When you travel to beautiful Catania in Sicily there are a few things you should be well prepared for. Starting with the fact that surprisingly, Catania isn’t a tourist hot spot. Thus well-known hotel groups such as the Hilton or the W have yet to put in their stake into the lava-formed grounds. So where to stay? A good option for the international traveller is the Baia Verde. Rooms are decent and at the time of our stay seemed to have been newly decorated and equipped. The décor is neutral and modern, the beds are comfy and the flat-screen LG TVs offer many international channels in multiple languages. The rooms near reception have balconies offering views onto the azure blue sea, which is stretching out as far as your eyes can see. The bathrooms have multiple fluffy big towels (although no bathrobes were provided). The hot and powerful shower was perfect during our stay in February. All in all, with regards to the look and feel, it’s a decent hotel.
Now to the shortcomings of this place and downfalls during our stay, which really were just in the catering department. Unfortunately, the previous reviews here on tripadvisor about the dismal breakfast weren’t exaggerating. Breakfast is really a disappointment. That may be due to the fact that Italians just like a coffee and a pastry in the morning. The pastries were lovely btw but the rest of the brekkie a disaster. However, it needn’t be. All staff need to improve on are a few things: first of all welcome guests with a smile or just acknowledge them if smiling in the morning is difficult. Breakfast is offered till 10am but if you chose to have a lie in (hey, even if you are on holiday!) and have it at 9.30am it can feel like an angry parent couldn’t be bothered to put on breakfast for you because you couldn’t get out of bed early enough! It was a sorry site to see. There was a single slice of cheese on a massive empty tray, empty jugs with remnants of juice and even a stray dog would have passed on the few cooked bacon pieces left in the heated trays. As if the angry parent attitude wasn’t enough multiple signs warning guests that they will be charged extra should they take food with them away from the breakfast room. Oh come on! Not even a bed and breakfast does that, nor should a 4-star hotel.
Moving on from breakfast, the hotel bar had only half the menu available. We were told that the rest of the listed snacks and sandwiches were only available during high season. So why not print a menu with what’s available? The food that they could prepare was sandwiches only – 4 different types. No pasta, no salad, no soup, really no other option. So travelling in low season really does also just give you a reduced food service, too. The hotel is about 15-20min in a car from the city centre and about 10min from an alternative food place. So, you are buggered if you are relying on the hotel for food, because there are no nearby options. Do your own research and don't try to ask the front desk staff for ideas - they could send you to a place that isn't even open.
You are also completely at the mercy of the Catanian taxi ring if you haven’t rented a car. All there is to say is put your seat belts on and hold on to your euros! The Italian taxi drivers can text, talk to you about football, change the radio channel whilst driving one handedly and switch lanes all at once. If that doesn’t get your pulse racing than the fact that the same journey from A to B can cost you anywhere between €10 and €30 more depending on how skillful your taxi driver is. The thing to watch out for is to make sure that you check the meter as soon as you get in the cab (some of them will have had their meters running for a while before they pick you up) or alternatively, get the hotel to call you a cab and make sure they arrange a fee upfront, especially when you are heading to the airport.
This 'very good' rating here is based on the hotel decor, its outstanding view and cost per night (€114 incl breakfast (hmmm. pastries!) for a double room was a very good price).
So should you chose to stay at the Baia Verde then just make sure you know where to eat well and how to get to and from. Be prepared for the shortcomings and then just enjoy the breath-taking view and the gorgeous sunshine.
Rooms near reception look like have been newly decorated. Uninterrupted views from rooms 300 and 301...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.