The best boutique hotels in Sicily: sleep in style at these high-end huts

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Sicily is full of unique charm and boutique hotels are the perfect way to experience local culture while enjoying luxury. Their smaller size also means more space and less mixing with large crowds, a bright spot for many travelers since the pandemic.

But, as in many countries, what is meant by a boutique hotel is not always clear.

One of the options on this list is more of a business hotel, even though it’s called boutique. While another is a boutique hotel through and through – for all the right reasons. So be sure to do your research and verify that what you are booking is for the type of hotel you are looking for.

Moving clockwise around this Mediterranean island, we bring you the best small hotels in Sicily’s most popular tourist destinations.

Cefalu – Garden and Calette Bay

Cefalu is most popular for day trips from Palermo, the largest city in Sicily and only an hour away by train. But there is plenty to see, do, eat and drink here, so it’s worth reserving a couple of days for this historic seaside town.

Calette Garden and Bay is located 2 km from the town center, nestled in a bay with sparkling blue waters. It’s a small resort with everything you need at your doorstep. So much so that I imagine that many guests do not even visit the city of Cefalù. For those who do, this charming seaside resort is just a 20-minute walk away or accessible with the hotel’s free shuttle.

The main area of ​​the hotel is very spacious, with a wonderful swimming pool and bar. A lower level is a terrace where breakfast is served with a breathtaking view of the sea. Even lower is the Calette Reef Club (open from June to September) where there is another bar, lounge chairs and a private terrace. I recommend going down the ladder to the sea and swimming from here to discover the little beach hidden around the corner of the bay.

All Le Calette hotels are family run and have been in business since 1969. It shows in the smooth running and excellent service. The reception staff were particularly helpful; available throughout my stay to answer any questions about hotel services, such as spa and yoga classes.

The five stars of Le Calette shine in its selection of rooms. They feel spacious inside and out thanks to the private outdoor spaces. The decor is upscale and the little touches like fresh fruit really make the experience.

Double rooms start at € 198 and can be booked here.

Salina, Aeolian Islands – Principe da Salina

Salina is my favorite Aeolian Island and Principe da Salina has now become my favorite hotel – certainly in Italy and possibly all of Europe. It was a real find and it turns out I was lucky enough to get a room at the last minute. It only has 12 available and has been booked for most of the summer, even this year.

There are so many little touches that complete this tranquil hideaway, like the geothermal sulfuric pool, meant to improve circulation, and the linen sarongs for guest use. Not to mention the exquisite home cooking, impeccable interior design and an infinity pool to die for.

My garden room had a lovely terrace with a hanging chair overlooking the sea. It was the perfect place to curl up with a book, especially since the whole hotel was so quiet you could hear a fly steal. It was one of my favorite things about Principe – the silence that envelops the whole place. Within hours of arriving, I had forgotten the stresses of life, knowing that my only duty here was to relax and enjoy.

Needless to say, the calm atmosphere makes it unsuitable for families with young children. Most of the other guests were couples or solo travelers. I got the impression that many of them were running away from busy lives and high pressure jobs.

Principe is family run and you feel really welcome in their fold. The matriarch is the mastermind behind the food, made with local and seasonal ingredients. It’s really high quality but very reasonably priced, with hearty plates starting at € 10.

Anita, daughter and manager, will be happy to book you a wine tasting in one of the neighboring vineyards. She also gave us restaurant recommendations in Santa Marina, the center of Salina, if you can call it that. While I have to warn you, don’t expect to see much of the island as it’s hard to get away from Principe’s warm embrace.

Prices for a double room start at € 170 and can be booked here.

Modica – Modica Boutique Hotel

The first thing that struck me about the Modica Boutique Hotel was its location. It is in the Modica shopping district, rather than the historic center, and is attached to a gas station. Despite this somewhat odd choice of location, there is much to recommend about this business hotel.

It has a spacious and beautifully designed lobby which leads to the restaurant. Food is served here all day and there is a good selection of Italian and international dishes.

The rooms are all located on long hallways and each floor has water and ice stations which was a nice touch. There are rooms to suit all budgets, but all are spacious and well designed.

With easy access to the main road entering and exiting Modica, this is the ideal location for business travelers. The wifi was impeccable and the rooms are very quiet. This atmosphere made it a great place to work – and get a good night’s sleep. There is also a meeting room on the ground floor for rent.

If you want to explore the old town or visit the hotel’s private beach, there are shuttle services for both. It’s the perfect way to reach the old town, especially since the narrow streets and lack of parking means it’s too complicated to take your own car.

Double rooms start at € 90 and can be booked here.

Mount Etna – Monaci delle Terre Nere

If you want hikes and adventure during the day and peace and seclusion at night, this is the place for you. Wine lovers also take note.

Monaci delle Terre Nere is a 25 hectare estate at the foot of Etna, the largest and most active volcano in Europe. They grow the grapes for six types of wine (all delicious) as well as more fruits and vegetables than I can list.

Products grown on the estate are incorporated into every part of the experience, from the fruit basket that awaits you in your room to the lunch and dinner menu that changes daily. I found the food to be overpriced, especially for Sicily where you can usually eat for € 30 per person including wine. But the helipad made me feel like money isn’t a problem for most customers.

The rooms are in chalets scattered around Monaci delle Terre Nere. There is so much land between them that you feel like you have your own private domain. Until a golf cart passed the window – the mode of transportation used to transport guests.

I was in a Deluxe Estate Suite and it was breathtaking. There was a bedroom, living room, two bathrooms and even a walk-in closet. The living room sofa doubles as a bed so you can comfortably accommodate a group of friends.

I was in Monaci at the end of September and it was a cloudy and gray weekend. This is not unusual for Mount Etna where the weather is as unpredictable as the volcano itself. I normally would have been disappointed, but our suite was so special that I was glad I didn’t feel like I had to go out. I lit the fire, plugged in the bedroom’s Bose speaker, and spent the afternoon, ending with a dip in the private pool.

Overall, Monaci is a great choice if you want luxury while experiencing the majestic Mount Etna.

Prices for a double room start at € 395 and can be booked here.

Noto – Masseria degli Ulivi

Masseria degli Ulivi is a 10-minute drive from Noto, one of the best Baroque towns on the island and the gay capital of Sicily. But by staying here, you wouldn’t know that you are so close to a bustling metropolitan center. The Masseria degli Ulivi looks like a real country retreat.

The olives from which the hotel takes its name produce oil late in the year, but it is available for purchase all year round. I tasted it at dinner and it was golden in color and rich in flavor. Homemade products are a signature here, with fresh bread for dinner and homemade jams for breakfast. All of these treats were exceptionally good, making the food my favorite part of the stay.

In the center of Masseria is a large outdoor swimming pool which overlooks the countryside. Like the whole hotel, this area is simply designed. You won’t find manicured lawns or velvet sofas here. Instead, the decor is traditional Sicilian style. In keeping with this, our room was decorated in soothing whites and neutral colors.

Unlike most hotels, there is no USB socket or fancy technology. But I enjoyed this because it meant turning off my devices for an impromptu digital detox. The service is just as simple. The staff are there if you need them, but they are not intrusive or intrusive.

Overall, I had a really relaxing stay at this laid back country hotel. I will definitely be back.

Double rooms start at € 101 and can be booked here.

Ruth Wright was the guest of Modica Boutique Hotel, Monaci delle Terre Nere and Masseria degli Ulivi. All views are his.


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