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Hotel Cala Marina, Castellammare del Golfo: Review

Hotel Cala Marina is a small, modern three-star hotel on the waterfront in the Sicilian harbour town of Castellammare del Golfo. I stayed at the hotel with two companions in summer 2010.

About Hotel Cala Marina

Hotel Cala Marina is in a wonderfully picturesque position, just over the road from the sand-backed bay behind Castellammare's fishing and leisure harbour. The hotel is a two-storey building, with just three harbour-view rooms; the other rooms are cheaper and in the back part of the building.

Our stay at the hotel

We had booked two double rooms online, one with a sea-view balcony (€105), and the other a 'standard' room without a view (€87). Arriving by train, we got an unplanned 'lift' from the out-of-town railway station (see my main Castellammare del Golfo feature for more on local transport) which delivered us right to the door of the hotel.

Accommodation in Sicily comes in a range of styles, and the Hotel Cala Marina was instantly reassuring: a spacious reception area, tourist posters and pamphlets, and a smiling receptionist to welcome us. The hotel building is modern (attractively so), and the atmosphere of the Cala Marina was also modern, friendly and of international standard. The receptionists we encountered spoke English, and I think other European languages too. The young woman who welcomed us helped carry our cases upstairs, showed us our rooms, explained the air conditioning and left us to appreciate our surroundings.

Bedrooms

Both our bedrooms were comfortable and spacious. The sea-view room had a balcony with chairs which overlooked the harbour and the town on its promontory. These are the best views you'll get in Castellammare, and the balcony was a great place to sit and watch the boats, cars and passers-by bringing the harbour to life. My room-without-a-view looked out onto a narrow lane at the side of the building, and leaning out of the window I too could see the harbour.

Furnishings in both rooms were attractive and modern. My companions' sea-view room was large, with space for an armchair. My room had two wooden chairs, a desk, coat hooks, air conditioning, bedside tables and a mirror over the desk. There was a also a wall-mounted flat-screen TV with international news channels, a suitcase stand, a mini-bar and wine at €7 a bottle. The room was simply but tastefully decorated, with a large picture on the wall and a pretty tiled floor. Windows were double-glazed and both rooms were quiet at night. The ensuite blue and white tiled bathroom was a good size and well-equipped. Basic toiletries were provided, and a hair-dryer and there was an extendable make-up/shaving mirror. The bathroom had a shower rather than a bath.

Breakfast

Breakfast was served in a dining area adjacent to the reception space. It was a good buffet spread, with hot drinks brought by a waitress. The wide range of food included strawberries and other fresh fruit, warm rolls, croissants, cakes and yoghurts.

Service, staff and public spaces

We encountered two receptionists, both of whom were friendly and helpful. The receptionist on our first day assisted us to plan a taxi-tour the following morning, providing possible itineraries and negotiating with drivers for an all-inclusive deal which deposited and collected us at the sights we wanted to visit. Without her help it's extremely unlikely we'd have managed to arrange the tour we wanted, which included a short walk in the Zingaro nature reserve. She also looked up and photocopied bus timetables for us. We were very impressed with her efficiency and happiness to help.

There was a comfortable sitting area downstairs with sofas, and outdoor benches along the hotel wall to look at harbour. The hotel had an internet point, and I believe it also offers free wireless internet for guests.

Location

Hotel Cala Marina is on Via Don Leonardo Zangara, which runs along the beach at the back of the harbour in Castellamare. The hotel's location is ideal for enjoying Castellammare, for strolling along the waterfront, enjoying views and for visiting the neighbouring bars and restaurants. However, its pleasant position on the edge of town does mean that it is a long, uphill walk to the town's public transport connections; a taxi would really be the most comfortable option for arriving and departing. It is worth the effort or expense, since this really is such a good place to stay and the balconies with views are the kind of extra that makes a holiday special.

Recommendation

Our overall impression was of a friendly and well-organised hotel. This was a very comfortable place to stay, and with the added pleasure provided by the balcony and view, we were sorry not to be staying longer. The combination of good staff, a comfortable and well-run hotel and the picturesque location was pretty unbeatable; of our trip to Sicily this would be the accommodation we rated the highest.

I'd recommend the hotel to any traveller visiting Castellammare del Golfo - if you don't stay here, you'll probably see the hotel as you tour the harbour, and wish you had chosen it. It's worth paying the extra - and booking well ahead - for one of the three sea-view rooms, and I'd also recommend organising a taxi transfer if you are arriving by public transport.




Highlights

Choosing a hotel in Italy

Castellammare del Golfo

Locanda Scirocco, Castellammare - a budget 2-star in the town centre

Scopello


If you like Castellammare del Golfo, you may like

Scilla, Calabria

Cefalů, Sicily


Useful external links

Castellammare del Golfo hotels & B&Bs

Italy car hire





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