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“Old-school style, architectural gem, edenic gardens” 5 of 5 stars
Review of San Domenico Palace Hotel

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San Domenico Palace Hotel
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Piazza San Domenico 5, 98039 Taormina, Sicily, Italy   |  
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Ranked #15 of 89 Hotels in Taormina
New York, New York, United States
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Old-school style, architectural gem, edenic gardens”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2012

I stayed here at the end of May with my boyfriend and we agreed that it was truly one of the most spectacular places we have ever stayed. As a lovers of history and architecture, we were delighted by the hotel's location within a former monastery. A very unique experience. The cloisters surround lush little courtyards overgrown with bougainvillea and creeping vines. The garden, perched on a cliff that overlooks the Mediterranean, was a flash of Eden: rose bushes, orange trees, birds of Paradise, hedges made of lavender. The smell! We found the room charming and clean if not huge. The service was excellent. We were very well taken care of and the staff was extremely helpful.

Note: I am not into swanky modern hotels with tons of amenities and huge suites. If you are, this might not be the place.

Room Tip: Ask for a room in the old part of the hotel overlooking the garden and ocean.
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacrestia, Responsabile relazioni con la clientela at San Domenico Palace Hotel, responded to this review, June 12, 2012
Dear Guest,

thank you for sharing on Trip Advisor your comments , I would like to thank you for having appreciated our services.
Your satisfaction is our best reward for the efforts we make to ensure that our Guests have a
comfortable and generally enjoyable stay in our Hotel.
We look forward to welcoming you at the San Domenico Palace Hotel on your next visit in
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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595 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (111)
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Somerset, UK
Top Contributor
228 reviews 228 reviews
200 hotel reviews
Reviews in 186 cities Reviews in 186 cities
422 helpful votes 422 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2012

There is no doubt that this is a fantastic hotel. The public areas are beautiful – lovely lounges, exceptionally beautiful gardens and fantastic views. The staff are very courteous and attentive, if a little snooty from time to time. The food is first class. When we were there, breakfast was served on the terrace overlooking the bay. We ate twice in Les Bougainvillées restaurant which was very good indeed and recommended.

The hotel is just a short walk to the centre of this charming and chic town. They picked us up from the train station.

However, we weren’t at all impressed by our room/suite. Certainly it was large and had a nice patio area but the carpet was old and stained, the furniture chipped and the plumbing very poor. The safe did not take a laptop which meant leaving it in reception every time you went out.

Still apart from the room, we really loved it.

Room Tip: Ask to see your room before checking in.
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2012

The hotels has a great location, 2 mins from Corso Umberto and fantastic views from the Terraces and Gardens and the building itself has great charachter. The buffet breakfast was also very good and the terrace location is superb. Those are the main selling points. The factors that are not so good were as follows:
* The rooms were basic in terms of facilitie, the bathrooms dont seem to have been updated in a long time, The shower was only a mixer above the Bath and in the case of our room was in the middle of the bath which meant taking your shower wedged between the wall and a very unhygenic shower curtain. The shower curtain was also too short which meant that the bathroom floor was soaked after each shower - all for the sake of a shower screen.
* One evening I took a bath and found that I couldnt let the water back out of the bath and we had to call maintenance to remove the plug which had become stuck. A guest travelling with us in another room had the same experience
* on our first evening we came back to the hotel and wanted a glass of wine as a nightcap. The waiter looking after the bar was arrogant and had a very superior attitude which made for a very uncomfortable experience. We asked for a wine list, (we were buying a bottle of wine) which he said they did not have but that he would bring us some wines to try. We didnt like the 1st or the 2nd wine and eventually agreed to the 3rd just to be done with it. It was not really to our liking but we just wanted to have our wine and sit and chat. We had clearly told him we wanted a bottle of wine but he proceeded to fill the glasses from the open bottle he had provided the tasting from. At this point we again pointed out that we had wanted a bottle, so he brought a new bottle. The nasty surprise was when we had the bill and he had charged us for the 2 sample glasses and the bottle - with a total bill of nealry 80 Euro. This is not what you would expect from a 5 star hotel and I strongly believe that as a customer you should be able to see a wine list with prices. Needless to say, we did not use the bar facilities again which was a shame as the terrace would have been lovely to relax with a nightcap.
* As many others have mentioend the cost of internet access is extortionist, we paid €17 for 24 hour access.
* on the day of check out we asked to have an extension to the check out time until 12 noon, we were not accomodated and were told 11;30 was the latest we could have the rooms until.
I have to agree with other views expressed here, that at the moment this hotel does not live up to the title of Leading Hotels of teh World.

