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Reviewed 23 April 2012

This outstanding location combined with a fantastic service makes this place a number 1 spot in Sicily. Luckily the Etna was calm during our stay.The Hotel is situated in the heart of Taormina with all interesting places in walking distance.Giardino di Naxos is a nice place to visit once you have explored the city.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank RabbitAachen_Germany
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2012

Couldn't have been happier with the lovely upgrade to a junior suite with a terrace overlooking the sea. Great old world atmosphere and beautiful decor. Excellent breakfast included. Great location 1 block from the main pedestrian shopping street. Hiked up to hilltop village overlooking the town for an excellent lunch. Also, enjoyed a wonderful seafood lunch at L'Ancora on the little isle of Ortigia next to Siracusa, an hour drive south of Taormina. Great pizza at Pizza Zuccaro, too.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank TuanBesar69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 April 2012

We stayed at the San Domenico Palace for three nights at the end of March 2012, to attend a business meeting (it's one of the few hotels in Taormina that can cater for a meeting of 30 people or more). If you like hotels with a fascinating history and old paintings, sculptures etc. in every corner and corridor, you'll love the San Domenico - we thought it was a little like a scene from "The Leopard" by di Lampedusa.

Our room was large and generally very clean and comfortable - huge bed, excellent bathroom facilities, bathrobes and slippers provided, and a safe for valuables. There was a minibar/fridge, in which we stored a couple of personal items, but the prices for the hotel's own drinks and snacks were eye-watering so we didn't make use of them. We had an amazing view of the sea, several hundred metres below. On the first night, taking note of the hotel's warning about mosquitoes, we kept the window shut and turned on the air-conditioning... but it wasn't in "cool" mode this early in the season, so we were very hot. After that, we just had the window open, and experienced no mosquitoes.

The staff we encountered were all competent and helpful.

The food was excellent - in addition to the breakfasts, which other reviewers have commented on, we were very impressed by the delicious and imaginative vegetarian options provided for our evening meals. Five star hotels often don't do vegetarian very well, but the San Domenico did us proud. Glad we weren't paying personally for the meals, though!

The facilities for our meeting were mostly fine, though the projector kept reminding us that it needed its filter cleaning.

The major aspect of this hotel with which we were dissatisfied was provision for internet access. These days, charging for it seems a little like charging for electricity or hot water; charging AND making it inconvenient to access seems like a good way for a hotel to put itself out of business. The reception desk sold us a voucher (for a large number of Euros) which it turned out we couldn't use either in our room or in their "business centre" (two PCs in a public area, with attached printers). The staff member at reception was very apologetic and helpful in sorting this out, and printed off some papers for us, but it was an irritating aspect of our stay. We eventually used their "charge-to-room" option, but here again your large number of Euros gets you 24 hours which count down from your first sign-on, whether you use the internet or not. Overall, we wouldn't recommend the hotel to anyone who needs frequent internet access, and it seems an odd limitation for anywhere that offers a conference facility.

Room Tip: Rooms facing the sea have a truly spectacular view
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled on business
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2  Thank Crwydryn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sacrestia, Responsabile relazioni con la clientela at San Domenico Palace Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 19 April 2012

Dear Guest,
Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your stay at San Domenico Palace Hotel. We do appreciated your nice comment regarding our Hotel .
We continuously strive to meet your expectations; therefore your feedback is very important to us. We do take good notice of the Internet free access suggestion, we strive to guarantee to our valuable clientele the highest service standards.
We appreciate the time you took to share your concerns, and it is our hope that you will give us the opportunity to better serve you in the future.
Sincerely

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2012

This was our first trip both to Sicily and to Taormina. Being a culture vulture myself, I immediately picked the San Domenico Palace for our short one night stay in Taormina based on the fact that the hotel has an attached 500 year old monastery - wowed by its rich history, as well as, a Leading Hotels member, we thought we were in for a treat ... but it was not meant to be.

After a 2 hours train ride from Siracusa, we arrived in Taormina at 11am. A fixed rate taxi at the train station then brought us up to the Hotel for 15 euros for the short 10 minutes ride - very expensive, as with the rest of Taormina, which is basically a tourist trap! When we had arrived, there was no door man in sight to help with luggages, so we helped ourselves.

Then the most annoying thing happended at the Reception - Sorry Madam, your Junior suite with terrace is still not ready. Still nursing a bad cold, the is the last thing I would like to hear after travelling for more than 2 hours. Having booked through the Leading Hotels website, no room upgrade was mentioned upon check in and I had to mentioned that I usually get one when I stay at a Leading Hotels. They then said they would try ...

