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Castello di San Marco Charming Hotel & SPA
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Calatabiano
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 10, 2013

I was a guest of the hotel for one night during my wedding on 01/19/2013.
Structure exalted level, amazing service and quality of food of very high level.
The smiling staff and worthy of a 5 star hotel luxury.
Thank you very much to the banqueting manager, Mr. Alfino Cullurà, for their valuable advice and superb professionalism.
It is definitely not a cheap hotel but I was happy to pay for a service that hardly easy to find in hotels today.
Well done, you have made ​​the most important day of my life unique and unforgettable.

George & Tina

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank george f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CastellodiSanMarco, Direttore at Castello di San Marco Charming Hotel & SPA, responded to this reviewResponded March 28, 2013

Dear Madam,

we would like to thank you for the review.
We are very happy that you had experiaced a memorable stay at Castello.
Hope to guest you again.

Best Regards and best wishes.
Daniele Murabito
Generam Manager

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123 - 129 of 747 reviews

Reviewed February 8, 2013

This hotel claims to be a 'charming hotel' , I'm not quite sure how they are able to advertise as this..we found the whole experience a miserable one. Where to start...No vehicular access within the grounds, which is fine but to offer NO help with baggage from car park (in a separate location to hotel) was unacceptable. Not all our bags had wheels so it meant 2 trips. Before being allowed to check in, we were taken on a tour of the grounds, with bags in tow! Check in was inefficient and our 'suite' was small, dingy with poor lighting and cluttered - and had only 1 power point. I had to plug an iron into a bathroom socket and leave the external door open to have any natural daylight to iron a dress. The breakfast consisted of low quality sweet juice drinks, poor quality bread, proscuitto and cheese. Even the coffee was average! The staff hid inside and so attracting attention was impossible. The pool closed at 5.30pm even though it was warm and sunny. We were there for 3 nights celebrating a very special occasion, for which they gave us a bottle of Prosecco. We left it in the ice bucket - only for it to be taken away before we could drink it! The grounds near the pool are pretty however dont wander further down the path..it resembles a rubbish tip with discarded pieces of metal, plastic and general rubbish. For such a 'charming' named hotel, it was a truly disappointing hotel and our special stay was spoiled. Head to Antico Borgo a couple of miles away for a totally opposite experience.

Room Tip: dont bother booking this hotel!
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank oliveoil_12
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 reviewResponded March 28, 2013

Dear Sir,
We are very sorry for the negative judgment you have expressed and even if we consider it a bit severe, we will reply trying to make you understand our side and give travelers a better way to judge us.
We believe that a hotel that befitting your description have no chance to exist anymore on the market and sincerely I believe is not the case of Castello San Marco for the reasons I will describe here follow:
We are very self-critical and read the feedback with due impartiality, unfortunately in his case we found more than one inconsistencies.
In some occasions we have found in previous reports valuable comments that have helped to improve our services.
This is our natural way to manage our hotel to give all guests the expected experience.
We don’t use to miss any requests that could give us the unmissable occasion to make customers satisfied.
The travelers reviews are precious and dangerous because in some case report an excessive or unreal one side description of events.
When we find useful reports we immediatly reply with facts and actions, for example following your report we took note of the location of your power outlets in the room and have already started to place them in the most convenient manner.
as regards the other elements you have described, objectively do not think that it is useful advice to represent our service and to make travellers understand our way to welcome and offer a charming experience.
We never used to make a hotel property tour (38.000 sqm) with guests carrying suitcase. Moreover we have a valet service that is available for most of the day.
In all the hotels some rooms don't meet the guests satisfaction of the guests, this is a typical situation, as is normal in this case the hotel can offer guests alternatives.
We don’t remember that you have asked us to consider another solution, your dissatisfaction has been manifested only through tripadvisor few months later. this did not allow us to be able to remedy in an immediate way, we always do that with great pleasure without any exception.
A separate chapter deserves replication about the bottle of champagne we have offered upon arrival.
You accuses us of having stolen it but it was just moved in the refrigerator during your dining to make find it well refrigerate instead of a warm bottle inside a melted ice basket.
Your nick name protect you by a privacy violation, so we would like to describe what happened few minute later:
We remember that you came to the reception in a state definatly not very sober and screaming in an incomprehensible and rude manner accused us of stealing the champagne.
This behavior is not covered by code elegance of our hotel, but we have no rights and we cannot act directly on the rationality of our guests.
The same evening we received a call from the manager of the restaurant where you have been for dinner because you left the restaurant forgot to pay the bill !!!
You doesn’t know that we had to apologize on your behalf and ensure that the next day you will go there to pay the bill.
This latest episode opens a different view.
Your stay at the hotel was an experience for us and we do not want to add more.
We would have expected to receive your excuses for having damaged our reputation with colleagues and with the readers of tripadvisor.
We would like to repeat once again that we are always very self-critical, but on this occasion we found very few useful items to our improvement.
Thank you anyway for your contribution.

