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Domina Zagarella Sicily
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All reviewsdomina coral bayreception stafffisha sea view roomtrain stationpastakids clubbuffet restaurantthe salt water poolsea frontrooms are comfortablescuba divingsun loungersplenty of sunbedslarge hotelrelaxing holidayfantastic views
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Reviewed May 12, 2013

Quiet location, outside the city and a 10 mins walk to the train station where you can get a train to Palermo. Walk is along a main road which can get busy at times and there isn't always a pavement to walk on. No shops near by but there is a restaurant over the road. Food here is lovely and it is reasonably priced.

The hotel itself is clean and the rooms are comfortable, with 1950's decor. Friendly receptionists who were always willing to help. Hotel was very quiet and we didn't see many other guests about other than at breakfast. It did feel like the hotel was fully open, as the wine bar was not open, only one swimming pool was open for use and we were given cards that we were meant to exchange for beach towels and the card was returned when the towels were, but this was never used, towels were left by the pool to grab one and use. There were plenty of sun beds to choose from, and lots of maintenance happening around the pool area and surrounding gardens.

The rooms were decorated to a high standard with bright colours. Our room had bright red furniture with accents of lime green, it felt very contemporary. There was a large king size bed, which was very comfortable. It was disappointing that there were no English channels to watch on the tv - not even the news channel so you were unable to keep up with current affairs.

There was a good selection for continental breakfast, with various pastries, breads, biscuits, cold meats, cheeses and cereal to choose from. The selection for cooked breakfast was limited to bacon and scrambled egg. The fruit was limited to tinned pineapple and fresh apples, considering the amount of fresh fruit we saw at the markets we expected there to be more variety at breakfast.

We also had one evening meal at the hotel restaurant. The menu did not have a lot of variety. As expected there was a lot of fish but mostly beef on the meat selection. Portions sizes were small and there were no options to add side dishes. I'm glad we only ate there once and would recommend going to the restaurant over the road (L'Anchorra).

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank S4ndcastle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 10, 2013

Spoke to a lovely gentlemen at the hotel concierge who helped us plan our days on holiday in Sicily. Compared to the service we recieved on the first night he was a breath of fresh air and really helped us, was really friendly. Congratulations on your wedding Luigi!

Room Tip: ask for a room with a balcony which will provide beautiful sea views on the fifth floor!
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Sharan D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 1, 2013

Domina Coral Bay
Lovely rooms and view. Forget the food.

Wonderful position and views.
We had a junior suite which consisted to two rooms one large. Well worth the extra £12 or £15 a night. We also booked via Expedia and more about that later. This part of Sicily is less touristy but as always has dramatic scenery. The hotel looks over towards the charming village and port of Porticello to the left and the hills behind it as well as straight out to the Mediterranean.

If you have questions email: info@dominacoralbay.it
We found Erica Cossentino most helpful. She replied promptly via email to all our queries.

First if you are driving (and you definitely need a car) there is no hotel name to identify the building. In any case the naming convention for the Hotel seems haphazard. Currently it seems just Domina. Don’t try to drive through Bagheria. Come off the motorway A19 at Casteldaccia. Go to main costal road. Turn left and it about 1 mile on the right round bend so turning right can be difficult if something is on your tail. Look for a large more modern building on the right just after the dilapidated block on the right. Palermo is difficult to drive in and probably takes an hour to get to. Airport to hotel is just over an hour.

You can unload near reception but the car park is a little way away tucked behind the hotel. In the midday heat, going to and from the car is not something you want to do frequently. If you are disabled, argue to park near reception.

The reception service is friendly but not always very helpful and sometimes with just one person on duty. Asking for maps of the are is difficult – they will print out an inadequate black and white copy of Google maps. One way streets are everywhere. Local knowledge is not good. The hotel has recently been refurbished and is good though the décor is not too everyone’s tastes. It is clean and modern and everything works perfectly. Get instructions on how to use the safe though (none in room). Unlike many British hotels, the hot towel rails do work. The swimming pools and garden environment look wonderful though when we went the pools were too cold to swim in and one pool was being filled.

So room facilities are definitely 4 star. Internet (use cable) was brilliant – fast and reliable. Reception staff were friendly and always tried to help. Distances to our room (closest to the sea) were quite long. This is a big hotel. But this wasn’t a problem. Vodaphone mobiles worked well.

Everything else is 2 or 3 star. No porter service. The swimming pools, walking along the rocks and grounds are nice. I would not recommend taking a villa. I think the best rooms are larger rooms (don’t take a small standard room) high up on the 4th or 5th floors. (only 4 floors on the eastern spur of the hotel which faces directly out to the sea). Also make sure you have a sea view.

There are not many UK to Italian adapter plugs at the hotel. Italy does not use standard EC plugs but special 3-pronged plugs. Normal travel adapters do not work. So for safety sake take your own but you can’t buy them at any London airport. You may have to order via Amazon but make sure they have three pins on the Italian end.

