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Travel Blogs from Mazzaro
So we finally capitulated and made the 2-hour trip to Etnaland, which is in the middle of nowhere, to the left of Catania.
We arrived at the advertised opening time of 9.30, but were pipped at the post by a hundred or so eager teens and Tweens and their parents...... It's gonna be a loooonnnnnnggggg day, I thought.
Italians have a sophisticated attitude to swimming and water-related activities: access to change rooms, at no cost, which ...
... lunch and Lia found me a pumice stone, which I intend bringing home....
Later that evening, after the requisite siesta, we set off to Linguaglossa to a few places that Seņora recommended: Bar Le Palme for granite and l'Alhambra pasticceria for a local pastry delicacy made of pistachio, almonds or hazelnut. While we were walking around, I was struck again by the groups of ...
... the end of siesta, or so we thought.....
Again, we parked at the foot of the town and set off on foot to look for pistachio delicacies and a toilet for Lia. Fifteen minutes later, it became apparent that this town didn't wake up until 4.30, and Lia's increasingly high-pitched enquiries as to the closest toilet made me start looking down narrow alleyways for a covered spot. Eventually, we found the only open bar, frequented only by old men, and dashed ...
... the ampi theatre and some gorgeous buildings. We sat and had a coffee and then started walking again and around another corner was the biggest markets we have ever seen. It just kept going and going and going. From new and used clothes, jewellery, shoes, leather goods, bathers, electronics, toys, hats and fruit and vegetables. It was amazing. As we kept walking we came across old churches and beautiful buildings and just enjoyed it so much. ...
When I was making my summer plans over the spring months, I of course wanted to include some relaxing beach time. I made plans to go with a friend to Mykonos in early July and figured that would suffice (in addition to weekly trips to Santa Severa beach outside Rome). Something that I was also planned for the summer was to visit in old teaching buddy who now lives in Zurich. Was going to do that a few days after Madrid.
How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Villa Esperia Mazzaro
Lovely Time at the Villa Esperia, Taormina
We just came back from a ten days holiday at the Villa Esperia Hotel and can honestly say that we had a marvellous time. We were worried after reading some negative reviews of other visitors but decided to see for ourselves and were pleasently surprised with what we encountered. The staff were extremely helpful. We were quite late because our rented car broke down however they kept our dinner for us even at 11:30 pm!!. The rooms are nicely decorated and good beds!!. The air conditioning was working properly even during the day!! Extremely clean. The food is more than Ok for what we paid and there is a choice of five dishes each night and the excellent sicilian buffet on friday. Angelo, Giusseppe, Salvattore. Roberto, Antonio and the rest of the staff made our stay even more pleasant. We will definetely come back to the same hotel in the future if travelling again to beautiful Taormina. Hope this will help anyone thinking of going to this hotel. Highly recommend it.
R. and M. G-W
Villa Esperia is not too bad!
We have just come back from 10 days at the Villa Esperia; at the time of booking only 3 reviews on this hotel were available (from 2003) and these were pretty positive, it was only when I checked just before we left that I saw all the recent negative reviews and so was very worried about what we would find.
I have to say that considering the negative feedback we were pleasantly surprised, the rooms were pretty modern, nice and clean with a great shower and the staff very friendly, the lady receptionist was very nice and gave us lots of information and advice about the area. The food I agree is pretty awful, we tried it on our first night and ate out every other night except for the Sicilian buffet on the friday which is really good. The breakfasts are abosolutely fine though and the waiters are so friendly they almost make you want to come back in the evening just to see them and not eat the food!
As other guests have mentioned the pool area is very nice with plenty of sunbeds and although the bar isn't manned too often there are a couple of little grocery shops just 2 minutes walk away where you can top up on drinks etc.
I think I was lucky as I had been warned by a friend that certainly in Sicily (and possibly all of Italy) the hotels are very generous with their ratings and I was told not to go for anything less than a four star (as fours are more like three stars). As a three star hotel I'd say the Villa Esperia is fine and to be honest the price should be a bit of a giveaway that this is not a four star hotel. I wouldn't be put off at staying at this hotel as long as you are prepared to eat out but I wouldn't advise that you bring young children as you do have to be very careful walking down the road to the cable car.
I hope that you find this useful!
Eve & James, London
Definitely Not One for Food Lovers!
Having just returned from a week staying at the Esperia, I can only echo most of the reviews I wish I had read before booking. The hotel is on a dangerous bend on a very busy road and has a long flight of steps leading up to the reception, although there is also a lift which is not offered. The rooms are generally clean, but very basic and in need of an overhaul, with strange aircon which the occupants cannot control.
With the exception of an amazing Sicilian buffet on Fridays, the food is atrocious, with the strangest selection on the menu, including such delights as fried cheese sandwich, and cauliflower with chips.
The saving grace of this hotel are the waiting staff, who are fantastic, and deserve to be working in much better surroundings than these. The manager and reception staff are curt, unhelpful and spend much of their ime watching the tv in reception, whilst the bar remains unmanned most of the day.
A two thirds of the price this would still be a mediocre hotel, but four star it definitely is not.
Taormina, however, is the most restful and beautiful place to stay, and well worth a visit - just don't stay at the Hotel Villa Esperia!
