Let me start by saying that this should be a 5-star rating based on the property, location and facilities. The traditionally built and pretty house is very comfortable and well-furnished and equipped, living up to the advertised description and photos. It’s a unique spot. The garden in particular is lovely with lemon and orange trees and views across Taormina as far as the snow-capped and smoking Mt Etna in the distance in one direction and east coast of Sicily in the other, great for enjoying breakfast outside during our Spring visit. The property sits at the top of a hill in the village, away from the roads and is short walk into the multiple bars, restaurants and attractions of Taormina - although you need to be moderately fit to manage the stairs back.
Unfortunately, during our one week stay we became increasingly aware of a strange smell in the house, that initially we put down to previous use of the wood burning fireplaces. We kept the windows open and asked the owner to have this checked as we were concerned that it might have been gas. No action was taken (a request by the owner living overseas to the local caretaker was apparently not followed up) and we subsequently confirmed ourselves on the last day it was in fact a gas leak, and switched off the propane supply into the kitchen, immediately relieving the problem.
Clearly this spoiled the last several days of our holiday and caused my family considerable anxiety at the time as to whether there were any health issues from the (likely) low level inhalation of this type of gas and potentially more serious implication had there been an ignition of the gas. I was disappointed that there was no actual action taken during our visit once we had alerted the owners. Subsequently, we have only received a rather inadequate apology from the owner, on behalf of the caretaker, and our deposit refunded late only after chasing for this. For this review, the 2 star rating is based on “buyer-beware” as I in my opinion the owner hasn’t made adequate provision for safety and unforeseen events – and certainly not offering any meaningful apology or compensating for the same.
As a family of 4 with 2 children we often use this type of accommodation for holidays as it provides more comfort, space and flexibility than hotels. Our lesson as regular travellers is that we shouldn’t become complacent with safety, and assume the same safety standards and checks are in place in the rental properties we use and to that end will think about our own check lists, escape routes and portable gas/fire detection.
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