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Historical Traveler Reviews Ipanema Hotel Taormina
We Liked Sicily
Arrived in June 2006 for our first visit to Sicily, and stayed at the Hotel Ipanema in Taormina Mare (a cable car ride from the town of Taormina, down by the beach). It was not our first choice accommodation, as ideally we had wished to stay in the town of Taormina - but on reflection we ended up with the best location. A 55 bedroom hotel, and all bedrooms have a balcony with an amazing sea view over a coved bay, with the Mediterranean waves lapping the pebbled shore.
The hotel had some plus points that were not made obvious by the brochure. Our hotel room had air conditioning (which can be altered by asking reception), a safety deposit box, and a fridge with mini-bar (which we used to store our own refreshments). There was also satelitte TV - which we never bothered to switch on, as there was so much more to do. The minus points of the room - the wardrobe and the shower. It would have helped if you were 6 ft and very slim! I struggled to reach to put my clothes on the hangers, and the process of showering was a burdensome task! With a narrow gap to enter the shower cubicle, the shower head was too high, and by the time water had fallen upon me it was a mere trickle, bringing about a claustrophobic experience.
Not to dwell on minus points. We stayed on a half board basis, which appears to be the norm in Sicily. Breakfast was your average continental affair, with plenty to choose from. The evening meal was a varied menu with 3 or 4 choices for a 3 course meal. A Sicilian buffet night was held on our last night, providing local delicacies and entertainment. The staff were helpful, in the main.
On the roof top there was a smallish (roof top) swimming pool with loungers and a separate sunbathing area with stunning views across the coastline. A further plus point, not advertised in the brochure, was a private mini-bus ran on a half hourly basis to the hotel's private beach - here you had free sunloungers, parasol and changing rooms, with a pleasant outdoor eating area, and also a swimming pool - providing extended facilities.
Almost everyday we took a trip to Taormina town via cable car - 3 Euros return and only a couple of minutes walk away. There was plenty to see - the Greek-Roman theatre, the public gardens, and strolling along the Corso Unberto. We took a night off from our hotel food, and dined at the Granduca Ristorante Pizzeria at 172, Corso Umberta - an excellent meal at a good restaurant price, with priceless views.
We took a couple of trips - Mount Etna, and we can say, the trip to the very top is worth it, by taking the cable car and large jeeps to over 3000 ft - it is not everyday that you get to walk upon an active volcana, and marvel at the destructive nature of our Earth. We also went on a vineyards and villa trip - where we saw the process of wine making and tested a few samples, followed by a visit to an old villa in the Sicilian countryside for a light pasta lunch.
In summary, we would reccomend this hotel. It is in a good location being close to the beach and cable car, good food, friendly staff, and each room has a balcony with a great sea view. For the price, we thought it was good value
NIGHTMARE! If you want a stress free holiday then avoid!
Arrived at the hotel to be informed, without even stepping into the reception, that the hotel had made an error and there was no room available for us. Note: our vacation was booked and confirmed through the travel company in JANUARY! Shoved into the sister hotel Villa Bianca for a night with a sea view but informed that if we wished to stay in the Villa B, we would have to move the following day to a room at the back of the hotel. Confused.... we had booked the Ipanema 4* NOT the Bianca 3*, so why would we want to stay there??? The food at the Villa Bianca was dreadful! Next morning no one came to apologise or see if we were ok. We hunted out someone at reception and spent our day chasing down our room at the Ipanema. We were finally taken to our new room around 3pm to unpack - what a waste of a day! Asked to speak quietly to the Director of the hotel, who was clasping his hands in prayer and looking very apologetic. We talked very calmly and as much as it was not about getting compensation - we had already lost two days of our 10 day vacation and did not wish to sit and discuss our room issues any further, we did ask if he would be kind enough to find out what compensation we would be given. The hotel had ADMITTED it was their error and then done their best to avoid us, we felt they should make amends in some respect. The Director didn't even bother to find us again, he asked one of the reception staff to inform us that his offer was €180. Our holiday was ruined from the minute we arrived, we had exerienced a horrendous past year, this probably didn't go any way to making us extra tolerant of this situation. The bottom line is that we had paid alot of money for this holiday, we needed to rest and calm and we had ended up in a circus where no one wanted to offer a simple apology or try and rectify the situation. Mistakes happen, absolutely but what is more frustrating than a mistake is a company who do not take responsiblity and try to rectify a situation with competence and consideration. What a thoroughly disappointing experience!!
Views to die for
Stayed here for a week and the views form the hotel balcony overlooking the bay are wonderful. The rooms and terrace are a little on the small side but clean but the staff at the hotel are friendly and very helpful.
We went half board and planned to eat out regularly but because the food was so good only ate out once. The Sicilian Evening every Friday is particularly good when they lay on an excellent buffet and you are entertained throughout with by a "Sicilian Music Group".
