Via Leonardo da Vinci, 118, Santa Venerina, Sicily, Italy
"Not suitable for mobility impaired: the whole property is built on a steep slope and there are a lot of stairs. There are access paths suitable for wheelchairs to most areas but the meandering route is 10 times longer than taking the stairs. Since stairs were the only way to access the rather basic breakfast at the hotel restaurant (fabulous view to the sea), there seemed litte point to the disabled bathrooms in some rooms. When shown to my room, I was disappointed and, yes, shocked. It was more basic than the hotel room photos. The bathroom was nothing like the hotel photos. Even though it was called a superior room, it was more 2* than 4*. Peeking at a suite showed nothing better. The front room was dominated by a cheap table and chairs with a cheap sofa along one wall and a TV stuck to the side wall, at 90 degrees to the sofa - and the TV was so badly fixed that it slanted! The curtains were a cheap fabric in all rooms and suites. The rest of the furniture seemed Ikea standard and little thought given to placement. All the doors squeaked (a pet hate). The lighting was mostly poorly placed. On the good side, the A/C did work. There was a kettle and small fridge (with the usual price list for the few drinks inside) but no complimentary water. There were herbal tea bags but no normal tea bags. There were tiny espresso cups and saucers in the room (even though there was no coffee to put in them) but nothing suitable for tea (real tea bags and actual tea cups suddenly appeared 2 days later). The whole bathroom was dated. I particularly hated the toilet. It was a much higher-than-normal disabled type, with a seat that did not fit properly, so wobbled. When flushed, the water usually did not stop running loudly through the cistern for 1/2 hour at a time - and the toilet could not be flushed again during that period. Also, it was next to a shower that leaked water which pooled around the bottom of the toilet (ugh). Even though the manager popped in at our request to discuss this, the toilet flush problem and the wobbling toilet seat, nothing was done about anything. The guests in the suite next to us had even worse problems with their leaking shower. There was no bidet, odd in Italy (just one of those hoses attached to the toilet) and yet all the hotel bathroom photos show a bidet. Remember, we were supposed to be in a “superior” room... There was no bathrobe (“only for spa customers”) even though the hotel boasts an infinity pool, at the bottom end of the hotel grounds. That salt pool is freezing even on a day reaching 30C but there are adequate loungers and, again, that same fabulous view as from the restaurant, which is terraced above the pool. Few of the bedrooms called "sea view" had any sea view from inside, you had to step outside for that. We tried the restaurant on our first night and can not recall suffering through a worse meal. Even though 80% of it went back, “chef” did not seem to notice. By contrast, we had an e"
"We have been staying here for 5 days and it was a truly amazing experience. The hotel is located in one of the most beautiful areas in Sicily, between the Ionian sea and the mount Etna. The village is very conveniently located to make excursions to the volcano, the beach, Taormina and the gorges of Alcantara. The three hotel buildings are set within a nicely kept garden and the rooms are spotlessly clean, modern and tastefully decorated. The breakfast is very sumptuos and they even serve homemade cakes and marmelade from their own clementine grove, which is located just next to the resort. We had dinner at their restaurant every night because we loved it so much. The chef „Francesco“ is very talented and you can tell that he cooks with passion. He took into account that we are vegetarians and adapted the dishes accordingly or simply created something just for the two of us. But what really made our stay so wonderful was the extraordinary kindness of the staff. Everyone was going out of their way to make our time here special and strived to fulfill our every wish. From the first second when we were welcomed by the owner Salvatore we felt at home. The hotel is definitely high-class but far from snobby. You can definitely feel that this resort is run by the owner family with passion and heart. "
"Almost everything about this place is perfect: the beautiful location at the foot of Mount Etna, the luxurious atmosphere, the serene tranquility, the very friendly and helpful staff, the exclusiveness of the private spa, the infinity pool, the excellent and cosy restaurant, the talented chef with sense of humour, the abundant breakfast with local and seasonal produce. Yet there are a few things that could make the difference between "near perfect" and a perfect 10: 1) lack of clear resort maintenance vision: how much work can it be to sweep the stairs and paths in the morning, check the landscaping on weeds, clean the edge of the swimming pool? A 'property master' could offer a solution here. 2) lack of clear housekeeping crew instructions: no "don't change" sign on the bed? Then change bedding. If on arrival 2 toilet rolls, 2 bottles of bath foam and 2 bottles of shampoo are present in the bathroom, then after bathroom cleaning, again 2 toilet rolls, 2 bottles of bath foam and 2 bottles of shampoo should be present. 3) lack of clear and structural lunch service and pool service. So, there's always room for improvement. Apart from that: this is a heavenly place on earth!"