy to take the 25m walk to the cable car to be whisked to town for a promenade and a night cap .
During the day it is a few steps down to the beach or a few more steps down to Isola Bella and its beach.
The rooms are clean, basic and typically Italian. Its not the Ritz but we didnt pay for that. Its charming. We had a side room in the bottom block. it overlooked the car park and initial disappointment turned to delight when we realised it got the late afternoon sun , 5pm - 7pm on the balcony with a glass of local wine - bliss. The alternative view for us was over the beach and sea.
The food is good , a choice of 4 starters, 3 main and a desert. Sometimes I would choose two starters , eg salad followed by pasta or rissoto. If you do this they are very generous with the helping. The waiters are delightful, polite and helpful and deserved the tip we left them.Another great point is that dinner is served at 8pm. Plenty of time for a pre dinner drink and then a post dinner stroll in town.It is worth the upgrade of £8 per night for half board - dinner in town will cost you 3 or 4 time that. This will help control you budget and leave more money to spend on the excellent vino.
Over all we think we did ok with our choice.
People in town complained of noise and insect bites, we had neither.
But then I think the Brits just love a moan - look at what you have and not what you dont and enjoy and remember its the cheapest hotel in the book.
SPLENDID !

Room Tip: Try and get the lower block, people in the top block need to be able to climb stairs. Room 709 and...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Applenuts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2013

 When we arrived at 10.15pm we were confronted with a receptionist who was unwelcoming, surly and unhelpful staff member. It was a very poor 1st impression at a late hour, making us feel apprehensive of what was to come.

 We were allocated a room on the 1st floor of the hotel. When we entered the room it was immediately apparent that the traffic noise from the main road was extremely loud and intrusive, being positioned on the corner of two very busy roads.

 The room also had a broken mirror in the bathroom and broken floor tiles which had been filled with cement. All these things together made us have a feeling of dread about the forthcoming holiday.

 We had no sleep on that first night due to the relentless traffic which never subsided. At 8.30am next day we went to the reception and requested to move to another room. We were told that only one room was available which was in the building up the hill. We had little option but to accept this because at least it was the furthest point possible away from the main road.

 This room was of a very poor standard (but at least the road noise was not so intrusive). It was shabby, the shower was grubby with mold, the showerhead filthy and the toilet cistern dripped constantly. We could hear the man next door snoring and other guests coming and going, such was the lack of any soundproofing. The abandoned reception area and display cabinets on the stairs indicated a lack of care of attention and did not deserve the 3-star rating.

 The air conditioning in the room did not work.

 The Citalia brochure stated that the buildings are linked by ‘tree-lined pathways that meander through gardens’. The reality is that the steps to the main hotel go through unkempt areas where broken wood is piled high on what can only be described as wasteland (not gardens as described).

 We were extremely dissatisfied with the meals due to the limited and repetitive menu. Six of the seven nights offered Fish, Veal and Omlette. One night there was a Chicken option instead of Veal but it was overcooked and very dry. It actually became a joke amongst guest that the same food would be presented each night, albeit with a slightly different name. This certainly wasn’t a good example of ‘typical Sicilian cuisine’, as outlined in the brochure and we know this as we had a lunch in a restaurant as part of a day out and the difference between the two was marked.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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11  Thank jackie r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 July 2013

