A very special "country house " hotel, incomparable Etna views. Wow! Ray & Annie love "the best firework display ever". They adore Giuseppe's "slow tourism " (even though he's the most hyperactive person they know!). Alison wonders who needs a sea-view, when you can have a volcano! The Villa Sonia is magical.
CONGRATULATIONS TO GIUSEPPE & MARIA. Hotel Villa Sonia has been awarded a TRIPADVISOR certificate of excellence 2014.
Within a few hundred metres of Castemola's main square, is the very special Villa Sonia. In our opinion, it is absolutely unique, facing Mount Etna, and with nothing to impede the stunning views, with a panorama of the whole slope and summit of the volcano. Its terraces and swimming pool make the most of the spectacular location and must be one of the best spots on the island for viewing the volcano, so take your binoculars. With the atmosphere of an Italian country house and such incredible views of Etna, we just love it.
Natural stone and terracotta, dustings of colour, antique furniture and interesting artefacts create the sort of warm, comfortable and elegant atmosphere, more typical of someone's home than a hotel, and that is what Giuseppe Intelisano wants. He has created a special place. The Villa Sonia lounges and reading room are comfortable and welcoming. The restaurant is spacious, but intimate, and its terraces, of course, have those wonderful views. Because of his great passion for good Italian and Sicilian wines, he set up his "enoteca " wine store, so that guests can savour some of Sicily's best wines - typical of his personal touches. You will often see him, dashing about, somewhat intense and preoccupied, because he involves himself in every detail of the place and rarely relaxes, in his quest to make everything just right.
The Villa Sonia is terraced into the hillside, with the most amazing, unhindered views of the whole slope and summit of Mount Etna. With this as a backdrop, the main swimming pool is spectacular. The poolside bar, in summer, serves delicious lunches and snacks. Food served in the restaurant is great. Usually once a week Giuseppe hosts a "Buffet Sul Terrazzo ", by the pool or on the covered terrace. With music and a fantastic array of temptingly delicious food, this is always an event to remember - we have certainly had many a memorable evening. You must try it! Breakfasts are very good - a perfect start to a sunny Sicilian day. The second, smaller swimming pool, for guests of the Garden Cottage rooms, is situated on a terrace below the hotel and the views from here are breathtaking. The pool itself might be less impressive than the bigger one up top, but it is incredibly handy for these rooms.
A family affair, Giuseppe's partner, Maria is ever-present and efficient, as are her charming sons, Giuseppe (the other one!), who often works on reception and Nico, who works as a waiter. Nico's lovely girlfriend, Irena, is a waitress and you must meet Nunzio, another waiter, who is one of Annie's favourites. He may not smile much (except to her!), but he is a real sweetie and seems to have the personality of the seven dwarves all rolled into one (well, five of them anyway)! We'll let you see what she means! Their love of Castelmola and passion for the Villa Sonia shines through everything and it is always a joy to stay there. It is one of those places that clients return to again and again. And so do we!
CASTELMOLA DI TAORMINA
Castelmola is to Taormina as Ravello is to the Amalfi Coast. Towering, about 3km above Taormina, Castelmola has stunning views of the coast and Mount Etna. The little town is quaint and picturesque, with winding streets and alleyways, and with a more gentle pace of life than Taormina. If you mention it to Sicilians, most respond dreamily that Castelmola is a special place, held between sea and sky, and with a particular affinity to Mount Etna, which seems to watch it from a distance.
Generally just as warm, but less humid, there are bars, restaurants and shops and it is a delight to stroll around. For the adventurous (and mildly crazy!) there is a steep, stepped path to Taormina. As well as the Villa Sonia's own shuttle, regular buses run between Castelmola and Taormina, and taxis are very reasonably priced.