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“Nice, but not exceptional”

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Excelsior Palace Hotel
Ranked #25 of 87 Hotels in Taormina
Reviewed 13 June 2008

Stay 1st June to 8th June, 2008

First of all the bad points:

1. The price of the drinks, and pool food and drinks expensive.
2. Only one warm container at breakfast with a small amount of scrambled eggs, bacon, and on alternate days frankfurter sausages. This was not checked to see if food was getting low and when it ran out had to ask to be re-stocked, and then only a small amount of bacon put in after a very long wait. This was not at the end of breakfast.
3. Dinner, quite nice, but not exceptional. Very few deserts were put out, and not enough to cater for everyone in the dining room. Therefore, had to resort to ice-cream.
4. Bedrooms 30 – 39 avoid at all costs – No 39 is only a short passageway away from the post-office. The others overlook what appears to be a building dump below.
5. Air-conditioning. On from 8 - 10.00 a.m. then 2 - 10 p.m. Who needs air-conditioning from 2 p.m. Most guests are not in the hotel until early evening. NO AIR-CONDITIONING at night. We complained about this but were given some weak excuse that guests did not want it on at night! Who are they kidding.

Be warned, in Taormina do not buy any drinks or food without knowing the price. A lot of bars/restaurants do not have prices on drinks lists or sometimes menus. Many people at our hotel were ripped off. One couple had 4 drinks £100! Another paid £6.50 for a Becks. Yes £s not Euros. There is a bar called Billy & Billy at the fountain at the Cathedral of San Nicola where the drinks are very cheap, and are served very nicely, and always with nuts, and then another drink later with some other pickies. We only found it on our last night which was a shame.

DO NOT change money in Taormina. We only got 1.14 Euros to the £ as they charge high commission. We could have got 1.22 at Marks & Spencers at home.

Good points:

The staff are extremely helpful, and can’t do enough for you. I am not particularly fit, but did not find the walk down to the pool bad, as there are wide walkways in-between steps, so it was easy to sit down or just stop and take a look at the scenery. The pool area is lovely and very peaceful. Plenty of sun-loungers, chairs and small tables to put things on.

The hotel is in a very good position at the end of Corso Umberto, however, it is at the wrong end of Corso Umberto if you want to go on excursions as they go from the bus station, and the lift to the beach is also at the other end. I would say easily 25 minutes away.

We didn’t go on any trips as these mostly started from 6.30 – 7.30 a.m. and a couple didn’t return until after mid-night! When we asked different guests if they had enjoyed these they said no and that we hadn’t missed anything. Also guests were very critical of the Mafia trip (most people want to do this in Sicily) and said it was a waste of time. Concerning excursions, it is probably more convenient to hire a car for a couple of days.

Taormina is lovely but very restrictive as it is impossible to walk down to the beach due to the length of time it would take and the danger of the traffic. Everyone seemed to agree that one week was enough.

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank ElaineJ_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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421 - 427 of 676 reviews

Reviewed 24 May 2008

First, the bad bits:

- there was no air conditioning working in the bedrooms. It doesn't get switched on until June 1. This means sleeping with windows open, which means building noise from an adjoining hotel, and getting bitten by the local mosquitos, which incidentally seem to thrive on everything else.

- on occasions, the breakfast buffet runs out of scrambled eggs (although they are worth waiting for when they do arrive)

The good bits:

- just about everything else.

- The people at the hotel are some of the nicest I have come across at any hotel - nothing seemed too much trouble.

- As is well documented in other reviews, the pool is a bit of a hike but is well worth it. It is a truly stunning location at which to sunbathe and from which to view the bay.

- dinner pretty good and plentiful on the nights we took it at the hotel.

- location perfect for the town with all of its restaurants and bars. We ate at the hotel a couple of times and it was fine but it seemed a waste not to explore a bit.

Generally we loved it and I'd go back again like a shot.

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Swindoneric
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 April 2008

We spent four days here as part of a package holiday and this hotel was wonderful. The views from the bar and rooms facing west and north especially are fabulous. The hotel is spacious and airy, with beautiful antique carpets and furniture in pubic areas. Attentive and efficient staff and good food and wines. Pity the dining room has no views, but this is planned for a revamp I gather (check for building works before booking). The pool area and gardens are lovely. It is slightly on the edge of the town but conveniantly located for wandering down the main street. People with mobility difficulties might find it a bit awkward as it is a bit of a walk (with steps) to the pool and to bus or car parking areas - but this is Taormina itself not this hotel's fault!

