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“Hotel Manager left a bad taste of the whole hotel”
Review of Sole Castello

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Sole Castello
Ranked #60 of 87 Hotels in Taormina
Reviewed 10 July 2012

I would have given this hotel a better grade without this incident below with the hotel manager. And moreover, you should know that the hotel is in the top of the hill in Taormina - so every time you want to go the city center or anywhere in the neighbourhood, you have to climb down and up hundreds of stairs (~half an hour). There are two busses that go to the city center, but the last one goes around 18:30 and they don't go that often anyways - so we ended up using a bus only once during the whole week. Taxis cost around 15 euros to the hotel from the city center, so it would become an expensive option to use them every time you want to go somewhere.

We tried to cancel the last night at the hotel because our plane was leaving at 8:00 in Catania, and there was no way we could get there with the public transportation that early. The hotel manager said it is ok but eventually it turned out that he tried to cheat us the money for the last night, even though we wouldn't have stayed there. And even though he let us understand it differently. Luckily we were in contact with hotels.com and they told what the situation really was. Basically, the manager was lying us. A very slimy guy he was.

The manager also promised us that they would make us early breakfast because we were leaving "by taxi" before the breakfast time. We woke up half on hour earlier for the breakfast, but there was nothing there.

"The taxi" what the hotel arranged us to the airport, was not a taxi - didn't have a taxi sign, meter or anything. It was obviously someone in the family. The price was the same as it would have been by normal taxi. But I guess it was a good way again to earn some extra money - and avoid taxes.

Apart from the manager, the other staff was really nice, and the view from the hotel was breathtaking.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Mosselo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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68 - 74 of 225 reviews

Reviewed 25 June 2012

The hotel has a spectacular view of Taormina, Giardino-Naxos and Etna but to get there by foot from the city center you have to walk a staircase for 20 min down and 40 min up so you have to be in good condition.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank LiBjork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2012

This place had the most amazing view I have seen in my life.Not only from our room but also from the breakfast room and even next to the pool you can just enjoy looking at the city, the see and the Etna at the same time.It was amazing!!!!! The staff was very friendly and helpful.Only negative point was the cleaning.
The pool was a big bonus as the see is very cold so we could enjoy swimming also.
The breakfast was fresh, mostly served with the same stuff you find in Italy all around.I liked it very much.If I go back to Sicily that we plan for next year we will go to this place for sure!!!!!

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank gozsducourt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 October 2011

I stayed at this hotel for 4 nights after a week of travelling around Italy. We picked up a hire car at the airport and drove to the hotel and what a crazy drive that was! The winding narrow roads leading up to the hotel was very nervewracking and i was on the edge of my seat, as for my poor boyfriend driving he nearly had a heart attack. Driving in Sicily is not for the fainthearted. However it was well worth it to see the amazing view from so high up. Etna, the coastline, the yachts out on the sea, breathtaking. Being so high up does have a down side though, finding an easy way to get down to the town. Taxis were averaging around 15 euros which is very overpriced for a 5 minute journey however there is a bus that runs frequently which stops right outside the hotel for 3euros each way or if youre feeling very fit take the 500 odd steps (yes i counted). Me and my boyfriend used the steps everyday, to counteract all the delicious pasta we ate! The double room was very clean, spacious and comfortable with a huge balcony and we even had a jacuzzi bath tub! The owners and staff were very friendly and accommodating. We never ate at the hotel restaurant but they had a very reasonably priced 3 course meal which changed every night and the bar prices for drinks and snacks was great, 3euros for a bottle of beer. You can also get a shuttle bus from the hotel to a couple of beach bars if you fancy laying by the beach for a day. The pool was very clean and was great for having a dip after a long day exploring. Would have been great to lay on a lounger to dry off but unfortunately there were only chairs.
The only negative i found staying at this hotel was that the cleaner starts cleaning the rooms around 8am and you can hear doors banging (only made out of wood and not fire doors) throughout the morning so if you like a lay in or are a light sleeper you may be disappointed.
All in all a great holiday and we would definately stay here again!