The pool is medium sized and situated up on the roof next to which is the solarium area. i never had any problems obtaining a sun bed and frequently had the pool to myself!!
The hotel is situated very close to the cable car, which is very convenient, especially if you want to go into town for a drink in the evening, or shopping in the early morning. And the cable car runs til 1am which is great.
Whatever you do don't miss a trip to the Teatro Greco as the views of Mount Etna from here are breathtaking. Go early before the tour parties get in!!! Taormina is a delightful place but gets very busy during the late morning and afternoon, so if staying at the Ipanema in Taormina Mare would reccommend going up about 9/10 in the morning or in the evening.
There are good bus services to Catania, we took the bus to Taoromina from the airport which took an hour but only cost 5 euros. And you can get buses to other places like Alcantara gorge.
We enjoyed the Ipanema and Taormina very much and would recommend it to anyone.
Noisy inside and outside
we (couple) stayed at the ipanema one week from april,6. in 2006.
when we arrived, taormina mare was still hibernating.
our plane arrived late at catania airport, so we reached the hotel at about 9:00 p.m.
the restaurant already was closed - like all the restaurants nearby, the hotel bar was also closed, they couldn't offer anything to eat. we were glad to get some sandwiches 100 meters down the hill. the "funivia" to taormina center was out of order because of maintenance.
our room was tiny but tidy. the beds were terrible, we woke up 5 times a night because of neckache and pain in the back, always in danger to roll out of the beds.
next morning a nearby building pit ended our sleep with it's machine noise, which accompained our whole stay except sunday. the sunny balcony was very small, to open the outer doors you always had to put table and chairs from one side to the other. we went upstairs to the sun roof, it was clean with a wonderful view over the taormina bay. but the sun beds were without any pillows, and no one knew where they could be found. There was no service at the sun terrace, not even a phone to order something or a bell to ring for a waiter...
next day a family with two or three children came in our neighbor room. it was very nice to share their family life in the morning and in the evening, you could hear everything from their bathroom.
we only had breakfast at the hotel, the staff was nice, but everything else very poor, they even didn't have a toaster. you found a poor choice of bread, sliced and dry cheese, a poor choice of mortadella and salami, hard boiled eggs and some cereals...
the staff outside the restaurant usually did it's best to ignore the guests...
we will definitely not go to this hotel any more time
Nice reasonable priced!!!
My husband, our 3,5 year old daughter and I stayed at the Ipanema Hotel in Mazzaro/Taormina for 5 days at the end of September 2005. The rooms were very clean and so was the hotel itself, staff was very friendly and helpful par from a few male members (must be a Sicilian thing I believe). Not really a family hotel, but perfect for one with 1 young child (may have been the time of the year too).
The 2 ladies at the reception arranged a room for us on the last day to stay in at until 19:00 after we had to check out by 10:00 from our original one, which was a Godsend with a 3,5 year old and the hotel being booked full that day!!!
Beds (2 single beds) were quite hard, but at least it felt "new", the toilets were very loud when you flushed them and it was not only ours that made a strange noise.
The (cold) breakfast is served between 07:00-10:00 and contained 2 different cereals, yogurt in a large bowl, slices of meat, cheese, fresh fruit like peaches, apples and oranges, hard boiled eggs and the coffee was often a bit "old" due to us having breakfast at around 09:30....meaning it is not freshly brewed!
I do not know anything about the other meals as we adventured into Taormina for that (recommend "Tiramissu" and "L'Orologio" restaurante).
There is a free shuttle bus going every 15 minutes until 18:00 from the parking square around 200 meters from the hotel which takes you to their private stony beach 1 km further up. This beach has free sun beds and parasols and you can buy drinks at their bar behind it.
Across the way from the hotel are two or three restaurants and a water sports Lido, including scuba diving.
The hotel has a small pool on top of their roof with a few sun beds around it, make sure to take up the beds on the wall side that looks over the bay, the other ones do not catch any sun after 13:00.
Mazzaro does not offer that much itself (you can take a walk to Isola Bella), you need to go to "Taormina" by cable car for it (3 euros for a return ticket or 20 euros for 14 rides, they only take 2 minutes), a taxi will cost 18 euros!!!!
Taormina can be very expensive, we do not drink beer or wine with our meals and a lunch would cost us between 25-40 euros and evening meal between 45-75 euros).
The location of the hotel is superb! The main road is sepperating the hotel from the coast and the cable car to Taormina is only a 2 minute walk. IF we ever were to go to Taormina again to stay at a reasonable priced hotel near the beach, I would go back.