Room Tip: Rooms with a town view are looking out onto a building site - beware. We managed to switch to a gard...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacrestia, Responsabile relazioni con la clientela at San Domenico Palace Hotel, responded to this review, June 12, 2012
Dear Guest,
first of all I would like to thank you for your nice comments on our Location and position,
therefore I read carefully your remarks on our waiter and I would like to express my sincerest apologies to you for the lack of service and attention that occurred during your stay.

I can assure you that this is not the standard at the San Domenico Palace Hotel, therefore the issues have been addressed and corrective actions have been taken.

Guests comments are an important source of information to evaluate and subsequently enhance our service standards and we thank you very much for sharing with us your comments.

We look forward to welcoming your back.

With renewed apologies, I remain
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London
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2012

What do I want from a hotel? My needs are simple. Good service, a comfortable bed, a terrific shower, great coffee, good value for money and - where possible - a great location. The San Domenico satisfies only the last of these. The views from the terraces and gardens are out of this world although it was disappointing that you could not see any of them directly from the poolside.

The hotel service was definitely not five star. First of all - very few of the reception staff seemed to understand or speak English. This led to misunderstandings such as when we asked if our our very hard bed could be made more comfortable by the addition of a "topper" to the mattress. They somehow understood this to mean that we wanted a "soft" bath and provided a slip mat in the bath instead! We did get our topper eventually which was some improvement as the beds are very hard indeed. What's more, the sheets and the pillowcases are so starched that they are hard, prickly and irritate the skin.

The bathrooms throughout the hotel are uniformly small. The only shower is over the bath and is very cramped. A few times there was no hot water at all or it was tepid rather than hot. On the good side, our room and bathroom were kept very clean. The towels were thick and soft - but that's what one should expect. They were also very generous with the Molton Brown bath products. However, the public bathrooms are not well maintained and not cleaned or serviced as they should be in any hotel - let alone a five star one.

The breakfast buffets are good and the terrace location is just lovely. But the breakfast coffee was absolutely horrible. The buffet counter is not replenished as it should be and we often had to ask for items to be put out that should have been there. There were a lot of staff around but they did not seem to be alert to the needs of their guests.

We did not eat or drink at the hotel as the prices are exorbitant. For example, they charge six euros for a small bottle of mineral water from the mini bar in the guest rooms. The rooms themselves have seen better days. They lack the quality and comfort one expects from a five star hotel.

There were notices everywhere warning guests not to open the windows so we used the air con instead which worked well. However, couldn't they put some netting over the windows so that guests could enjoy fresh air sans mosquitoes?

As with other reviewers, we also found that the phone in our room did not work. If we wanted anything we had to go all the way back down (a long hike) to the reception desk.

The pool (in May) was warm enough for swimming. Sometimes the shower by the pool was warmer than the shower in our room! We enjoyed the pool area and found it a very pleasant place to relax. However, it is a long hike from the rooms - as is the breakfast terrace. You have to navigate all the large, empty public rooms first before you get anywhere. We had a long hike to our rooms too - along many corridors and up many flights of stairs. It was a while before we found out that there was actually a lift to our floor!

On our first day we were astonished to find that the maids were still cleaning our room at 2.45 in the afternoon! We asked to have it cleaned earlier in the day from then on and this was done.
Generally, the staff were swift to put things right once they were pointed out to them. However, a five star hotel should know how to get these things right without needing to be told.

We felt that the hotel is living on its laurels and needs to wake up its ideas if it wishes to remain one of the world's leading hotels - a title which at the moment we feel is not deserved.

Room Tip: We believe that there is only one room in the whole hotel with a modern shower cubicle (rather than...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacrestia, Responsabile relazioni con la clientela at San Domenico Palace Hotel, responded to this review, June 12, 2012
Dear Guest,
Let us thank you for having taken the time to share with us your impressions about your last stay at the San Domenico Palace on Trip Advisor.

We have read carefully your remarks about your experience at the San Domenico Palace and we would like to comment them as follows:

• We are very sorry that you have thought our staff is not attentive enough to the needs of our guests as actually this is our preliminary goal and we work on this direction every day.
• If your room was located in the Ancient Part of the Hotel ( as from your description) the elevator was not pointed to you because it mainly serves the meeting room and office area and not the rooms located in the ancient part of the Monastery.
• As many other members of the Leading Hotels of The World we advise our guests that if you leave the window open mosquitoes might come into the room. For this reason we provide the mosquito plug. We thank you very much for your suggestions about the net but unfortunately as the San Domenico is an ancient building under the supervision of the National Heritage we are obliged to maintain the original look of the property.
• We apologise for the inconvenience about the water and the phone. Unfortunately these problems, which cannot be forecasted, may occur from time to time and we may only solve them as soon as we know.
• We are sorry that our prices did not meet your expectations but they are on the same level of our competitors.
• Usually our breakfast service is one of our strength points and we always receive very positive comments about it. However it may happen that sometime many guests can arrive at the same time and for a few moments, before being replenished, the buffet may look not at its best.

