Hotel Mahara Hotel Hotel 4 star
Easyexperts
Lungomare San Vito 3 Mazara del Vallo, Italy -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

The Mahara Hotel is an elegant, low-key hotel set on the shores of Mazara del Vallo and is clearly a far cry from the hotels usually found in the large complexes on the Sicilian coast. It offers the charm and history of an urban hotel rather than the hustle and bustle of a holiday village establishment.

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    • Hotel Mahara Hotel

      Mahara Hotel   -   EASYVOYAGE

    • Hotel Mahara Hotel

      Mahara Hotel   -   EASYVOYAGE

       
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    Location 4.27 /10

    The Mahara Hotel is located on the seafront at Mazara del Vallo, on the road that leads to the historic centre. The old town itself is around 500m away and is easily accessible on foot. It's particularly pleasant in the coolness of the evening, when you can take a walk to one of the nearby restaurants or go for an ice-cream as the locals do. The Mahara is around 62 mi from Palermo airport, with a transfer time of an hour and a quarter by car. Trapani airport takes around the same, though it is actually closer to the Mahara and the two are connected by a main road. Try to avoid flying into Catania as you'll have nearly a 4-hour drive by car to get here, it being over 200 mi away.

    Accommodation 7.70 /10

    The 77 guest rooms and 4 suites at the Mahara Hotel are all arranged around the inner courtyard and in the side wing overlooking both the street and the sea. The guest rooms overlook the gardens whilst the suites have a sea view. The rooms on the first floor all have a balcony, whilst those on the second and third floors have only a little balustrade, though they do have better views from up here than those overlooking the area in front of the hotel. The rooms are elegantly-appointed and decorated in pale shades. A light curtain filters the sunlight coming into the room, making for peaceful, subdued surroundings, a feeling further enhanced by the choice of light wooden furniture and the use of the same shades in the bedspread and the beige of the walls. The balconies are more or less useless during the hottest hours of the day but provide a welcome breath of fresh air come nightfall. Fear not, though, if you have booked a room without a balcony as there is air-conditioning throughout, along with a flat-screen television and a telephone. The bathrooms, meanwhile, with their white marble, dark red tiling and large mirror, feel more spacious than they actually are. A range of Mahara Hotel hospitality products is also provided for guests' convenience. The unusual shape of the spacious shower, which features the same bright red tiling as the rest of the bathroom, is an interesting little touch; the shower doesn't have one of those vile concertina doors but merely a glass panel which slides and locks, leaving room for you to climb into the shower.

    Overview 7.45 /10

    The entrance to the baglio which now houses the Mahara Hotel used to be via the large door leading out on to the main road, along the seafront leading to the old part of Mazara del Vallo. Nowadays, this entrance is open only rarely, usually when there's a party or banquet being held. The majority of the time you'll need to enter the Mahara via a small side street, where there is a little bit of room for parking. Once inside, you'll immediately notice that the atmosphere here is very different from that of the large hotel complexes we have become used to when visiting Sicily. The ambience is decidedly relaxed yet elegant and the decor kept to light shades. Between the oriental-style rugs and the little lounge area, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were still at home, a feeling further emphasized by the kind and accommodating manager and the reception staff. From the bright lobby you can go straight through to the inner courtyard, visible through the large picture windows. Outside, meanwhile, a large fountain stands proudly at the centre of the courtyard, its water running beautifully down a series of steps, whilst the well-appointed gardens all around are planted with palms and shrubs, adorned with a series of arches and furnished with garden benches on the lawn. This is where the typical Sicilian 'baglio' structure, which in this case became the Mahara Hotel in 2007, really comes into its own. It is worth pointing out that renovation works are currently being carried out at the property since one of the buildings which is as yet unused will soon form an extension of the hotel. A well-being centre was also in the process of being built when we visited in June 2009. In fact, that's the one thing that was missing for this hotel to really live up to its name, since Mahara is an Arabic word meaning 'rest'/'relaxation'. It was chosen to highlight the significant North African influence in this region, where a large number of Tunisian and Moroccan fishermen have always worked. Other than the restaurant, the only thing the hotel currently offers in the way of leisure facilities is its outdoor swimming pool, which is neither very big nor very deep (at just 1.2m) but it is rather peaceful.

    Food and drink 6.95 /10

    The restaurant here provides plush surroundings in shades of bluish-white. The dining room itself is actually indoors and there's no terrace area, but when parties and banquets are held here an area is set up on the patio overlooking the street so that guests can arrive at the restaurant via the nicest entrance. Breakfast, however, is served in a separate and much larger room, also arranged with round tables and blue tablecloths. The walls in this second room are salmon pink, with a few white items of furniture bringing a touch of low-key, tasteful charm to the place. This room is, however, a little less elegant than the first, though nevertheless perfectly charming, with light white curtains allowing only the sunlight to filter through. Service is provided at the table and the cuisine served here is primarily traditionally Sicilian, with a great emphasis on fish.

    Beach

    There is no private beach at the Mahara Hotel but it does have an agreement with two local beaches, one rocky, the other sandy. The hotel does provide a beach shuttle service for its guests which makes 6 trips a day (3 return trips) or it can even come for you on request.

    To know

    The Mahara Hotel is very different from other establishments we've visited in Sicily, which are aimed more at holidaying families or groups of friends looking for a seaside holiday with plenty of sports and entertainment. In fact, despite its seafront location in Mazara del Vallo, the Mahara Hotel has the charm of an urban hotel and the history of a building which has seen a fair bit of water pass under the bridge. Having been built at the beginning of the 19th Century as a townhouse, the building's architecture is typical of a 'baglio', an old rural Sicilian residence with an inner courtyard devoted to work, namely the loading and unloading of grapes and olives to be converted into wine and oil. Above the old doorway you'll find a rather eloquent period inscription explaining the history of the building that now houses the Mahara to all those who might be interested: 'Johnny Hopps & Sons -Established 1811 - Marsala Wine Growers'. The building actually used to belong to this famous English family, renowned for their Marsala production. You might be interested to know that inside this former 'baglio' there's a part (which nevertheless remains the property of the hotel) which has not yet been used for tourism purposes. This is the 'bottaie', namely the rooms where the barrels of wine used to be kept and where the temperature and humidity levels are very specific as they were essential to the production of this unique wine.

    Equipment

    • Shuttle bus
    • Car park
    • Handicap access
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      keep fit, Turkish bath, beauty salon, massage, spa, sauna

    • Swimming pool
    • Sports equipment

      sports, mountain bike, gym

    • Animals allowed
    • Safe
    • Non-smoking rooms
    • Solarium
    • Meeting room

    advantage

    • The peace and quiet
    • The elegance of the rooms
    • The friendly staff

    disadvantages

    • There's no private beach
    • Little in the way of services and facilities

    Traveller Reviews

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    • Overall Score 9.00/10