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“A jumped up youth hostel charging 5 star prices.”
Review of Hotel Raya

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Hotel Raya
Ranked #9 of 9 Hotels in Panarea
Dublin
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“A jumped up youth hostel charging 5 star prices.”
Reviewed 22 January 2008

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.

  • Liked — The view of Stromboli from our terrace.
  • Disliked — Too many things to mention!
  • Stayed June 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
19 Thank DublinMil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (13)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Essex
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 January 2008

We stayed at the Hotel Raya in August 2007, we were told that we would be collected at the ferry and taken to the hotel, but the Golf Buggy had already collected someone else so we walked as it is just next to the ferry port. Our greeting from the reception staff was great but we had missed the welcome tour - I would really recommend the welcome tour as the hotel layout is confusing. Our room was nice (nothing amazing) but the view over Stromboli was fantastic. We arrived around lunchtime & decided to head down to the main hotel to get some lunch - after sitting there for a while being ignored the hotel owner came over & said that they didnt do lunch but we could have a salad & risotto if we wanted, we said yes please. It then felt as if we had gate crashed a private party as the waitress serving us barely said two words & certainly didn't smile.

The hotel rooms are up in the hills some distance from the main hotel & after going for breakfast the first day we decided that what was on offer really wasn't worth the effort involved to get to it when we could have coffee, cake & a smile from the girls at the Barista near our room.

There is also very few sunbeds in the sunbathing area at the main hotel, we spent most of our time outside our room which was lovely other than the fact that we lost the sun in the early afternoon.

If you read reviews about this hotel it is almost too good to be true, we came away feeling amazed by the view & location but dissapointed with the service and staff who had also read the reviews and believed their own hype. There seemed to be two types of service for customers at the main restaurant & bar - one amazingly friendly & helpful service if you were Italian and another that felt as if we were too much trouble being english. The staff at the barista were totally different & were always helpful.

  • Stayed August 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank LadyLambrini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milan
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 September 2007

We stayed here for 4 days in July, this being our second stay, the first in 1998.

The concept of the hotel is a chic and bohemian envirnonment set on one of the world's most beautiful and relaxing islands. This is true if you forget the concept of value.

The rooms are basic at best which is how they should be in the environment they are in but, they are a cheap basic when you consider that the price for the room is €400 a night in mid season. The view from the room is exceptional, the view in the room much less so.

On our first evening we ate in the restaurant and it was the last time. When we first stayed here the food was good value and portions hearty. This time we were shocked at how overpriced the restaurant was and the food was not good at all. If you are staying here then you are not on a budget (room rate alone shows this) but at the same time it is not an excuse to take money from people. The service matches the restaurant, our waiter did not understand Italian or English and was basically rude!! There are much better restaurants on the island and we would suggest trying these.

At night the bar and disco are open to everyone so do not be surprised if at the gates you have to fight your way into the hotel reception/bar/disco area and fight your way out after. This really needs to be sorted out, paying guests and we that have to push and shove through people is not a great look.

It is a fair walk to a from the hotel and main "town" but in good company you do not notice it. There are some taxi services if required.

In short we will definitely not return to the hotel. There are much better alternatives such as the 3 star next door. After all on Panarea you do not spend too much locked time in your room. A pity because the place could be amazing.

  • Stayed July 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank Globe24/7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Newmarket
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 August 2007

It just didn't live up to the billing.

I'm a coeliac and that tends to cloud my views, but it just didn't live up to its billing. They just didn't understand my gluten allergy which is unusual for Italy, as they have more coeliacs than most.

I think its problem is that it is one of those hotels that has been designed, rather than evolved.

I wouldn't go back.

  • Liked — Fantastic Views
  • Disliked — It was away from the main hotel
  • Stayed June 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank JamesML
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
25 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 August 2007

We have just returned from 9 days in the Aeolian Islands including three at the Raya. The previous reports are pretty good so I will just concentrate on the key important points: a) the rooms are up a steep hill back from the port, so if you forget your wallet, camera etc it is a long 7 minute walk (there and back) in the heat b) the rooms are fairly basic (but clean) so you stay at the Raya for the peace and the fantastic view not the gadgets (go to a Four Seasons for that!) c) there is no pool this year although one is being built up the mountain by the rooms d) the service is erratic and relatively casual so you need to chill or you become frustrated e) the food (breakfast and dinner) is really only OK and we had much better dinners with a better atmosphere in town for less than 25% of the cost and f) the famous nightclub only gets going at the end of July, the music starts at 1am and most clubbers (teenagers) arrive towards 1.30am.