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Nicky P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2011

I've spent 3 nights in this hotel on my Fly&Drive Trip to Sicily in July. I got there at 2 am, so I just wanted to get the key to my room and get some sleep. In the morning, when I went downstairs (there is an elevator too!) for breakfast I couldn't believe my eyes - the view is simply stunning! Etna, Taormina, Giardini Naxos and all around is clearly visible. You can swim in the pool and peek at Etna. Putting it simple - this is the best view I have ever seen from a hotel. The hotel itself is very pleasant - staff are friendly, everything is clean. Some rooms are small and have no balcony, which was not a problem for us since we were staying only for 3 nights. Breakfasts are generally poor, as in most hotels in Sicily (I've been to 5 different places while staying). The major defect, which is actually also the main advantage is the hotel location - on a hill above Taormina. The view as I mentioned above is great, but getting down to Taormina is tiresome. You can either take long stairs (climbing upwards in heat - horror), take a taxi (12 euros during the day, 15 at night) or drive yourself if you have a car. Anyway, this hotel is fantastic as long as you are not planning a lazy stay - beach and all other facilities are a long way down...

Room Tip: Rooms on the south-east side have balcony and view on Etna, those on the other don't.
  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Loriath
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 June 2011

My wife and I were here on honeymoon last July 21-28. We loved staying here the staff were fantastic and not at all rude. Yes it is very high if walking but all you have to do is catch the orange bus you go up and down for less than €2 the locals on the bus actually enjoy seeing you and will prob ask you where or what you want to go see it's brilliant.
The views from sole castello and it is a joy to wake in the morning look at etna and then to the sea too see which massive cruise ship has pulled into port.
The only thing I would say is if you are looking lots to do toarmina is limited.
I would recommend asking the owners what restaurants they reccomend that locals love not tourists, on these suggestions and off the beatan track we ate some of the most fantastic food.
In conclusion do not come to this hotel will dillusions of granduer this isn't a 5* palace it is a fantastic typically Sicilian hotel.
Would I go back here? Without a shadow of a doubt it was amazing!

  • Stayed: July 2010
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3  Thank Wobalong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2008

We stayed at Sole Castello for a week (Neckermann’s package) from 2-9 August 2008. Honestly, I had numerous objections and worries before the trip to Taormina, as I had not found any good reviews on either Tripadvisor, or any other website. I had a small fear about the highway for example, which, according to the google maps , was going just below the hotel. I was nicely surprised, when I saw that the autostrada goes down in a tunnel along nearly the whole Taormina. We could see a tiny part of the highway (the one between 2 tunnels) from our balcony, but it was so far away, that I discovered it just on the 3rd day.

The best thing about Sole Castello is it’s location, however, just from the spectacular views point of view. It’s half way between the upper Taormina and Castelmola. From our balcony on the southern side of the hotel, we could admire a truly fantastic panorama including the Saracen castle (Castello) on the left (just 200 m away from the hotel), part of Taormina, the coast with Giardini Naxos nearly up to Catarnia (!) just in front of, magnificent and active Etna on the right, ending with Castelmola on the very right. Every morning we just loved to observe the awakening Etna, but the best views used to come evenings after the sunset, when we could see the red lava flowing down. Unforgettable!

There are rooms to the northern side which are not as nice, however, from the upper floors you can see some mountains and the see too. These are probably cheaper.

The location might not be too good for disabled or parents with small children in relation to walking as it is really quite high. We tried several times to walk the stairs which are just behind the church Madonna della Rocca (below the Castello) and it takes some 20 minutes to get down to the town. Not perfect when you have go down or climb up during the day time, as it was really hot. The way up takes some 10 minutes more and is sometimes the only way to go back if you like to stay long at night in town. The last bus from Taormina Piazza S.Pancrazzio goes at 23:50. There is a bus stop just in front of the hotel with 2 lines operating – orange and blue. Orange is probably the public bus (small one – piccolo), and the blue seems to be the private line. You would be surprised particularly about the first ride up or down with the blue line, after few days one can get used to it :) the 1 way ticket in the blue line is 1.40 EUR, and 0,50 EUR in orange.

