Time hits differently at Il San Corrado di Noto, a made-over masseria just six miles from Noto’s Baroque old town. Once the home of Sicilian nobleman Prince Nicolaci, the newest iteration of this regal farmhouse is a milk-white complex of low-slung suites and villas enveloped by miles of ancient citrus and olive groves. Overseen by architect Corrado Papa, the hotel’s design is a masterclass in symmetry and minimalist restraint with two cerulean pools (of monarchic proportions); perfectly pruned, palm-fringed lawns; and spaced-out loungers where you’ll find granita-slurpers lapping up the Sicilian sun as idly as they wish.
Get this when you book through us:
Late check-out and early check-in (subject to availability), and two drinks on arrival
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £615.11 (€716), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €5.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include a buffet breakfast with à la carte menus available on request.
The Nicolaci family who built the original masseria made their fortune from a tuna fishery at Marzamemi on the island’s southern tip. By the late 18th-century they were so successful that they rebuilt the whole town to accommodate their workers.
The hotel is closed annually from November to March
At the hotel
Spa, gym, tennis courts, yoga pavilion, bikes to borrow, private beach, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: Lavazza coffee machine, herbal tea, Diptyque bath products, TV, air-conditioning, beach bags, and minibar. On request, and with a €200 deposit, you can borrow a mini Bose speaker from reception.
Our favourite rooms
Opt for a Deluxe Suite overlooking the Green pool for first dibs on its sunloungers, or a Premium Suite if it’s the elongated One Hundred Blue pool you prefer. Better still, book one of the Pool Suites to make a splash in total privacy.
There are two, each flanked by pillow-y sunloungers and leafy, swaying palms. The One Hundred Blue pool is a long stretch of azure, perfect for those looking to get a few lengths in before lunch, while the Green pool makes more of a prime sipping-spot (for over-14s only). Plus, the hotel has its own private beach just a 15-minute drive away, where you’ll find everything you need for a day in the sun, including a casual restaurant serving salads and sandwiches, and a bar, which you can feel free to exploit – the all-day beach shuttle will do the driving for you, free of charge.
The hotel’s Comfort Zone spa has three treatment rooms and a menu that spans the traditional (a deep-tissue massage, say) to the niche (hello, Tibetan sound ritual). There’s a hammam onsite for post-pummel immune boosters, as well as a Finnish sauna and invigorating frigidarium. Sporty types can get their fix at the hotel gym – fully equipped with free weights and cardio machines – or outside in the balmy Sicilian sunshine amid olive groves, where guests can practise their swings at the tennis court, stretch out at the yoga pavilion or dust off their running shoes.
John Hoopers’ The Italians is always a captivating read. Even more so from a sunlounger surrounded by Sicilian olive groves.
All rooms are ground-floor, though a number have been specially adapted for those with mobility issues and include features like shower chairs, pull handles, and laser taps (in villas only).
Welcome. Babysitting can be arranged for €25 an hour and connecting rooms are available for larger families.
Beyond the expected environmental efforts – bamboo and glass over single-use plastics – the hotel’s most recent renovation has turbo-charged its sustainability credentials by installing discreet solar panels with energy-storage systems and doubling down on its water waste by fixing up a well and purifier to provide a a recyclable supply of H20 used for irrigation. The renovation was carried out by local craftsmen and done to fit in with the local Sicilian Baroque style. This commitment to preservation extends to the kitchen, too, where vegetables are grown onsite, and menus are tailored to reflect and honour not only the local traditions, but also the surrounding biodiversity.
In the summer months, nab a table outside Hostaria Casa Pasta for blue-on-blue views of the pool and clear, Sicilian skies.
Opt for airy cover-ups and straw hats at the beach club, and earthy linens at the hotel.
Principe di Belludia is a formal affair with forest-green velvet seating, white linens, statement artworks and large, arched windows. Martin Lazarov’s menu uses locally-sourced ingredients to create a contemporary take on typical Sicilian recipes like paccheri al Norma – homemade pasta in a rich tomato sauce tossed with fresh ricotta and velvet-soft aubergine. A tasting menu is available too (with boot-traversing wine pairings, no less), but be sure to book in advance. For casual, all-day dining, Hostaria Casa Pasta serves light lunches (think sfincione panini, caponata and olive salads) and comforting dinners of fresh-from-the-boat seafood and barbecue meats. If you get peckish at the beach, the hotel’s toe-in-sand restaurant (open annually from June to September) is a casual spot for light lunches and mid-afternoon snacking (think salads, sandwiches and ice cream). Opt for the Marzamemi salad (tuna in olive oil, salted anchovies, buffalo mozzarella, green salad, tomato and capers) and wash it down with a homemade lemon granita.
During the day, cool off with an ice-cold spritz at the poolside bar. Come evening, cocktail bar 1857 has you covered for more complex libations. Out of Il San Corrado di Noto’s signature cocktails, we love the Mandrake, named after the hotel’s dog (nevermind the magician) and containing a heady mix of vodka, soda, passionfruit and Cointreau. And there’s a sizeable wine list to work through, with bottles from Etna and the island as well as Tuscan, Piemonte and international picks.
Principe di Belludia serves breakfast between 8am and 11am and dinner from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Casa Pasta is open from 12.30pm to 10.30pm, the beach restaurant from 9am to 4.30pm and Cocktail bar 1857 keeps on pouring till midnight.
Take primi in your pjs and secondi in your slippers anytime between 8am to 10pm.
Surrounded by the olive groves and lemon trees of rural city Noto, Il San Corrado di Noto occupies a serene spot on Sicily’s east coast.