Best Regards
Daniele Murabito
General Manager

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Reviewed October 22, 2012

We stayed at the Castello for two weeks and had a great break. The hotel staff were all very friendly and extremely helpful, as were the owner and his family - one day he made sure that the kitchen staff prepared some of the prickly pears that grow around the gardens specially for our breakfast, a very nice touch. The reception staff were great and looked after us when we had an issue with our noisy neighbours, moving us to another room for a night. The room we were in was very large, with a separate living area and a large bathroom and all the trimmings you'd expect (satellite TV, safety box etc.). As others say, the pool is lovely and the beach only a few minutes walk away. We didn't eat dinner at the hotel (no room after large Sicilian lunches) but the breakfasts were very good and they rustled up some great omelettes for my pregnant wife.
Hard to fault the hotel, it's a great place to relax. You do need a car to get about but once behind the wheel Taormina is only 10 minutes (and a lot of hair-pin bends) away and Catania just 30 minutes (airport 40 minutes). We'd happily return.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank w_herts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CastellodiSanMarco, Direttore at Castello di San Marco Charming Hotel & SPA, responded to this reviewResponded December 22, 2012

Dear Guest,

thank you so much for your kind review of apreciations.
Hope you will visit us during next season.
We are planning to offer a mini van transfer to Taormina several time per day, probably you will find this service available next time.

Best wishes.
Daniele Murabito & family

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Reviewed September 10, 2012

I have just returned from spending a week at Castello di San Marco. This really is a lovely place to stay. The grounds are very well kept and it's just a lovely place to walk around. The garden is well maintained with water features, lots of fruit trees and rabbits! The pool area is spotlessly clean and surrounded by trees. There is a private beach area - however, although this part of the beach is for use by hotel guests there is a charge of 18 Euros each person for the day for use of the beds and parasol - so be aware as this could easily add up a charge to your bill. The jacuzzi was broken when we were there so I cannot comment on it rather than say it would have been nice to use. There are a few points that let this hotel down, and that's the reason it doesn't get 5 stars. First of all there are carpets in our rooms. These carpets are dirty. They are full off visable bits of dirt. These carpets were never vacuumed for our entire stay. They were do grubby that we put them under our bed rather than walking on them. Next is the maid that cleans the room. Sometimes we would have your plastic cups replaced, sometimes we didn't. Very often the empty plastic cup that was used the day before and accidently left at the side of the bed was never emptied or thrown away by the maid. The bed linen although clean isn't the best quality (sorry - but I expect better linen for £1700 for a weeks package holiday!) and were scratchy. The pillows are hard and uncomfortable. The towels are also a bit thin and greying. There are also a few mosquitos in the rooms. Plug-ins with repelant are provided but they're not very effective, so bring your own and make sure you have plenty of repelant on your body when walking around the grounds at night as you will get eaten alive! We ate once in the hotel. The food was lovely, but the experience wasn't. We were never asked if we wanted sweet or coffee. Perhaps it's because there was a rich couple in the restaurant at the same time as us demanding all the attention? Who knows, but we were let down by the service at dinner and felt ignored. We had our breakfast outside every day in a marquee and it was lovely. A good choice of food but only hot bacon and scrambled egg, nothing else, so if you like a hot breakfast (ie, the full monty) you're not going to get one! And although the food is good, it is somewhat over-priced, we paid 19 Euro's for a first course of pasta! Another thing worth noting is the weddings. There are weddings every night and they make a lot of noise! There are shutters on your windows so use them! We also couldn't use the pool area to sit one evening as there was a wedding next to the pool! It's also worth noting that this hotel is remote. There is virtually nothing within walking distance other than the beach. The nearest town that is safe to walk around is Gardini naxos and you will need a car to get there. Taormina is further still but you can get there in 20 mins using the autostrada. This is a lovely place to stay, but just be prepared for it being remote so not ideal if you don't have transport. And hopefully they will have cleaned the rugs by the time you get there!