I would like to present you our most sincere apologies for your disappointment. These are certainly not the kind of remarks we like to hear but we are aware that despite all our efforts sometime we may not manage to meet all our guest needs and expectations.
We do hope we will have the pleasure to welcome you again to the San Domenico Palace in order to restore your faith in our property and hospitality.
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Castres, France
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2012

Have just got back from a weeks stay at the San Domenico Palace. A truly delightful place, we went there for rest and relaxation and thats what we got. The situation of the hotel is idyllic and the buildings, which are an old monastary, are beautiful. The staff were helpful and friendly and not too pushy.
If you have problems with mobility then I would suggest that Toarmina is not the place to go as it is very hilly and the hotel is a long way from public transport. One can get a private car from the hotel but taxis have to be taken down in the town.
Breakfast was wonderful with so much to chose from and the views from the terrace are magnificent. Generally in the town the prices are a rip off and in the hotel also, for a meal of simple preparation the prices are ridiculous. WIFI is expensive also.
But inspite of my personal gripes I loved the place and would definitely go again.

Room Tip: View over the sea is spectacular and when we went was very quiet. We had a deluxe room with balcony.
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sao Paulo
Top Contributor
95 reviews 95 reviews
55 hotel reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2012

What a delight! The staff is perfect. The Etna's view is amazing. We receive ungrade to jr.suite with sea view and Etna's View. The restaurant food is very good. The pool is great. The gardens is amazing. Oh my god this hotel is perfect. The hotel is close to the Corso Umberto and other attractions in Taormina! Everething is amazing!

Room Tip: Suite with sea view!
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2012

We spent one week traveling in Sicily in April 2012 and finished our trip in Taormina. We had booked for two nights at the San Domenico Palace because, on paper, it looked like a palace in an old historic building. The disappointment started right when checking-in at 1:00 pm when we were told that the rooms would not be ready before 2:00 pm. We went our for lunch came back at 2:30 pm and were told that we had to wait another 30 minutes. We discovered during our stay that the hotel was rather empty (not all tables on the breakfast terrace were occupied at 9:00 am) which makes this delay difficult to justify. Then we were told that WiFi access was charged 9 EUR a day per device. Hotels that charge for WiFi access seem to not understand that most clients see this as essential as TV and electricity in the room. When you pay 500 EUR per night for a room that has not be redecorated for 20 years, the WiFi surcharge is rather upsetting. It seemed that nothing in our bathroom had been changed since the early 90s and was not looking very clean.
On our last day, we assumed that check-out time was 12:00 pm. At 11:15 am, we received a phone call from reception asking us to leave our room since checkout time was actually 11:00 am. After the incident when we checked-in, this was really adding insult to injury.
The hotel has a few good things for it : the view on the Mediterranean Sea is fantastic, the terrace where breakfast is served is gorgeous.
The overall impression is that the staff of the hotel seems intent on making the life of their guests miserable, and they are good at it. I guess that people book there because the hotel has a reputation of a palace but once you stay there, you realize the reputation is vastly overblown and nothing is done to maintain it at a high level.
Friends of mine were planning to stay there in July. I strongly advised them to change their plans and try hotels such as the Timeo which also has a great view and, without having stayed there, seems to be much more modern.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about San Domenico Palace Hotel

Address: Piazza San Domenico 5, 98039 Taormina, Sicily, Italy
Phone Number:
Location: Italy > Sicily > Province of Messina > Taormina
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Business Hotel in Taormina
#10 Luxury Hotel in Taormina
#16 Family Hotel in Taormina
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — San Domenico Palace Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 108
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A LUXURY 5-STAR HOTEL ON THE EAST COAST OF SICILY The San Domenico Palace Hotel sits in a truly magnificent setting that has attracted people from ancient times. A luxury 5-star hotel in an ancient Dominican monastery, it has views over Mount Etna and Taormina Bay on the east coast of Sicily not far from Messina. Countless famous writers, artists and composers, came here to savour this unique spot at the very tip of Italy. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Palazzo San Domenico Taormina
Palazzo San Domenico Hotel Taormina
San Domenico Palace Hotel Taormina, Sicily

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