We had stayed at the Villa twice before it was taken over by the Orient Express Group and had enjoyed the restaurant so much we wanted to visit again, so on a recent trip to Taormina (staying at another hotel) we asked the concierge to reserve for dinner for our party of seven. The hotel is just as stunning as ever with an incomparably beautiful setting overlooking the bay. We were welcomed at the hotel reception and directed downstairs to the restaurant, had a very pleasant pre-dinner drink at the bar and in good spirits arrived at the restaurant to be greeted by the most spectacular display of aggression and rude unprofessionalism I have ever encountered. We were shouted at by the maitre d' loudly, in full view of other diners, for a good three minutes. The reason? Our concierge had failed to pass on the message that the dress code was trousers for men, and our men were in bermudas. We apologised for our lapse explaining that we had not received the message, to no avail. Shouting that he nevertheless would accept to allow us to dine (seven paying customers on a Wednesday in a recession is not to be sneezed at after all) he further berated my husband as we arrived at our table. We could and maybe should have simply left at that stage, but then we would have had to get taxis, find another restaurant and so on so we stayed. Luckily the rest of the staff are professionals and the rest of the evening passed pleasantly. We had very fresh and top quality fish and lobster and excellent wine, and everyone relaxed after a fairly disastrous start. The last piece of unrepentant rudeness from this man was to yell at our hotel concierge by phone the next day, I didn't find put about this until we were leaving and mentioned our experience to the check-out clerk at the lovely Villa Diodoro, he described the conversation in the universal 'he went ballistic' gesture! It will be a long time before I grant the Oliviero the pleasure of my custom again.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
September 26, 2013
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I would firstly like to thank you for taking the time to review your experience of Villa Sant'Andrea.
I have thoroughly reviewed your complaint and feel that I owe you our deepest apologies for the inconvenience that our welcome at the restaurant has caused. The attitude should have been courteous at all times.
I am pleased to know that on the occasion of your return to Taormina, you have decided to come back to visit us at the Oliviero Restaurant since you had always had a great time with us.
I am sorry that due to inaccuracy of the concierge, your dinner had an unpleasant start. The only rule that we maintain in our restaurant is to wear trousers for dinner and we clarify that at the time of booking. That same evening, some of our guests had been invited to go upstairs and put on some trousers and when they saw you, in the best table, objected to our restaurant manager to be unfair and to have double standards. When our restaurant manager called your concierge, was not to scold him, but to tell him that although he has not communicated the dress code, he was able to give even the best table.
It disappoints me that you have not felt welcomed in the right way. I regret to have missed the opportunity to give you an enjoyable experience at the Oliviero Restaurant and it would be a pleasure for me to be able to meet you and invite you for a drink if you will be back in Taormina.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.