I was booked into this hotel for the first time in November, only because my current favourite (Parco Aragonesi) was fully booked. UNA, a high-quality Tuscanian hotelry company, opened it in June 2005, and the hotel has had growing success, establishing itself as one of the top-notch places in the city.
I was a bit upset about the location (it's right in the middle of Via Etnea, in a pedestrian area that's very hard to get out of during the morning rush hour), but then I decided to park my car outside Porta Uzeda, next to the Marina arches, and take a little walk (it couldn't have done that bad to my engineer's tummy).
Then I actually appreciated the setting, which does not require you to stumble into a taxi after that couple of beers that I always try to enjoy in Catania's excellent nightlife scene. The location, right in the heart of the main shopping street of Sicily, cannot be beaten.
The hotel lies in a renovated building dating back from the early 20th century. The lobby is spacious, very nicely designed and lit, though it feels a bit empty. Perhaps a bar would make it feel more cosy. The service is quite fast and very polite, though I have happened to wait a little longer than needed at checkout time. I haven't tried the breakfast, but the rooms are good, even though I have always been given two single beds. A queen or king size would pay more respect to the general level of the hotel.
The aircon works (yes!!!) and the bathrooms are spacious and luxurious. A word of praise must be given to the flat-screen TVs.
The room rates are above average, but are well paid off by the location, luxury and service level. I have put this hotel as a close n.2 in my personal list in Catania (Aragonesi is still a tad better).
Unique Quality: The roof bar is a class of its own. Featuring milanese-style aperitivo until 21.30, it boasts breathtaking views over the city and, with good weather, on mount Etna. The wine selection is of very good quality, though not that extensive, and the free-of-charge food is good, in form of light snacks of various types. Not to be missed!
Directions: You can't possibly miss this one.
I am going to spend 6 days in Sicily by myself, 3 in Catania, I wonder what is the best way to go to the following places?
1- I need to go to catania airport at 7:15, I will stay at UNA Hotel Palace, I wonder what is the best transport at that time? Is bus available at about 5:00am?
2- I wish to go to Taormina, which bus should I take? and where?
3- If I wish to go to mt. enta, what is the best way? should I take a tour?
Thank you very much
There is a train around Etna, the Circumetnea railway, which leaves from the railway station (but has its own ticket system):
However, to get up to the Etna summit, you need to drive or go on a guided tour. I've only ever done this from Giardini nearby. Try http://www.interbus.it for most bus connections (also to the airport). The bus station is close to the railway station in Catania. To Taormina, you can also go by train, just bear in mind that it shares a train station with Giardini-Naxos below the mountain so you still need a bus or taxi to get up the mountain.
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Address: Via Etnea 218, Catania, Sicily, 95131, Italy