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 Post subject: Taormina question?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 12:45 am 
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I recently read a bad review of this place on trip advisor. The hotel responded to the review and answered all the complaints to my satisfaction. Except one.. they didn't respond to the complaint about the safe.and it raised my curiosity. The safe in the room. Is it easy to lockpick? To the people who stayed there, have you felt comfortable leaving large sums of cash and your passport in the safe? Or is it an old safe and should look for other accommodations? Is it big enough for a laptop? Any complaints about things going missing when you leave the room?

Question 2. Does this hotel also facilitate excursions such as the crocodile tour at jaco that sl offers or a san jose tour?


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 Post subject: Re: Taormina question?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 8:54 am 
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All hotel safes (that I have had experience with) are vulnerable to a determined and knowledgeable thief that has a bit of time to work with it. They are also vulnerable to hotel staff that have access to the master safe keys / security codes. That said the safe is going to keep most casual visitors (visiting chicas) away from you stuff.

I would never use a room safe to hold more money than I can afford to lose. That's why I use my ATM and get cash every couple of days. I do take a chance by storing my passport there and I usually stash my phone in there when I have company. If you have significant cash or valuables I would recommend keeping it in the safe at the front desk.

That said, in all of my years of travel, I have never had anything go missing from a hotel safe. I have read accounts of some folks losing a lot though. I've stayed at the Taormina a few times and don't remember the safe being any worse or better than most hotels

If you want to really get paranoid, Check out YouTube and you can watch videos of a guy opening a hotel safe in a few seconds with a potato.


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 Post subject: Re: Taormina question?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 9:22 am 
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Tours wise, Expediciones Tropicales office is just around the corner and they are also very responsive on WhatsApp

It’s the same company that Castillo recommends and I have used them for various trips

https://www.expedicionestropicales.com/

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 Post subject: Re: Taormina question?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 9:54 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2021 12:57 pm
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Otherside wrote:
I recently read a bad review of this place on trip advisor. The hotel responded to the review and answered all the complaints to my satisfaction. Except one.. they didn't respond to the complaint about the safe.and it raised my curiosity. The safe in the room. Is it easy to lockpick? To the people who stayed there, have you felt comfortable leaving large sums of cash and your passport in the safe? Or is it an old safe and should look for other accommodations? Is it big enough for a laptop? Any complaints about things going missing when you leave the room?

Question 2. Does this hotel also facilitate excursions such as the crocodile tour at jaco that sl offers or a san jose tour?


I would definitely recommend staying at another hotel than the Taormina. That place is nasty to stay at for lots of different reasons.


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 Post subject: Re: Taormina question?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 11:57 am 
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Papito wrote:
Otherside wrote:
I recently read a bad review of this place on trip advisor. The hotel responded to the review and answered all the complaints to my satisfaction. Except one.. they didn't respond to the complaint about the safe.and it raised my curiosity. The safe in the room. Is it easy to lockpick? To the people who stayed there, have you felt comfortable leaving large sums of cash and your passport in the safe? Or is it an old safe and should look for other accommodations? Is it big enough for a laptop? Any complaints about things going missing when you leave the room?

Question 2. Does this hotel also facilitate excursions such as the crocodile tour at jaco that sl offers or a san jose tour?


I would definitely recommend staying at another hotel than the Taormina. That place is nasty to stay at for lots of different reasons.



can you elaborate please?


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 Post subject: Re: Taormina question?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 2:33 pm 
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I stayed in the Taormina three times pre-Covid and found, it had its pluses and minuses just like every other gulch hotel. This is my opinion only but this is my take after these stays.

Pros

Newer and pretty standard rooms. Kind of reminds me of a Courtyard or Hampton Inn in the states.

Elevator to get to the rooms.

I found the rooms to be clean and housekeeping good. Others have reported seeing cucarachas but that can really happen anywhere in the tropics.

Good water pressure and plenty of hot water.

Large windows.

Pretty good food in the Sports bar and attached Italian restaurant is very good.

Lots of chica traffic in the Sports Bar, Casino and lobby.

Good room deals can be found on hotel booking sites. Much cheaper than other gulch hotels but you need to factor in the chica fee and breakfast I mention below

Cons

Staff isn't the friendliest

While beer prices are OK, drinks, especially with mixers can be pretty expensive. Have also heard reports of check padding in the Sports Bar but I have never experienced it. Pay as you go. Don't run a tab.

The music in the Sports bar can be oppressive loud and to me irritating.

Inconsistently applied chica fee. Sometime $10 sometimes $15 sometimes not at all. I always play dumb and go straight to the elevator with a woman and hope noone says anything. Sometimes works, sometimes not. The women that work a lot at the hotel will go right to the front desk to register though, I imagine to keep from getting in trouble with management.

Included breakfast used to be good but I haven't been able to find a rate that has breakfast anymore.

Personally I prefer the Sportsmens and the Castillo because I know the staff well and enjoy the ambiance of both places over the Taormina. I do find the taormina a better bargain over the SL or Castillo unless you are staying in the most basic rooms but my trips arent usually very long so Ill pay a little extra. Also I would rather not "hunt" in the hotel that I am staying at and prefer to go out and bring a woman back. As such I usually sleep at the SL or Castillo and walk to the Taormina or the DR to look around.

All of that said, I would definitely stay at the Taormina if my room choices weren't available at the SL or Castillo.