Room Tip: Get one near the back of the gardens where the noise from the weddings won't annoy you so much.
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank andare
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CastellodiSanMarco, Direttore at Castello di San Marco Charming Hotel & SPA, responded to this reviewResponded September 17, 2012

Dear Guests,
Thank you for the time you spent for describing your experience at Castello San Marco.
We really appreciate your review that represent one useful instrument to improve in a specific way our services.
We had already noted that some laundry stocks where not at the same standards we asked for and already communicated to that company that we can keep collaborate only if they can guarantee us a high standards.
This part of your report will be immediatly forwarded to the laundry manager.
Your mention confirm that our impressions where right and we will consider it one of the first service that must be maintained in a top level range.

We apologize if sometime the maid service was not perfect and we suspect that was caused by one of the external employee.
we have three maids who constantly work with us and were chosen for their efficiency and professionalism. Unfortunately, one of them had a serious injury and has been replaced with a provision by external agency that has not always shown the same precision and meticulousness. We apologize for this inconvenience and we consider once again your report very useful for our improvement.

Talking about the breakfast we wish to emphasize that it is very varied and complete, there are also daily home made cakes prepared in the morning by our pastry chef. The croissants are always top notch and the fruit salad is prepared every single morning.
the service also offer a good selection of cheeses, salami and ham.
We are sincerely and the classic "full monty" breakfast with sausages, backed beans, mushrooms is not available at the buffet for a specific motivation related to our summer average temperatures hardly invite guests to consume a high caloric breakfast, however there is always a chef in the kitchen during breakfast time that will be glad to prepare any of the following things if requested.: various flavors omelettes, soft-boiled eggs, backed beans, mushrooms exc. exc.

We are sorry if you had received a low attention at our restaurant, it this seems to be very unusual also because we are talking about one of our most appreciated services. We apologies for that and we can assure that the level of attention is not in any way related to the wealth of our guests.
I think it may have caused by guests wishing to organize an event at the castle, quite often they ask dozen things to waiters about recipes, combination exc exc.
this is only a hypothesis made just because it has already happened that these guests have "stolen" the time we love to spend for all other guests.

We know that the hotel is located in an area with no crowded roads with shops and restaurants. This is information that we never hide, we have believed that is just an added value and not a flaw.
Many guests come to the castle just for the fact that it is in a quiet area close to the sea, an oasis of peace close of very interesting places (for example Taormina 15 min - Etna 30 min).
Anyway we are planning to offer a mini van service during next season ( to be confirmed)
The argument wedding is one of the most discussed on this network and this is the occasion to explain how we works to keep the right balance between guests and bridegrooms.
Castello San Marco is a very huge property that need also a huge budget to be maintained tidy and immaculate as you have experienced.
The wedding business is something essential for the survival of the property, This doesn’t mean that we put it as a priority, but just a need .
Our priority business is the hotel and our appreciated guests.
Someone felt that all the staff seems concentrated for the wedding but nothing is more wrong than this just because we have 28 employees that work hard just for 30 rooms (very unusual average).
The hotel guests has many private areas not allowed for wedding reception guests, the music is switched off at midnight without any special exception, we never allowed to make fireworks, we never allowed people walk throught the rooms area or at the hotel lounge bar/restaurant.
The privacy of our hotel guests is a sacred issue for us.
Anyway we will never again allow bridegrooms to chose noisy music entertainment also because doesn’t match our particular style.
We will strongly suggest/impose to play just soft piano, jazz or classical mandolin appreciated also by hotel guests that in many occasion listen to this soft music sitting at the pool terrace.

Many thanks for the report we consider useful and precious, hope you find our reply as a demonstration of the value we assign to this type of constructive reviews.
We hope to have you again as our guest at the castello to find out how useful are the contributions of our guests.

