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“Perfect Sicilian getaway”

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Monaci delle Terre Nere
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Taunton, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Perfect Sicilian getaway”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 July 2014

We had a fantastic and restful 8 day stay at Monaci and ate in at the hotel on 7 nights as the food included genuine Sicilian specialties and was very good. This really is the place for you IF you are passionate about Sicily and are interested in talking to real Sicilian people; IF you are interested in Etna, its wine making history (the palmento & terraces) and its unique wines (go to Benanti); IF you care about seasonality and where your food comes from; IF you are interested in a tastefully restored (not over restored) character property; IF you want a very comfortable bed and cool nights; IF you respect the planet and the environment and want to reuse your towels over a couple of days (our room towels were changed three times, pool ones twice, perfectly adequate)

IF you want a *****L international hotel where you can get a "Bloody Mary", room service, pool service and as many towels as you wish to use and a heated swimming pool then I suggest that you go somewhere else. We will be returning to Monaci. Thank you Guido, you are a charming host and you have gathered together a charming and helpful team. You all made us feel welcome. You really do deserve guests who appreciate what you are trying to achieve here - it is very clearly stated on your website, if people take the trouble to read it.

Speriamo di rivedervi tutti presto

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Colin C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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357 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (70)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Manhasset, New York
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 July 2014

Monaci was one of the most special places we have stayed in over 25 years of traveling throughout Europe. It is a unique experience of staying in a most remarkable location in the foothills of Etna. On top of this, you are surrounded by an incredible diversity of agriculture which certainly compliments the overall Sicilian experience where eating/drinking is at a very high level. In reviewing the other comments, I think it is important to realize that even though this is a high end property and the rooms/facilities have been renovated to a very high quality, they are not striving to be the Peninsula Hotel (and nor should they be).

The entire staff was genuine, sincere, and extremely kind including Marco, Tiziana, Emmanuela, Antonio, Pietro, Nuwan, Alessio, and Rosario. The food is excellent and the chef Pino (and staff) cook exactly what is in season on the property with care (for example, courgettes and fava beans when we stayed). The pesto and caprese salade was the best we have ever tasted. The breakfast is attended by two of the staff and the selection is local and excellent.

We still talk about Monaci all the time even though it has been a few weeks since we have departed and we will surely return!

Thank you

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Brian F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 July 2014

Monaci delle Terre Nere is really beautiful. The villa is really stunning the restaurant is very good. They have a very good chef. The food, although not cheap, is really good. The chef prepares a fresh menu every day and you choose fish or meat earlier in the day. You can have vegetarian also if you need to. The wine list is also wonderful. These are the good points.
We stayed in a sort of out-house, which was once a place where they stored wines. It was certainly unique and they did put a fully functioning and attractive bathroom in but concrete steps everywhere so we were lucky not to get any injuries. It was a 5 minute walk up hill to the villa and in the heat - not much fun. If you come here book a room IN the villa unless you are adventurous and you're not travelling with children. The website looks much better then the real thing - be aware. I think this is probably a great place for adults to stay who wish to be near Mount Etna and like something more unique with good food and good wine but not too fussy about the rest. Also be aware the breakfast is really below par. It's on a lovely ledge overlooking the hill side but they are really restricted as to what they will bring you and the staff feel like they don't care too much. Staff here are mixed. Some absolutely delightful but the breakfast staff well I've already mentioned that.

Room Tip: Try and stay in the main house/villa unless you're adventurous/fit.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Niki S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
monaciterrenere, Proprietario at Monaci delle Terre Nere, responded to this review, 1 August 2014
Dear Guest,

First of all thank you for choosing Monaci for your stay in Sicily and for taking the time to write this review.

We really appreciate your kind words about our restaurant and the estate. The food we serve is prepared with organic home-grown products. We take care of the service offered in every aspect, for our guests to have an unforgettable experience. The refined Etna Wines are the protagonist of our Restaurant and we are very glad that you had the chance to experience them. I have passed your kind words to the chef who appreciated it.

During the breakfast, a full buffet is served in the wine press or outside, with cakes, bread and homemade jams, cold cuts, cheese, fruits and freshly squeezed juices. Our staff is always at your beck and call, ready to please every request; we are sorry if you had this feeling, very far from our usual way of working.

All materials chosen for the building are strictly linked to the identity of this place (e.g. stone staircases); in the whole estate there are warnings stressing possible but unlikely dangers, in order to ensure the safety of our guests. Moreover, here at Monaci we have different rooms to meet every guest’s needs and for those who have kids, we suggest rooms without staircases.
Anyway, we always suggest to our guests to bring comfortable shoes to move easily through the estate.

Usually our guests appreciate having a walk through the estate and some of them prefer to reserve a Dependence for a greater silence and privacy.

Our staff is always ready to take care of all our guest's requests and its kindness is always appreciated by our guests. We care about details above all, because our idea is that it always pays back when it comes to guests’ satisfaction.

Our aim is to establish a long and lasting relation with our guests and in this regard, we hope we’ll have the opportunity of welcoming you again at Monaci in the future.