A good hotel for couples
We have just returned from an enjoyable holiday (May 05). The rooms are on the small side, but adequate, the hotel was spotless. The staff are very friendly. Breakfast was the usual cold buffet, but the evening meals were excellent, The roof top sun terrace has lovely views, the pool is not heated and in May was icy! Some guests have passes to a lido in the adjoining bay, this entails catching a shuttle bus from near the bottom of the cable car (100 yards away). There is a lido on the beach very close to the hotel, guests get a reduction on the normal price. We thought that this lido was much nicer than one further away. The local beach has stunning views, the lido has a very nice restaurant for lunch, good even if you are not using the lido. There is a shop about 50yards from the hotel which sells water, wine, food for lunches etc., very useful.The cable car is very close to the hotel, this takes you up into Taoramina, a return trip is 3 euros,you can buy a 20 euro ticket, which is cheaper if you want to go up there a lot. There were some children in the hotel, but really it is far more suitable for couples. We would definitely return to this hotel.
Fantastic for all the family
This hotel was fabulous, and I feel the only thing stopping it obtaining 5 stars was the lack of parking. The rooms were fabulous and comfortable, the cot we had was a proper cot not a travel cot like we had in all the other hotels we stayed in. The hotel is in prime position minutes walk from the shops, beach and cable car. The staff were very friendly and spoke a multitude of languages fluently. The food was superb and they catered for our little boy wonderfully, with a baby seat at the table for every meal without having to ask. I can not recommend this hotel enough, the rooms with the sea view balcony were prime positioning. The pool was great. Excellent service
Very Noisey Rooms
We stayed mid-September at Ipanema. While in the bathroom I heard a sneeze...well, I'll SAY it was a sneeze...and both my boyfriend and I said "was that you?" and then realized that it was from another room! We heard so much noise from so many sources for 3 nights, as did my mom in another room, that we thought the hotel was made of paper! We didn't sleep at all. The view and balcony and even the room and bathrooms were nice enough, but the staff was neither friendly nor helpful, especially in the dining room. Unless it is warm enough to be on the beach all day, there is really no reason to stay below in Mazzaro, there are only one or two restaurants there and you will spend all of your time going up and down the lift to get to town. I would not stay at the Ipanema or in Mazzaro again.
Like staying with friends.
We stayed at the Ipanema in July 2004. It was a delightful experience. The hotel is small and traditional. All the members of staff are welcoming and so happy and friendly. The rooms are clean and comfortable with a good sized balcony offering a wonderful view of Mazzaro Bay. The pool is quite small but the sundeck is spacious with lots of beds with comfortable cushions and umbrellas. The restaurant is excellent, serving traditional Sicilian food. The beach is reached by crossing the road and walking down steps. The cable car station is two minutes' walk. The service to Taormina is every fifteen minutes and runs till 1.30 am in high season. We had a wonderful holiday and will definitely return to Sicily and the Ipanema.
Nice, gentle, family concern
Our holiday in this family hotel was very nice. It was our third hotel we stayed in Sicilie. The hotel is near the beach, situated at Taormina Mazzaro. The centre is about 500m walking and you must use a cable- lift to reach the centre. It is a safe road even when you like to walk at teh evening. When you have children this is not a 'kids love' hotel.
When you are here as partners or with older children you will love it.
The food is great, the people are very helpful. The reason why we went to this hotel was the fact that we had a great holiday in Villa Bianca a few years ago. This is a 3* hotel owned by the same family. Next time when I will go back to this part of siclie, I will stay in this hotel again.
TripAdvisor Reviews Ipanema Hotel Taormina
Travel Blogs from Taormina
... room with spectacular views from the balcony along the bay and to Mt Etna, Europe's highest active volcano. Unfortunately the trip Rob and I booked to get closer to Mt Etna didn't eventuate the next day, (it seems there were mixed massages about where to pick us up). But we still had a great day having a look at more of Taorima, and the views of Mt Etna were very clear from where we ...
... via Etna' then turn right at 'villa Bellini' into 'via Umberto' and left at the 'Elvis Presley Bar'. Of course we needed to try the famous cannoli (crispy pastry filled with a sweet ricotta and postachios) and arrancini (large cone shaped of cooked rice with a centre of ragu or cheese and mushrooms). On Saturday night we met and had dinner with the other travellers on the tour. We were very fortunate as there were only 13 of ...
... Even though our flight was not scheduled until 9PM, we decided to just head for the airport (about a 1.5 hour bus ride) after breakfast and packing. We figured we might be able to get an earlier flight, and otherwise we'd just hang out, play cards and read. Turns out our 9PM flight was the only one from our carrier that day so we hung out, ate some surprisingly good airport food, and arrived in Malta before 10 PM after a 25 minute ...
... top, we walked along the edge next to two craters, I had lunch at this stop (arancini, coffee and canoli cake). Nice sunny day today. We spent some time waiting for the English people to get back to the bus, thought we had lost them! Next stop was an underground cave, we were issued with a hard hat and torch. Last stop was to ...
... pasta with tomatoes and eggplant and veal schnitzel which they call steak and bread! Also wine and a beer. Sunny day today, took the chairlift back down and walked back to our hotel for a rest. We found the pool and had a rest there but sun nearly gone now. Walked to the beach at Isola Bella and stayed there for a while then went back to the hotel for wine, beer and nibbles for ...