A Villa in Sicily that lives up to the high level wraps put on itRead more
Wonderful hotel with wonderful staff
Magical time spent in this wonderful hotel with wonderful staff!
We always heard that Taormina was special but staying in the right hotel also makes is even more magical! We arrived at the hotel after driving on the autostrada from Siracusa driving up the gentle hill to the hotel in a stressful state that it was so lovely to be greeted by handsome Paolo and Alessia (sorry if this is wrong)! Being the passenger in the car (my partner was enjoying the driving) I was so relieved to have arrived in one piece!!!!! Therefore the Hotel Villa Ducale welcome drink was just what I needed to put myself together again… we stepped on to the terrace and all my stress just flew out of my body!!! WOW! What an AMAZING view of Taormina and its coastline !!! The view was breathtaking… our start to our four day stay in Taormina began beautifully. Our room was spacious and comfortable with an amazing view (room 16). The staff were amazing and so very kind. They made you feel so at home which is very rare. A special thank you to Santi forall your help also for helping our friends get a taxi on such short notice. We were told that Sicilians were kind, it’s even more than that – they love Sicily and their kindness reflects that, which is so touching. We ate 3 nights of the 4 we stayed there and ordered special menus cooked by Mamma Santina- sooooooo good and we recommend that you do this – discovered dried tuna roe pasta, just out of the world and her salt crust baked fish was divine!!! Our waiter (all my apologies for not remembering your name) made it all so wonderful too. During tea time they pamper us with cakes and at aperitif time to canapes. Everything was just soooooooooo delicious. Breakfast was a real feast with so much to eat! My favourite moment was the Campari soda time on the terrace for aperitif… If you are just visiting Taormina, we recommend that you do not rent a car unless you wish to travel to other places. We had a rent a car because we went to Siracusa before Taormina but once it was parked for us, we never took it out of the car park! The hotel can arrange for pick ups to/from airport. The hotel organises free transport to the town centre throughout the day and if you want to go the the beach, there are free pick ups also. Everything is just so well organised and you hardly have to worry about anything. This was very much appreciated. My partner and I are now working out how to get back, we loved it so much. It will not be until next year unfortunately owing to work schedules, however we definately will go back to enjoy the wonderful Villa Ducale again. A very big thank you to Paolo and his team, WE LOVED IT!
Perfect honeymoon hotel
Perfect honeymoon hotel
We stayed at Hotel Villa Ducale for the second part of our honeymoon and from the minute we arrived the service was fantastic! The hotel staff are very friendly, speak fluent English and are willing to attend to your every need. They talk you through places to go, things to see, how to get there and also run a free shuttle service down into Taormina at set times which was really helpful. You can walk down lots of winding steps to the town, but its quite hard work in the heat! The hotel is situated right at the top of Taormina, which was perfect because the views of both Etna and the coastline were amazing! Our room, was very luxurious and very comfortable. The food served at breakfast is like nothing else! The spread ranged across about 3 tables, including fresh fruits, pastries, breads, savoury ‘antipasti-type’ food, cereals, eggs… whatever you fancied having, it’d be there! As well as a lovely cappuccino! Then at about 4pm a whole spread of pastries comes out served with tea and coffee (all complimentary), then at about 6pm they serve cocktails and canapes – all in the ‘sunset lounge’ overlooking Etna and the coast. It was wonderful! We had one evening meal at the hotel (because we wanted to try out all the restaurants in town, which the hotel were happy to advise on and book a reservation for us). The only slight criticism we’d have was that we had to wait a long time for our food to arrive, and when it did it wasn’t really what we were expecting from the menu description. Tasty as it was, it was was a slight let-down considering how amazing everything else was at the hotel. All in all, a perfect honeymoon hotel! Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
Excellence rarely encountered
Hospitality, beauty and attention to details
Hospitality, beauty and attention to details made this hotel the highlight of our three week Italian tour
We arrived at Villa Ducale tired and sore from our travels. We were met at the door with such kindness and warmth that our nerves were soothed and our excitement to explore Sicily returned. The hotel is beautiful with interesting rooms (we extended our stay so got to experience two of the bedrooms-great art, lovely furniture and bedding, very clean and spacious) and great views of the sea and Mount Etna.
The food was the absolute best we had on our trip. The breakfasts sumptuous and varied, and the dinners excellent. We were so happy to find the quality of preparation and presentation that we had not yet experienced on our trip that we chose to eat at the hotel every night. We were never disappointed.
