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“A real let down”
Review of Hotel Raya

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Hotel Raya
Ranked #9 of 9 Hotels in Panarea
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
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7  Thank Globe24/7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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60 - 66 of 167 reviews

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.

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank JamesML
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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.

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled with family
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7  Thank Johnrog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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1  Thank TravelsAllTheTime1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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

  • Stayed: May 2007, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank MAMIreland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 November 2006

We booked the Raya as it was written up in various Hip Hotel books and we looked forward to having our honeymoon there. What a disappointmnet. The rooms were or a poor standard. There were few facilities, the sofa was dirty, there were cracks in the tiles, limited and cheap bathroom products, no pool, no TV, no DVD, no music palyer, need I go on.
We stressed that it was our honeymoon but the staff still put us in a front row room which everyone walked past. We were not treated specially in any way. Yes the restaurant had a nice location but so do many of the restaurants on the island.
Go next door to the three star property and experience value for money with a better breakfast and the same view. We did this on the second day of our honeymoon and could not wait to get out of the Raya.
This hotel charges lots of money and but you will not necessarily get value in return.

  • Stayed: June 2006, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank londonbased
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 August 2006

Above average because of its extraordinary aspect - views from our junior suite were the best we have ever experienced. The room was okay, but had a sad plastic shower cubicle arrangement. The outside terrace was just fantastic.
The hotels rooftop cocktail bar wonderful, the dinner pretty good but the menu runs thin after a few days. The sommelier was a star, courteous, friendly, knowledgeable and really cared about the hotel and it guests.
On arrival the pick up was surly. The driver sat some way from the boat and watched us (and other guests) drag our heavy cases across and with no explanation he threw them in some other truck. Without a word of greeting or any pleasantaries we were stuffed onto a tatty, noisly, dirty petrol vehicle with another couple and driven off. Meanwhile a nice quiet white covered electric buggy from the hotel drove past and picked up boxes from the boat.
We enjoyed the guided tour, but there were smelly garbage bags lying around in the streets.
Breakfast was fine, the young man serving another repeatedly surly and unfriendly character.
The furniture and general demanour of the hotel on daylight is somewhat worn and tatty.
One day we decided to use the hotel sunbathing terrace. Asked for bathing towels in reception, could not find any and told to collect them at the terrace, there were none so I returned to reception who took me down to show me where they were and agreed there were none. Said the'd get them from the laundry, no one from the hotel staff came near the terrace again all day and no towels were ever provided. Most guests sat it out with no towels on hot sticky plastic covered loungers. I went and got towels from our room (a 10 minute walk each way).
Departure the same surly experience as arriving.
Miriam the owner was very friendly and loves her hotel - apparently she has been there over 40 years.
Absoutely worth the visit but I'd not go back ,the price we paid was essentially for an unforgetable view.

Stayed: July 2006
6  Thank Smikey2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about 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: £79 - £188 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 30
Also Known As:
Raya Hotel Panarea
Hotel Raya Panarea, Sicily, Italy

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