Booked directly with the hotel, they have a website etc. Did a bit of haggling and got a double room with sea-view AND Etna-view on the fourth floor, with sunloungers, aircon and breakfast included for just under 80 euros a night. (Although we went in September, which is out of season, so I expect it'd cost a lot more in July).
Hotel is at the far end of Giardini, as far as you can get from Taormina, and 15 euros by cab from the train station. A classic Italian 3-star hotel, (about 2-star UK standard), we were generally pleased overall. Lobby is clean and comfortable if a bit dark. Reception staff extremely helpful, but sometimes limited in their English. We always got there in the end though. Lift is in an odd place, and TINY!!!
Room just big enough, but not quite enough storage. Furniture was something you'd buy for a teenager's room - all white with blue trim - but functional. Bed, wardrobe, desk with drawers and a couple of bedside tables with drawers. Also a low cupboard for your suitcases and a TV. Aircon on wall. Balcony a nice size, good views, plastic chairs and table and plenty of room for drying clothes etc.
Sound-proofing not brilliant, but we were only disturbed once by the couple next door having a huge row at 2am. Otherwise quiet enough, but again, I expect that when the hotel is busier in July, you might need earplugs.
Breakfast room and bar were in the basement, leading out onto the garden and patio area, and the jetty. Breakfast OK, a reasonable amount of bread and pastries, cereals rubbish, limited choice of cheese and meat, but adequate amounts. Patio nice. Sun area rocky, you'll need flip flops or shoes. A bit of sand by the loungers, but then more rock and concrete to get into the water. Sea quite choppy due to rocks, not suitable for children at all. Small boats pull up to the jetty offering trips to Isola Bella, better snorkelling down there.
The Nike dive school is NOT onsite, it is in Taormina, but they'll come and pick you up for no charge. There are a couple of other dive places in Giardini itself. Tours to Etna, Agrigento, Syracuse, Eolian islands etc can be booked easily through hotel, and prices are the same as if you book them in town.
Restaurants - we ate at the Royal and found it excellent. La Cambusa was OK but overpriced and the waiters were lazy. The place on the Rotunda (just next to the statue) had good food but inattentive service. All the food we had was good, and it's more or less the same everywhere. In Taormina, the Grand Duc was excellent.
Supermarket is about 10 mins walk away. Had to deduct points from the hotel for not having ice-cream (quote: "we only have it kin July, it's not hot enough in September" - as the tempeature touched 38oC!!!!) but you can buy some just down the road.
Overall, a good base, could do better on one or two points, but reasonably priced and with helpful staff.
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- Also Known As:
- Nike Hotel Sicily Giardini Naxos