An okay hotel..not worth the money
My boyfriend and I have just returned from a week in fabulous Taormina. We were there to check out hotels, restaurants and churches for our wedding in Taormina next June. We stayed at the esperia and found the hotel alright. It definetely wouldn't be classed as a four star hotel in our books but it served its purpose for this visit. We found the rooms could do with a huge makeover if it is to be classed as a four star hotel but they were spotless clean and housekeeping arrived early every morning (approx 9-10am) to start cleaning. The pool area and pool were really nice with enough sunbeds for everyone. Most of the staff were nice, one or two weren't really interested in making you feel welcome. The hotel is about 100m from the cable car up to the main street in Taormina which wasn't a problem. BUT I have to say the food in the hotel was AWFUL. We opted for half board when booking this hotel and we ate in the restaurant just 1 night, we couldn't bare the thoughts of going in there again. Breakfast was ok... the usual continental style... All in all I wouldn't reccommend this hotel at the price we got it for.. it should be classed as a budget hotel with a budget price. Looking forward to Taromina again next year.
4 Star hotel - It most definitely is not
The hotel was in a lovely position but we were terribly disappointed when we entered. There was no one to greet us or assist with our cases so we had to carry them up quite a long flight of stairs (we found out later there was a lift). We had a problem with our room and found the Manager and Reception staff very unhelpful and actually quite rude.
The rooms were very basic and the standard of housekeeping in our room, public areas and pool area was below standard. Apart from the Friday buffet the food was pretty poor although the restaurant staff were helpful and friendly.
Above all our observation was that this was most definitely not a 4 Star hotel. It was of budget quality in all respects.
Definitely not 4 star standard!
Just returned from a week at the Villa Esperia and would endorse the previous review. This hotel does not meet the levels of accomodation, service or facilities which we have enjoyed in other 4 star hotels in Italy.
The rooms are very small and offer only basic storage.
However, the most bizarre thing about this hotel is the restaurant. Each morning at breakfast a menu for that evening is left on the table and guests have to order their dinner in advance. We have been to many hotels and never experienced this system before. The meals were disappointing, the only really good dinner is on Friday evening when a Sicilian buffet is served.
The hotel does not serve lunch or snacks during the day and the bar was often left unstaffed.
On the plus side the pool, although small, was pleasant and there were always enough sunbeds to go around.
The location of the hotel is on the corner of a very busy road which does not have footpaths, this made walking hazardous particularly at night. The cable car up into Taormina is about 200yds away and Taormina itself is fabulous. In spite of the disadvantages of this hotel we had a good holiday and will definitely return to this part of Sicily.
Definitely not a 4 star hotel!
We have just returned from a week at the Hotel Villa Esperia, and we leave with mixed feelings. As other reviews have commented, the bar and waiting staff are fantastic - Angelo, Roberto and Guiseppe in particular. They went out of their way to be fun, friendly and helpful - even after working a 14 hour day!
However, from our experience of other hotels in Italy, this was not a 4 star standard. Although clean and tidy, the rooms were basic. Also the hotel operates a bizarre system with its air conditioning whereby customers do not control when it comes on - it is automated to come on for certain times during the day. This was especially noticeable when it went off in the middle of the night, which meant we had to open all the windows and leave ourselves at the mercy of the ferocious mosquitoes!
We were lucky with our view because we paid extra for a balcony and a sea view. However unless you pay for this upgrade, you are likely to end up with a view of a fire escape or the wall of the hotel next door. A number of people complained, but with only a limited number of sea view rooms there is nothing the hotel could do.
The female receptionist was rather unhelpful, and any problem (no matter how trivial) was met with a shrug and a "what do you want me to do about it?" response. Also beware if you hire a car - although parking is advertised at the hotel, there is an additional charge of 10 euros per night for this.
As in the other reviews, the pool area is lovely and the views are tremendous. The hotel's location makes it easy to get into the centre of Taormina (which itself is breathtaking) via the cable car.
The final comment must go to the food. Apart from the friday night before we left, where a fantastic Sicilian buffet was laid on, the food was fairly disastrous. Even the waiters admitted to not liking it - and their meals were free!! Samples include dried pasta served with tinned tuna, pea soup served with half cooked cuttlefish - and the piece de la resistance "Some Kind of Fried Cheese Sandwich". (That is a direct quote from the menu!)
But all in all we would definitely go back to Taormina. Although we wouldn't stay in the Villa Esperia, we would pop back in to see our friends who work there and share a glass of wine.
Excellent holiday; go right now!
Had a brilliant time at the villa esperia, wanted to go back as soon as
I got home! Staff and waiters were extremely nice. Food was excellent-
didn't have the same thing during the whole 2 weeks; choice of salad,
around 5 starters, 5 main meals and a desert each night. Waiter service
was brilliant, and all the waiters spoke good english, and were helpful
and cheery. Rooms were nicely decorated, with nice ensuites, and
balconies. Lovely, large pool, always clean and lovely when you needed
a break from the sun. Bar, in door and outdoors, serves luch, and nice
when you want a drink during the day or at night. Had evening
entertainment, twice when we where there; traditional music, and
sometimes other music. Loads of trips available with/ without holiday
companies, nice beaches nearby. Local bus service and cable car up to
Definately going back!
Hotel Villa Esperia has a stunning location overlooking the sea and is
just 200m from the beach. Staff at the hotel were extremely warm,
friendly, helpful and efficient and made the holiday a fantastic trip
and one which I am hoping to repeat. The rooms are modern and furnished
to a high standard, the reception and bar area is clean and spacious
and the swimming pool is a welcome retreat when the sun has got too
much to bear and you need to cool down! The food was amazing and there
is so much choice every evening and during my two week stay, none of
the meals appeared twice on the menu. All in all the hotel was a lovely
place to stay and I would strongly recommend it to anyone who is
thinking of going to Sicily.
No way a four star
Lovely view from the hotel overlooking the bay.
Would question the fact that it is rated as a 4 star! I would say it is more of a budget hotel.
Reception staff were rude and refused to answer any questions or deals with any complaints.
Overall it is okay. But not a 4 star.