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“Great pool, beach, staff and service” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Castello di San Marco Charming Hotel & SPA

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Castello di San Marco Charming Hotel & SPA
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Via San Marco 40 | Taormina - Etna, 95011 Calatabiano, Sicily, Italy   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 2 hotels in Calatabiano
Paris
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Great pool, beach, staff and service”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2013

Whether you're into the decor or not, especially the rooms ('Aida' on steroids, with more cherubs than a Las Vegas brothel), there is no denying the privileged location, the wonderful staff, the exceptional pool and gardens, and the private beach make this property a real find. Especially when resorts and hotels in Taormina are far more expensive and less restful. The breakfast is pleasant at best, the dinner a bit pricey and limited but good, the Sicilian wines and most of all the professionalism and kindness of the staff truly wonderful. We had booked a junior suite and were disappointed to be given an older room at the back of the hotel, but we were swiftly upgraded to a suite (which at the end of the day is just a nice room in a better part of the hotel) and all was well. It was the height of summer when we were there, so lots of the indoor restaurant areas and bars were not in use - but our 48 hours on the property seemed like much longer because we were able to relax and enjoy the hotel. The one comment I would add is that there are many areas of the property that should be better hidden from guests (maintenance equipment, storage, cleaning equipment, etc), and others that should simply be toned down, ie, less folkloric and made more stylish/minimal. Great for a short break. If you are lookiing for a classic upscale (Four Seasons, Shangri-La, Westin or Inter-Continental) experience, this isn't it. If, however, you want to be looked after in a beautiful setting by people who take pride in what they do, rest and eat well, taking it slow, then give this place a try. Thx!

Room Tip: As recommended by other TripAdvisor guests, specifically request a room away from the back of the pr...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 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 (14)
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London
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2013

We stayed at Castello Di San Marco in August 2013 for a week for our summer holiday.

Good news first. The hotel has a “wow factor”. You can’t help admiring it: beautiful grounds, well maintained gardens, wonderful private beach, big and beautiful swimming pool, main building is an old castle with a colourful collection of pictures and artefacts, with Etna in the background. Pretty cool. There are fountains, statues, candle lit paths at night, gazebos - you name it, they have it.

But then you come into your room and face a rather tired stark interior. The furniture upholstery and the bed cover could do with a good clean; the widows are looking out on a fence with a deserted field; the telly has few channels, nearly all Italian. Lovely to listen to but not very practical if you don’t speak Italian. English channels are almost non-existent.

All that is pretty insignificant though. You don’t come somewhere like this to watch TV. What made life difficult for me was the problem with wi-fi. Their website says that every room has wi-fi. This is not true. Wi-fi is supposed to be available at reception and various other areas, but it goes up and down. On the 1st day, we could not get it at all. And then I had to run around with my computer trying to get a signal. Could really do without it!

So if you are the kind of person who needs to keep in touch with the outside world, go on Twitter, search for information, do a bit of work on the go - this place is not for you. If of course you like to switch off on holiday completely, it’s ideal.

The beach is the nicest thing about this place. It’s free for the guests, clean, spacious, and has all the conveniences: sunbeds and parasols; toilets, cafe, towels. The sea is easy to get into. Perfect for bathing. If you want to lie on a lovely beach all day, you’re going to love it.

The restaurant is a separate story. It’s beautiful, arranged under a bell awning in the open air, BUT - expensive, pretentious, very slow service, rather unwelcoming. You have to book it in advance, even if you stay there. You have to wait for ages for somebody to take your order, then the food takes forever to arrive. You get the food presented with such pomp, as if it’s a culinary masterpiece that you will remember for the rest of your life. And it’s just a bowl of pasta (really). The prices are pretty steep. The pasta is charged at its own weight in gold.

Is it nice? Yes... mostly. But it’s not nearly nice enough to justify the prices. Why do people go there, then? Because there is nothing else in the area. That’s why we went there, before discovering a cheerful restaurant in the neighbouring town which served the same standard of food at half the price. So I would keep away from the restaurant. Note, though, that you’ll need a car to escape from it; the Castello is a very long way from anything else (the good news: they have a big car park that’s free for hotel guests).