best regards
Daniele Murabito & staff

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Reviewed September 1, 2012

We have just had the most fabulous holiday in Sicily staying with friends for 4 nights in their Villa near Siracusa and then we descended on the Castello .
We were booked four days end of the high season and had paid the going rate which is probably a bit more than most hotels in the region but worth every penny .
We were met by Simone a very nice smiley man who took us and helped with our bags to our very nice room a small distance from the hotel which was kind ,Simone also speaks good English and is extremely helpful.
The rooms surround the Castello ,some are in the beautiful very well kept gardens and some are attached to the Castello ,we were slightly further away in room 136 which is in a row of attached villas surrounded by lovely flowers gardens and trees.The paths around the beautiful Castello are all well lit so late at night it is a 2 minute walk from the Castello ,you will notice how spotlessly clean and well presented the paths ,gardens and all the amenities are. The room we had was perfect ,had all the amenities of a first class hotel other than wifi which is being installed soon we believe ,there is wifi in the reception and bar areas and also by the pool.The soaps and creams in the room are all high end Etro ,the bed was very comfortable, our son enjoyed his pull out bed in the living room which is a perfectly good size.Out of the back windows of the roomyou look across a large field and up into the hills beyond ,my only gripe re the room is that maybe we should of had complimentary water put in the room at the end of each day ,we actually bought it by the pool and squeezed it into the minibar to keep cold ,or just call room service and they will deliver with a smile.The air conditioning in each room worked well .
The restaurant is built in a large silk lined tent like structure which is attached to the Castello ,with Chandeliers on a grand classical scale and gives it an air of elegance .The food is exceptional ,the breakfast is delicious and fresh with so many fantastic choices you could if greedy spend far too much time enjoying the fruits /fresh cakes and pastries all made on site there are hams/salamis eggs & bacon ,cereals,fresh yoghurts ,you name it they have it and I am sure if you ask they will find it .
I believe breakfast is from 7.30am -10.30am which is perfect for some in our family who like a late start.
We ate dinner in the restaurant quite a bit and the food is fantastic ,fresh delicious fish ,great pastas ,salads local cheeses and puddings,I had a fillet steak one night and it was superb .
The waitresses and waiters are charming and jolly but not in your face ,lovely manners and clearly very professional and immacutely well dressed as are all of the staff at the Castello .
The lovely thing about the hotel is that the family who own it live in the Castello and you will see the charming owner wandering the grounds of the hotel with his dog , tipping his hat to the ladies giving instructions if things are not quite as they should be ,he has a very smiley wife who clearly rules the roost.
The hotel has a cosy and friendly feel to it,all the guests we met by the pool were from a very international mix and interesting ,the children by the pool were well behaved and considerate ,if things got a bit noisy (our son) the lifeguard would come over and tell them to keep things down ,although there were not that many times .The pool is vast and very clean ,well maintained as are the facilities such as the loo's and showers near by .Again the staff by the pool are non intrusive and don't bother you but if you tell them when you get to the pool what you would like through the day including lunch by the pool they will organise for you ,Angela is wonderful as are all the other kind staff who could not be more polite and helpful a special mention to the pastry chef who had lived in the uk for a number of years and makes the best cakes .
The pool has a deep end with a diving board ,you can walk around the deep end on a shelf around the side so you are not out of your depth unless in the middle of the pool ,the kids end and side pool is perfect for small ones .
We spent much time butter pool but would head sometimes through the back gate to the hotels private part of the beach ,you need to remember you are on a volcanic island (Mt Etna is in the background )so these beaches are not white sandy beaches like the Bahamas ,the beach is stones and dark volcanic sand ,the Hotel have clearly heavily invested in new amenities such as showers ,walkways and jetties to beach ,small snack bar and permanent umbrellas and have cordoned off from the local beach ,there is a full time lifeguard on duty for the hotel during the day, the area is clean ie no litter on the hotels beach area which is substantial .We took swimming shoes and goggles with us which made swimming in the sea very easy and comfortable.
During our recent stay the temperature was about 32-35 most days so we splashed about at the sea from about 5pm most days onwards ,on the local beach there are a couple of restaurants where you could get Pasta or Pizza or ice creams inexpensively at lunchtimes if you want a snack.
I stay in major and boutique hotels all over the world for business and pleasure and have never felt so personally well looked after ,the staff were great towards our 8 year old and spoilt him rotten ,my wife had a great time in and out of the spa .
There is an enormous feeling of security as well once yo have parked the car after a days sightseeing behind the large steel gates of the Castello you feel a calm and peacefulness come over you now that you are back home away from the hustle and bustle of the Siscilian roads and cities such as the beautiful Taormina which is a must ,plus a visit to Etna and the local vineyards and honey shops .If you and the children like to ride there is a riding school not far away which the hotel can organise.
The hotel does host numerous weddings through the summer but our experience was that we hardly noticed,they do not tend to start until about 6.30pm and happen down by the pool area which is cleverly segregated from the hotel ,there is a permanent marquee structure away from the hotel for wedding dining
also the catering facilities for the weddings
are in a different building from the hotel etc so you do not really know that it is all going on and certainly did not effect us in any way other than to see the odd beautiful bride walking around the gardens, also Sicilian weddings do not appear to be such boisterous affairs as English weddings (maybe a little bit more refined!).There really was no noise that would bother you because of the location it is all handled in a very well run slick like military operation with no fusses or drama ,very professional.
We were originally booked in for 4 nights only however stayed for a further 3 nights and were very well looked after so many thanks to all at the Castello ,we will be back .