So some thank yous….Paolo was informative and kind and very thoughtful, ( I arrived with a bad knee and he commiserated and offered ice). Antonio was charming. Francescia served breakfast with warmth and good humor, and Ilie, the evening waiter, was perfect in his attention to detail and made us smile.
Our favorite day was walking down into the town of Taomina after a hearty and exquisite Sicilian breakfast, touring the Greek theater, getting lost in the streets, having gelato and catching the free shuttle back to the hotel. We rested on our patio, read and looked at the ocean and at Mt. Etna. After an incredible dinner we went back to our patio and danced.
And if the hotel reads this… a suggestion. Please make a recipe book with illustrations by the icon artist!
Review by susquick on TripadvisorRead more
The Embrace of a Sicilian Family
First, a little background on us: My husband and I are middle-aged, active, curious, reasonably well traveled and maintain more than a passing interest in the Mediterranean. In fact, we recently enjoyed our seventh trip to Sicily. Sicily is uniquely and deeply compelling on many levels – well worth more than a single visit – but seven trips there might nonetheless be considered a bit much, especially for a pair of Anglos with not a drop Sicilian blood between us.
Our primary reason for so many repeat visits: Hotel Villa Ducale.
We’ve stayed in many lovely hotels over the years, but Villa Ducale is the only one in the world that continually beckons us back over and over again. On our first trip to Sicily 11 years ago, we spent a few nights at Villa Ducale when it had been open for only a few years. It was already an unforgettable gem – the setting, the accommodations, the exceptional hospitality – so we returned two years later. And so on. As a matter of fact, we just got back from another week there, and somehow the experience manages to be more magical every time.
A lot has occurred at Villa Ducale in the past 11 years. Numerous annual winter renovations (this year’s newly redone lobby is perfectly lovely), the opening of a splendid new adjacent wing of suites, a (delicious) new full dinner menu, some (wonderful) new personnel who embody the warmth and spirit of the place as if they were literally born there, and too many other sweet enhancements to list. Between visits, at home in Chicago, we’ve kept abreast of the debut of Villa Ducale’s new urbane sister property, the in-town Hotel Villa Carlotta, have read an ever-increasing number of reviews regarding both hotels, and applauded the numerous prestigious awards.
Though progress is a fact of life and business, often when I hear about expansion of an intimate family affair, I become concerned that whatever heart and artful originality begat the enterprise in the first place will be lost to a soulless corporate approach. But in this case, I have never for one second worried that our favorite little hotel in the world would become denatured in the name of progress, for one thing has remained constant: the Quartucci family.
The proprietors, Andrea and Rosaria Quartucci, are people of character and heart. Their priorities live in their very fiber, and as talented as they are as business people, expansion will not come with any sacrifice to what made Villa Ducale such a heart-stopper from the get-go: their personal, loving touch. There’s long-term emotional investment here, for Villa Ducale is an ancestral family home; it and its spirit will never stop being nurtured. The addition of Villa Carlotta was born of a desire to offer a respectful rebirth to a formerly prominent Taormina property which had seen better days (and is now a beauty).
The Quartuccis are hands on. They don’t merely own two hotels, they run them (with the aforementioned stellar team of similarly warm-hearted individuals who just happen to be top-shelf hospitality professionals), and both properties are a reflection of people who embrace life and live artfully and gratefully and for whom nothing comes more naturally than sharing with others. What they have created is an extension of an exuberant, huge-hearted Sicilian family, and the scores of rave reviews found here, regardless of the details, are, in essence, a testimony to the warmth of this family’s embrace.
Review by gailpearc on TripadvisorRead more
Lovely hotel; beautiful view and decor
I stayed at Villa Ducale over the summer, but have been intending to get around to writing my review as this hotel was abosolutely beautiful and the photos just cannot do the view justice! The hotel staff were incredibly helpful with activities and restaurant recommendations in Taormina, and the morning breakfast was wonderful and apparently all made on site! If you’re going to Taormina, Villa Ducale may be a bit more expensive than some of the other options; but it was definitely worth it!