Off we went shopping and had a nice lunch near the cable car station. Back at 1pm, we were then shown to two rooms, our Junior suite as well as a Suite with separated sitting area but has little light and only a small balcony. And if we had wanted the Suite, its another half an hour wait ... of course, we could not be bothered and took our booked JS instead.

As a member of the Leading Hotels, we usually received gifts like fruits, water, Champagne or a bottle of wine. Not here - only two pcs of small almond cookies and two pcs of chocolate coated strawberries. Plus, guess what, a printed 'San Domenico Palace' small sized T-shirt! Being adults ourselves, why would they give us a small sized T-shirt, very puzzling indeed! From this gesture, you could see that the Management is very stingy with small gifts like a bottle of wine or champagne.

On a positive note, our room was quite spacious, perhaps a good 40-45 sqm. It was bright and airy and its attached terrace was also quite nice but not private enough as guests from adjacent rooms could have easily walked into our terrace (bushes and potted plants insufficient to block out their approach!). A table with two chairs were also available.

But where is the view of Mount Etna as stated in some reviews? We only had views of the Sea and a road in front of us - not the quietest room option that I had wanted but then, its only for a night, so too tired to change rooms again. Furnitures were poorly maintained, paints from the legs of the dressing table were chipping away, two sofas meant for kids were in the small sitting area (see picture attached, isn't it ridiculous?)

Asked for a small fan to be placed in the suite and only to be discover later that there was no way we could make the antique fan work? Why didn't housekeeping check it before they send it to us??? Wifi was also problematic, had to give them my Leading Hotel's member number in order to activate the free Wifi and when we do get it, its only for one device, ie for my husband's ipad, but not for my iphone! Annoying ...

Strangely, we did not find this hotel extremely beautiful other than its views it offers from the garden area, the well manicured garden and the old Cloisters. The hotel's common areas though huge but are mostly white washed and painted in white or beige (to save costs and trouble?), with the occasional oil painting and rarely, a tapestry.

We had stayed at numerous Leading Hotels before and too many old Italian Palazzos to name (in Florence, Lucca, Venice, Gubbio, Palermo etc), this so-called 'Europe's best leisure hotel' simply do not match up to our expectations ... To be frank, we looked high and low everywhere but still cannot find a ceiling fresco here, sorely sorely disappointed!!!

The only 5 stars about this Italian old hotel are these - its rates (paid more than 420 euros in mid March for a Junior suite with breakfasts), gorgeous gardens and its breakfast. Though this was our most expensive hotel of a 10 days Sicily/Rome trip, it was also the least satisfying stay. So, be more careful when choosing your Taormina hotel.

Visited my second choice, the Hotel El Jebel on the main street, Corso Umberto I and was impressed by the views it accorded from the roof top terrace. This hotel is merely 200-300m from the entrance gate, Porta Catania, but I suspect that it is not accessible by cars. You would have to climb 10-15 steps up from the Corso Umberto, easily done, not a problem with small luggages.

On check out day, only a lady Conceirge with red hair was serving two ladies, answering them with much enthusiasm about their sightseeing trip when I have a train to catch and had wanted a taxi immediately. She simply could not be bothered with us and carried on her senseless talking even when the two ladies expressed no interest in carrying on talking.

Furious, I interrupted her about my urgent train to catch and was given a Mercedes Limousine instead, when I had simply asked for a taxi. Rates? An exorbitant 25 euros for the 10 minutes ride to the train station! Talking about day-light robbery in touristy Taormina ...

All in all, though Taormina had much to offer its visitors in terms of great views, beaches, lots of shopping and restaurants, and a few sights, we thought it very very touristy and overpriced for what it has to offer. In terms of views, I would still prefer the memorable and quieter Ravello in the Amalfi Coast. As for shopping, Venice and Florence are better.

Room Tip: Rooms overlooking the gardens and pool may have better views of Mount Etna and the sea.
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank JChua
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sacrestia, Responsabile relazioni con la clientela at San Domenico Palace Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 2 April 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your stay at San Domenico Palace Hotel. I am sorry that your experience did not meet your expectations; please do accept my sincere apologies.
We continuously strive to meet your expectations; therefore your feedback is very important to us. Necessary steps have been taken in order to assure to our valuable clientele the highest service standards.
We appreciate the time you took to share your concerns, and it is our hope that you will give us the opportunity to better serve you in the future.

Sincerely

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 January 2012

We stayed for 5 nights at the San Domenico Palace. This was our second time staying here and it was just wonderful. The views from the room were spectacular and the inside of the hotel was amazing. The breakfast was delicious with delicacies from Sicily as well as scrambled eggs, salami, cheeses, piping hot croissants (filled with honey, cream or jam)! We traveled with our 22 year old son and 18 year old daughter and they were very comfortable there. Absolutely perfect .

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank PBRB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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