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank Quaffs
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 reviewResponded September 2, 2012

Dear Guests,
It's very difficult to respond adequately to a review like this that seems could have been written by one of us.
These words are our thrust to do better and to organize services more attentive to the needs of our guests.
You have match the real mood of this place and of the people assist our guests during the vacation.
We are pleased to anticipate some changes for next season, such as the garden grass 100% coverage, the new 5-seats jacuzzi in the garden, the new VIP area on the beach, wifi coverage at 100% and other little surprises.
We hope you will be back at the castle to enjoy the services you already know and the new features we've just described.
I and the staff of the castle will be happy to welcome you once again.

Thank you so much.

Your faithfully
Daniele Murabito

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Reviewed August 9, 2012

A very strange place. The Castello became our last stop after a tour of Venice and Rome, and we were due to be joined by three friends who are also work colleagues.

First the good points - well point actually - and that's the pool. Lovely and well looked after. Great temperature. Not overcrowded. Looked after every day. Sunny all day, a small amount of shade available for those days of heat. Available from around 8am and closes at 6pm. Not available during weddings (in the evening anyway when we were there).

Now the bad points:
Don't be late for anything - one minute (literally) past their allotted times for breakfast, lunch or dinner and you'll be very disappointed as surly staff will shut doors and gates on you forbidding entry.
Menus - firstly bearing in mind the hotel is 10-30 mins from any other food options the menu is very limited - you will be bored of it after 2, maybe 3 days. Secondly, if you order the same thing two days running what you get is completely different. Maybe it's their way of offering variety?
We tried the hotels evening fare - extremely expensive for what it was and the standard of taste, presentation, and food. Wine on the pricey side too with extensive list from £20-£350 (although neither of my first two choices were available when ordered so perhaps the list is not backed by stock. I let them choose a wine in the end and it was fine). Limited menu which doesn't seem to change. A little esoteric in flavours but if you enjoy fine dining you'll find one dish you'll like. I did find it amusing that the same bottle of champagne was £100 more expensive in the restaurant versus the pool bar - they definitely stretch the idea of 'corkage'.
Daytime fare was tried and was again very limited in variety and expensive considering portion sizes and prices for the same in Taormina. No hot food (no pastas or meat), just salads or a club sandwich. One waiter/waitress so lunch takes a good hour as you have to wait your turn, and obviously depends on how many hotel guests are there.
Breakfast was a variety of meats and cheeses, croissants and fruit, with eggs and bacon the only hot option.
Overall, the food was ok but expensive and boring, and we made the effort to eat outside the hotel as often as we could.
Rooms - we had two of the same standard, both junior suites, which was stated as an 'upgrade'. Due to the make up of our party, we had booked the original rooms specifically as they had two bedrooms each that could cater for five people and how our party was made up. This was confirmed with the staff via emails at time of booking. We were disappointed to find that the upgrade meant two people sleeping on medium quality camp beds. It was ok, but it negated the value of an 'upgrade', and immediately raised the suspicion that our stay might not be as idyllic as we had hoped..
Upon entering the two rooms we had been 'upgraded' to nothing was the same between the two rooms - little things but equally annoying during the stay: One room waited until day four for tea and coffee making facilities; one had mozzie plugs the other didn't; one waited two days for enough towels for the occupants; one waited three days for replacement shower gel and shampoo; one had a bottle opener and corkscrew; the other had drinks in the mini bar but no way of opening any drinks; one had glasses for drinks the other not; one had shower doors, the other not. As we had two rooms we were largely able to mix and match. Despite telling the staff three times about the issues nothing was done until voices were raised!
Finally the aircon units are old and noisey but fortunately we had Sellotape to effect the repairs the staff seemed unable to do.
Upgrades - the better rooms are at the back of the hotel overlooking a wasteland
and the car park (and a tennis court that has seen better days). Also they do not have wifi or data cable access.
Rooms are musty but have been given a lick of paint. One shower head was clogged with lime scale, the other was broken and black tape was used by the hotel to hold it in one (rather awkward) position. Wardrobes and drawers are musty and that does transfer to clothes if you are there more than 3/4 days.
It is not apparent where the alleged 200,000 euro upgrade money has been spent or goodness knows what the rooms were like beforehand. I suspect that the money has been spent on the wedding facilities as opposed to the benefit of hotel guests.
No room service from what we could make out.
Beach - for a hotel of this quality 15 euros a day for two sun beds is a liberty to say the least.
Bar - one of the rooms with no aircon so simply unbearable right up to their closing time of midnight (where you are ushered out whether your drink is finished or not). Also, wifi is not available in this area so thoughts of supping a cool glass of white whilst checking your smartphone/laptop are wasted. (The bar is linked to wifi enabled reception so it's a mystery why a simple cable and booster have not been installed).
Pool: lovely. Bar open some of the time and very strict on lunch timings (no food available outside of this time). No swimming after 6pm (a pain on those long summer days). Wifi for about a quarter of the pool side with a weak/intermittent signal anywhere else (we were using iPhone3 and 4 plus Macbook Pro's). Whilst lovely, the piped music is extremely annoying so bring headphones. It's not the volume it's simply that they have taped music on a loop that lasts
about 45 mins. An iPod on shuffle seems beyond them and average covers of Led Zeppelin and Sade really grate when you've heard them for the umpteenth time that day!
Reception - closes at 11pm so if you need anything after then you are stuck. Three of our party arrived after 11pm due to flights and the best the hotel could offer was some 'cold meats' (a plate of sandwiches with a couple of beers preprepared seemed impossible).
However if you have an emergency, and ONLY an emergency, you are given a number to contact the owner out of hours.
Spa - good prices compared to many other spa's around the world. However, with the two treatments we had this was achieved by giving 50 minute treatments for a stated 60 minute treatment. Hence, it's pro-rata the same as anywhere else. Treatments are also comparable to anywhere else. The facilities are limited and small but nice and clean. It's neither ultra modern nor dated. The tiniest changing room I've ever seen in a spa!
Check out - quite simply, a disgrace. Make sure you have all your paperwork with you and any proofs of previous payments or deposits. Firstly, after agreeing the final bill which was correct, my guest was then charged twice the amount to her card. Upon noticing when I came to settle my bill, we were then told that a refund to a credit card was not possible! A solution seemed to be that my guest settle the issue with her credit card company upon her return to the UK! Therefore, the hotel was overcharging my guest by £350, with it being her problem to resolve later. Obviously it was very silly of the staff to say a refund could not be affected, and after some persistence and insistence this was done correctly.
Then it was my turn to settle my bill. It was very complex but the bottom line was they had charged me for the room when it was paid in full when booked (4/5 months prior), and they were trying to charge again for some of it - the reason unknown. Again, this amounted to around £350 overcharge which the hotel were very happy with and would not have been noticed except I had taken my credit card statement with me on holiday so I could prove there and then that payment had been made. In fact, they were quite happy to argue the case even though they were basically saying 'it's in the bill so must be correct'. Once proof was produced they backed down and offered no explanation as to why they had just added money to the bill.
For two rooms the hotel tried to overcharge £700+ in total, and when pointed out the monies were corrected once it was shown they could not explain or argue away the charges. The staff were told about how I felt that my guest and I had tried to be honest and yet they were being, well, fraudulent.
I have never had such a check out and I think I've stayed in over 1000 hotels now. Hopefully, I was just very unlucky.

