11 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Great Hotel, Great location, Excellent Staff.
"We have just spent 10 wonderful days at this Hotel. I cannot recommend it highly enough. The staff were friendly and very professional, especially the Reception staff who were only too pleased to help with any queries or advice, their assistance was invalubale as the staff in the local Tousist Information Office in Taormina were unhelpful and surly. The food in the hotel restaurant was excellent and the breakfast choice was plentiful and of a high standard. The Hotel itself is very traditional having once been a private villa and is situated right on its own private beach.The gardens to the hotel are made up of a series of beautifully kept inter-connecting terraces as the hotel is built into the side of a hill. The hotel rooms are small but well furnished and the maid service is excellent with beds turned down each evening (shower in our bathroom was very small). This Hotel is not really suitable for the less mobile and whilst rather expensive this was a refreshing change from the usual impersonal tourist hotel."
- Travel date: Fri 25th of May 2007
Overall disappointed, but the hotel has good points too
"My wife and I stayed here for six days.
The hotel is situated with fine views over the beech & bay. We had a balcony (room 205) and this was in a great position to sit in the evening admiring the scenery. The room was pleasant, though perhaps a little cramped. The ensuite was clean and modern.
The hotel is very well located for the cable car into the very busy town. This runs every 15minutes, though unfortunately it stops at 20.15 except during peak season. A taxi back after dinner was usually 15 Euro. The breakfast area is also perfectly located, with a conservatory section or patio depending on weather.
If our stay was par for the course the Sant Andrea attracts clients who tend to be in their 50s or 60s.
Directions on the hotel's website are inadequate, which made finding it difficult. Be aware that the Sant Andrea charge you 16Euro per day to park your car.
There is no booklet giving hotels facilities, check-out times, cable car details,etc. We wondered if this was just our room, but on checking with reception found that this was policy. My wife has now discovered there was a beautician which she wouuld have used.
The staff were pleasant, but I'm afraid a little lacking. Reception could not help when I asked them to recommended a walk, and the breakfast staff were inconsistant- getting a coffee was sometimes a challenge. Breakfast itself was adequate but very dull. Virtually nothing changed each day.
The internet is not free, and a lengthy signing on process is required. In fairness I think this may be due to Italian law (I tried an internet cafe instead and they required my passport!).
The room was not "made up" in the evening, as you would expect with hotels in this price range.
As my wife was on business, she invariably asked for bills in restaurants and the hotel was booked in her name. In Sicily everything goes to the man. The hotel even had my name on the bill, which was unacceptable for expense purposes. Reception said that this could not be changed because of a new computer system.
This is a decent hotel on a nice island. Sadly with both the island and hotel, chaos always seemed likely to be around the next corner. Etna is well worth seeing, but I would not come to this hotel, or indeed Taormina, again."
- Travel date: Sun 29th of April 2007
"My husband and I stayed here in April, and we are definitely coming back. The view from the balcony in our room was stunning - we watched the sun rise over the sea from our bed, and the room was very comfortable. The marble bathroom was small but had everything we needed, and the shower was wonderful. Breakfast was the best part - we sat out in the shade of the pine trees on the terrace overlooking the sea. The choice was excellent, and included prosecco and freshly squeezed orange juice. We didn't eat in the hotel, but there are plenty of restaurants inTaormina ( the cable car is just over the road). Make sure you have lunch in the Lido la Pigna restaurant on the beach - it serves fresh and excellent value local food, including octopus salad, seafood risotto, and unusual meatballs cooked with lemon leaves.This is one of the best hotels I've been to for location, views and breakfast."