Warm wishes,
Guido Coffa
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DC
Level Contributor
33 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 July 2014

Monaci elicits great passion on all sides! Having just spent three nights, I understand the wide range of reactions....

Unquestionably, the grounds and location are stunning -- it was mesmerizing to sit by the pool and listen to the staccato of the Etna eruptions while looking out to the sea during the day, and then watch the red lava dancing around (far away!) at night. The staff were all superlative - gracious, helpful, and really friendly. The design and quality of the bedrooms and public spaces was superb -- we had our most comfortable sleeps of our ten day trip in Sicily here. There are lots of nice touches - welcoming drink, fresh flowers in the room, cookies on your pillow, etc.

We didn't eat dinner at the hotel, as we thought there would be better quality and value at the many excellent restaurants in the area -- and the hotel was very helpful about recommending restaurants and making reservations. We thought the breakfast was okay -- excellent homemade jams, good selection of cheese, salami, cereals, and some fruit, but mediocre homemade bread and cake. I agree with others that it would be preferable to serve breakfast in the main dining area, rather than on the hard-to-climb hillside. We enjoyed the free nibbles at the "happy hour" and an excellent (but pricey) Aperol spritz.

The room locations and layouts vary dramatically. We had one of the two rooms by the main entrance. We found it comfortable, but it lacked privacy and we had to keep the curtain drawn all the time across the front plate glass window/door, which made it less inviting. Be sure to discuss the room options when you book, so you get what you want and need.

While the setting is extremely bucolic, we didn't find the overall ambience to be as relaxing as we were expecting, as there were several large families with toddlers and young children running around enjoying themselves. Of course, July is prime time for family vacation travel, but we were expecting a quieter, more adult getaway based on what we had read in all of the phenomenal press coverage.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank RickDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
monaciterrenere, Proprietario at Monaci delle Terre Nere, responded to this review, 1 August 2014
Dear Guest,

We would like to thank you for your very kind words and for taking the time to write your review in a very detailed and unbiased way. Your feedback is extremely important to us, because it helps to understand how things are seen from a guest’s point of view and how to improve our service.

We really appreciate your comments about the estate, the stunning surroundings, the staff (to whom we have passed your kind words) and we regret reading that you didn’t take the chance to taste the food of our restaurant, because we feel that you would have appreciated it.

Thank you for the comments about the breakfast; we would like to give you a brief note on the bread: having the perception that something was still missing we improved our efforts to find the perfect balance between the quantities of ingredients, the cooking time and the kinds of flours; we do hope that it led to the perfect balance and we suggest that you come back to try it!

Usually our guests love having breakfast outside in order to enjoy the mild temperature of Sicily and the amazing landscape from the soft hill. If we were informed about your inconvenience, we would have set up you breakfast inside.

Here at Monaci we have different rooms to meet every guest’s needs and for this reason we are used to explain our rooms’ features, for our guests to get the room which suits most their needs. Monaci is a place where nature is the protagonist and every kind of guest who embraces its concept can find his/her own dimension.

We hope we’ll have the chance of welcoming you on a future occasion.

Kind regards
Guido Coffa
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 July 2014

We just returned from a wonderful week at this little oasis with charming staff. Beautiful, peaceful, excellent food and wine, Breakfast in the shade of the trees and cinema in the garden after dinner if you're not 'relaxed' enough already. Bliss.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Anthony R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
monaciterrenere, Proprietario at Monaci delle Terre Nere, responded to this review, 1 August 2014
Dear Guest,

We would like to thank you for your kind words.

We are glad you enjoyed your stay and we particularly appreciate your feedback on the staff and food and wine (which are of extreme importance to us).

We do hope we’ll have the pleasure of welcoming you once again.

Guido Coffa
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK
Level Contributor
31 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 July 2014

I can't really improve on a previous reviewer who (rhetorically) asked "when does shabby become chic?" He could have easily inverted the question and asked when does chic become shabby? Our introduction to the place was not promising - the desk manager showed us round and took us up the only route to where the breakfast was served, which required us all to stoop to avoid the overhanging branches of a tree resplendent with full deep pink blooms. As we stooped, the manager said "don't touch the tree, it's oleander, very toxic". I felt like saying - "so why not cut it back a bit so we don't all have to bend in two to avoid it?" But being a polite English person, I did not...

This place is trying very, very hard but it has failed to pull it off. For top whack money it delivers a third rate service in many respects. For example: breakfast is available (self service) on a terrace which is reached only by walking up an extremely steep and frankly rickety pathway. There are handrails but the seating and tables are rudimentary and the seating areas are the dirt beneath the trees. This is either very charming or very cheapskate and I really cannot decide which.

Previous reviewers have commented on the fixed price dinner menu, €48 per head for four courses. Wine and drinks extra. That's a very high price for (generally) high quality food. Staff were helpful and charming but overworked. Movies are shown in the open air at 10pm each night but on one night we were there the DVD didn't work and there was no-one to seek assistance from. The pool for some reason was unusually chilly but otherwise OK and reasonably big, plenty of garden terraces to sit in under umbrellas.