All of the above points were explained to the staff who said they would do something
immediately each time. All I wanted was the owner to know as often in these instances it is too tight cost control that creates the problems. I was told later he had been made aware but despite living on site the owner at no stage came to speak to us, try to understand more, say sorry, explain what would be done differently in the future....or even offer my guests a complimentary glass of Sicillian Red. What this shows is that this is not a 4 or 5 star place if you have any problem at all, from silly things to your final bill. To me it's not 4/5 star, and is not therefore value for money and not really what you expect from the pictures. Perfectly pleasant it is, but that's the absolute best you can say in my opinion.

Overall it is a 'nearly hotel'. They seem far more interested in weddings (the pool is out of bounds when they happen) than hotel guests. Some things are quite laughable actually hence my analogy to a famous comedy series. Whilst we explained three times during our stay, patiently and clearly, the issues we faced nothing was done during our stay. We would have spent far more at the hotel, and returned with my company's staff in the future, but instead the delightful restaurants and bars of Taormina gained our custom, and we will never return to this 17th Century Castello.

If you want a great pool and have a car and make your own entertainment this
hotel is ok, quiet, and with nice places to tuck yourself away with a bottle of vino (purchased in Taormina). Otherwise, or if you have any problem during your stay, be very cautious about booking, or be prepared to have a limited, expensive and frustrating experience. We had every intention of bringing fourteen of our team this Christmas but we are definitely not doing that based on this six day experience.

A great shame for what could be a beautiful and pampering hideaway for business, friends, or couples.

