More about Monte Tauro Hotel
Nice Hotel, excellent position fro the town and great views from al the rooms. Staff were helpfull and friendly. Breakfast was average. I saw nobody eating in the restuarant other than for breakfast are using the bar, which i guess is not surprsing when the town and all its restaurants are just up the road. If you are driving....Yes you do have to go down the slope that looks like its is a flight of steps for the car park. If it scares you, pop down and the guy from the hotel will drive it down for you.
My only complaint was that the bathrooms were too small, obviously made for the smaller Italian male!
Taormina is probably Sicily's most touristic town but its such a pretty place to visit. it sits atop a hill of the Monte Tauro and overlooks two sweeping bays below and southerly is the splendid Mount Etna, Europe's highest active volcano. At night you could see the red glow of the lava.
It was certainly a memorable view for us.
Taormina, Sicily's best-known and classiest resort, is delightful (though expensive) place. It has fascinated writers, artists and celebrities over the centuries and many of them decided to puts down roots here. Taormina has been a holiday destination even back in ancient times when people built luxury villas there. This was unquestionably due to the beauty of its location by the sea, the mildness of its climate and splendour of its vegetation. It was here, in romantic Taormina, that D. H. Lawrence was inspired to write Lady's Chatterly Lover, one of the most passionate love stories of its era. Even today, despite the ever-increasing annual tourist invasion, Taormina still manages to cast its amazing spell.
Taormina's streets retain much of their medieval flavour, as do many of the churches and residences. It has endlessly winding streets and tiny passages, each with its own secrets: great restaurants that offer sea food and other local cuisine, cafes and ice cream bars. Its main street Corso Umberto I is full of places to buy crafts, especially ceramics and mosaics, and many are of the highest quality. The city holds a film festival and concerts each summer. The beach at Giardini-Naxos is a few kilometres away. Taormina is beautiful by day but in the evenings its atmosphere is simply enchanting.
The city stands 200 meters above sea level and is located on a plateau below Monte Tauro for which it is named. Taormina's ancient Greek splendor, medieval charm and unique views of Mount Etna and the Ionian coast afford the visitor a lasting impression of Sicily. The magical atmosphere is spread all around.
Excellent service in a great location
The hotel is a fabulously ugly building but that should not put you off. The staff are warm and helpful and very friendly without being overwhelming. Our room, an Executive Suite, was very large with a large bathroom and separate shower. No bathrobes - it is true. We had a huge balcony with dining table and chairs as well as sun loungers. The balcony offered a stunning view over the bay. The furnishings throughout the hotel come close to the sophisticated minimalism they aspire too but don't quite pull it off. Mostly they are simply a bit cheap. The dining room is a soulless place but the food was pretty good and service excellent. The pool was lovely and the pool attendant very good. The location of this hotel is a main attraction - right in the centre of town yet with excellent sea views. In that way I suspect the Monte Tauro is unbeatable. Be aware that the hotel is very difficult to find and has a rather hairy descent to the hotel for those arriving by car!
We stayed at the Hotel Monte Tauro on our honeymoon 25.9.06-4.10.06. It was everything we had hoped it to be. We were glad we had only booked b&b. As per previous reviews there are so many good restaurants in Taormina it was good to experience a different place each night. We can particularly reccommend 'Bistro 60-67'. Joanna the owner and her colleague are most welcoming. They serve salads, pizzas, paninis, bruchetta etc and have an excellent wine list too. Most nights there is live guitar music. (not of the intrusive kind!) To find it, go up the steps from the hotel, left at the T junction and immediately right (past the wine bar on the corner) The Bistro is in front of you.
The hotel itself was amazing. We had a junior suite (603) and it was worth every penny. It was spacious and the views really are great. The maid service can't be faulted. The mini bars are very reasonably priced compared to other hotels. If we had any negative comment at all it would only be the noise from the breakfast rooms in the morning (upstairs) If you were a light sleeper it could wake you up.
The public gardens (on the right at the top of the hotel steps) are definately worth a look around - very beautiful and tranquil.
All in all a perfect honeymoon in a wonderful hotel and location.
lovely hotel but...
We have just returned from our honeymoon at the Monte Tauro and had a lovely time. Firstly the positives...the hotel, rooms and pool area are all very clean. The pool attendant is great and takes his job very seriously, if you try and move your own sun bed he almost takes offence! The location is fantastic with lovely sea views from all of the rooms and is very convenientely situated for many great resturants (the steps/slop up from the hotel is not as bad as you may imagine!). We only went B&B so cannot speak for the resturant at the hotel (we were glad about this actually as there is such a great atmosphere in the town and so many lovely places to eat it seemed a shame to stay in) but certainly the breakfast was very good with an excellent choice. The staff were all very helpful and very polite. However along with the previous review we too were horrified by the arrival of the large group from "somewhere across the Atlantic". Infact we ended up having to change rooms as they were so noisey. The sun beds were reserved for hours so the first week i had to set my alarm at 8am every morning just to get a sun bed! Not what you want to be doing on your honeymoon! They completely took over the pool area and were so loud it completely ruined our first week. Knowing that this group come to stay at the hotel every year (and the management let them get away with unacceptable behaviour) has put me off going back again which is a real shame as generally the hotel was very good.
