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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 June 14, 2013

My husband and I arrived here in Santa Flavia after a wild few days in Palermo. It was a relief to get somewhere to chill out. We arrived by train and went straight into the bar closest the station, rang the hotel who sent a taxi to collect us for the price of €10. No complaints from us as I did not want to walk dragging my suitcase behind me.
The hotel is large and modern with a strange almost haunting decor, a homage to past movers and shakers in film and music. (See pics).
The outdoor bar area and pools with the stunning views are this hotels piece de resistance. The room we were given was on the 5th floor and relatively small. The air-conditioning was a problem for our first three nights stay, as it wasn't working and made for uncomfortable nights sleep. I complained about this to the General manager who was charming and polite and offered his apology's but nothing more.
The restaurant is buffet and is just about passable. We ate there as it was included in our stay but otherwise I would not recommend it.
The staff are hit and miss, some extremely bright and helpful, others are as if they have been employed as charity cases.
The hotel caters for conferences. They had a large corporate group there the day we arrived that certainly took precedence over the individual guests. The corporate group were given VIP treatment. Dinner al fresco (something not allowed for guests) entertainment as they dined (we were told to be quite as we sipped our drinks in the bar).They had a disco that went on well past 4am keeping all other guests awake. Two nights later we were in the bar and they turned off the music at 11pm and when I requested they put it back on as quite a few guests were dancing and enjoying it we were told no. I think this goes to show who the hotel prioritises.
The positives are the hotel is spotless, the cleaning crews work non-stop. The gardens are gorgeous, the view stunning and the pool and bar areas are lovely to lounge around. The hotel also offers a free massage to ladies on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at the salt pool which I availed of. The negatives are as I have laid out above; the restaurant and overall poor customer service from workers up to management. Essentially for a hotel of this caliber we were not made to feel looked after. Overall our stay was mediocre, I'm not sure that this hotel is worth a visit

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank maprik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 14, 2013

On arrival to the hotel it seemed very quiet – yet we couldn’t check in until 4pm, fair enough but the hotel certainly didn’t seem full. As it was in the middle of nowhere we had to drive around to nearby villages, apparently which don’t get many tourists and will stare and beep at you. Beware much of the villages close at 1-4pm as per a few other countries on the med, but you won’t be able to buy a bottle of water or a sandwich at all between these times.
The music in our first room was reverberating, and the shock and amazement you encountered when requesting a move was unbelievable, and reluctance to show me the room proved to be incredulous. When we moved to another room, the music went on until 1am every night, terrible out of tune karaoke singing and a few nights we woke to the sound of fireworks. Get prepared to listen to Alicia Keys for 7 days straight by the pool, it’s incredibly loud and repetitive. The music at night plays an array of Gangnam Style, YMCA…every night, the same songs, so loud that you can’t sleep with earplugs in. When you even suggest that it is too loud to the reception staff they eye you with contempt and are pretty useless. Apart from Monica who was helpful. But asking for a map of anywhere nearby was like asking them to strip off naked and run around the hotel, they don’t have any idea as to what hospitality is. The air con in the rooms doesn’t go below 21 and you wake to the sun warming up your room like a sauna – this is controlled by reception. Don’t bother asking for an iron because you’ll be scoffed at ‘for health and safety reasons’.

Actually breakfast was as anticipated, no better no worse, but could be improved and be more economical and supportive of the local community by using local produce, eg. Not president butter, and locally produced meats. The weekends are the worse when you have to fight to get a cappuccino – oh and a sunbed! Favouritism was shown to the Italians at breakfast them being directed to special coffee, cleaner tables etc.

The hotel itself is nice and comfortable, the showers (minus the blocked bath plug) are good but the balconies are tiny. The maid on one occasion refilled our shower gel with water. Some of the staff seem willing to help, others don’t want to – we thank the pool boy who allowed the two of us to share 3 towels and not the other gentleman who told us were only allowed 2 for the whole day! And the hotel seems to focus on their conferences and external customers more than then hotel guests.

The wifi – NOT FREE UNLIMITED. They get you to sign a piece of paper but what you don’t realise is that there is a limit on it and it will cut you off. Ours lasted 2 days and I was told by the receptionist I couldn’t have another because I wasn’t ‘respecting the wifi limit’. TripAdvisor and google maps app obviously don’t use THAT much wifi up. You have to pay after that! You will experience standing at reception and be talking to front desk when they answer the phone, cutting you off.

If you have a car go to Casteldaccia to La Fornarella pasticceria, they don’t speak any English but all you need to ask for is 2 salami paninis and that is about 2 Euros, and they are very welcoming and friendly!

Oh and go to Caccamo via car, a village in the mountains with a lovely castle & manmade lake, it’s beautiful. Marilyn, was very helpful on our trip to caccamo.

Overall the hotel is set in lovely grounds, with fantastic views. But the management has no idea about hospitality and seems to just want to save money. I hear there is a 5 star hotel nearby, spend the money to go there, it’s not worth trying to stay at the Domina as unless you are Italian or Sicilian you will be treated with no respect at all. Staff seemed to lack the ability to recommend places to go, obviously not trained and not embracing their tourists.

Room Tip: If you like not sleeping I suggest getting the room that faces the pool, music until 1am every day!
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank visceral_lizzie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2013

HUGE but very clean and confortable. Fabulous pool terraces going down to the sea set in beautiful grounds. Eating in the caffeteria was like being at school but the food was mostly reasonable. It is a very good base for seeing the Palermo and other interesting sites in Sicily

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank granny41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 5, 2013

A bizarre experience this one!

First the good bits: We stayed in one of the sea view villas - clean, spacious and well decorated. The hotel is spread over a large site, if you are staying in one of the villas they are down the hill from the main building - not an issue for us but may be if you have mobility problems. There are several pools on different levels and loads of sunbeds.

The other bits: There are speakers all over the site which drone out what sounds like 80's power ballads all day - if this is your thing that's fine but if you like peace to appreciate the view you are out of luck. To be fair they did turn it down a bit when asked but it's impossible to escape it entirely.

Lastly - the food. This would be the deal breaker for us. The buffet dinner is best described as awful. Someone previously described it as school dinners but that would be a compliment. The hotel (allegedly) has a "Wine Club" but the choice in the restaurant is "Red or White" which arrives at your table already opened. The red we had (labelled Nero D'Avola) had obviously been watered down. I gather that the hotel owners have contracted out the catering, which is a suicidal thing to do - but given the history of the hotel perhaps there is some other reason (I won't go into the origins - just do a google search). There are very limited options for eating out in the locality, the All'Ancora over the road serves good home cooked food but you wouldn't want to eat there every day.

Overall a 4 star hotel with 1 star catering - a crying shame because it could be really good.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank Goatwatcher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2013

i really liked it, they know how to party man !! hehe
i dont know from what time they party ,, but they party till 2:00!! and i wanted that
the other day i slept 12 am and i used my iPod to sleep, ( because they had the right to party down there and have a plast, with the wonderful fireworks)
it was charming times relaxing in the morning after the good party !!
The staff? i have been to 100s hotels around the world, but i dont think im gonna see better than their staff, when they trying to assist you. ( i would see better then them)
in one word, they are really friendly and almost i would label them (like a family)
i didn't regret visiting this place one second, and not visiting rome, milano
BTW, i will go back to this place before i go to spain next time! its good to see some good friends again.

Big Like from Saudi Arabia, jeddah.
Don Sofiani wrote this.

Room Tip: top level sea view and just do it!
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Don Sofiani A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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