We came to the Raya on the last leg of our honeymoon. We had high expectations, having read about how 'hip' it was. We came from the Timeo in Taormina (Sicily) which was amazing and the contrast between the hotels was unbelievable. As other reviewers have mentioned, you get met by a surly fellow at the port who throws your bags onto a buggy. At reception we were greeted by nice, friendly, but ultimately untrained, unprofessional and over familiar girls wearing sarongs and little else. I have no problem with this style of a place when it is a youth hostel and I am being charged youth hostel prices. I do, however, expect professionalism when I am being charged €440 per night.
We got shown around the hotel by a pleasant woman. The bathing area is nice and the views are lovely. The rooms, however, were a ten minute uphill walk away. The rooms are completely removed from the hotel. Our room was very basic. The bed was very hard and the sheets were made from a very cheap, poor quality cotton. They seemed quite grubby. The lady showing us around proudly told us that this was an 'eco' hotel and that sheets and towels were only changed every few days. The cynic in me suspects that this cuts down on their laundry costs considerably! The towels were old and raggedy looking. On the plus side, the view of Stromboli from our terrace was beautiful. They had left a bottle of sparkling wine in our room which was a nice touch too.
The door into the room was very flimsy and easy to break into and there was no safe. We had quite a few valuables and had to leave them with reception when we wanted to go swimming which I was a bit nervous about. On our first day we noticed people having lunch and asked for a menu. We were told that they were not serving lunch that day and that the people eating were friends of the owner! We got the sense from every staff member we encountered, that we were very lucky to be staying in this oh so cool establishment.
They were building a pool by the rooms when we were there and construction workers would start at 7am. Not very relaxing or pleasant! We complained and requested a meeting with the owner but were told that she was unavailable. Needless to say the work continued. This meant that we could not relax on our terrace during the day at all.
All the above were factors in why we cut our stay short but an incident on our third night was the last straw. I mentioned the 10 minute uphill walk to the rooms but did not mention that the road is not lit and is completely pitch black at night. You get given a flimsy torch when you check in. There are no security people around (only at the hotel itself where no guests stay). This means the rooms are very isolated. Had I not been with my husband, I would have felt very vulnerable. Anyway, we arrived back to our lonely room after dinner (we never ate in the hotel restaurant – it’s a rip off). After settling into bed, we heard a knock on our door followed by noise on our roof. We were really frightened. We went, tentatively, onto our terrace to discover three men sitting on our roof! (the rooms are essentially cabins – each with its own low lying roof). We freaked out and rang reception. They were very dismissive at first, saying it was probably just other guests and that the security men were busy in the hotel! Eventually they sent some security men up. The security men obviously knew these men – I assume they were locals. They told us the men were there to take photos of the fireworks!! I went nuts and shouted at them to get them off our roof. They did and left. My husband then rang reception to tell them we were leaving first thing in the morning but there was no answer. No one ever rang us back to see were we ok. Next morning we rang again, said we were leaving and would like to meet the owner.
On arrival at reception, we got an apology for what happened and were told that it should never have happened, they were not photographers etc etc. We were also told that the owner was ‘away’ that day. Yeah right! They took 50% off the total of our bill so I have to say that sweetened us a lot!! We were so happy leaving, spent the last night of our honeymoon back in The Timeo (where we were welcomed with open arms) and had a wonderful last day!
Sorry for the very rambling review but I really felt this was such a pretentious, overpriced and overhyped ‘hotel’ and would advise you to spend your money elsewhere.
- Also Known As:
- Raya Hotel Panarea
- Hotel Raya Panarea, Sicily, Italy