Catania Fontanarossa Airport is an hour’s drive away from Il San Corrado di Noto, with direct flights from the UK and Europe. From here, the hotel can arrange Mercedes transfers ranging from €200 each way for two guests, to €240 for up to seven. Alternatively, touch down at Comiso Airport, just over an hour's drive away; transfers from here range from €230 to €280 each way, depending on the number of guests.
Noto station is around 10 kilometres away and serves Sicily’s eastern coastline. Transfers from here to Il San Corrado di Noto will set you back around €120.
Public transport isn’t very frequent out in the Sicilian countryside, taxis tend to be pricey and while the hotel operates a shuttle to and from the beach and Noto city, wheels allow you the freedom to roam on your own schedule. There’s free parking onsite and the hotel also has its own hire car, which, at approximately €100 a day, is quite a bit cheaper than renting one at the airport. It’s first come, first served though, so be sure to book well in advance.
There’s a helipad 10 minutes away from Il San Corrado di Noto, and with advance notice they can help you to check-in the chopper.
Worth getting out of bed for
Start your day with an early-morning stretch at the hotel’s yoga pavilion, before settling in by the pool to enjoy the citrus-scented breezes and Sicilian sun. Should you get restless, a swing or two on the tennis court or a stroll around the surrounding olive groves should sort it out, but if it’s a change of scenery you’re after, there’s a free shuttle that runs guests to and from Il San Corrado di Noto’s private beach. From here, the hotel can organise tailored boat excursions (at a charge), allowing you to retrace the commercial routes of the ancient Greeks and discover hidden bays and Insta-worthy shipwrecks. Stop off at Vendicari Wildlife Nature Reserve for deserted golden beaches, flocks of pink flamingos and the picturesque ruins of Tonnara di Vendicari, which, with its crystal-clear waters, also makes a fine spot for diving. Noto city centre is about a 10-minute drive from the hotel and warrants multiple visits on account of its fairy-tale Baroque architecture and old-world charm. Don’t miss the Cathedral of San Nicolò (and given its size, you won’t), with its honey-hued façade, Baroque details, Corinthian columns and saintly statues. Palazzo Nicolaci is equally extra – an opulent 18th-century party pad spread across 90 outrageously ornate rooms, none more so than the Salone delle Feste, a chandelier-swinging, fresco-walled dance hall where the Nicolaci family hosted their noble knees-ups. Complete your Baroque itinerary with a visit inland to Ragusa and Modica, then return to the eastern coast for an amble around Syracuse, Sicily’s Grecian city. And to inject a little adrenaline into your itinerary, Mount Etna, Sicily’s rumbling giant, is just two hours north – dust off your hiking boots and get climbing, or better still, scale her in a Jeep.
Not only is Anche Gli Angeli one of Noto’s most beloved trattorias, its exposed-brick cellar is also the city’s chicest LGBTQ hotspot, with local wines aplenty and live music come the weekend. Housed in an 18th-century crypt, the restaurant makes a fine spot to cool off after your ray-catching romps. Chef Giovanni combines contemporary techniques and time-honoured tradition in his best-of-Sicily menu, which features the likes of anchovies in lemon leaves, sardine lollipops, and linguine alle vongole with Bronte pistachios, Noto almonds and white-wine sauce. Manna, by contrast, pedals trans-regional plates in an Instagram-worthy cellar courtesy of Maltese designer Gordon Guillaumier. Expect Venetian Baccalà and Milanese risotto alongside locally-inspired dishes like lamb in Nero d’avola reduction.
There aren’t many cafés that could survive two world wars and a pandemic, but Caffè Sicilia has, and she’s still going strong at the ripe old age of 124. Now helmed by fourth-generation pastry chef Corrado Assenza, the recently renovated pasticceria draws international gourmands with its almond-milk granita, cannoli filled with mousse-light ricotta and liquor-soaked cassata topped with candied fruit.
Just steps from the San Nicolò Cathedral, Caffè Costanzo Bar is an understated, day-to-night spot ideal for people watching and alfresco sipping. Come here for the pre-dinner aperitivo or for a post-dinner dessert of ice-cream brioche – the pistachio and ricotta flavour in particular. And for those with grape expectations, Enoteca Il Grillo Parlante is worth the 10-minute stoll from the historical centre for its curated selection of Sicilian wines and accompanying charcuterie.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this palm-fringed hotel in Noto and unpacked their trusty Havaianas and market-sourced prodotti tipici, a full account of their sun-bleached break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Il San Corrado di Noto in Sicily…
Amid the ancient citrus and olive groves of Sicily’s eastern side you’ll find Il San Corrado di Noto, a revamped masseria just 10 minutes from Noto’s Baroque centro storico. Once the home of Prince Nicolaci, the hotel has maintained its noble bones thanks to the work of architect Corrado Papa, whose sharp, contemporary design is seamlessly integrated with and softened against expertly preserved original features. Outside, a low-slung symmetrical sprawl of suites and villas are interrupted by flushes of green and blue tennis courts, pruned lawns and two handsomely-sized pools; while inside, neutral palettes and minimalist drifts are interspersed with pops of colour – the celestial blues of artist Sergio Fiorentino (a Noto native, himself), say, or edgy monochromes of Helmut Newton. Rooms follow suit; all exceptionally spacious with four-poster beds, Travertine marble bathrooms and large, furnished patios. Don your most regal ensembles for the degustazione at restaurant Principe di Belludia, kick-back at Hostaria Casa Pasta, or settle in for slow-paced Sicilian eves spent perfecting the art of aperitivo.