If I have to describe my style of travel it will be an affordable luxury. I can fly with a low air fare company but when it comes to accommodation, there are several things that are very important to me. First are the cleanliness and quietness of the room. But there is another thing I cannot resist – the uniqueness and historical significance of a place. I simply love hotels with history!
Bel Soggiorno Taormina Hotel Review
When I was searching for a nice hotel to stay in while in Taormina, I was shocked how expensive this town is. It’s true what they say – Taormina is the most beautiful place in Sicily. And as such, the tourists are flowing and prices are booming. Restaurants and hotels are adjusting their prices accordingly.
At first, Hotel Bel Soggiorno attracted me with its location and acceptable prices. But I have to be honest. What weighted the most, were the photos of historical-style interiors filled with old furniture and the unmistakable Mediterranean atmosphere of the terraces.
Hotel Bel Soggiorno History
It started as Villa Beau Sejour in 1908 and it was built in the extravagant Moorish Style. It was one of the first hotels in Taormina and housed members of the European aristocracy coming to spend the winter in sunny Sicily.
This explains the arrangement of the hotels building. At that time, hotels offered more social activities (now hostels do that). The hotel guests were gathering in the living room to read or join conversations at tea time. Donkeys and mules were used on the narrow tracks for visiting the surrounding villages. Today, these roads are paved but their narrowness still amazes and makes the area unique.
Photos kindly provided by Hotel Bel Soggiorno
During World War II, the building was used by the Nazis. Later, after the war, the building was renovated and worked again as a hotel and still does today.
What is interesting about this hotel is that it is still owned and managed by the same family since the beginning. Probably this is the reason that you feel the history at each step here.
The Location of Your Accommodation in Taormina
Hotel Bel Soggiorno has a perfect location for exploring Taormina. Situated in the middle between the bus station and the city centre, it is at walking distance from both. You don’t need a transport to explore around but be ready to walk a lot.
Taormina is a town built on a hill and so the streets are narrow and steep. What amazed me the most was how the whole traffic, including large buses, is able to work on these very narrow streets going uphill. It is almost scary to look out of the bus window although the views are magnificent!
Hotel Bel Soggiorno occupies one of the most panoramic spots in Taormina. Each morning when opening your door or window you, you will see the smoking Etna Mountain and the wide Bay of Naxos down. The passing fishing boats are sometimes noisy, sometimes silent but their light at the night sea makes the atmosphere even more mysterious and somewhat romantic.
The less-pleasant features of this hotel are its rooms. Even if they are spacious enough and have a direct access to the beautiful veranda and extended garden, the bathrooms need an upgrade or at least an update. Often, this historic feature of a place is the most enjoyable part of the stay, but not in this case.
Beds are comfortable and you have a plenty of space in wardrobe in case you want to stay longer.
Our room was next to the large living room where it is sitting the piano. At some evenings, people were playing and at first, it was absolutely beautiful to listen. After a while, as the doors do not provide a noise isolation, it became a problem and we had to ask the skilful pianist (who was one of the guests) to stop.
Amenities & Service
The bath amenities are basic but sufficient. Free Wi-Fi is available and with good quality. There is also free parking on premises.
Breakfast is served on the closed veranda which is one of the best things about this hotel. In good weather (we were there end of May and the climate was perfect), you can enjoy having breakfast or dinner outside too.
Dinner is served once per week and you have to book in advance. My opinion is that you better go out to some of the numerous restaurants in town. But what I advise you to do one of the evenings is to enjoy an aperitivo at sunset. Order an aperitivo and you will get a glass of refreshing prosecco wine with bowls of olives, potato chips and salami rolls to start your evening. The point of all this is to enjoy the ‘happy hour’ in Italian way while taking the moment to embrace the peacefulness of the sunset time. Aperitivo is best consumed when you are two. (It can’t get more romantic than this!)
As for the service, don’t be alarmed if your first encounter at the reception is with the owner. He is very helpful and kind but a bit reserved person; doesn’t talk much. All other people from the staff are sweet and kind and you will see the same faces every day. This will make you feel cosy and create somewhat of a relationship with them.
Taormina provides a lot of activities and you can do even one-day tours around Sicily from there. Among them is a visit to Isola Bella, the village of Castelmola, stroll in the historic centre, walk in the public gardens and more…
Immediately after your arrival, go to the bus station (that is a parking in fact) and check the schedule for these trips. You can get a brochure for these at the hotel reception but better go directly and book directly at the bus parking kiosk to be sure that there are no changes in the schedule.
Why this is an Affordable Luxury Hotel
If I have to tell you in one sentence why you should choose this hotel for your vacation in Taormina, it will be this:
Stay at Hotel Bel Soggiorno because of its incredible vistas, magnificent garden, historical appearance and sense of a family home.
You practically will not care or stay much in your room as the hotel opens up to a wide sea panorama. Just be sure to ask for a room with a sea view in order to have a direct access. The arcades of bougainvillaea in different colours are marvellous and will be the wrapping ribbon of your hotel stay.
Take time to walk down the garden, you will find an amazing abundance of Mediterranean vegetation, even olive and orange trees. If you walk down up to the end of the path, you will find a rusted but still beautiful entrance that goes directly out on the main street. It is somehow beautiful and brings you back in time when this was probably the back door for the staff.
This accommodation in Taormina is for you if you like:
*Beautiful views (who doesn’t like them?!)
*Affordable luxury setting
*Typical Italian atmosphere
Hotel Bel Soggiorno has an exclusive atmosphere; one that can be only described as romantic. To stay here will not cost you all your travel budget. Its La Dolce Vita feel deserves your money indeed! Book your room at Hotel Bel Soggiorno!
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