Room Tip: Pot Luck Bigger rooms further away from reception and therefore less services (no internet access...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank NightOwl1968
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CastellodiSanMarco, Responsabile relazioni con la clientela at Castello di San Marco Charming Hotel & SPA, responded to this reviewResponded August 10, 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for the important and detailed comments you wrote about our hotel and our services.
We are always very interested about the opinions of our guests and we impartially like to reply to it also from our point of view.
We believe you travel all over the world in thousand hotels, but just consider this question: how many of them reply on your review? even if it was amazing? We already know the answer...
Just take a look to our other reviews reply, this will help you to understand how much we take in care our guests even when they leave our hotel.
We have always have hear to hearing our guests, especially during the stay at castello, that’s why we apologize for the only one thing we consider worthy to be mentioned in your letter, the fact that our care capacity was not so great and fast as it usually and constantly is!!
Its a true challenge manage a place like this, anyway we spend our time and use our enthusiasm to give a better service every single day, all over the year .

We are aware that even a single disappointment, such as the lack of an accessory to bottles opener in your room or the lack of glasses to minibar can raise the guests attention but also lower the level of tolerance about little flaw could be present in a hotel like this.
Nobody for example complained us about the size of spa dressing room, little but very fine decorated, just because we are not the beautiful and enormous ”London Cumberland” with 1200 rooms and a 1500 sqm spa.

We apologize in advance for the blunt way of reply to your opinion but the presence of an incomprehensible excessive intolerance has given us no alternative..
Follow we wish to reply point by point to the things described in your review, and hope to be just precise and objective on each point.
We use to learn by the guests opinions but sometimes they need to be rightly commented by both parties.

Our breakfast service use to have tolerant time table and in any case where the breakfast buffet was already disassembled we always kindly invite guests to the pool bar that offers the possibility to have breakfast a limited non buffet (croissants, cappuccino, coffee, juices, etc., etc..)
We still don’t understand why you describe “insufficient” our breakfast buffet that offer o traditional continental buffet offering all things you can expect from four star hotel standard with some free extras like home made daily cakes, fresh squeezed sicilian orange juice, fresh fruits cake too.

Same thing for the light lunch service by the pool that observe the time 12:30 a.m. 2:30 p.m.
Apparently your lunch service request was made around 3:10 and the lady at the bar “kindly” informed you that the kitchen was closed (not because of the time but because there was no longer the chef there) but anyway and “obviously” at our hotel, it’s possible to have toast or other snacks at the bar during all day long.

About our restaurant we have more than one reply that deserve to be written.

First - the menu has been deliberately kept small ( 6 appetizers – 6 firs course – 6 second course – dessert + daily special) to ensure MAXIMUM FRESHNESS of everything.
The vegetables, fish, dressing sauces, etc.. are purchased daily from local markets.
Nobody except you described our food “esoteric” but just healty mediterranean food.
We are very proud about our restaurant service and you can find more than one review that describe it in a impartial right and onest way as a top sea food restaurant.

We can assure you that the restaurants that use too much variety in their menu and have not a large influx of customers, hide the suspect of foods subjected to industrial processing, frozen or preserved with thousand chemical substances .
Nobody is in the food business like to put food in the bin every day, and there are more than one unhealthy options to avoid it.
We can proudly guarantee the 1st quality of our “limited” as you described, menu.
In any case as we mentioned above we often propose extra delicatessen dishes, especially for guests we know that stay for a long period. Many times the fish market offers delicious daily special that deserve to be offered to our guests.

Our cellar consists in almost 200 different sicilian, italian and international wines and seems to be normal that in some case the requested wine is temporary not available especially for the rare one!

The error on the restaurant champagne price was obviously a PRINTING ERROR and not an attempt to CHEAT our guests. We have checked the computer prices database and the item was memorized at the same cost, at the restaurant and at the pool. I believe this issue is once again the result of intolerance and excessive meticulousness in looking for flaws.

We remeber that your request to have kettle with tea and coffee in the room was immediately satisfied, we don’t understand why you wrote 4-day waiting period!!!

The absence of shower door in one of your rooms is not the result of an error but just because the different shape of the shower area.
In the first room of the box measures 80 x80 cm aprox. Door needed to avoid exit of water.
In the second room the box was obtained in a much more large area about 120 x 80 cm aprox with a floor enough softly sloped to avoid water waste.
The presence of an additional door would appear unnecessary and not beautiful to see.
We are not aware that the rooms allocated and we put old windows that need repairs with tape.
We would like to be more specific when describing the problem and write on our private email more details about the problem we will check.

Dont want to bore the web surfer so we briefly notice that we couldn’t be able to accept the following statements:
-old rooms
-musty closets
-rooms painted to hide (what??)
-coarse repairs
-priority to wedding reception

The free wifi is present on 50% of the hotel (10,000 sqm) and is provided for an expansion to 100% until 2013.
In no page of our website, we provide a false description on the free wifi coverage area that is present in:
• Reception area
• In the garden bar
• In the wine bar
• in the pool
• in suites de luxe
Nobody before you noticed us about intermittent connection, anyway we will check once again the signal coverage.