Noise. Just one downside. There was a fashion party (unscheduled) which went on to 3 am in the morning. You can’t sleep through that and despite repeated complaints the noise would be turned down only to restart a few minutes later. All sea view rooms are affected.

The restaurant breakfast is the worst I have ever had in any hotel ever. Bread stale. Acres of old inedible cakes. No fresh fruit. Sometimes cheese sometimes not. Sometimes croissants. Good rolls. Mediocre jam. Only once we had scrambled eggs. Every other time there were no eggs or bacon. Coffee from machines was ok but milk frequently ran out. Forget the fruit juice it is just coloured water. (Though outside the hotel we had fantastic freshly squeezed blood red orange juice.) A la carte breakfast - we didn’t have the option but if you can, go to the a la carte breakfast restaurant. Don’t whatever you do buy breakfast as part of the package.

The food at the main hotel restaurant was so so. Pricey – around £25 to £35 per head. But there is always a problem as the restaurant is run by a different organisation. Often unfriendly and seems to be run by the Mafia. So you can’t take half finished glasses or bottles of wine to your room. Mostly we found the breakfast and dining experience pretty unfriendly. The smaller restaurants and pool bar were not in operation or were taken up by conferences and fashion shows (closed to hotel guests) when we were there.

There are two local restaurants both within walking distance. The Trattori is just over the road. Turn left out of the hotel walk to the hotel bounds (can be scary) and cross the road. 50 yards at most. Simple local food. Take a dictionary as they don’t speak English or French. We found it mediocre but acceptable for basic things.

Then there is supposed to be a better restaurant to the right (perhaps 400 yards) and then walk down a unmade road for about 100 yards (it is on the sea and the outside terrace is great in season). The food here has been reviewed positively by others. We had a bad couple of nights there. But you should be ok in the summer months. Again take a dictionary.

Best place to eat is the local village of Porticello on the port. Lots of restaurants. But take a dictionary. Port-side restaurants are better than they look. Al Faro Verde is the best local restaurant by repute. Locally caught fresh fish. Try it but again you will need a car and some experience in driving around.

There is a Sunday evening market (hotel staff will tell you it is there every night but it isn’t) in Porticello again on the port side which is well worth a visit but parking is a nightmare and as navigating through the tiny one-way streets.
Buying soft drinks, snacks etc for you room. Turn left out of the hotel and there is a Tabac about a mile down the road (first cross-roads). Parking is difficult. You can turn left but best to stick the car anywhere. No one seems to mind.

Or if necessary get directions to the Simple super market in Bagheria, but be careful to take the correct left turn off the SS113 (main road). If you turn too early, you get caught in one way streets which took us a couple of hours to find our way out and don’t leave the hotel without a navigational aid (e.g. iPhone) which is essential.

You probably need 3-4 days driving to get used to where everything is. Then you can enjoy your holiday. Don’t even think about coming on a short break. 7 to 10 days is the minimum if you want to get the best out of your experience here. Driving is not for the faint hearted. And don’t rent from Sixt (terrible). Expedia service and help lines are good. But we had a terrible problem trying to print out and check in with Alitalia. Several phone calls and several trips to the airport did not get the issue straightened out. Also we flew London Heathrow to Rome then to Palermo (the home to hotel journey took 18 hours). We returned Palermo to Milan to Heathrow. We nearly missed the connection and our bags took several days to catch up with us.

Would we go again? Yes now armed with local knowledge. The troubling thing is still breakfast. I like breakfasts. The hotel is pretty useless. Best to try and do a deal with the hotel to ensure you get exactly what you want (not sure this is possible).

We drove to Agrigento but it was a difficult drive and a day-trip. If we went again we may go to the more touristy side of closer to Taormina (west coast). That said this hotel is well worth a stay and flights to Palermo tend to be less fully booked than Catania (close to Taormina).

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Nice_Nick_2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 23, 2013

The hotel is about 50 kilometres from Palermo airport and about a 45 minute drive. We arrived mid afternoon after making the mistake of driving into Palermo for lunch which was a nightmare.
Staff at reception were very courteous and helpful. We were allocated a room with a view overlooking the pool and the sea and it was a good start to a great holiday. We had a couple of queries about the air-conditioning which were promptly resolved by the ever-helpful Monica. Our package included dinner on the first night which was good but not cheap. We did not use any of the facilities like the pool and the gym but walked around the resort to the sea front which was pleasant.

We spent the next 5 days driving around visiting Agrigento, Trapani, Siracusa, Catania and Mondello and enjoying the local cuisine. A good though slightly pricey place to eat in Trapani is Ai Lumi which served good pasta with sardines.

In Catania, we ate at La Paglia near the fishmarket whose speciality was seafood. We had the lovely fish soup as the main course.
In Bagheria near the hotel, we ate twice at Don Ciccio (recommended on Trip Advisor).

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Dunedain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2013

Stayed for a week, its fantastic hotel, clean and contemporary, nice swimming pools, good access to sea (no beach). Breakfast was really nice, overall food is overpriced and very small portions... Nice restaurants around, car rental is recommended...We would go back...

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank muff77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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