Just 30 minutes from Taormina, you’ll find a restful retreat which has a beach biking distance away.
Once a traditional 19th century farmhouse, Donna Carmela retains an ambience of rustic charm, with the addition of contemporary rooms, charming staff and a restaurant serving Italian classics and gourmet tasting menus. The hotel is clasped in gorgeous sprawling gardens, filled with colourful Mediterranean flowers and olive trees, and a curved swimming pool with views to the sea offers a serene spot for cooling off. There are a variety of rooms to choose from, including spacious ‘Comfort’ rooms set in the outbuildings, standalone ‘Lodge’ rooms that have a Balinese design and come encased in tropical plants, and ‘Romantic Lodges’ that have a chic wooden deck replete with a jacuzzi.
Donna Carmela is rurally located and occasionally smoking Mount Etna in the background adds to its feel of remoteness. You will need a car to get around, or else the hotel can provide free transfers to Syracuse and Taormina and there’s also a railway station nearby for day trips by train. We recommend heading to Catania, which has a stately Baroque centre, street markets, great food and ancient ruins. Horticulturalists should take note of Radicepura, a botanical garden 10 mins from the hotel, which has a festival every two years which is likened to Chelsea Flower Show. For those that want to stay closer to home, make use of the complimentary bicycles. Pedal around the countryside or head to the beach – but don’t forget your towel as there are no beach clubs here, just you and the crystal-clear water.
Being Sicily and being close to the sea means the hotel and surrounding restaurants make use of fresh seafood to create classics such as lobster pasta and seafood spaghetti. The terrace at Donna Carmela makes a romantic spot for an evening meal, serving traditional Sicilian cuisine with a modern twist, paired with wines from Pietradoce, the hotels own vineyard. If you’re interested in learning more about their wine visit the hotel’s own winery on the slopes of Mount Etna where you can have a range of wine tasting and perhaps take home a few bottles as a memento.