And then there are weddings... One almost every night. You can see why - it’s a perfect setting. But weddings bring loud music till midnight. To be fair, it’s mostly nice traditional Italian music, which I like, but I would not choose to listen to it in bed at 11 am. We had a feeling that this hotel makes most of its money on weddings, and therefore the hotel guests and their comfort are less important. One night they let off fireworks for a wedding at 12.30am... pretty unforgivable.

I am conflicted about this hotel. I want to like it because it’s beautiful. Most of the staff are extremely nice and want to please. It’s the kind of place you really, really long to LIKE.

But... it disappoints, ultimately. I would love it if it had a proper wi-fi and a normal guest-friendly restaurant. And if the weddings were quieter. But they’re not.

That’s all I am saying.

Room Tip: Choose a room as far as possible from the main building (The Castle itself) and the pool where the w...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CastellodiSanMarco, Proprietario at Castello di San Marco Charming Hotel & SPA, responded to this review, August 19, 2013
Dear Reviewer,

first of all, thank you for taking your time to post a review of our hotel.
We are sorry to hear that your stay did not meet completely your expectations.
we strongly appreciate you review that help us improve our services.

I would like to inform you that we are already working to fix few of them and planning the next season in accord to the guest satisfaction survey.
We apologize for the connection trouble in your room, we had trouble with wifi lan in some areas of our big property, anyway we are already working to solve the problems encountered.
Unfortunately the damage has happened in a period when our support team was on vacation.
We were forced to disconnect a part of our local area network to keep the rest 80% of the hotel function with a signal of minimum speed of 1Mbps with few temporary interruptions caused by unexpected lan overflow.
we worked hard to maintain this level of service and we are sorry that you have still encountered a malfunction.
we are a hotel that focuses on the quality of services even if they are offered for free, we will permanently solve this issue in the coming weeks.

with regard to the service at the restaurant we are sorry that the service in general has not fully complied with your expectations.
The restaurant rapresent one of our most apreciate service and we don't use to receive particular complaint. It doesn't mean that we don't consider your description usefull and precious.
I would like to inform you that our dishes as well as being part of the best sicilian culinary tradition, are prepared with only the freshest ingredients, bought almost every day, and selected according to the highest quality.
no frozen fish, no preservatives, no ogm.
The one you mentioned as just a pasta dish is made with the best selection of hand made pasta brand from Gragnano, considered the finest italian pasta producers .
Anyway we will consider a better guest friendly pricing policy without change our quality.

The tv service is equipped with free sky hd that consists in more than 800 multilanguage channels, we are quite sure that your decoder was not switched on, or doesn't function properly. We apologize about that and kindly ask you to inform us about your room number due to check it immediatly for the next guests.

The issue of marriage deserves a separate chapter.
First, our attention to guests is the same for the banquet for all guests at the hotel.
These two services are primarily managed by two separate staff.
We have always safeguarded the privacy of our guests at the hotel, we avoid that guests make the banquet invasion in areas that are reserved exclusively to 'hotel.
Moreover absolutely not allow you to play music after midnight, this as a sign of respect towards people who want to relax on vacation.

The fireworks after midnight he heard came from a beach party that was not part of our hotel.
unfortunately we have no rights on this external private activityes.

I hope you have considered our challenge to keep this ancient property tidy and pleasant, we are a proud staff that costantly work hard to be all the time at our best.
I am sure that your review will provide an incentive to our work.
We will have a staff meeting to discuss all the guest reviews, to offer always the best service to our guests.

Thank you once again for your contribution , we hope to welcome you again and make you enjoy 100% of our peaceful place.

Yours faithfully
Daniele Murabito
GM
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Sydney, Australia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2013

We stayed here for 2 nights and absolutely loved it. It was not at all what we were expecting, especially after reading a few of the negative reviews. The rooms and grounds were beautiful, service across the whole was excellent. We enjoyed a few drinks at the bar and an exceptional dinner at the restaurant, served by an extremely lovely waiter - Giovanni. We enjoyed our days at the beach which was a 2 min walk from our room, and the afternoons relaxing by the pool. Our time spent here during our holiday in Sicily would be the most memorable.