- Travel date: Sun 22nd of April 2007
"My husband and I liked this hotel a lot. If you're planning to stay in Taormina, definitely consider staying at Mazzaro rather than up in the old town of Taormina itself, which is wall to wall tourists in the summer. The cable car from Mazzaro to Taormina is a one minute walk from the hotel and about a five minute ride up the mountain. Taormina of course is spectacular, but in August-September, there are just too many people. Stay by the sea if you're going in the height of the season. Villa Sant'Andrea and another hotel, the 5 star Mazzaro Sea Palace, are the only hotels on the smallish picturesque bay of Mazzaro. Although Sant'Andrea has 4 stars, on balance it's nicer than the Sea Palace, which we peeked in. Sant'Andrea is an older building with established gardens, terraces and atmosphere. Sea Palace is a new structure that could be at any resort in the world. We stayed 11 days at Villa Sant'Andrea and got to know the staff. The women at reception were outstanding. The waiters and restaurant help weren't quite as high class as reception, but they were very pleasant. The breakfast buffet, served on the terrace, was very elaborate for Italy and quite good, but like other reviewers, we found the restaurant (also on the terrace) ridiculous, with silly, over-elaborate food, outrageously priced. Luckily, there was no need to eat at the restaurant. Along the sea road, a few steps outside the property, are plenty of casual restaurants. The best, with genuine Sicillian food, is Ristorante Castelluccio. Turn to your right as you leave the hotel. The owner, Sardo, speaks great English and is handsome and charming. His kitchen has the best food in town. We met Italians who were vacationing in Taormina who ate there every night of their stay. The rooms in the hotel are simple, although if you have disabilities, inquire about the stairs. Some rooms, like ours, aren't served by the elevators. Our room, 401, was very spacious with a Juliet balcony overlooking the bay. It was categorized as a 'superior sea view' -- between a standard and deluxe. The web photos are fairly accurate. My first thought on seeing the room was disappointment -- it struck me as rather plain -- but after a few days I began to appreciate its simplicity. There was tons of storage space, very comfortable beds and bath and nice linens. After all the bright sun and colors outside, coming back to the room was cool and soothing. A slight negative is the size of the beach...it's smallish given the number of people who stay at the hotel and the chaise lounges/umbrellas are awfully close together, but the clientele is upscale and quiet and after a day or two, I forgot all about the closeness of the neighboring sunbathers. The beach is pebbles. The water is very clean, clear and great for swimming -- gets deep very quickly. I personally like this kind of beach...no sand to get in your stuff and the water stays clearer without sand being churned up, but some reviewers see it as a negative. There were a couple of weddings on the property while we were there, and at the end of the festivities, the hotel set off fireworks...truly something to see against the incredible landscape of sea and mountain.
All in all, the Villa Sant'Andrea was a great experience, although I must say the final bill was something of a shock...I hadn't realized breakfast wasn't included in the room rate and it was expensive!"
- Travel date: Fri 22nd of September 2006
Nice place - need to just work on a few details
"For us, it was the soundproofing... we could hear the rather loud family in the room next door to us immediately upon checking in the room. We asked to be moved, but they were booked. Fortunately the loud people moved out. Please if you stay here remember the walls are paper thin!! No one wants to hear your kids cheering or screaming..... take them to a cheaper place or outside. Also you can hear the chairs from the room above you scrape on the tile floor. I think the hotel could solve this problem easily by sticking those felt pads underneath the legs.
I got a massage at the 'spa' and it was OK.
The dinner at the sister hotel in Ragusa old town was fabulous. Excellent service!!"
- Travel date: Sat 2nd of September 2006
The Best - You MUST stay here
"Just returned from a weeks stay, but we really didn't want to leave. The hotel is splendid, and in my view deserves 5 Stars, not the 4 it has. The staff were friendly and welcoming and our room (for 3 people) was fabulous (Room 222 - overlooking the sea\beach). The restaurant was expensive (a la carte), but there are lots of local restaurants you can eat at. Has private secion of beach, which is shingle\pebble, but the kids love it - good for rock pooling with children. Sun loungers are set on beach and the beach attendant provides towels. Also has limited service (menu) availble on beach - fruit, drinks, Paninis etc. Taormina is one of the prettiest places I have ever visited - lots of shops if you like shopping, and fantastic views of the bay \ Etna. We will definatley be returning to Taormina and The Villa Sant Andrea in the future."
