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Old Jan 22, 06, 8:04 pm   #1
 
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Arrow Sheraton Catania, Sicily, Italy [Master Thread]

Did a search and found no feedback on it? Anyone have any advice?
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Old Jan 22, 06, 9:51 pm   #2
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Sheraton Catania

I stayed there April '05. It's a little ways north of the centre of Catania and I took a rather expensive and wild taxi ride from the airport. The hotel does have a shuttle that runs downtown at preset times. I used it several times and found it helpful. Speaking basic Italian helps with directions and communicating with the drivers.

The check in staff were efficient and spoke English fairly well. I think I was upgraded one room category (I was Gold at the time). The decor was a bit stuck in the seventies/eighties, but everything was clean and in good repair. The room was large and comfortable, with a sitting area (sofa and chair), a large closet/wardrobe unit, comfy (but not Sweet Sleeper) bed, and a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom. There was a small, unstocked refrigerator. There was a small patio with a table and chairs accessible through a sliding glass door and sitting out there was quite pleasant. The room looked towards the water, but there is a busy road between the hotel and the "beach". Regardless, it was quiet and I wasn't bothered by street noise.

Turndown service and housekeeping were great - slippers and a mat by the bed when I came in at night, lots of fresh towels. Breakfast was an ample spread of Continental - pastries, cereal, meats, cheeses, and red orange juice (the local oranges have a reddish tinge). I ate my other meals in town, so can't say much else about the restaurant.

There was a free computer for internet access in the lobby. The beach isn't much - black volcanic rock and murky water, but that's pretty common for that corner of Sicily. The pool area looked nice, but it wasn't officially open for the season yet in April.

I'd go back. Hope that helps.
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Old Jan 25, 06, 10:30 am   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dibby
I stayed there April '05. It's a little ways north of the centre of Catania and I took a rather expensive and wild taxi ride from the airport. The hotel does have a shuttle that runs downtown at preset times. I used it several times and found it helpful.
Thanks Dibby. Sounds like in order to get around I'll rent a car. Is it easy to find from the airport? Are there any sights worth seeing near the hotel?

My wife and I are sort of beach bums but it sounds to me that this is the kind of beach that all you can do is look at it? Any nice ocean views from the hotel?
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Old Jan 26, 06, 7:34 pm   #4
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If you rent a car, be prepared for driving in Sicily. It's pretty wild. I didn't drive there myself, but saw several accidents during various taxi, shuttle, and bus rides. The hotel is on a main north-south road, so should be easy to find if you do drive (and make it through downtown intact ) .

I didn't find a lot to do right around the hotel - there's a bit of shopping, a few restaurants, and it is fairly suburban. There's a lot to do in downtown Catania and the shuttle into town was fairly convenient and quick, although it runs on a set schedule. One driver did kindly drop me off at the train station the day I left (not a scheduled stop).

I had a reasonably nice ocean view from the patio outside my room. I have a couple of photos and can email them to you if you'd like (PM me). There are chairs and a concrete platform on the "beach" at the hotel, but this section of the coast is mostly black volcanic rock and not very gentle on the feet. It was fine for sitting out in the sun and being by the water, but wasn't really a sandy swimming beach. There is a nice long gravel sand beach up at Letojanni, just north of Taormina (about 45 min. from Catania by train or car). There are some great beach areas on the southern and northern coasts of Sicily.

Although the beach was a disappointment and I was quite jetlagged the first day, I did find the hotel quite relaxing and comfortable.
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Old May 31, 07, 6:08 pm   #5
 
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Exclamation Sheraton Catania Now Awards SPG Points!!

The website, SPG HQ, and now William have all confirmed that this hotel now participates in awarding SPG points!!!

It also appears from the hotel website that Shearton Sweet Sleeper beds are now being installed -- at least in the Deluxe rooms -- and that at least those rooms appear to have undergone a room renovation from the photos on the hotel website.

Also, a new 24 hr accessible fitness center appears to have been operating since May 1, 2007.

http://www.sheratoncatania.com/page.asp?n=home&l=1

So, without further adieu, can some of you opine on your most recent experiences at this property, pre or post changes?

In addition, is there a charge for self-parking?

Thanks!

NJ
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Last edited by NJUPINTHEAIR; May 31, 07 at 6:14 pm.
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Old Jun 6, 07, 9:26 am   #6
 
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July 2006 Stay

I stayed at the Sheraton Catania about one year ago. I enjoyed the hotel, and it was a fine stay. However a few observations about Catania, the area and the hotel.

