Sicily, Italy

Seven Rooms Villadorata

Rates from (inc tax)$193.77

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (21EUR), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Gargoyles and grandeur

Setting

Noto’s historic heart

The former hilltop home of a prince, Seven Rooms Villadorata hotel in the Sicilian town of Noto retained relics of royalty: intricate tiled floors, frescoed ceilings and floor to ceiling windows. This Baroque residence feels more private home than hotel, offering a handful of rooms with balconies and views over honey-hued rooftops.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A locally-made Officine Villadorata soap, made with 80 per cent organic extra virgin olive oil

Facilities

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Need to know

Rooms

Seven, including one suite.

Check–Out

10.30 am. Earliest check-in, 2pm. Let the hotel know if you're planning on arriving late, as the reception is closed after 9pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $193.77 (€173), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €1.00 per person on check-out.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR190.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include a buffet breakfast and free parking.

Also

Noto is home to Corrado Costanzo, a dolceria on Via Spaventa that is often said to make the world’s best ice-cream (+39 0931 835243).

Hotel closed

3 November to 25 December 2014 and 6 January to 11 March 2015.

At the hotel

Terrace, library and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock, air-conditioning, free bottled water and Ortigia bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Each of the seven rooms is named after a wind. We loved Austro (wind of the south) most: two enormous French doors open onto a balcony overlooking the golden rooftops and rolling countryside. It was the prince’s bedroom and all of his gilded tiles and frescoes have been restored. Schirone (wind of the south-west) is smaller, but the views are just as good.

Packing tips

Leave the beach towels and big brollies at home – the hotel has all beachy bases covered. There’s a marine reserve nearby, so don’t forget your snorkelling gear.

Also

Smoking is permitted on balconies and the terrace. Two-night minimum stay.

Children

A baby cot (€50 a night, for each child) or an extra bed (€100 a night, for each guest) can be added to some rooms. A babysitter is €15 an hour (book a day ahead).

Food and Drink

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At the hotel

There’s no restaurant at this boutique B&B, but you will be treated to a wholesome spread of fresh fruit, yoghurts, cereal, meats, cheese and pastries in the morning.

At the bar

There isn’t a bar, just a white Smeg fridge tucked away next to the library stocked with free-for-all still, sparkling and flavoured mineral water. There’s also a Nespresso machine for endless espressos.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 8.30am until 10am.

Room service

None.

Location

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Address
Seven Rooms Villadorata
53 via Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour
96017
Noto
Italy

Planes

Fly to Catania and you’ll be an hour away by car. Both British Airways (www.ba.com) and EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) fly direct from London Gatwick; Alitalia (www.alitalia.com) has routes via Milan and Air Malta (www.airmalta.com) via Munich. London Stansted, Brussels Charleroi and Rome Ciampino all fly direct to Comiso, which is a 90-minute drive from the hotel.

Trains

The closest train station is half an hour away by car in Syracuse, the nearest big town up the coast towards Catania. Trains connecting both towns take around an hour and 20 minutes (www.trenitalia.it).

Automobiles

From Catania, the hotel’s an hour south; take the A18 road until the Noto exit. Take the second exit at the first roundabout, the first exit at the second and the second exit at the third. Take the country road Via Napoli, and once you've passed the public gardens and the Polizia Municipale, turn into Via Camillo Benso Cavour – from there, the villa is at number 53. From Syracuse, allow half an hour for the drive. To reach Modica, to the west, use the SS115, picking up the SP17 and SP28. Parking is free for guests of the hotel.

Worth getting out of bed for

Golden Noto has several Baroque buildings to explore and a whole lot of gargoyles to gawp at. The Palazzo Villadorata has been meticulously restored – live the life of Sicilian nobility by wandering within its walls (+39 0931 835005). Climb up to the bell tower of Chiesa di San Carlo al Corso for a wide-ranging view over Noto’s rooftops. Nine kilometres south of the city, you’ll find excavations of an ancient Syracusan colony, Eloro, and there are golden beaches on either side of the ruin. Further afield, venture to Modica, or up the coast to Syracuse. The Vendicari Nature Reserve is a wild coastline of sheltered coves, a sandy beach and three marshes – birdwatchers will delight.

Local restaurants

For traditional Sicilian cuisine such as veal marsala, head to Il Crocifisso on Via Principe Umberto (+39 0931 571151; www.ilcrocifisso.it) or Il Cantuccio on Via Cavour (+39 0931 837464). 

Local cafés

Caffé Sicilia on Vittorio Emanuele has been dishing up some of the city’s tastiest gelati and cannoli since 1892 (+39 0931 835013).

