An Ideal Location for Sampling the Many Charms of Taormina.
It was late afternoon when Simon, Otto and I drove through the gates and down a steep ramp into the parking lot on the roof of Hotel Sirius. We had just arrived in the remarkable hill-top Sicilian town of Taormina, and we were about to be impressed, enthused and enthralled beyond our expectations.
Built into the side of a hill with its reception area on the fifth floor, Hotel Sirius is a truly welcoming place to spend one or more nights. A tranquil atmosphere surrounded by lush trees and gardens, sets the tone for an above average experience.
This five-floor hotel met all my basic criteria and more. The bed gave us a good night’s sleep, The shower provided consistent hot water and water pressure. Wi-fi was free and reliable, not only in common areas, but in each of the 41 rooms. And the room was immaculate and air conditioned.
A pleasant surprise was the small patio area just outside the room. We could sit and enjoy the mild air and view of the bay below. Our room also had a TV, desk, refrigerator, mini-bar and small safe.
Hotel Sirius has both a bar and a restaurant. When we came up for breakfast on the third level above our room (remember, the hotel is built into a hill), we were seated at a table by a large window overlooking the Ionian coastline. The restaurant’s buffet left nothing to be desired. It was all there: cold meats and cheeses, fluffy scrambled eggs, breads, croissants, pastries, coffee, and fruit juices. The abundance and variety made it a challenge not to overfill our plates. This was definitely more than our standard breakfast of yogurt, fruit and occasionally cereal washed down with copious amounts of coffee, but the fresh flavors and varied textures of the food took the edge off the guilt. The breakfast room would later be transformed into a full-service restaurant for dinner, but we were well on our way to Naples by then.
The hotel provides guests with a business center, secure luggage storage – which came in handy on the day of our departure when we had several hours to kill after check-out – coffee and tea in common areas and a pool.
The pool is large enough to swim laps, or just relax and float along gazing up at a gentle sky. The deck is tiled in a terra-cotta hue, giving the pool area a warm, clean look. Towels, chairs and umbrellas are available for guests to use, and a snack bar serves beverages and light fare.
We found the hotel staff to be friendly, helpful and professional. They’re kindness and attentiveness made our stay even more exceptional.
One of Hotel Sirius’s numerous attributes is its proximity to a variety of historic sites, recreational activities and entertainment.
By the time we were settled in our room, had fed Otto and were caught up with our email, it was dark and we were hungry. Our muscles were also stiff from a long car ride, so we decided to stretch our legs, explore the town and find some dinner.
A 10-minute stroll took us to the historic town centre, and a crowded pedestrian walkway with a party atmosphere. The streets were lined with trendy shops and restaurants. People of all ages sat at outdoor tables, while more wandered around talking to anyone and everyone.
We ducked down a side street and came face-to-face with a restaurant with a tiered outdoor dining area. Menu items included pizza and beer but also had a variety of meat and fish dishes too.
We were told there were no tables available, but less than five minutes later, one was set up close to where we were standing. Our shared pizza, order of grilled vegetables and beer definitely hit the spot, and fortified us for our return to the street party.
Slowly walking and enjoying the night breeze, we stopped at a rail to look out at the ocean. Pleasure boats were moored for the night, and the sea looked serene.
We ambled on stopping once more. This time it was to listen to a live jazz ensemble playing the Pink Panther theme, followed by a smooth sultry number I couldn’t quite identify. So we moved on.
It didn’t take us long to find the lemon gelato we had been craving, and then it was time to test out the comfort level of our queen-size bed.
We checked out of the hotel the next morning, leaving our luggage in the safe keeping of the hotel staff. Most of our remaining time was spent at the 3rd century Greek amphitheater, an eight-minute walk from Hotel Sirius.
Once there, we climbed to the top and gazed down at the enormous horseshoe shaped theater and marveled at its ancient construction and timeless spirit.
Looking to our left, we could see the ocean, and to the right, Mount Etna, its flat top shrouded in cloud.
After our morning climb, we took the cable car, a three-minute walk from Hotel Sirius, and watched the spectacular scenery slip by on our way down to the beach. A quick look around, and it was time to take the cable car back to the top, and collect our luggage.
The hotel is within easy walking distance from several other historic sites. And the bus station is also near by.
Hotel Sirius opened in 1972, the dream of one man to create something special. Although he has recently passed away, his family is engaged in the operation of the hotel, and has invested a great deal over the decades to maintain the high standard of quality and service that has made this property a 4-star hotel.
Common areas are decorated with furniture that had once graced the homes of family members. The bar is especially well endowed with these pieces.
Many changes have taken place over four decades. The full-size pool was not part of the original hotel. It was installed around eight years later. From the pool deck swimmers, sunbathers and minglers can drink in breath-taking views of the mediterranean, the coastline and the hills supporting the town.
Every effort has been made to make Hotel Sirius wheelchair accessible. An elevator is available to bring guests to each floor. and wheelchair accessible rooms are available. With the possible exception of the pool itself, everyone can enjoy all that this classy, comfortable hotel has to offer.
Although we stayed only one night, Hotel Sirius is the place to which we will return when we return to Sicily. Between the stunning and convenient location, the sumptuous breakfast, the comfortable room and the friendly and helpful staff, our next visit will feel a little like coming home.
Via Guardiola Vecchia, 34
+39 0942 23 894
Disclaimer: While in Taormina, we were hosted through the generosity of Hotel Sirius. However, all opinions, as always, are entirely my own.