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Reviewed August 25, 2016

Having stayed previously at the hotel, in the first year of opening, I recently returned to Taormina and decided to revisit the El Jabel for old-times sake.....

The building is beautiful and the situation is quintessentially what Taormina is all about, perched precariously within, and yet above the town, it has commanding views from the upper floors and roof terrace, over the sea and towards Mount Etna.

The reception manager is wonderful and very knowledgable, and the waiter who served breakfast each day was very attentive - learnt quickly what I liked - and provided it without asking. He also became pleasantly animated once he realised that he could talk to my colleague in Italian!

In essence El Jabel is a 5 star hotel in almost every sense, but it would not suit everyone because all the positives are ironically the negatives too!

I suspect it will depend on your frame of mind and/or mood as to which way you perceive this hotel.

This is a small hotel, 10 rooms or so, which works for couples wanting to cut themselves off from the world (which is probably why most people are in Taormina).

However, it's not the type of place you can meet friends, except for dinner, because it provides no real meeting point, there is no inviting lounge or salon, no staffed bar, nor a court yard. Yes you can go to the roof terrace, but offering just 3 nests of seats, for just 8 people in total, you will have to be lucky to sit down, and bar service only seemed to be offered when the restaurant was open.

The room used for breakfast is in a bit of a no man's land, a conservatory erected over what was probably the courtyard, it offers no view and is not helped by the bland decoration, or the glass roof which can not easily be cleaned (proven by the fact that it has attracted its fair share of dead bugs and leaves)!

Therefore the breakfast room offers a weird experience, the mini buffet offers quality items and the eggs cooked-to-order were perfect. However its akin to eating in a library with everyone muttering in hushed tones for fear of being overheard. When we were there, the only animation was provided by an overly amorous couple, who quite frankly deserved to have a bucket of iced water thrown over them 'to cool things down'.

I stayed in a deluxe double/junior suite, the room size was great, the bathroom large, and the views fabulous. However there was no desk to work from, and the chairs and sofa were antique styled, of the ridged upright variety, so while they looked fabulous they were not comfortable to work from.

The bed was also on the wrong side of hard, and the pillows were synthetic foam and much too firm for my taste. Reception organised a softer pillow in an instant. However while it was better, it was still synthetic and not as soft as I like.

There was no turn down on Sunday evening - which was a bit annoying, as I'd used my towels to mop up a spillage caused by the ineffective shower screen over the bath, so the following morning I had to dry down with a hand towel.

Lots of little tiny niggles - which would be fine if it was 250 euros a night - but it wasn't!

So to be honest I've really struggled with my rating for El Jebel, the 3 members of staff that we met work very hard with what they have, and they really did deliver a very friendly, efficient level of service.

However, my gut feeling is that this hotel is trying to be too many things, it has secured the 5 star classification but I personally question if this is a 5 star hotel in the true sense.

Room tip: Any on the second or third floor
Date of stay: August 2016
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Kevin J
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2016

This is one of those hotels that you could spend all day 'gushing' about purely because it really IS perfect. So I won't bore you with that one but would like to confirm the following:-

Is the building as beautiful as the pictures portray.....YES!
Are the staff amazing.....Yes, beyond anything I've ever experienced!
Do the rooms have everything you need.....yes and more! Beautifully decorated and spotlessly clean with maid service daily.
Should you dine in their incredible rooftop restaurant.....without question!
Is it in the heart of Taormina.....you can't get any closer!
Would I recommend it.....absolutely!

Please try.....

The courtesy bus to the private beach club is a true gift if you're a sun-worshipper like me.
While you're down sunning yourself book an appointment with Paulo for the best Thai massage ever.
If you're not familiar with Italy then try their Aperol Spritz drink.....it's divine.

Have a wonderful trip! :-)

Date of stay: July 2016
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Kim L
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hoteleljebel, Responsabile relazioni con la clientela at Hotel El Jebel, responded to this reviewResponded January 9, 2017

Dear Mrs Kim,
Many thanks for taking the time to write your feedback following your stay at El jebel Hotel.
We are really happy that you enjoyed all the aspects of your stay, including the beauty and the location of our premises and all of the service you received from the team.
We hope you will come back and stay with us again soon.

Many thanks

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 7, 2016

We stayed here for 3 nights at the beginning of August, having discovered the hotel during a previous visit to Taormina. Our experience was excellent from start to finish, and for us the El Jebel epitomises a 5-star experience - helped by being small (only 10 rooms) but very well designed. Our 'classic' room on the first floor was beautifully decorated, spacious and well-equipped. The whole hotel team made us feel very welcome and were very helpful whenever we needed them throughout our stay. The rooftop restaurant is clearly the jewel in the El Jebel's crown and we enjoyed a fantastic meal as the sun set over Mount Etna. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend the El Jebel and hope to return on our next visit to Taormina.

Date of stay: August 2016
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank highbanks
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hoteleljebel, Responsabile relazioni con la clientela at Hotel El Jebel, responded to this reviewResponded January 9, 2017

Dear Mr Highbanks,
Many thanks for your feedback following your visit to El jebel Hotel.
We were delighted to read that you enjoyed your time with us and we all hope that you will come and join us again soon.
Kindest regards,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 3, 2016

When I planned this trip with my sister, our travel agent insisted that we stay at the San Domenico. We declined the San Domenico based on price, location and were concerned that the interiors would be tired and dated. So glad we did! El Jebel was perfectly situated (note that the entrance is at the top of 30 or so stairs, have your driver call ahead when arriving so they can send a bell man out to assist with your luggage), the rooms are a mix of traditional and modern, the bathrooms are new and the building is charming. Breakfasts were included and were substantial, eggs, bacon, fruit, croissants, yogurt etc. The only negative was that there is no concierge and the front desk wasn't overly helpful arranging trips or dinners. That being said Taormina is manageable without much guidance and drivers can be easily hired to take you to locations father afield.

Date of stay: May 2016
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank GriddyBXV
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2016 via mobile

I don't usually write reviews but having had the most wonderful stay in the beautiful el jebel I felt I couldn't leave without saying how amazing the staff are (from the cleaner who meticulously tidied our room each day) to the waiting staff who could not do enough to ensure we had a fabulous stay! We cannot wait to return again!

Date of stay: May 2016
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
Thank sniffy71
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hoteleljebel, Responsabile relazioni con la clientela at Hotel El Jebel, responded to this reviewResponded January 9, 2017

Dear Guest,
We were delighted that you enjoyed your visit to El jebel Hotel.
Thanks you for your very kind words about the great team we have at the hotel.
Please do come and join us again soon.

Many thanks once again,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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