San Domenico Palace Hotel
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Historical Traveler Reviews San Domenico Palace Hotel Taormina
Gorgeous gardens, beautiful public rooms, disappointing bedrooms
I find myself odd man out reading the other reviews. This is because I found the bedrooms spartan, uninteresting with non-descript furniture. What I loved about the hotel were the public rooms, the incredible art everywhere, the setting and the spectacular gardens.
Taormina is an amazing city with its mixture of Roman, Greek, Carthiginian and Spanish architecture--you see this mix on the faces of locals as well. Back to the hotel, if the bedrooms were as spectacular and unique like the public rooms this would be one of my favorite hotels.
Next time I'm in Taormina, I'll try the Timeo just to compare. Can't give a whole hearted "go there" but it isn't bad either.
Wonderful and unique - like staying in a living museum
Spent 5 days here and it felt like a truly individual experience miles away from the usual boring corporate hotel feel. Our room on the 3rd floor of the Grand Wing (the "new" section added in 1930 and very elegant) was spacious with a huge extremely comfortable bed and top quality linen, good size bathroom with Bulgari amenities and great robes and slippers. Chambermaid service superb, towels changed twice daily and fresh fruit replenished. Great sea views from our balcony and nice and quiet on 3rd floor. Breakfast on bouganvillea filled terrace overlooking the sea was a wonderful experience, the buffet was superb and very indulgent - even fresh gateaux served every day! Gardens just amazing with stunning colours and heady scents everywhere. Pool a bit cramped but spent our days on the "La Pigna" beach (10 euros pppd incl bed, towel etc and free shuttle to/from hotel) which was a lovely little cove and their restaurant served the best food we had in Taormina - Spaghetti Vongole to die for!!! Cocktails in the hotel lounge was a great experience and head waiter in white jacket lovely and charming - prices a bit over the top though! The hotel guided tour on a Tues and Sun at 09:30 is a must - it's a fascinating place with a wonderful history. Hotel is in a brilliant location just 2 mins walk from the main drag Corso Umberto. There is a great little fish restaurant between the hotel and Corso called Maffei's - worth booking. Al Duomo is good too and also close to the hotel. Tip - avoid restaurants that are on the main drag or in obvious locations with good views, they are tourist traps and usually don't focus on the food.
We stayed at the San Domenico for five nights with our five year old son. The location is spectacular and the service top notch. Our room had a balcony with a view of the sea. It is quiet hotel, not especially geared toward children, but accomodating nevertheless. We especially enjoyed the grounds, beautiful gardens with places to sit and enjoy the views. We found the women at reception and the conceirge desk to be especially warm. We would definitely stay there again.
A little disappointed!
We just returned from a 7 night stay at the San Domenico. This was our first trip to Sicily. I have always wanted to stay in Taormina. After much research in everything I could get my hands on we decided to stay at the SD. We had 2 rooms at the rate of 460 Euros each. There were connecting as we traveled with our teen daughters.
The most important thing to point out about the hotel for anyone considering staying there is the view and the pool. First our rooms on the 3rd floor had a great view of the sea, however if you looked down your view was of an ugly ravine moving out to a railroad track just before the beach. It was a little unsightly. In addition with a hotel in a location like this you would expect to have a view everywhere you looked---wrong! The restaurant Les Bourganvilla has a lovely terrace but it was overgrown with bouganvilla so you see nothing except the flowers---no sea view--- even though the terrace faces the sea. Same is true for the pool----what a huge disappointment! It is small for a resort this size and is crammed into this garden with no space to walk around. Again absolutely no view. If you lay out on the terrace above the pool you will get a small view of MT Etna. The small poolside restaurant again has no view.
Another important point that no one seems to mention is that the hotel has a road that rings around it. From the pool, your room, the terrace of the restaurant and the pool restaurant all you hear is the constant sound of cars and vespas speeding by. It is not tranquil to say the least.
Another negative point are the prices. Dinner is expensive and that goes without saying-----$250.00 w/a bottle of wine---2 adults and 2 kids. The biggest rip is the liquor. A glass of wine by the pool is 9 Euros for about a 4 ounce pour. We paid 9 E for a liter of local wine at most restaurants in town.