Superb, the hotel has incredible views
Superb, the hotel has incredible views
My husband and I stayed here for a few days of rest and relaxation following a fascinating but tiring few weeks touring Turkey. We couldn’t have chosen a better place. Perched high up, the hotel has incredible views over the coast and Mt Etna from their stunning terrace, where guests can have breakfast, dinner, predinners and afternoon teas, and to our delight, our large, immaculate room had its own balcony where we could sit and enjoy the same marvellous outlook. This alone would be more than enough to recommend it, but this hotel also comes with wonderful staff. All of them are polite, welcoming and helpful, but I feel I must especially compliment Paolo, Alessia, Antonio and Santina who are each tremendous assets to this hotel. Paolo, Alessia and Antonio are there to check you in, give helpful advice on where to go, what to do and how to do it, and ensure your stay goes smoothly in every way. Alessia also makes a fabulous Bellini! Santina creates the wonderful food at the hotel, from beautifully served afternoon teas, platters of antipasti in the afternoons, dinner menus, even the table covered each day with homemade cakes, all of it delicious. One afternoon we lost a shopping bag down in the town and I was particularly upset as among other things it contained my trip diary which, after travelling for some weeks, was of very special value to me. Antonio did his best to trace our footsteps for us, but with no sign of the bag. The very next morning, Alessia came to me carrying the bag, with all its contents intact, after a relative of hers had found it in their shop and actually tracked us down from my references to the hotel in my trip diary! I was so overwhelmed by the kindness and honesty this showed that I could hardly speak. And one of the nicest things about all this was the way Alessia and Paolo shared our relief and delight. The hotel provides a regular shuttle bus to the town and back, but there are also local buses, so it’s never a problem to pop down for some great lunches and shopping. The Sicilian ceramics available in Taormina are excellent, and there are many examples displayed throughout the hotel, in particular the stunning ceramic-topped tables out on the terrace. We didn’t hire a car during our stay, and took advantage of the hotel’s private car service which took us to and from Catania Airport, with polite and punctual drivers. The only detail which I feel we should point out is that as this hotel has such a commanding position high above Taormina and the coast, guests need to be prepared for steps. However, don ‘t fret about managing your luggage – there’s a fine, strapping young man (I’m embarrassed to say I can’t recall his name) who takes charge of it for guests, and always with a beaming smile. As I’ve said, this is a marvellous hotel, with a truly outstanding staff. Thank you again, Paolo, Alessia, Santina and Antonio, for making our stay so special – we’ve told so many people about our stay, and recommended the hotel to so many, your ears must surely be burning!
3rd time lucky at Villa Ducale – again!
3rd time lucky
2010 was a good year for us as we stayed at the Villa Ducale. Mind you, so were 2008 and 2009. As third time visitors, I don’t need to explain that we love this place. Last year I effused about the introduction of the evening drinks and canapés. This year they have extended the use of the balcony to include some relaxation chairs and a sofa. Even better! This year was also our first experience of the rooms on the other side. Here, there was a fabulous double thrill of being able to see the early morning sun over the Bay of Messina before popping down to the unearthly luxury of the buffet breakfast overlooking the Bay of Taormina. Actually the weather was not flattering and I was grateful that we had already seen much of the sleeping Etna on previous visits as it was too shy to make an appearance for a couple of days. This put more pressure on this unique hotel to provide better alternatives for us to enjoy. As ever the team shone through. Paulo, Alisia, Lucca, Antonio, Francesca, Santina, Dylan and all the others we have yet to befriend are an extraordinary resource that makes this hotel what it is. Every day it is a pleasure to discuss options, have arrangements made and outcomes shared. As an example, we were late returning from an island tour (coach problem) and didn’t arrive back in Taormina until 12.15am. It was pouring with rain (some of the worst rain they have seen there in a considerable time). As the tour party left the coach clutching their umbrellas and raincoats, guess who the only taxi was waiting for? And guess who had his taxi fare refunded without question from the coach company? When you’re a guest of the HVD, you have connections in the right places, capisce? I do, however, feel the hotel has suffered this year from its own reputation. More guests staying there were presumptuous of the excellent service and expectant of undue and unnecessary attention. As a regular, I’d ask that people go there to be made to feel special, not if they already think that they are. The hotel promotes a social attitude amongst its guests and those that enjoy it most are those that are prepared to share this wonderful experience with others. If you want big hotel pomp and ceremony, go to a big multi-national and save this beautiful place for those who can appreciate it! I’m looking forward to another visit in 2011 and I have some special plans for 2012 – subject to the approval and cooperation of la mia famiglia Siciliana