Thanks to everyone at Castello di San Marco

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Houston, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

My two daughters and I stayed at this wonderful hotel last week for some desperately needed together time. We virtually had the place to ourself, we were upgraded to a junior suite which was lovely. The hotel is run by a family who have owned the Castello since the 70's, it was originally a campsite. The family have invested a lot of money over the last 10 years to make it a delightful quiet hotel, it's now their pride and joy. The Castello San Marco is very popular for weddings, not surprisingly..... Even my very fussy daughters said they would consider this venue, if and when they marry. The layout of the hotel means they successfully keep hotel guests and wedding party guests separate easily, therefore no disturbances for hotel guests. Whilst we stayed there they hosted 4 weddings and you would never have noticed.
You do need a car as taxi's to Taormina are around 70 euro's for a round trip.
My only criticism was that lunch around the pool was very limited, offering only sandwiches I would have killed for a salad having eaten so much wonderful pasta in various local restaurants.

Room Tip: Upgrade to a junior suite, well worth the money. Very close to the Castello and swimming pool. Lovel...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Haaksbergen, The Netherlands
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013

We spent 5 nights in this beautiful hotel. It is a very well kept place with all you need for some relaxed and romantic days. There is a large garden, a big pool and a beautiful beach in front of the hotel. The restaurant serves a great breakfast and dinner. The only things we missed were fresh orange juice for breakfast and a bit more choice in the lunch menu. But those were really minor details and did definitely not harm the great stay we had!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Barbara
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2013

We stayed a week in June with our 3 kids. The places beautiful and romantic, while also being child-friendly. Every member of the staff went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and to help us make the most of our stay in Sicily.

The grounds are lush with scents of lemon, orange and lillies, and the rooms are spacious and beautifully decorated. The beach is literally across the street.

Special kudos to the front desk "angels", Flavia and Isabella who made us feel like family.

Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bracknell, England, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2013 via mobile

Arrived late so personally greeted by the owner and shown to our gorgeous room. I'd asked for snacks as we knew we would be late arriving but what we got was an exquisitly decorated table set out in our room with cold plates of cheese ham etc..wine champagne and candles..perfect start to our honeymoon. The grounds are a gorgeous mix of lemon groves and bougainvillea. Lovely peaceful pool and private beach area. Staff were great friendly and so helpful even going out to buy hubbies cigars! Only thing was lack of eating choice. ..gorgeous a la carte restaurant but that's it...had to go out for less formal eating. Otherwise fabulous experience highly recommended.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CastellodiSanMarco, Proprietario at Castello di San Marco Charming Hotel & SPA, responded to this review, June 25, 2013
Dear Lindsey,

first of all I would like to thank you for the time you spent to write your experience at Castello.
Im glad you have apreciate our way to welcome you and the way we manage this unique sicilian gem.
Hope you have enjoyed all your honeymoon in Sicily and on behalf of my staff I hope you will spend again your relaxing time with us.

Best wishes
Daniele Murabito & Staff of Castello San Marco
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Castello di San Marco Charming Hotel & SPA

Address: Via San Marco 40 | Taormina - Etna, 95011 Calatabiano, Sicily, Italy
Phone Number:
Location: Italy > Sicily > Province of Catania > Calatabiano
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 hotels in Calatabiano
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Castello di San Marco Charming Hotel & SPA 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Castello di San Marco charming hotel & SPA, a boutique romantic hotel immersed in a luxuriant park, on the glittering Jonian sea, between Taormina and the volcano Etna, this noble castle represented a splendid example of Sicilian Baroque architecture and well describe a part of the Sicilian History. The unique beauty of Castello di San Marco is timeless and is adapted to romantic and relaxing holidays, with its tranquil exteriors and elegant, softly lit interiors.30 elegant and charming suites take place in the park surrounding main building, SPA & beauty center , fine restaurant, wine lounge with a selection of 250 fine wines, very large swimming pool, private beach, tennis court, private parking, mediterranean park. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Castello Di San Marco Charming Hotel And Spa
Castello Di San Marco Calatabiano
Castello Di San Marco Charming Hotel & SPA Sicily/Calatabiano, Italy

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