- Travel date: Wed 30th of August 2006
"We spent 4 nights here in early may. The setting is extremely romantic. The hotel's gardens are beautiful and the beach is well groomed and atteneded to. We found the front desk particularly helpful in making arrangements for restaurants in the area. I take exception to other comments posted here about a surly staff. Our room was nice, but maybe a bit expensive considering the fit and finish. The terrace on our room was at least as large as the room itself and would be fantastic for private sunbathing if the weather would have worked out for us. The breakfast was excellent, but not the best I've ever had in Italy. Finally, contrary to some published reports on the internet, there was not interent service available in the guest rooms. I believe they are working on it though, because a WIFI network was there, but I couldn't connect to it."
- Travel date: Sun 7th of May 2006
Several pros but many cons too
"Pros: Excellent location, just on the private beach. Restaurant with good Italian and regional cuisine and ample selection of wines. Rich buffet breakfast . Room quiet with plenty of refined linen. Only a few steps away , the departure station of the cable car to Taormina and several informal restaurants.
Cons: Pebbly beach. Staff ( waiters and reception personnel ) often rude and presumptuous and anyway, apart from a few exceptions, untrained and unfit for a four star hotel. No bed layout for the night. From my room No.302 rated de luxe ( the most expensive hotel rating offering terrace and seaview ) the view consisted of the sea for a 5+5% of the field of vision at its two relevant extremities, but the rest consisted of the roof of a building in the inside of the hotel."
- Travel date: Fri 21st of April 2006
Many hotels have comfort - but this one...
"Many hotels have comfort - but this one also has class! Right on the edge of the sea.
The breakfast room is a delight, bathrooms first rate, private beach with asbestos-footed chaps to cast a fluffy hotel towel onto the sun lounger of your choice, torch-lit driveway down to the hotel (at night), evening dining under the trees on one of the terraces. Short cable car ride up to the main village (ran every 15 mins. When we were there).
Fantastic place for a honeymoon. Only quibble - room a little small - but perfectly formed."
- Travel date: Tue 4th of April 2006
I love this place
"I fell in love with Sicily and the Villa Sant Andrea back in 2002. I've been back twice since and I'm going again this summer. Yes, it is pricey but when you're sitting on the terrace overlooking the beach, drinking a Campari and enjoying the view of the bay, who cares? The staff are great and I never tire of looking at the lushly wooded cliffs above the hotel. I agree with other reviewers about the restaurant though. The food is mediocre and the service over-elaborate. But if you don't want to pay the hotel prices, there are several cheaper places for lunch right along the beach and lots of restaurants in Taormina for dinner. Some of the hawkers on the beach can be persistent, particularly with women. Last year though, I noticed the staff chasing off some of the beach sellers so perhaps they're clamping down. As for the boatmen trying to entice you on an excursion to 'le grotte azzurre', it's all part of the local colour. Don't be tempted though, they take you to a couple of dank caves and charge an arm and a leg for the privilege. Just sit back, read a book, go for a swim and watch the Sicilian guys jumping off the high rocks on the far side of the bay. I've met other people who come back here time and again. It's not difficult to see why."
- Travel date: Thu 23rd of March 2006
Beautiful view, Horrible experience
"We stayed here on our honeymoon and from the moment the front desk guy dropped us off at our room with an air of complete indifference, it was a bad experience. We were generally treated as second class citizens, being blown off in mid explanation at the front desk (on more than one occassion), having to wait thirty minutes for clean towels when they hadn't been changed earlier in the day and being looked down upon when we wore shorts in the hotel. We stayed at three other hotels during our 18 days in Italy and all were less expensive and more enjoyable. It's really too bad that the staff does such a horrible job as the location and the quality of the rooms are nice (still probably not worth the 320 EUR we paid a night but...). I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THIS HOTEL."
- Travel date: Sat 18th of February 2006