The busses operate approx every 1 hour so check the schedule with the reception. They will give you the printed version anyway + the map of Taormina as many times as you want.

On one hand, the distance to the town was quite an issue, but on the other, it was not so crowded there as down the hill, and definitely more quiet.

The staff was always very kind, nice and helpful. The receptionist Carmen was more than nice. Always smiling and helpful at any time. Her friend however, with blond hair, was really unpolite and rude. All the waiters, despite the fact that their English was poor (but it was still good enough for communication), were also very nice. Try to learn some basic Italian, and they will just love you!

I generally don’t complain about the food but it was just typical hotel food. Dinners a’la carte were good enough and different every night. But breakfast was just the same every morning – same 1 kind of cooked ham, 1 kind of cheese and salami + muesli, milk and natural yoghurt. There was also honey and nutella-kind chocolate crème + rolls and croissants. One could say it is not bad, however, if you eat exactly the same every morning for 7 or 14 days, you might easily get bored. Tea and coffee were from the Nescafe-kind machine so water for tea was not even boiled. We truly regretted that they never gave any tomatoes or lemons – in Sicily it was just a disappointment.

There is a private hotel’s parking for 5 EUR per night. I was informed about that in e-mail before we came. We rent the car from California Rental Company for 4 days and parked it just at Madonna della Rocca street behind the hotel for free. As long as you don’t leave any precious belongings, nothing bad should happen.

The rooms were generally clean, but should probably be renovated as soon as possible. The AC system is really old and loud and it operates only from 2:00 p.m to 2:00 a.m. Bathrooms are very small and should also be renovated immediately. There is a tv in every room but you have to pay the deposit of 15 EUR for the remote control. We did not need it anyway. It was much more interesting to seat at night at the balcony with the bottle of wine from the bar downstairs, observing the lava flow and thousands of stars above the volcano.

The swimming pool is small but as long as there are not too many people, it is good enough. And you still can see Etna while swimming!

The hotel has a private beach and there is a shuttle bus there (Letojanni direction) but it costs 6,5 EUR and you have to book in advance. The price of ticket includes the transfer, umbrella and sun bed. This could be reasonable when you calculate all other costs when going on your own - bus (2,8 - 2 ways+ cable car (funivia 3,5 EUR 2 ways) + eventualy some 15 EUR per umbrella and 2 sun beds. And you don't need to change for any transport mean.
Don't try to make any changes in your reservation with the blond receptionist, because she will make problems and becomes unpolite. We did not go to the hotel beach because of the problems with her.

Except of the hotel restaurant, there is quite a popular restaurant Saraceno (not sure about the spelling) with spectacular panorama to the Etna, nearly every night full. The restaurant is at the very end of Via Madonna della Rocca. There is also a very nice bar Al Castello just 50 m above the hotel, where we used to spend nearly every evening drinking wine or bear, staring at Etna and stars, and listening to very good chill-out music (Buddha Bar kind) played by the owner. There are no shops or other bars in the neighborhood so you have to buy water etc in the town. There was however a small spring just next to the Madonna della Rocca church, with a drinkable water, which we often took to the hotel in a bottle. Cold and refreshing. There isn’t even a tiny fridge in any room so don’t better take any food to the room.

Sole Castello is good for non-demanding people, who like to stay out of the center and street life, and don’t mind long walks.

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank corinna_schumacher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sole Castello

Address: Via Leonardo da Vinci 83, 98039, Taormina, Sicily, Italy
Region: Italy > Sicily > Province of Messina > Taormina
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#8 Best Value Hotel in Taormina
Price Range: £59 - £90 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Sole Castello 3*
Number of rooms: 54
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Also Known As:
Sole Castello Taormina, Sicily
Sole Castello Hotel Taormina

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