Waking up in Taormina at Hotel Villa Carlotta…an experience!
Just the drive from the airport will get your imagination running wild – the incredible changing vista from verdant green, to craggy mountains and an evocative deep blue sea.
This goes double for the seaside town of Taormina, which offers a photo opportunity at every turn. Filled with cobbled streets, luxury boutiques and romantic cathedrals, Taormina will take your breath away no matter where you are. Even the walls are draped in purple bougainvillea. But just wait until you get to the charming Villa Carlotta.
If it’s a room with a view that you’re keen on, the Hotel Villa Carlotta is tough to beat. Located in uptown Taormina atop a hill – high enough for a pleasant stroll, but not so steep as to cause hardship – the location is a treat for the eyes. No matter where you look, the deep blues of the sea and the rugged landscape of Mount Etna will greet you from the outside.
Once you set foot indoors, however, each room is facing the sea. A gentle breeze through the spacious windows is the perfect way to start a day, and there are plenty of small touches in the local area that simply add to the magic. There can be no mistaking where you are when staying in the Hotel Villa Carlotta. It’s a purely Sicilian fairy tale location, and you’ll never be able to forget the experience.
This boutique hotel is truly a family affair. The current owners are Rosaria and Andrea Quartucci, who inherited the property from their mother some 25 years ago. Although the villa retains the charm and tradition of the past, it has been restored with great taste to ensure that all the needs of a modern guest are met.
Despite this, the hospitality remains reassuringly old-fashioned. You can expect to be addressed by name throughout your stay, and you will be made to feel like a treasured guest, not a paying customer. Your every need will be catered for, without feeling rushed or crowded. It’s a tricky balancing act to strike, but the team at the Hotel Villa Carlotta make it look effortless. From the glass of Prosecco you’ll be handed upon arrival to the advice and availability of the team, you will never feel unwelcome at this boutique.
The hotel opens out onto a sweeping panorama of Mount Etna, the azure waters of the Ionian Sea, and a hillside scattered with terracotta-tiled houses and prickly pear cacti. This is not just one room with a view. It’s twenty-three rooms, each of which offers sights to astonish and astound. Even in the unlikely event of growing weary of the four walls of your room, you can also explore communal spaces such as a sun deck with a beautiful and intimate swimming pool next to the old chapel and open-air dining room. Countless hours can be spent enjoying a lunch or dinner in this area, fully embracing the Mediterranean way of life.
You may come for the view but you’ll stay for the food. Breakfast offers a range of delicacies, including freshly squeezed juices such as pineapple or red orange. The on-site pastry chef Salvo provides a wide variety of sweet and savoury treats that will delight your palate, including soft and fluffy croissants and doughnuts that make you want to bury your face in these sugary pillows of joy. In addition, there are a variety of cheeses and continental meats, fresh fruit and delicious beverages available. Italian coffee at its’ very best! Their breakfast small dish Parmigiana di melanzana was to die for!
The restaurant, meanwhile, has all kinds of traditional Sicilian dishes available throughout lunch and dinner. Head chef David Costa prides himself on the variety of food available in the cosy and informal settings of the hotel restaurant, whether vegetarian, seafood or meat-based. There will also be a variety of specials that the team will cheerfully discuss with you, making suggestions and recommendations tailored to your tastes.
If you wish to get out to see some of beautiful Taormina, it’s a mere five-minute walk from the hotel. If you have limited mobility, however, the staff at the hotel will gladly arrange a transport shuttle. In many respects the town is a Sicilian Monte Carlo; the beautiful sea flanks boutique shops, ancient churches and appealing restaurants and cafes. Once you have had your fill of luxurious gelato, you can even take a stroll on Isola Bella. A wonderful little island next to the coast…very picturesque!
This bank of sand is pure Sicilian luxury, albeit only accessible through a bed of pebbles. Regardless of your intention, however, there is plenty to enjoy on this beach. Honeymooning couples will rub shoulders with holidaymaking families, all of whom are enjoying the stunning surroundings. You can take a dip in the ocean safe in the knowledge that the water will be temperate and clear, or simply soak up the sun’s rays from the golden sands.
To stay in the Hotel Villa Carlotta is to experience Sicily at its finest. This boutique hotel offers all the charm of a classic and unique ‘home from home’, with the professional and attentive service of a five-star chain. Anybody interested in visiting the enchanting surroundings of Taormina owes it to himself or herself to stay here. Doing so will add the final flourish to what promises to already be an unforgettable experience.
Booking starts at £150 per night and I highly recommend you using Small Luxury Hotels (www.slh.com/villacarlotta) to book your room. They offer a fantastic list of places where to holiday next time.