It was some years since we last took a package holiday so this was a bit of an adventure. We had a two-week during the first two weeks of September 2014. All-inclusive deal so tended to eat in. Our First Choice rep welcomed us on the first evening going to great lengths to say how the company had ‘negotiated’ for us to use certain restaurants, she looked forward to keeping up with us during our stay, then went on to try and to sell us some of the excursions on offer. After that we didn’t meet her again. From the notice board it appeared that our rep changed in week 2; we had cause to consult twice in week 2 and she proved both approachable and helpful. A lot of other things changed at the end of week 1; the season came to an end, mosquitoes arrived in force, and less and less people were using the pool although the hotel remained quite busy with coach parties. In football parlance, it was a fortnight of two halves.
Absolutely no complaints with our room, which was a corner room on the top floor (4th) and nicely positioned away from both pools and the entertainment area. We had views of both the sea and Mount Etna from the balcony. It was relatively quiet from hotel activities, and well shielded from the main road and railway line at the front of the hotel.
The main swimming pool is quite large and welcoming. No problem in getting sun loungers, but it wasn’t very peaceful during week 1. Very few Brits at the hotel, mostly Italians and a large number of Italian children as schools hadn’t restarted yet. There were also very young children, some still in nappies, who would had been better served in the children’s pool. We could also have done without music being played (albeit not blasted) for much of the day as staff encouraged guests to participate in exercise sessions both in and out of the pool. The hotel has a section of private beach less than 10 minutes away by minibus. There was a substantially reduced timetable for these buses in week 2. The sand on the beach looks dirty, but this is not the case, it is volcanic, with rows and rows of weather beaten sun loungers and parasols, plus people trying to sell things all the time. So overall, the pool was the best option for us.
All the restaurants were self-service, so quantity was not an issue. The food was good, although for us, it was bland and lacked variety, but it was mass catering on a large scale. The buffet of hors d’œuvres / anti-pasta at both lunch and dinner lacked variety with the biggest disappointment being the lack of cured meats for which Italy is famous - served just twice.
Initially we were assigned to the Sala Naxos for breakfast and dinner, and for lunch, the open fronted Ristorante Germano that overlooked the pool. Both were quite laid back and, although self-service, we received excellent attention from the staff present. From week 2, only the Sala Tindari restaurant was open. This felt like a refectory in comparison, everyone in a mad rush to get fed, the staff were still helpful but became lost in the melee. Obviously this was the reason behind our rep’s remarks. At least the dishes were better and were sometimes labelled so we now knew what we were eating.
There was a good breakfast selection but the same every day. To be pernickety, it would have been nice to have eggs fried or poached rather than just scrambled or boiled.
I would class the buffet lunch as three courses, but the large eaters seemed to create more. For week 1, the main course always had pasta and pizza dishes, but the pizza toppings were simple and unimaginative, although to be fair, they would cook to order. For week 2, no pizzas but chips appeared for the first time and a better choice of main courses.
In the evening, there were three or four choices for the main course plus pasta dishes. After 3 days we were getting concerned about the sameness of the main courses, but after that, things did improve and there was some variety. There did appear to be a good choice of desserts but I did not partake other than the ice cream. There was supposed to be a dress code for men for the evening meal but this was not enforced.
Soft drinks and snacks were available throughout the day as advertised. Ice cream was always available with and between meals and really was excellent.
An internet wifi network exists around the lobby, bar and swimming pool area. I paid €15 for 7 days. The subscription could be used for one device only. I connected with my laptop. Even allowing for programs running in the background that use up bandwidth such as an AVG, Google+ and Dropbox, when they had finished downloading and synchronising, the connection was VERY SLOW. I struggled to access my mailbox (gmail) even using the basic HTML option. I later tried connecting with a tablet and there were absolutely no issues. Some local bars and cafes offer free wifi but none close to the hotel.
All the staff of the hotel were very helpful and efficient even if they had to call on help for translation.
There is a supermarket about 5 minutes from the hotel.
There were plenty of excursions on offer from both First Choice, private operators and even public transport. Needless to say, First Choice were the most expensive but started from the hotel; the others usually started from the euphemistically called ‘bus terminal’ which is about a 15 minute walk from the hotel. There is also a local bus service from outside the hotel.
Finally, I have to say that I have never seen such chaos as that at Catania airport as existed on the day of our departure. Check-in was quite quick but the queue to get through security was a static conga chain, perhaps 150 yards long, bending in all directions and with people (mostly Italians) trying to push in everywhere. Despite all this, our plane did take off on time.More
Fabulous, fabulous nothing more to add
We returned just exactly a week ago today from a weeks all inclusive.It was a family holiday with 2 teenage children. It is certainly 4* with everything being considered from customer comfort, service level; nothing too much trouble, Food fabulous and all waiting staff excellent, especially Filipo, Paolo and Edwardo. Variety drinks on offer was superb, and complementary gifts from the hotel which was very welcomed. Rooms very clean and spacious, even family rooms with w air conditioning which was needed.
Excellent location as bus routes are excellent service (on time) and cheap to and from the resort to Taormina. Services end well into the night. Easy location if you want to visit Etna the volcanoe ; sunset trip a definite as it was erupting.
It won't be the last time in Sicily. We will be back..........
The Parrott familyMore
Good time in Sicily . Right choice made .