In conclusion it is THE famous hotel on Panarea, it has great views from the rooms so if you want to read a book and admire Stromboli from your window then it is for you. On the other hand if you are looking for value for money (we paid 480 Euros per room per night B&B) then stay somewhere else on this hip and trendy island and just enjoy a few over-priced cocktails on the Raya terrace at sunset.

  • Liked — Location and view
  • Disliked — Food and value for money
  • Stayed August 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Johnrog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PA
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 July 2007

There are no perfect hotels, only certain hotels that are perfect for you. The idiosyncratic sometimes inconsistent Raya was the perfect hotel for us. The magic of our experience there proabably has as much to do with with the magic of the island itself, it's serpentine stone paths, toasted marshmelllow bungalows, and a heart melting view of the island of Stromboli and its volcanic outcroppings -- accessible from every corner of the Raya. Would we have been just as happy at another, less expensive hotel? Perhaps, many on the island seemed nice. But the Raya takes work, and, in the end, it's worth it. The rooms are situated far up the hill from the common areas of the hotel, so don't come if you're not feeling hearty. The advantage of this distance is that you don't hear so much noise from the port, around which all other hotels are situated, and can get incredibly loud with revellers on weekend nights. The views from this perch (where there is also a breakfast bar and a soon to be opened thermal pool) are unequaled.

We loved our room, even without the accoutrements more typical of a luxury hotel in this price range. But this is an eco-lodge of sorts, and all that plastic encased hair conditioner is just landfill anyway, right? What they provide for you is enough. And if you can't stand the quiet, as one person here complained, bring a small Itunes stereo to fill the silence.

The hotel was gorgeously appointed, enough to produce some decorating envy. It often felt as though we were staying in the very large villa of a very tasteful friend who hand selected each stone planter, wall hanging and painting over many years of traveling the world.

The service is inconsistent, but everyone was friendly enough to make it not really matter. And if you want to enjoy soda, beer or water at the rocky outcropping that serves as Raya's beach, don't purchase from the bar but from the supermarket 100 feet from the hotel entrance; you will pay about 20% of what you would inside the hotel, and no one seems to mind if you walk around holding a soda can that the Raya didn't sell you.

This trip was one of our best among many amazing trips. We have decided that we will come back, perhaps with children, perhaps with friends.

  • Stayed July 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank TravelsAllTheTime1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ireland
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 11 June 2007

We spent 3 days in this wonderful hotel. We stayed in one of the more expensive rooms located at the top of the island with fantastic views and a very spacious veranda where we sat and sipped champagne in the afternoons! The island is uniquely located with views across to Stromboli, an active volcano, and the locals (only 100 or so) are all very friendly. There are no cars on the island so people get around in golf buggies hence the island is very peaceful and quiet.
The hotel, although a bit pricey, we thought it was worth it and the staff did everything they could to make our stay enjoyable... we were served apperatifs outside the bar before dinner looking out over the harbour. The bar was quiet at night as we were there early in the season (May) but we could imagine great nights being had there in high season (although keep in mind the prices nearly double from June 1st!) The bedroom was spacious and had doors opening out onto the veranda from the bedroom and the bathroom.
I would recommend that you request one of the rooms highest up on the island and enjoy the views. Be ready for the walk up the steep hill - but it's worth it. We will definitely return to Hotel Raya on our honeymoon for a few days.

Martina, Ireland

  • Liked — Fantastic views and relaxing feel to island
  • Disliked — Bit of a steep walk to the room but worth it!
  • Stayed May 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank MAMIreland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Raya

Property: Hotel Raya
Address: Via San Pietro, 98050, Sicily, Italy
Region: Italy > Sicily > Islands of Sicily > Aeolian Islands > Panarea
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 9 Hotels in Panarea
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 30
Also Known As:
Raya Hotel Panarea
Hotel Raya Panarea, Sicily, Italy

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