Where to begin? This is a beautifully maintained, top-flight hotel in a spectacular setting, and we stayed here for one glorious week in early July 2013. Nearly every detail is perfect -- from the gorgeous, deep-blue sea vista from the patio of our room; the flower-filled public areas and meticulous grounds; the lovely, open-air setting and the abundance of our delicious daily breakfasts; the warmth and efficiency of the waiters and beach staff, anticipating nearly every "need" of their guests; the high level of cleanliness of our room and the public areas executed each day by housekeeping; the excellent cuisine at the Restaurant Oliviero -- I could go "on and on."
What truly distinguishes this property, in our minds, however, is the incomparable and truly stellar level of service, from management, to the hotel, concierge, beach and restaurant staff members and maintenance employees. We are frequent travellers, and over the years we have stayed at "top" resorts and hotels throughout the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and Asia. The professionalism, courtesy, high-level competance and warmth we experienced, on a daily basis, at this marvelous hotel (without one hint, from anyone, of "negative attitude") is, unfortunately, exceedingly rare these days. From the moment we arrived, when we were greeted at the door by Mario, the guest relations manager, Daniela, the concierge, and Angela at the front desk. we were treated, at the same time, like old friends and visiting dignitaries. Management and staff members strike the perfect balance in their gracious, kind and professional treatment of all guests. The staff takes the time to learn guests' names -- and the fact that we can remember their names (because they each contributed to a truly memorable vacation), is extraordinary. Our heartfelt thanks to Giovanni, the hotel manager, Mario, Daniela, Marika, Angela, Martin, Enzo, and numerous others, for our fabulous experience.
Further notes: the Sunday Sicilian beach barbecue is "not to be missed;" the small fitness room is spotless, and contains the equipment (treadmills, elliptical and free weights) most guests are looking for; my husband enjoyed his massage treatments at the Wellness Center; the free WiFi, though sometimes finicky, largely worked extremely well; our day excursion, arranged by the concierge, to Mount Etna was memorable; the complimentary boat excursion to nearby coves was fun and worthwhile; while it's true that you will need flip-flops for the volcanic, dark pebblestone beach, the setting is magnificent, beautiful and unique; the cable car (funicular) is just steps away and will whisk guests to Taormina in three minutes; there is a clean-as-a-whistle hotel shuttle, complete with a courteous driver, to the Grand TImeo (sister hotel) as well.
Please note that prior to booking this trip to Sicily, we debated long and hard about whether to stay at the Villa Sant'Andrea or the Grand Timeo -- we are extremely delighted with our choice. Small, "nit-picky" suggestions to managementl: please consider including additional bottles of complimentary water in the rooms -- two small bottles were left at our bedside each night, but two more bottles during the day, left after the morning housecleaning, for example, would have been appreciated, as well; the addition of a small hair/nail salon at the Wellness Center, or some other space, would be lovely.
Again, we had a superb experience, and we look forward to returning in the future. We WILL highly recommend this marvelous hotel to all of our friends and family. It's most definately "a rare slice of heaven" on earth!!