Also the a/c in both our rooms was not great and it is hot in Taormina.
The good points----the sheets are pure linen---changed everyday on a very comfortable bed. The interior garden is nice for a drink once but then we went to town everynight for drinks before dinner to places w/a sea view. The location is great---just steps from the hotel and you are on the main pedestrian walkway---which gets very crowded on weekends.
The staff could have been a little more friendlier and helpful. The breakfast buffet was huge with anything you could want Italian style for breakfast. Also know that irons and boards are not allowed in hotel rooms in Sicily. We called for one and they said the maid would have to iron my husbands shirt. I asked if there was a charge for this and they said "of course" 5 Euros. Needless to say we walked around with a lot of wrinkled clothes. Overall an interesting hotel with some neat public areas but I feel way overpriced and not the level of service I would expect when paying these prices.
We recently got married in Taormina and stayed at the San Domenico for 10 days. The hotel, views, staff, food were all fantastic.
We could not have chosen a better place to stay, the hotel helped make our special day and cannot wait to go back there.
My partner and I stayed at this hotel for my birthday and the setting is magnificent. The view has to be seen to be believed.
We had a room in the old convent section where the rooms were not huge but every need was catered for.
The beds are made with the softest italian linen sheets which feel divine next to your skin. The beds are comfortable and the hotel itself still has an amazingly tranquil feel.
They have done it in a completely sympathetic manner which is to be commended and the attention to detail is refreshing.
The gardens are stunning immaculate with plenty of seating swinging chairs for 2 and benches at every given oppurtunity to take in the views.
Breakfast on the terrace is a special experience where service left a little to be desired but the selection of the buffet was superb and good fresh quality food.
The hotel is let down by some of its staff and their attitude, we had arranged a late check out 1 pm instead of 12 noon by 12.50 reception telephoned me and in an aggressive manner asked if we were checking out that day!!
The prices are ridiculous they charged us 24 euros for 2 hot chocolates which were undrinkable as it literally was hot melted chocolate with no milk.
My boyfriends jaw hit the floor when he got the bill, and that pretty much set the tone for the visit.
However we expected this as the room rate was so expensive, they have a 3 day cancellation policy so don't be put off if you can't get in at first.
I rang and was told they never got cancellations and yet when I rang 3 days in advance they had plenty of availability.
If you want a one off special treat it is the place to go unless your fabulously rich, save hard and go in with a tongue in cheek aloof attitude and you'll love it.
If you are a less able traveller they do have rooms on the ground floor and ramps, but there are alot of stairs to get up to the street. Or a very cobbled steep pathway, so ensure you have a soft wheelchair!
I would definitely go again maybe in about ten years after I have saved up enough euros.
My husband and I stayed at the San Domenico for 3 days in mid May. It is a beautiful hotel , beautifully situate in a lovely town and benefits from the fact that it is a little off the main tourist drag. It is an old monastery which has been restored and is beautifully kept. It has exquisite gardens which are wonderful to relax in and a private and quite lovely pool area. The breakfast is one of the best buffet breakfasts you could ever hope to see. Dinner and the service for dinner in the main dining room was a little disappointing particularly as the plan we were on was dinner included and we had no choice in the matter. The small and more upscale dining room on the other hand had exceptional food and service. The rooms in the convent section, where we stayed are a little small, but the views are outstanding. The linens are wonderful. The concierge is helpful. Parking exists which sets it apart from some hotels in the area but can be a little tight. We would go back to this hotel without hesitation.
Fabulous ! just fabulous !
