My husband and I stayed at Sole Castello for a week in mid June and we were not disappointed. We chose this hotel mainly because of its fantastic views, reasonable rates, proximity to the centre of Taormina and the fact it offered parking. It was hard to find a hotel within our budget in Taormina that offered all of the above so we were very lucky to find the Sole Castello. Added to this every member of staff was polite, friendly and helpful.
The hotel is on a peninsular so every room has a fantastic view of the sea and mountains, but if you want a view of Mount Etna and the bay of Taormina then request a room at the front. The rooms appear to differ greatly in size and decor and not all of them have balconies. The "budget" rooms are small and basic and are at the back of the hotel without a balcony. Perfectly fine if you are just looking for a base to explore the surrounding area. We like to sit on the balcony in the evenings and early mornings so we upgraded (€15 per night) to a corner room at the front of the hotel. This had a large balcony with what can only be described as PANORAMIC views of Mount Etna and Taormina, as well as the quaint village of Castelmola which is perched up on top of an even steeper mountain and lit up at night. The room itself was fairly spacious, had a comfortable double bed and a good sized shower room and toilet, also overlooking Mount Etna. A loo with a view! The shower wasn't great, a bit temperamental, and water took ages to drain away, but this didn't bother us. The view and the balcony were worth every extra penny to us.
There is a secure car park which costs €8 per day (I think) but we never had to use it as there was always plenty of free parking on the road. A few yards up the road there is an ancient castle and a church, this is where the steps into Taormina begin. The walk was steep but easier than I expected (we are in our 40's and not particularly fit) and well worth it for the breath taking views again, including the Teatro Greco (Greek Amphitheatre). It took approximately 10 minutes on the way down and 20 - 30 minutes on the way up. The climb in the evening when it is cooler was actually very pleasant and the path is lit. There is a blue bus which stops out side the hotel if you don't fancy walking in heat of the day. This is the Castelmola bus and it runs from the central bus station in Taormina. It costs €1.90 each way and the last bus back is at about 2145, I think. We were told a taxi would be €15 - €20 one way but it was never necessary to use one.
Driving in Sicily was easy and nothing like as chaotic as mainland Italy (we have driven in Naples and the surrounding area which was crazy). We explored the surrounding area including Alcantara Gorge, Castiglione and Castelmola, highly recommended. We also spent a night in Palermo (see separate review) which was very interesting and only took 2.5 hours from Taormina on the main road.
Our room rate included a basic, continental style breakfast which wasn't anything to write home about but perfectly acceptable none the less. There are a huge number of lovely places to eat in Taormina and we certainly tried our fair share of them, so we needed breakfast to be basic to make up for it!
I nearly forgot to mention there is a lovely pool at the front of the hotel, great for cooling off in if you've just walked up that hill! There are a few sun beds and tables and chairs where you can have a drink and enjoy the view (half a litre of wine was about €6, can't remember exactly, but it seemed reasonable for a hotel) and the local beers weren't too expensive either. Getting a sun bed was never a problem as I think most people were out and about exploring rather than sat by the pool.
I would definitely recommend this hotel to others and would stay here again.
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- Also Known As:
- Sole Castello Taormina, Sicily
- Sole Castello Hotel Taormina