The presence of repetitive music in the pool is a strange rare case because we use to play web radio as: radio horyzont (from Poland), Radio Swiss Jazz (from Switzerland), relax fm (from Russia). These channels has a continuous bitstream with always new playlist and excellent quality of music for the relaxation of our guests.
Obviously we cannot satisfy the musical tastes of all guests that’s why the volume is always kept low and certain times (afternoon) the diffusion is completely suspended.

We know that our spa is appreciated for its style, the quality of its treatments.
Accuse us of having done a 10 minute shorter massage is once again the result of excessive intolerance. We're not used to "subtract" 10 minutes of relaxation to our guests. If this happened we apologize but has no connection with your thoughts.

The presence of a night service number does not mean that it should be called only for serious emergencies, in fact it's used for any kind of request in few cases and we are completely ready to give any necessary service also during the night.
The way you described seems that guests are abandoned for all night long, but THIS IS COMPLETELY FALSE.
We never never denied assistance especially at night.

The wrong charge at check out was made without any fraud attempt, if you just think this in a respectable hotel is an unacceptable sentence.
The receptionist IMMEDIATELY informed the cardholder about the mistake.
The misunderstanding has happened for the simple reason that the receptionist had never made before a transfer rollback with the pos device.
However, this transfer rollback was made within 3 minutes after the account manager instructions and we provided all documentation attesting the proper execution to the guest.
We see no reason to declare that we have downloaded the responsibility for the problem asking the guest to resolve the matter with the bank.
This is a slanderous accusation and unbearable for the correctness of our service and the standing of our hotel.

We don’t want to comment the accusation of unauthorized extra charge on the bill mentioned in your review because we consider it once again an UNACCEPTABLE AND DEFAMATORY ACCUSATION.

Ultimately we are sorry that your experience doesn’t match your expectations but we believe the excessive use of words such as "almost hotels" or use ridiculous comedies titles to describe our service doesn’t match any of our way to be, like hotel and like persons as well.

Nobody will be able to give you back your holiday and we consider this the biggest problem, we don’t use t o disappoint any guest.

The rest of the opinions written on this site represent an alternative way to enjoy their holidays in a place that does not presume to be perfect but simply very enjoyable with an honest value .
We point out that other guests comment positively not just the garden or the fine decorated and comfortable rooms but first of all the staff!! always helpful and kind that make become a simple hotel in a place of true welcome.

We wish you a better experience in Sicily and remember that our first target is the customer satisfaction we have unfortunately missed with you.

Yours faithfully
D. Murabito

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2012

Castello di San Marco is a charming castle in the village of San Marco about 10 mins drive from the nearest town of Gardini Naxos and about 30 mins from Taormina. All the rooms in the hotel are in separate buildings and the reception, restaurant, bar etc are all in the main castle. There are extensive lush gardens with fruit trees and views of Mount Etna. This hotel is ideal for couples wanting a relaxing break as there are only about 20 rooms and never many guests around the castle grounds or pool. All the staff are very attentive and helpful. The private beach is a few minutes walk away but there is a daily charge. Also the free WIFI was not working when we tried but this may have just been temporary. This hotel is great if you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy some quality time chilling out by the pool relaxing. There are weddings at the Castle during summer evenings but we did not find them at all inconvenient. On the downside taxis are expensive (think london prices) and there are only 3 buses daily to Taorima. Typical taxi prices are 15-20 euros to go into Gardini Naxos so it is definitely worth getting the bus if you can for 2-3 euros return. Trips to Etna can be arranged via the hotel or a travel agent in Taormina. Shoe lovers should check out the Shoe Heaven discount store on the way to Gardini Naxos. Overall, brilliant if you want to chill out on a relaxing Sicilian holiday.

Room Tip: All rooms are in separate buildings, none are in the castle itself.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank parma022
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 reviewResponded July 31, 2012

Dear guests,
thank you so much for the wonderful review, we hope to make you spend again relaxing moments at castello.

best regards
Daniele Murabito, Family & staff

Report response as inappropriate
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: Contrada San Marco 40, 95011 Calatabiano, Sicily, Italy
Phone Number:
Location: Italy > Sicily > Province of Catania > Calatabiano
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 1 Hotels in Calatabiano
Price Range: $135 - $443 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Castello di San Marco Charming Hotel & SPA 4*
Number of rooms: 27
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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