My personal recommendation
It fills me with joy when someone not just builds a hotel, but really has a knack for it, even a signature, an eye for it. When someone has intuition for the fact that an excellent establishment is by no means just accommodation, but must stand for an attitude to life. Because the perfect hotel feels good: consciously, subconsciously, through all senses.
The carefully renovated country estate Monaci delle Terre Nere in Sicily, about halfway between Taormina and Catania at the foot of Mount Etna, is exemplary in this respect: a manor house in traditional Sicilian architecture, plus a few outbuildings with a more rugged appearance. Some of the centuries-old room walls made of natural stone are not plastered, almost black in contrast to the snow-white bed linen, the furniture is a combination of old and new, there are delicate touches of contemporary design everywhere. The mixture is perfect, the arrangement ideal. What has emerged within eight years here has become a genuine ‘high-end feel-good hotel’ for me.
From the pavilion on the meadow you can see the sea, a pool has been inserted into the large terrace garden as if it had always been there. In the spirit of the Slow Food movement, the in-house restaurant ‘Locanda Nerello’ serves food from the 24 hectares of estate-owned land or from local suppliers based in the vicinity. The wine served is excellent, made from grapes that are almost exclusively found here on Etna – Nerello Mascalese is one of those grapes, Carricante another. The feel-good experience thus turns into a package of indulgence.
If you prefer to reside away from the main house, a suite in the separate cottage is the ideal choice. How will you be leaving? With a feeling of happiness. With joy that someone here has an eye, a knack and a signature.
Photo: © Alfio Garozzo – Lifestyle Hotels
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