1.) There isnt' that much to do in Catania. Short of visiting Mount Etna and coming back to walk around town, two days max in Catania is plenty here. The city is in a state of economic decay so it looks a bit rough around the edges, but we didn't feel unsafe and did go out at night.

2.) As a platinum member, I received a nice sized room with a very small patio but with a very nice view of the ocean and thereby the sunset.

3.) Catania is not a beach town, there is an oceanside but it is rocks butting up against the sea. At the hotel, you can take a walkway across the main road to the seaside and there is a platform there with beach chairs but the ocean lapping against the platform with the green outdoor faux grass had a really fishy smell to it and we quickly turned back to the pool.

4.) Speaking of the pool and the pool area. This was our favorite. It is not much of a serious swimming pool, but very much enjoyed taking a dip. There are lots of beach chairs around the pool and this is where we spent most of our relaxing time

5.) Dining: We had excellent meals in the outdoor dining area around the pool. Fabulous local wine grown in the volcanic ash soil that is typical around sicily and catania. The hotel food, as expected, is pricier than outside the hotel.

6.) What's nice about the location of the hotel, there is a local pizza/spaghetti restaraunt and a gelato bar just a few feet across the road from the hotel. Both are right by the sea so it is scenic and you can escape the pricier hotel food, it is a good casual dining option.

7.) Hotel services: Parking is not free. There is no self-park as we know it in the US, the garage is under the hotel and is casually staffed. They will give you a claim ticket (be sure to keep this as auto theft is a serious problem in catania). Generally, the keys were kept in the ignition so if you want to be really proactive and get the parking guys attention, just walk toward your car in the garage, waive your ticket at the parking attendent and drive away.
Getting a shirt ironed: There is no iron in your room and there are no free ironing services. You will come away from this experience about 8 Euros lighter once they charge you and you tip to get them to bring your shirt back in a reasonable amount of time.
Getting Money and Shopping There are a few stores, a jewelry store a travel agency and an ATM which are attached to the hotel in a small courtyard outside of the lobby. Very convenient for getting more money if needed.

8.) Communication: The hotel staff's english was pretty bad. The parking attendents spoke virtually no English. This didn't bother me as I speak enough italian to function, but if you don't, it could be a problem. Overall, English seemed to be in short supply in Sicily.

9.) Annoyances and quirks: If you get a room facing the ocean, you will get all the noise from the road and the dance club to. Italians aren't the quietest of people. The dance club and the associated noise of people coming, going, honking and yelling at each other routinely kept us up pretty late, especially on the weekends. Elevator to the pool: The elevator to the pool was ill-tempered at best. Alternating between dead as a door nail and angrily grunting or trying to cruch us with randomly closing doors. Opening/Closing hours Be aware, that unlike in some major cities like Rome, Milan and Florence, Catania adheres to the tradition of shutting down many store mid-day. Its a very Italian thing to do, especially in smaller cities in the south, just plan accordingly that the pharmacy and other services won't be available from 11am to 4pm approx.

10.) Summary: Catania and the Sheraton are fine, especially if you are just passing through for a night or two. The value for the stay does not exceed 150-180Euros a night. If I were to go back, I would probably opt for an agriturismo hotel in the countryside or near mount etna and definitely travel more around sicily. I found the area around mount etna to be very interesting with some interesting stops and quite a few reasonably priced spas to take advantage of.

Last edited by NeoOfTheCRS; Jun 6, 07 at 9:36 am.
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Old Jun 6, 07, 11:41 am   #7
 
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Neo --

Thanks for the incredibly comprehensive review of the property -- your comments are most helpful.

I have booked an endlees weekend rate at the property for 154 Euros including breakfast for 2. I am not sure if breakfast is included in other rates as I have seen some sites say it is included as a perk of the hotel, and others have reported otherwise. Do you have an remeberance of same, and how was it if you recall?

I am being upgraded to a newly renovated deluxe room with Sweet Sleeper bed due to my Gold status, and the fitness center is brand new, as well.

I have corresponded with the hotel and have been fortunate to have received e-mails from an employee in perfect English, as well, although others probably do not have her command of the language.

I have learned from her that there is free "street" parking in front of the hotel, but that it might not always be available. I am driving a small Smart 4-4, hatchback (not the mini car that looks like a mini Gremlin from the old AMC) so I am hopeful that theft will not be encouraged by that car.

