In everybody's life there is a Hellenia Yachting Hotel, a place that feels like home, a place with magic that makes you want to return. It was so for me from first sight. Situated on a tree-lined avenue with tropical palms, orange trees, and other exotic foliage, you enter from a curving stone path. The hotel appears to be old, perhaps from the 1910-1920 period and the main lobby is extensive with Neoclassic furnishings, crystal chandeliers, and gilt mirrors that remind one of another time and place. The back of the hotel opens onto an expansive terrace with a pool that overlooks the sea.
Our rooms were ready upon arrival and bellmen escorted each of us upstairs. I remember wondering that the hallways were somewhat narrow and plain as I was led to the end of a long corridor. The key turned; the door opened; and I was embraced by the loveliest room I'd been given in some time...#234. As group leader, I was given a major upgrade complete with sitting room, dressing area, full bath, and beautifully draped double doors leading to the bedroom. French doors in the bedroom opened onto a wrap-around terrace with a view of Taormina to the left, the Ionian Sea straight ahead, and the pool and terrace to the right.
The color scheme was soft yellow with accents of rose red. A gilt settee and pair of chairs were arranged around a marble cocktail table; a crystal chandelier sparkled overhead; and polished limestone floors were underfoot. The king sized bed was comfortable and the room was equipped with a very nice desk, mini bar, and safe. Draperies were damask and the effect was Old World and luxurious.
Bed linens were of fine cotton and were changed daily. Lighting was excellent for reading. There were two televisions, one for each room and the number of TV stations was good with several stations for each of many languages. The key was attached to an enormous bronze key tag...so heavy that you wouldn't forget to leave it at the desk when you went out. Elevators were small and somewhat slow, but I didn't let it bother me.
The bath was comfortable with full bath, shower, bidet, and polished limestone vanity. Towels were large and fluffy for the bath and hand towels were of cotton damask...another old fashioned touch. Hot water was plentiful. No face cloths, so bring your own if you like them. Nice amenities.
The main dining room was elegant. I had the opportunity to dine here for breakfast every morning, for lunch once and for dinner twice. Breakfast was excellent and consisted of scrambled eggs, bacon, assorted breads, croissants, fresh fruits, cheese, cold meats, cereal, yogurt, and a marvelous coconut cake. The hotel is well situated for touring. There are two little restaurants across the street; the Hilton next door has a bar with a bartender who understands how Americans like their martinis; and just about a quarter mile up the street is a small grocery store. Further up the main avenue is an archeological excavation of the original city of Naxos dating to around 500 BC and beyond that are more restaurants and the small port city of Giardini Naxos.
All this being said, I loved this small and intimate hotel with its friendly staff and trappings of the gilded age. I was thrilled to stay here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Giardini Naxos, first Greek colony in Sicily, holds a wide archaelogical site with its relating Museum. Few landscapes embrace the most typical beauties of Sicily as Giardini Naxos, cradle of ancient mediterranean civilizations and avant-garde turistic resort in Southern Italy. In the middle between Messina and Catania, only 5 km from Taormina, Giardini Naxos is at less than one hour drive from Fontanarossa Airport in Catania. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hellenia Yachting Giardini Naxos
- Hellenia Yachting Hotel Sicily/Giardini Naxos