High point of our 2 week fly-drive tour of Sicily ! Wonderful converted monastary with a fascinating history. Try to catch the twice weekly guided tour of the hotel (Tuesdays and Fridays). Choice of the old convent wing , with smaller rooms (and no lift), or the newer hotel wing which has larger rooms with balconies. Only the convent rooms have a view of Mt. Etna however , and we opted for one of these- we were not disappointed. Luxuriously appointed, and because we were on a 'Primavera' Break we arrived to find Champagne, fruit and flowers in our room. The hotel is enormous and is non smoking throughout, mobile phones are not allowed in the dining areas, to our relief. First night of our 3 day stay we dined in the formal Cerami Restaurant (jackets required) , which was a lovely meal but somehow lacked atmosphere because there were few other diners and the piped 70s pop music was completely incongruous ! The following nights we dined outdoors on the terrace of the Bougainvillea Restaurant which was delightful with live piano music and the same flawless service and food. Breakfast is also taken on this terrace and is a wonderful buffet. The hotel is well placed in the centre of Taormina, a couple of minutes walk from the Corso Umberto. Beautiful gardens, spectacular views. Free car parking is also available.
San Domenico Paradise
My wife and I had the pleasure of staying 2 weeks in a sea view Convent room in July this year. The help we receved from all of the staff was superb. On arrival 2 tickets for the Peter Gabriel concert at the Greco Roman amphitheatre were handed to me in exchange for 120 euros. These tickets were like gold dust but the concierge had managed to track some down following my telephone request some 3 weeks earlier. The concert was superb. We would recommend a visit to the theatre when any concert is on as it is a unique experience.
The hotel accommodation was extremely good and the small 2 seat chapel opposite our bedroom was interesting.
Breakfast was brilliant. A large buffet was set out in the old refractory and cooked eggs, omelettes etc. were provided on request to be consumed on the terrace.
After eating at one of the sixty or so restaurants in Taormina during the evening followed by drinks at a bar in the Piazza 1X Aprile we would return to the hotel and
listen to the hotel pianist. He is one Chico Scimone, a fine Sicilian of 93 years who has lived a full life, mostly in America, and was filmed by the BBC whilst we were there. I believe the interview was for a programme to be screened in March 2005 in connection with a book to be released about Frank Sinatra. A most interesting person indeed who made our holiday that little bit more interesting.
The holiday was fantastic, the hotel and staff superb, and we can't wait to return.
Enjoyed our stay!
My husband and I took a trip to Taormina as a mother's day gift. This hotel seemed to be one of the best choices I found so we reserved a seaview room there.
The following are the negatives:
1: If you are not from here and are driving around you might find it difficult to find the hotel. We hiked up to the hotel first so we can ask them for directions before driving up and even with the map that the man drew for us it was a bit hard to find.
2: My husband was not very impressed with the room. For an italian hotel, the room was average sized and the bed was huge but for the price we were paying we expected a little more.
3: We went in May so it wasn't hot yet- however, we could not figure out how to turn the air on. We usually like the room to be cool and I did not want to open the windows (bugs) so it was a little bit of a problem.
4: When I did open the window to look at our "seaview" room I found that I had to search for my "seaview". I saw more of the garden than the sea. Maybe they should call that room a garden view & keep the 2nd & third floor rooms as seaviews.
5: Because I ended up opening our window, to the gardenview, bugs entered the room & were flying around the room.
The following are the positives:
1: The staff was extremely polite and helpful. They also spoke english.
2: The pool is the best feature that we found. It was nice relaxing by the pool (which was a bit heated) and eating food from their bar (very good ham & cheese sandwich). The man at the bar/pool was very friendly and made sure we were as comfortable as possible.
3: They have swings in their garden so it was another great feature. We sat there looking at their gorgeous flowers and just enjoying the day.
4: Their breakfast was outstanding!!! If you've been in Italy before you know that they don't really have much of a breakfast (coffee and a croissant) but at the hotel they had a buffet with so many options. Fantastic start to our day! And sitting out at the terrace with a real seaview just added to that breakfast. Their waiters where also very polite and helpful. I would pay to stay there again just for that breakfast.
5: It is close to a center of Taormina.
6: They have parking for their visitors so you don't have to worry about parking on the side of the road or searching for a place to park.
Overall, it's a little expensive but well worth it. If we get a chance to take another mini-trip again I would definately want to stay at this same hotel. Taormina is a beautiful city and staying at such a gorgeous hotel will just add to your experience.
TripAdvisor Reviews San Domenico Palace Hotel Taormina
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