I don't think there are enough superlatives in my vocabulary to describe Hotel Villa Ducale. Hotel staff can say they want to make you feel like "family," but this hotel really delivers on that promise, starting with the welcoming drink offered when you check in. Our room, which included a patio overlooking the sea, was large and attractively appointed. Flowers bloom all around the outside of the property, and the view from the eating area is as inviting as the gorgeous breakfast spread. In addition to a generous breakfast, the hotel offerred free sweets at "tea time" and then hors d'oeuvres at around 6 p.m. Better than a formal dinner menu, Villa Ducale provides homecooked Sicilian meals prepared by their own cook. If you want a more formal dinner prepared by a trained chef, you can go down to Villa Ducale's sister restaurant, Hotel Carlotta. We ate at each location and thoroughly enjoyed both dinners. My friend and I took a free cooking class with David, the chef at Hotel Carlotta, and then ate the Pasta Norma and tuna dishes we prepared. What fun! I can't say enough about the staff - Alessia, Santi, Paolo, Marco, Loris, et. al. - who could not have been more gracious and kind throughout our visit. My husband and I traveled in Sicily with another couple, and the four of us were devastated when our 3-day stay at Hotel Villa Ducale ended - it felt like we were leaving Paradise.
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