Hilton Giardini Naxos: Sicily: Hilton Giardini Naxos
We stayed two nights at the Hilton in Giardini Naxos, making it our center of operation for seeing Mount Etna and Taormina. We arrived after dark but had no problems finding the hotel as it was clearly signed from the exit off the highway. Giardini Naxos was quite deserted at the end of November so parking was not a problem – typically the hotel charges €10 per night for parking, but due to the low number of guests, they waived this fee during our visit.
On our first night at the hotel there were only a handful of people using the facility; it was extremely quiet. However, that changed on the second night when a tour bus full of people checked in. Although we never heard any other people during our stay – it was very peaceful.
We checked into our room and the front desk had hinted that they had upgraded us to a special room. Wow! I’ve never stayed in a hotel room with a bedroom loft before! As we entered the room on the top floor, we found a living room and eating area with a full bathroom; steps off to the side led us up to the loft with a king size bed, second television, and second full bathroom. The balcony overlooked the beach beside the Ionian Sea. There was a plate of chocolate covered strawberries and marzipan waiting for us on the table. We felt much pampered! Add to this the free evening drinks in the lounge, free buffet breakfast and free Wi-Fi and I think we got a great deal at €84/night.
The hotel restaurant was very pricey and the menu didn’t really interest us so we headed across the street to the row of cafes and restaurants. We ate at a cozy café that served Italian food – we shared a pizza on night one and then returned the next night for pasta.
There was also a nice market nearby that was open each night until 8:00 pm where we were able to pick up supplies for lunch along with some drinks and snacks for our road trip.
The Hilton chain has purchased the property from another chain and it is still a bit run down, although nothing that a little cosmetic touches can’t help. There were lots of painted murals all around the lobby that were interesting to look at.
It was too chilly to use the pool or the beach, but we did stroll down there one morning where we enjoyed watching the fishermen and their dogs. The view of Mount Etna each morning was spectacular as the sun shone on the volcano before the clouds rolled in to hide the snow peak.
On our day excursions, the hotel was situated near the main road to the north side of Mount Etna. It took us about 30 minutes to make the drive up to the entrance of Piano Provenzana at Parco dell’Etna. And the hotel was only about 15 minutes from Taormina. All in all, it was a perfect location for us, allowing us to get on and off the autostrade quickly from the airport and on our way to the northern coast as we continued on our Sicilian journey.