I travelled with my friend and we stayed 15 days there. Good hotel for 3* type. You have some variety of food at breakfast but unfortunately we did not get any fruits. The coffee is too strong, even milk couldn’t help  There is an opportunity to have an earlier breakfast (around 07:00) if you are going on the trip or excursion. Personal is friendly most of the time, air-condition is included and works good. The rooms on the sea side have amazing view no matter if you live in the main building or not. If you have problems with walking, some legs illness or something I highly recommend to live in the main building. If you get the room in other buildings ( I think it is around 2-3 more of them) then you have to walk many stairs up and down every day, because the restaurant where you can have breakfast or other meals is only in the main building. The beach is NOT for free ! There was a bus from the hotel which took us to the beach in the morning, it goes every 30 min. The bus + sun bed with parasol costs 8 Euro per person per day. The beach the hotel is using is Ipanema beach which is quiet and clean. The beach right over the road Mazzaro costs from 7,5 Euro per person per day. The beach near Mazzaro –Isola Bella costs 5 Euro but both of them too crowdy and the stones hurt. I recommend to go to Ipanema beach. You can also eat on the beach in 3 different restaurants, the food and the prices there are OK for Taormina. There were 2 bad things with the beaches: 1. Wind (not every day but often) + waves. 2. Jellyfish (the dangerous type who burns you, sometimes there were too many of those, nobody could swim).

There is a cableway 3 min walk from the hotel. I recommend to buy week pass, because only there you can find good restaurants and something to do (like shopping, walking and so on.) We tried several restaurants in Taormina Mare (down, near the hotel area), none of them were impressive. But the foot they are cooking in Villa Bianca’s restaurant is very good! If you have half pension be prepared that you won’t get any food before 20-20:30. All the restaurants open around 19-19:30 in Taormina (they are closed after 16:00), supper in the hotel starts at 20:00, and you won’t be done with your food until 22:30, because there are several courses and it takes a lot of time to serve.
The cleaning in the rooms are ok but you can find dust under the beds and in the corners of the room and they do not clean mirrors.

There are several småll supermarkets in the area but I recommend to use the one in Taormina (where all locals buy food, it is located at the end of the walking street on the right side), the prices there are 2 times lower, even water costs less.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with friends
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7  Thank Anna_Catwoman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2013

I stayed at the Villa Bianca hotel with my wife for 7 nights.
Overall I would say that it is the best 3* hotel we have stayed in so far. I have stayed at 4* hotels which have been at the same standard.

We stayed half board at the hotel, but we didn't realize the hotel was made up of 4 different buildings (if you include its sister hotel where the swimming pool is) when we booked our holiday, so when we checked in at the reception we were shocked when the porter took our luggage outside and put them into a van, but then we quickly realized that there are no footpaths, and the driving there is a bit crazy!But it didn't bother us as the main hotel where we ate our meals was a short walk away.

We stayed in the new building, and paid extra for a sea view which was lovely, and we made good use of the balcony, however i'm not sure the 100 steps to our room every day was worth the extra money - There is no lift in the new building. It didn't bother us as it was good exercise, but i cannot imagine doing that every day if you have small children or if you have walking difficulties.

The room was kept very clean every day, and the decor was new.
The food for our evening meal was delicious. You would struggle if you were a vegetarian, otherwise the selection of food was spot on.

There was a selection of local wine available with your dinner, and although it was quite expensive, it was also very good!

The waiting service was also spot on.
The reception staff were nice enough but it depends what mood you caught them in.

The cable cart to Taormina is next to the hotel, so it was very handy. It cost 3 Euros pp each way, so after a week it can add up if you want to go up there every evening.
But Taormina is such a beautiful place it is worth going to see it.
To walk back down from Taormina to the hotel was a 30 minute walk but very nice views.

We spent a couple of days using the hotel minibus to the Ipanema beach club.
It costs 8 Euros pp a day, and includes transport to the beach, sun lounger, and use of the swimming pool which was a bonus as the sea was full of stinging jelly fish while we were there.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Iain_Dani
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Villa Bianca Resort

Address: Piazzale Della Funivia, 98039, Taormina, Sicily, Italy
Region: Italy > Sicily > Province of Messina > Taormina
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#23 On the Beach Hotel in Taormina
#38 Luxury Hotel in Taormina
Price Range: £67 - £154 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Villa Bianca Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 86
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Also Known As:
Villa Bianca Hotel Taormina
Bianca Hotel Taormina
Villa Bianca Resort Taormina, Sicily

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