  • Stayed: April 2008
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2  Thank scotvic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2007

The Excelsior Hotel was recommended by an 'friend of a friend'. I would certainly recommend both the hotel and the resort of Taormina as perfect for a relaxing, yet interesting holiday.
The hotel is very conveniently placed at the end of the Corso Umberto, the main street of shops in Taormina, so walking out for the nightly stroll was very easy.
Although built in 1904, the hotel has every modern facility. Our room on the first floor was not large but it had all that would be expected of a 4* hotel. The air conditioning was very effective. Towels and linens were changed daily and our room, together with all public areas were cleaned to a high standard. Staff were helpful and polite.
The hotel pool is super being 25m long and over 10m wide. It is well-maintained and all areas are cleaned daily. Although the hotel was full there was never a shortage of beds and umbrellas. Mattresses were available at a daily charge of 3 euros but many of the loungers did not require these. Towels were provided free of charge. The views from the pool area were magnificant and will not be forgotten! The constant views of Mt Etna were also not to be missed.
We stayed on a half board basis. All meals were served in the dining room on the lower ground floor. The dining room was well-appointed but it was a shame that it affords no outside views at all. The breafast buffet was more than adequate with a choice of fruits, cereals, juices, cheeses, meats etc. Coffee was good.
Dinner was silver service. The vegetable buffet served as an appetiser was excellent. The first course always gave a choice of soup, risotto and 2 different pasta dishes. The main course provided a choice of fish and at least 3 meat dishes. Should one wish to have a pasta dish as a main course this was provided without question. The dessert consisted of a self selected choice of puddings, cakes and fruit.
The wine list was extensive but we can certainly recommend Principe de Corleone (bianco)!
My understanding was that children's meals could be served earlier than the dinner which ran between 7.30 and 9pm. It appeared however that few, if any families elected to take up this facility. This meant that diners like ourselves had our evening meal interrupted by a small number of toddler-aged children who were obviously not used to eating in a formal dining room. Perhaps families with young children should be more positively encouraged to eat earlier so that other guests can enjoy their meal without screaming/crying children.
There is much to do in Taormina and Sicily. We used the local buses to travel to Gardini Naxos, Catania and Castelmola. The organised trips all start from the bus terminal hich is a good 20 minute walk from the hotel.
The little shop opposite the hotel across the square is good for water and wine.

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled as a couple
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15  Thank OllieW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 August 2007

We have just spent nine days at the excelsior Palace and had a lovely holiday. The best things about this hotel are its location and fantasic views of Mt. Etna and the Coast. The food in the hotel is also fantastic and well worth the money. There is a large variety and the menu changes every evening.

Unfortunately we didn't realise there were different grades of room when we booked and ended up with a very small double with no balcony and a view of the Thomson holiday office! Definately book a room with a balcony because the views are spectacular and you don't want to miss out.

On the down side, some of the staff were a little unfriendly and there is no outside terrace to have a drink or eat apart from the pool bar bar which closes at 6pm on the dot! The pool also closes at 6pm which we found a bit fustrating!

All in all a good hotel with stunning views!

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled with family
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10  Thank PipkinsLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2007

The hotel was overall very good. The room was very spacious and always well cleaned. Air conditioning was very good - other than the standard power cuts in Taormina which affected everyone. The food was excellent, although we did experience some delays when we appeared to have been forgotten. However, the main problem was the resident children (grandchildren of the owner we were told who arrived during our second week) who basically took the hotel over - there were some 12 children present when we were there and another 4 expected! It was impossible to enjoy the pool when they were present - radio controlled boats - oversize inflatables, etc. Complaints were made but nothing was done about this. I think that any agent recommending this hotel should make people aware of this.

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled with family
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12  Thank Antimac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 July 2007

We have just returned from 2 weeks holiday at the Excelsior Palace in Taormina, our stay lasted from the 23rd June to the 7th July. On arrival we found the reception staff helpful and friendly. We had a side facing large room on the second floor with more than ample storage space. The bed linen was changed every couple of days and the white linen type towels every day.

The food in the restaurant was of good quality and very pleasantly served by the waiters. All the staff were friendly and helpful, and couldn't do enough for us.

From our room we could see the multi storey car park, along with Mount Etna and the view down to the bays, but then again who stands looking out at a car park, when there are better things to see and do, although the car park has some nice coloured advertising on it!!!

It was a trek to the swimming pool (84 steps) we counted them, so don't forget the suncream, it's a long walk back. The pool is clean with plenty of sun beds and umbrellas. The pool bar is open early and do a nice lunch even though the menu is limited, don't expect burgers and chips, they don't do them.

Overall we would recommend this hotel to anyone, and would stay there again.

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank grandmaleigh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Excelsior Palace Hotel

Address: Via Toselli 8, 98039, Taormina, Sicily, Italy
Phone Number:
Region: Italy > Sicily > Province of Messina > Taormina
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#18 Luxury Hotel in Taormina
Price Range: £82 - £187 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Excelsior Palace Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 88
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Excelsior Palace Hotel even to day after more then one hundred years its building is considered one of the most appreciated hotel structure in Taormina.Its architecture draw its origin from a context cultural and natural,Greek,Roman and Medieval.The Excelsior Palace Hotel looks over one of the most beautiful wiew of the world:Etna and the Bay of Naxos, the Greek Theatre, and the immense space of the Jonian Sea. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Excelsior Palace Taormina
Hotel Excelsior Palace
Excelsior Palace Hotel Taormina, Sicily

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