The Hotel Villa Carlotta is quite possibly the most scenic hotel in Italy that I’ve stayed at. With idyllic views of Taormina and the deep blue sea below, it still dazzles guests with views and history that have been here for more than a century. A member of the Small Luxury Hotels group and one of three of the QRA properties, the hotel offers world-class luxury with a family-run feel.
The hotel overlooks the terra-cotta rooftops of the medieval village below and, beyond that, the coast toward Mount Etna. In the foreground, there are manicured gardens, opulent guest rooms, and a unique rooftop restaurant. Taormina’s past is Sicily’s history in a microcosm: the Arabs, Byzantines, French, Greeks, Normans, Romans, Swabians and the Spanish all came, saw, conquered and left. The town is a beautiful blend of the aforementioned, and the Hotel Villa Carlotta is the perfect spot to enjoy the sites, just a stroll from the centre of Taormina.
Warm, coral colours and antiques mix with chic styling to create an overall luxurious yet homey feel. Expect the pinnacle of comfort together with stellar service at this panoramically placed boutique hotel.
Keeping the heart and soul of these once aristocratic family homes very much alive, founder Andrea Quartucci has transformed three historic Sicilian villas into elegant escapes for the discerning globe trotter. With Isola Bella a mere six-minute ride or fifteen-minute walk away, this luxury boutique hotel is bang in the middle of the action and makes the perfect home base for this Sicilian town.
Image courtesy of Eva Piskadlo
We stayed in the luxurious Junior Garden Suite during our two-day stay, an apartment looking over the hotel’s sprawling Sicilian garden below. With a boudoir, separate sitting room, a state-of-the-art bathroom and a large tanning deck, this really was a slice of heaven.
Although each room is unique, they all reflect the historic characteristics of the building. Think large windows with high ceilings, handsome armchairs, vintage Italian photographs and artwork, the occasional exposed beam, and luxurious fabrics in calming muted tones or natural colors that come together to create an atmosphere of timeless elegance.
Image courtesy of Eva Piskadlo
Villa Carlotta’s idyllic restaurant is situated on the panoramic roof terrace, with views overlooking the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna. Head chef David Costa and his team serve a stunning array of local favourites, with some of the most delightful twists on classic Sicilian dishes. Starting off our rooftop Cucina feast, we enjoyed a glass of the Etna Metodo Classico rose with the Crudo di Pesce locale con Olio. Presented beautifully, this fresh seafood affair was extremely well-executed, a true delight on a plate.
The Panciotti stuffed with scallops and red prawns served in Brodo was cooked to al-dente perfection. But what of the main event? The pasta was, as suspected, excellent. Flaky thins of truffle on top of a bed of luscious homemade tagliatelle and langoustine with parmesan foam. This had a pleasingly creamy texture, without being overly eggy, nor too cheesy either. In short, I loved it. I debated having another, but as we'd already decided we would be going onto Secondi’s, I held back. The braised Octopus in Nero D’avola wine and Camponatina tomatoes followed – the dressing was surprisingly tame in its balsamic flavour and worked well with the seafood. It was a refreshing end to our savoury courses and left me wanting more.
Breakfast at Villa Carlotta is also worth taking note of. With an impressive spread of fresh Italian pastries, fresh fruit and warm plates, dive into the delicious breakfast buffet and enjoy a glass of bubbly on the terrace – it's 5 o'clock somewhere, right?
The view itself is a reason to take a dip at this lush location. The pool sits right next to a little church with a backdrop of the Ionian sea. Pools in Italy are typically quite small in size, so this made for the perfect refuge after a hot summer’s morning strolling around the idyllic town of Taormina. The overall experience at the Hotel Villa Carlotta in Taormina is Italian classicism meets art de vivre. The clientele is sophisticated, well-travelled, and big fans of art and design. Service at the hotel is warm and unobtrusive, and we left feeling warm from the Italian hospitality. A truly unique gem in the Sicilian riviera, this is definitely not an experience to be missed.
Hotel Villa Carlotta, Via Luigi Pirandello, 81, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy, +39 0942 626058