Had a very good time at Hotel Caesars Palace . Good flight from Manchester . the route from the airport was good but not much to enjoy until you got closer to Giardini Naxos . Food was very good . Room comfy and acceptable . hotel is medium sized , clean with helpful staff . Mostly Italian Family's all welcoming . Piano Man was what you come to expect from all inclusive hotels . He was fun and friendly enough . Met with nice people from different parts of the uk and beyond. Special mention to Paulo & Fillipo & Caterina behind the bar . Mt Etna was active and amazing . You need to go on this trip if your only doing one . 92 euro is a lot. Taormina for he evening is both special and stunning . Its not cheap , its stunning ,...More
guzzle-guts, united kingdom
We are going to really miss those lunches!
This is an excellent hotel. We stayed for two weeks, all inclusive, and were delighted with the accommodation. The main pool is huge and, as you would expect, cleaned every night. The food is excellent and we enjoyed a variety of Italian regional dishes throughout our stay. The drinks were all of good quality. All staff were always keen to help, but special thanks to Paulo, Franco, Filippo, Pietro, Angelo and Rosario for their attentive service.
The hotel cannot change the fact that the beach is a couple of km away, but, in my opinion, they make every effort to overcome it with a regular shuttle bus service. We never had to wait more than 10 minutes when we chose to go to and from the beach, and they had staff at the beach during the day to help if you needed it. If it got really busy they even used two extra minibuses to speed things up.
Other reviewers have mentioned the local bus service and its really easy to travel to Taormina, which has lots to offer and explore. From there you can also catch a bus up to Castelmola, which is a hidden gem, or a cable car down to Isola Bella. There are so many stunning views to enjoy. On several occasions we caught the buses around 9 in the morning, headed to Taormina, explored somewhere and then caught the bus back in time for the excellent lunches which were offered.
Mount Etna is always in the background and it was erupting whilst we were there. Apparently it is quite normal, but to see the lava running down the volcano at night was quite amazing, and you could hear and see it really clearly from the hotel. We decided to take the Thomson arranged trip to the summit. At 92 euros each it might seem expensive, but the trip involves a coach trip to 1900m, a cable car to approx. 2500m, a 4x4 unimog to 2900m, and then a guide to take you further on foot. What an experience! Other guests we spoke to had very positive opinions about other trips they had been on.
The majority of the guests were Italian, but there were quite a few Brits, along with Belgians and a wide range of other European nationalities. We prefer to stay in places with a mix of people, everyone seemed to get on really well and there was always a good atmosphere. All in all, we had a fabulous holiday and it was great value for money too. Thank you Hotel Caesar Palace!More
Walters_10, Leeds, United Kingdom
I've just got back today and I had to write this...
Just got back from a two week all inclusive booked with Thomson. We were a little hesitant about booking as some of the reivews were a bit negative. In our opinion nothing could be further from the truth - we've had a fantastic experience.. First let's be clear. The location is edge of town in a mixed residential area with some shops nearby on the main road out of town. It is in no way semi-industrail so don't be put off. In fact the out of centre location means it is quiet at night once the entertainment finishes. We enjoyed the painist enormously and it was wonderful to watch couples doing the chacha rumba and alike. (The pianist even researched a song he didn't know and played it for me the next night - ask for Lullaby of Birdland by George Shearing). Out of the hotel we enjoyed wandering around a part of town not dedicated to tourism but had normal supermarkets and shops. Secondly some have been unimpressed by the food - my family totally disagrees. If you want chips and chicken nuggets you'll be disappointed. If you want succulent meat and fish dishes, excellent pastas with genuinely good salads then you'll be fine. Desserts are a bit limited but there's plenty of fruit and gorgeous ice cream of numerous flavours. I tucked into tuna steaks, paella, seafood risotto, seafood linguni, and the occasional steak or gammon. Pizza at lunchtime was excellent too (served freshly made in the outside restaurant). Don't be afraid to ask for one big one to share amongst the family or families - we've made some new friends through the kids playing together in the pool. In the evening the big restaurant can be very noisy especially at the weekend. The smaller restaurant is quieter and had a calmer feel as a result with no queues for food and attentive staff for wine orders etc. The wine in bottles rather than on tap is better- just ask the waiters and there are plenty in the all inclusive deal to choose from.
Now on to the service. All excellent from our experience. I don't expect all staff to be multilingual but enough are good at English and they will be very supportive if you try a few a bit of Italian.
Swimming pool - big, cleaned every night and never too crowded. You can always get a sunbed.
Entertainment - for adults it's the pianist around the pool. For children its the kids/teen club shows after dark. Some might be disappointed there are not more shows for adults but it's not that sort of place which suited us fine.
Shuttle bus service to beach is good but the beach is a bit disappointing. We found some smaller patches of public beach which were informal and not regimented with rows of loungers.Plus these nicer bits are only 10/15 minute walk.
Good places to visit nearby like Taormina (by local bus from outside the hotel) and you've got to visit Etna which is erupting and can be seen froom the 3rd and 4th floor balcony. Also it was good to be in a hotel with so many different nationalities and reassuring to see so mnay Italians visiting too.
Now an 'even better if'. The fourth floor where we watched the volcano would make a great planetarium so how aboout a few loungers?
All in all the best inclusive we have stayed in and outstanding value for money so book in confidence and enjoy the wait for a relaxing holiday in a great hotel.More
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