They are allowing me to bookend my stay around my wife's intervening one -- while staying in the same room, so I will get 2 stay credits, mulitplied by 2 during the current promotion = 4 stays for me and 2 for her. In addition, it will contribute to earning extra SPG bonus points, as well, during the promotion period.

Given that Hilton's rates that approximate these require a non-refundable advance purchase, SPG with these renovations beats the new Hilton, or the Siracusa Scandic, hands down, esp. since it is newly renovated and has a promotion that SPG offers me -- unlike Hilton.

We do not plan on visiting Catania. We will use the hotel as a base to visit Piazza Amerina and the Villa Casale as well as the baroque cities of Noto and Ragusa, and hit a bit of Siracusa, if there is time, althought the majority of our time in that town will be at the Scandic there.

The other major day we plan on visiting Taormina up the road from the Sheraton and walk around for the day and perhaps see some of Etna by driving around near the summit.

Given that Catania is between Siracusa and Taormina, it is better placed than the new Hilton Portorosa (and cheaper too), and it is certainly more luxurious than the Scandic Siracusa.

I am just glad that they now offer SPG points for the stay.

By the way, were you on an award stay or a paid stay while you were there?

Again, thanks for the great trip report and pointers and pitfalls at the hotel!
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Old Nov 26, 08, 11:54 am   #8
 
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Stayed here in may 2008 for the Giro d' Italia. though the hotel is nice enough in Itallian standards I wouldn't stay here again while in the Catania area. I would choose a hotel closer to the city-centre and with a bit more atmosphere.

It really is a business hotel and there was noting to do around the hotel besides a couple of below average restaurants. luckily I only had to be there for 1 day.

The rooms are quite nice tough and are huge but no Sweet Sleepers, at least not in the SPG rooms. The room did have a huge balcony with a view of the hotels gardens and the building next-door.

also traffic from and to the hotel from Catania centre can be quite bad.

Overall I would avoid the hotel if you want to have a Sicilian holiday or just like to be in a city-centre. but if you are looking for a American business hotel you should choose the Sheraton Catania.
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Old Apr 24, 11, 6:05 am   #9
 
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Any updates on this property? I'll be staying here again in May as I do need the stay credit. Also last time I only was a preferred member, so any updates on platinum recognition are appreciated as well.
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Old May 14, 11, 11:06 pm   #10
 
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Was trying to look at rates for the Sheraton Catania in January 2012. On spg.com it is not showing any available rates after January 1st (night of December 31st). Have not had this issue with any other SPG hotels in 2012 -- wondering if this property is changing hands or had just not loaded their schedule?

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Reply back from Starwood...

It seems that the hotel has not updated rates for January, 2012. I would suggest that you keep checking availability.

Last edited by dbuckho; May 15, 11 at 11:51 am.
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Old May 17, 11, 4:37 pm   #11
 
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maybe u dunno catania where well or maybe the concierge at the sheraton hotel was not good at explaining u what's going on in catania about seesighting tours and about the big sand beach called 2 la Playa Surrounded by disco,hotel etc

cheers
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Old May 17, 11, 4:46 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catania advisor View Post
maybe u dunno catania where well or maybe the concierge at the sheraton hotel was not good at explaining u what's going on in catania about seesighting tours and about the big sand beach called 2 la Playa Surrounded by disco,hotel etc

cheers
i meant very well
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Old May 17, 11, 4:51 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catania advisor View Post
i meant very well
i forgot that i don't give a .... what NeoOfTheCRS is telling about catania i think he was sleeping or dreaming while he was in catania i can make u sure that catania is not as he explains in this forum...if u want any information about the magical catania..contact me

Catania the Barcellona of south italy
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Old May 18, 11, 3:28 am   #14
 
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Stayed here last weekend. Got upgraded to a huge "club suite" with a nice view on the pool. It looked recently renovated, tough the bathrooms were old but clean. I made a BRG and they didn't know what it was . At check in the front desk agent said "you made a complaint about the rate that you found one 1 euro cheaper?" haha explained it was all about the points.

We ate in the restaurant ant it was actually quite good! I recommend the sesame seed "Rooster" (chicken) and take the 13€ wine form the Etna, good value!

I made a lot of photos of the hotel so you can see it for yourself:

















The beach is crap, also note the walkway to the beach!



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Old Feb 19, 12, 2:09 am   #15
 
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