We've just returned from a two-week trip to Sicily during which we were based in the Taormina area but had flown Rynair to Trapani on the opposite side of the island. We'd decided that rather than leave our base at the crack of dawn to undertake the 4-hour drive across Sicily and worrying about possible hold-ups getting to the airport, we'd spend the night before our return flight in the area around Trapani and explore Erice without any time pressures.
The process of finding a suitable hotel was a saga in itself but eventually we settled for the brand new Hotel Poma and figured that if nothing else, being new new it should at least be clean. Smart move - it was sparkling.
We were welcomed warmly at reception, helped immediately with the glitch on our keycard, and flopped into our cool, clean modern and comfortable room. Abundant hot water in our jet-bath (our travelling companions had a slightly bigger room with a power shower), a good size-selection of clean towels, mini bar with prices which aren't over the top, BBC World News (afetr 18 days of no TV/news), a verandah, airconditioning and double glazed windows for sound-proofing ensured a comfortable night.
Breakfast was a continental one, plentiful and well presented with rolls, croissants, yoghurt, cereals, cold meats, cheese, preserves and honey, fruit juice etc.
I wouldn't recommend the hotel for a holiday because it isn't a resort -type hotel, lacking in grounds and gardens and about 10 minutes drive from the coast, but for a business stay or as a stop-over for a day or two before or after a Trapani flight, it's perfect. It's about a 30 km drive from the airport, mostly along the coast, and about 20 minutes from the lower Erice funicular base, so if you are hiring a car it's great. By the way, use the funicular rather than driving up to Erice - it costs about Eu3 and is worth every penny if only for the view never mind the stress of driving, parking and hassling.
We went out for supper the night that we stayed in the hotel as they don't have a fully fledged restaurant. Whether or not establishing one is in their long-term plans, I don't know. Custonaci has a small (and quite pretty) town centre and a bit short on eating places, but Il Cortile (within walking distance) provided an adequate meal in a lovely summer's evening setting (Menu Turistico Eu20 per person). We weren't starving and wanted to have "real" food, so chose main courses from the main menu paying, with wine/beer/water, Eu45 for four of us. We were the only English speaking people there which is always a good sign. If you're prepared to drive then within a 20km radius there are ample eating opportunities and hotel reception staff will make recommendations.
Staying at Hotel Poma allowed us a lazy breakfast, followed by an easy drive down the coast beyond the airport to the salt pans etc. time to have lunch, fill up the hire car before returning it (there's a 24-hour petrol station between the hotel and Trapani), and check-in at a leisurely pace.
The negatives are hardly worth mentioning but should be pointed out. We were on the first floor of the hotel and the view from our room wasn't fantastic, but then we didn't expect much of a view on a main road (which we were completely unaffected by in trerms of noise thanks to the double glazing) in a smallish town in Italy - We were there to sleep, not look at the views. There is only one restaurant (that we could find) within walking distance (there are a couple of places which serve wonderful coffee and ice creams which are out of this world and a pizza place further up the road), but if you're only there one or two nights and using it as a base, how many restaurants do you need? The English of the staff on duty when we arrived wasn't brilliant but my Italian's worse, so that can't be held against them and we muddled along with them being friendly, welcoming and extremely helpful. The only other downer was a lack of tea and coffee making facilities in the room (there's coffee available downstairs but I like a cuppa almost as soon as I open my eyes). I had with me sachets of Nescafe with milk & sugar added (criminal in a place which makes such wonderful coffee), so made a day-starter in the tooth mug with really hot tap water and stirred it with the handle of my toothbrush!
Digressing slightly, please be warned that once you have gone through airport security at Trapani airport there is no restaurant/snackbar/bar facility (or certainly wasn't on the Sunday we flew), so either pack yourselves a picnic or eat at the somewhat limited snack bar downstairs beforehand. Once you have gone through security there is a slot machine selling sweets and fizzy drinks but don't be fooled into thinking that once you have gone through passport control there will be somewhere to eat / drink around the corner, because there isn't. Sitting in the holding pen without anything to eat or drink (you can't take water bottles through because of the 100ml security limit) for 2 hours or so with no airconditioning (or perhaps it's so useless that we couldn't feel its presence) is far from fun.
Finding Hotel Poma proved to be a stroke of good fortune. It's comfortable, modern, convenient, the finish is to a high standard and we found it hard to fault for Eu59 a night, per room. The staff are really keen, helpful and responsive. One cannot but wish them luck with their new undertaking - they're trying really hard.
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- Also Known As:
- Poma Hotel Custonaci
- Hotel Poma Custonaci, Sicily