A good standard hotel in a fabulous location
This hotel is in a fantastic location as it is very close to the town, only two minutes walk and you're in the thick of it, but on a cliff at the edge of the town so it is really quiet at night and has no passing traffic. The hotel has lovely sea views, even from lower rooms. We were in room 101 (you can't get lower!) and still had a lovely view. The rooms are a very decent size and we had no problem with cleaning. Our room was maintained well enough. The pool area is very nice although if everyone in the hotel decided to sunbathe they'd have a major problem. Whilst there is a no sun bed holding policy here (generally you can only leave your bed for an hour before they turf your things off) this wasn't always observed. Most people came down, laid their stuff out and then went for breakfast and returned. I'd recommend you do this if you plan on spending the day down there and want a decent bed! The breakfast was of a very high quality for italian hotels. The decor is very modern and clean and we found the staff to be very helpful and professional. I note some people have said they are unfriendly which I would strongly disagree with. They assist but do not gush which is exactly what I want! I'd visit both Taormina and Monte Tauro again.
Taormina is a great town to soak up the ambience in. Vecchia Taormina, heading towards the Duomo, is by far the best pizzeria in the town and reasonably priced with good staff. La Griglia is a very nice restaurant and we'd recommend eating there. We were told Il Grotto Azzura was a lovely fish restaurant but our experience was very bad. The food was bland, side dishes extremally poor, warm white wine, two table refused to pay the bill while were there and the proprietor was rude and arrogant. The atmosphere was very poor! It was expensive. Avoid!
View with a room
We thoroughly enjoyed our two weeks at the Monte Tauro. On arrival (lobby is on the 8th floor) we were assigned room 219. The room was fine, right on the end of the second floor, but its balcony had virtually no view, with trees one way and the trendy external lift shaft the other. We were moved the next day to a similar room (410) in the middle of the hotel with a much better balcony and a superb view.
The staff were all friendly and efficient, and the breakfasts adequate (but why are foreign cereals so tasteless and textureless compared to British ones, and why is it so difficult to get cold, fresh, semi-skimmed milk?). Contrary to other contributors, the coffee machine is not a problem - we amused ourselves watching people as they placed a tiny espresso cup on the tray, pressed "Americano", then tried to pretend it wasn't them who caused the mess. The efficient but slightly mad waiters are always on hand with "normal" coffee.
We didn't eat lunch or dinner at the hotel, there are sooooo many good places in town (Gambero Rosso, Granduca, Grotto Azzuro, Meffei's, Neumachie, Il Delfino to name but a few), and only used the bar at the pool or to catch up on the world cup.
The mini-bar is probably the most reasonably priced I have ever come across - and I've seen a few - but unless you mix your drinks, you'll still need to smuggle your own extra supplies in as there's only one of each thing in there.
No gym, but the 45deg hill at the front door compensates for this (up to Taormina, down to Giardini Naxos). In fact, if you're anything less than reasonably fit/mobile, access might be a problem.
Internet - free in room if you have a laptop, or hire one, otherwise there is a PC in lobby.
Pool is not huge, but adequate (clean and warm - too warm on a hot day), usual shortage of sunbeds but if you leave towels to save your beds, they will be removed and beds re-assigned.
All in all, a great stay at a great hotel, but it would look alot nicer if they painted over the roughly finished concrete. Other hotels - the Timeo is worth visiting for a sundowner (watch the sunset over Etna), and the Atlantis Bay down in Mazzaro was also excellent for a waterside drink (if a little pricey).
Hope the above ramblings are helpful to someone!
"It actually does look like this!"
Taormina is to Sicily what The Costa S’emeralda is to Sardinia, what Capri is to the Bay of Naples, St Tropez to the south of France. A place where the beautiful people come to relax, see and be seen and to spend their hard earned Euro from Sicily, mainland Italy and Europe in general. Perched on Monte Tauro, its aspect is certainly spectacular. Stunning views of Mount Etna, which more often than not can be seen hick-upping, if not belching, puffs of black smoke and if your timing is right, sprays of fiery red molten lava. Below you, a number of beaches from the very passable beaches of Giardini Naxos a few miles away to the small and rather rugged beach at Mazzaro, reached by cable car from the edge of town. Worth a trip for the view from the cable car if not the ‘splendors’ of the actual beach itself.
As with all ‘beautiful people’ resorts you will find things a lot dearer than the surrounding towns. After becoming accustomed to the relative inexpense of Sicily as an island, this comes as something of a shock to the system. What you would pay for a very passable meal with wine elsewhere, will just cover you for a coffee and possibly a small pastry here. That being said, as long as you are aware of this, it can be money well spent if you take your time and position yourself well. Like St Marks Square in Venice, Piazza Novona in Rome or the Duomo in Florence, ten Euro is exorbitant for a coffee or a glass of wine, but actually quite reasonable for a few hours quality people watching! ‘You pays your money and you takes your choice…’