The five of us occupied a 'suite' some distance from the hotel which was ok but had only one shower-room/lavatory which could only be accessed by walking through the children's sleeping area. I think if it were not for the hotel's dogs having had seven puppies three weeks before we arrived - which meant our 8 year old daughter was in heaven as she played with and looked after the puppies - my feelings about this place would be a lot harsher. Another example - perhaps the worst - we one day chose to sit round the pool in the morning and there were no towels available. Eventually, when we found someone to ask for some towels, they brought out a collection of towels that were wet and smelt; we suspect they were simply the towels of the previous day that had not yet been washed and dried. And the person who brought them out disappeared...

In the end I think it was all just a bit too sloppy, unfinished, amateurish - almost as if the owner had run out of interest. Certainly some of the staff have. And of course, you are paying top money for this. My advice is - do not use it unless you have too. There are many great alternatives. And the puppies won't stay cute for long.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank reluctantvoyager
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
monaciterrenere, Proprietario at Monaci delle Terre Nere, responded to this review, 1 August 2014
Dear Guest,

We regret reading that your stay did not meet you expectations, yet your review really surprised us since many of your comments refer to what our guests appreciate most.

Our staff is helpful and welcoming and our desk manager showed you around for you to get to know the estate and the external areas. I’m sure that her sentence about the tree was a nice and humorous way to introduce you to the natural surroundings. Sicily is adorned by these charming plants of oleander, which are scented and colorful; they could be dangerous only if ingested.

During summer we serve breakfast outside for our guests to enjoy the mild temperature of Sicily and the amazing landscape over the sea. Anyway, for those who prefer it, we could set up breakfast inside. Our staff works hardly to keep the estate clean and tidy, yet since Monaci is deep in a natural setting, surrounded by trees, scented plants and greenery, some external areas could come up with small but harmless small leaves.

Our restaurant serves only fresh food, which is prepared with organic home-grown products and refined ingredients, which require efforts and dedication.

The beauty of our pool area is hard not to be appreciated, so thank you for your kind words. We regret reading about the towels, it has been a severe mistake of our staff members but I can ensure you that if we were informed about it on the spot, we would have immediately provide you with new towels and we would surely have found a way to fix the inconvenience.

I regret reading your words about my personal commitment and interest on the estate, since from its first day, I’ve been putting all my energy, passion and dedication to this place and our guests’ satisfaction is what I care most.

I am sure that coming back to Monaci will give you the possibility to discover the real concept of Monaci and to appreciate it.

Best regards,
Guido Coffa
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 July 2014

A huge effort of heart and soul has been put into this luxurious hotel, and it's obvious where it matters. The staff are charming, knowledgeable and well-trained. They understand that the biggest impression when you leave somewhere is the human experience, which is excellent. The food and wine are also really good, as you would expect from a place with these aspirations and prices. Small details like the bar near the swimming pool and in the main reception area, are a nice touch. Dining on the And of course the views are stunning, though I don't think I can give you credit for those Guido!
But it's expensive and you need to understand that most of the bedrooms are dotted around the main Baroque mansion on the slopes among the hillside vineyards. Once you are back in your room you are on your own. So don't expect room service except some drinks provided. The rooms are designed with a great eye for style and an idea only for the comfort and peacefulness of your stay. You need to be careful walking late at night after a bottle (or two) from the wonderful wine list. But that's all part of the fun.
This is high end agriturismo among the green foothills of Etna, where the air is cooler. I would recommend for a romantic weekend break or your last night or two in Sicily.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank PipsDish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
monaciterrenere, Proprietario at Monaci delle Terre Nere, responded to this review, 1 August 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to write these kind words, from which I can easily deduce that you fully understood the concept and the philosophy of Monaci. I’m glad and grateful to read that you really enjoyed your stay and that we somehow contributed to it.

You are right when you say that you can’t give me credit for the stunning beauty of this place, since I had the fortune to discover almost by chance and I immediately loved it.

I do hope that we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back on a future visit and please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any further assistance.

Warm regards,
Guido Coffa
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Monaci delle Terre Nere

Property: Monaci delle Terre Nere
Address: Via Monaci snc, 95019 Zafferana Etnea, Sicily, Italy
Region: Italy > Sicily > Province of Catania > Zafferana Etnea
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 9 Speciality Lodging in Zafferana Etnea
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Monaci delle Terre Nere 4*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In 2007, by chance, I stumbled upon this place, fell in love with it and decided to devote my life to its resurrection.To bring this place, previously chosen by the monks of Saint Anna’s order for his special energy and extraordinary charm, back to life. It has become the second great project of my life. The estate Monaci delle Terre Nere is situated along the slopes of Mount Etna, the biggest volcano in Europe on the border of the Etna National Park at 500mt above sea level. My wish has been to preserve the historic identity and local traditions, more than a Boutique Hotel it is a home which I hope retains its intimacy. The house which dates from 1800 is listed as one of historical importance. It is now a place where traditional Sicilian Architecture is combined with contemporary art and living. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Monaci Delle Terre Nere Sicily/Zafferana Etnea, Italy

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