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 Post subject: Re: Taormina question?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 3:57 pm 
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In another thread the OP mentioned that this was his first trip outside of the US. This would make me recommend sleeping and breakfasting at the SL over the Taormina. The SL staff will work to ensure you have the safest, most enjoyable trip possible. You will also find it easier to connect with other mongers to share information. The lodge definitely has a more clubhouse vibe.

The Taormina is the best 'hunting ground' for a tourist right now, but it is LOUD. Even when they are honest and efficient, the staff's highest concern is maximizing income. Not a knock on them, but it is a hotel vibe (with hookers working the bar).

You have the ability here to 'Mix and Match'. Sleep one place, hunt at multiple other places, eat at still more options.

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 Post subject: Re: Taormina question?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 4:05 am 
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Harddrive43228 , Thanks for the solid info on Taormina. Given the larger numbers to pick from at Taormina, I'm guessing I will need to invite guest back to SL. What's the cost of taxi or uber service to get from Taormina to SL or do you walk guest back to SL. Also, any guidance on cost of taxi or uber to SJ airport from SL or Taormina. appreciate the help in my planned upcoming visit.


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 Post subject: Re: Taormina question?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 6:18 am 
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designer88 wrote:
Harddrive43228 , Thanks for the solid info on Taormina. Given the larger numbers to pick from at Taormina, I'm guessing I will need to invite guest back to SL. What's the cost of taxi or uber service to get from Taormina to SL or do you walk guest back to SL. Also, any guidance on cost of taxi or uber to SJ airport from SL or Taormina. appreciate the help in my planned upcoming visit.


It's a pretty easy walk in the daytime down to the Taormina from the SL or the Castillo. I would not make the walk after dark unless in a group. You can run into some sketchy characters on the way.

Returning to the SL from the Taormina with company, regardless of the time you'll want to take a taxi or an Uber. No woman is going to want to walk up that hill, especially in heels.

An Uber if you can get one will run you less than 1K colones. A metered taxi will be a similar amount but they are difficult to get in the evening and even the metered ones will probably ask for 2K if they see you are a gringo. Personally I usually will just take one of the pirate taxis that sit outside of the Taormina most of the night. They are officially ripping you off at 2K colones but given that is only about $3.50 I don't have a problem with that. In fact I just looked it up and the official exchange rate is $2.99. Some of them will ask for 3K but if you counter at 2K almost all will say OK.

The return to the airport you can either use an Uber, get a red metered taxi or use a private driver. The Sportsmens will arrange a driver or you can call Vanessa (see threads below). That cost is going to be about $30. An Uber or taxi will be less but the price will vary depending on time of day or traffic

Also the Castillo offers free transport back to the airport if you stay 4 or more nights.

As Boynton said above, if you can get a non-Courtyard room (noisy and small, right around the bar), stay at the Sportsmens for your first trip. The Modern Wing rooms are reasonably priced and decent. The Mansion wing rooms are awesome but a bit pricey.

You'll meet a lot of guys that can help you get your bearings. The nice thing about reserving a room at the SL is you can see specific room availability on their website. And the free breakfast is pretty good and they have a great happy hour.

Have a good trip.


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 Post subject: Re: Taormina question?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 1:27 pm 
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Otherside wrote:
I recently read a bad review of this place on trip advisor. The hotel responded to the review and answered all the complaints to my satisfaction. Except one.. they didn't respond to the complaint about the safe.and it raised my curiosity. The safe in the room. Is it easy to lockpick? To the people who stayed there, have you felt comfortable leaving large sums of cash and your passport in the safe? Or is it an old safe and should look for other accommodations? Is it big enough for a laptop? Any complaints about things going missing when you leave the room?

Question 2. Does this hotel also facilitate excursions such as the crocodile tour at jaco that sl offers or a san jose tour?


I was paying a chica one morning and she told that she wouldn't watch me open the safe. Which is okay but it tells me that she has probably done it before and a lot of chicas will do that if given the chance


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 Post subject: Re: Taormina question?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 3:59 pm 
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All safes in hotel has a bypass ability.....most hotels never change the default code.

Next time at a hotel, look up the manufacturer of the safe (and model if you have that) and do an internet search for their default codes....it will work most of the time.


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 Post subject: Re: Taormina question?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 6:21 am 
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I myself would stay at the Taormina. I have found there is a bigger selection of newer, non hardened workers, not like the older workhorses at SL. I would also recommend a cab from SL returning at night. No problem in the day. Lots of gender confused characters in dresses roaming around. Remember what cabs you do find at SL will be catering to the cien boys and will be higher. But that probably doesn't matter if your paying a babe a cien. Use Uber for the airport.

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 Post subject: Re: Taormina question?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:18 am 
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NYr - That's a good put about the hotelroom safe default code. Thanx.


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 Post subject: Re: Taormina question?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2022 5:39 am 
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@Harddrive43228 & @WhiteCat - Thank you both


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 Post subject: Re: Taormina question?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2022 5:57 pm 
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I'm currently at the Taormina. I don't have any specific complaints, but can say that the safe does Not facilitate a 15 in laptop. Other than that, it is what it is, a hotel with a bar and chicas. I have not stayed here enough times to give an "educated" opinion, but my initial thought was 'I should have stuck with SL.' I say that because my first visit to SL last year was great. I've also returned to SL since and have aways had a nice ,relaxing time. Cocal is great,too. I prefer weekdays over weekends there, though.


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