Local bars

Shop for trendy goods then stick around for a cocktail at Anche Gli Angeli on Via Arnaldo da Brescia, a concept store with a bar (+39 0931 576023).

Reviews

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Anonymous review

We’ve just said no to an upgrade – are we mad? No. We are at the car-hire desk in Sicily, the one place where you really should say no to the tempting offer of a big flashy car. We have been warned that small is beautiful on the streets of Sicily – that’s unless it’s a Fiat 500 Grande, which Mr Smith refuses on the grounds that it’s the ‘on steroids’ version of the car. So we find ourselves whizzing through the vast open space that is the heart of Sicily, in a small sexy Alfa Romeo – which proves just perfect for the narrow streets of Noto.

Arriving at the Syracuse city in the late afternoon, it appears impressively before us, with all its golden colours playing wondrously with the sandstone of the impressive baroque buildings. The streets are slender, and as with everywhere in Sicily, parking is virtually impossible. How pleased we were to find a tiny space right outside the large green double doors of Hotel Seven Rooms Villadorata.

A press of the buzzer and the doors open, not to reveal a hotel reception as expected, but the most wonderful ancient cobbled courtyard sloping down to two magnificent palms and a jasmine tree, the beautiful smell of which fills every inch of the space with an exotic aroma. Palazzo Villadorata – what a pleasure to make your acquaintance.

Salvo greets us looking a little confused. ‘You did not come in a car?’ He cannot believe we have found a space to park; apparently this is something you don’t have to worry about when staying here, as guests can bring cars into the courtyard. Oh well, it was good practice for Mr Smith’s parallel-parking skills.

After being handed an ornate bunch of keys and a printed list of instructions on where and how to use them, we are given free range of this wing of the palace purchased by owner Cristina from one of the noblest families of ancient Noto. She has lovingly restored it with amazing attention to detail, combining elaborate splendour with a modern twist, retaining its grand opulence, but with a sense of space.

The fragrant, calm rooms have high ceilings, exquisite tiles, ostrich-egg-topped bedsteads, gecko door handles, gold turtles, precious French and Italian fabrics, rare gorgonian sea corals and soft muted colours. It feels as though we have stepped straight into the novel The Leopard and we are now living the sumptuous life of the Sicilian aristocracy. There are giant plasma TVs hidden in antique cupboards, super-fast WiFi and modern bathrooms with power showers.

Mr Smith (or perhaps that should be Principe Smith) opens the two floor-to-ceiling French balcony doors to reveal a spectacular view over Noto’s rooftops and golden baroque buildings. We sit drinking in its glory, which looks just too good not to be explored in the setting sunlight.

Walking down the steeply sloping Via Nicolaci and we admire the ornate wrought-iron balconies of the palazzo; jutting out of the façade are horses, griffins, nymphs and cherubs. We walk the length of the main road, dipping up and down the shaded sidestreets wondering at its grandeur. Arriving at the flamboyant golden Cathedral of Noto, we stumble across a Sicilian wedding party in all its finery. The women are so dressed up that it is hard to tell which one is the bride; it looks like most of the men have sneaked out of the church into the bar during the service. This is people watching at its best.

The next morning, and that Italian sunshine is streaming in through the shutters, the whole of Noto glowing right there in front of us. The enormous bed is so comfortable, it would be easy to stay there all day, but I am itching to explore. So, as a way to rouse Mr Smith, I pad barefoot through the palace across the smooth stone floors, (which feel as though they are coated in velvet), to the small pantry where a Nespresso machine nestles cosily alongside a Smeg fridge full of complimentary drinks. We sit in bed, sipping espresso, the French doors thrown open, listening to Noto waking up – being a Sunday, this involves a lot of bell ringing.

Everywhere inside the palace is so quiet and calm, and we don’t see anyone else at breakfast, which is served in Cristina’s private apartment. An enormous roof terrace table is set up with fresh croissants, while a canary is singing its heart out and, rather spookily, our wedding music is playing on the stereo. Rosemary, our delightful host, welcomes us; she obviously loves her job and cares about the palace as much as if it was her own. She asks us what our plans are for the day and shares some secrets of places to visit and tips for the best beaches, for which towels and a parasol are thoughtfully provided. You can see the sea from the terrace, and it is here that Prince Nikolai would stand looking out to the beaches from where his tuna-business staff would signal with flags as to whether it had been a good fishing haul that day.

There is so much to do within short driving distance of Seven Rooms, including Syracuse and the Vendicari Nature Reserve. But we could not leave Noto without a trip to Caffe Sicilia. Opened in 1892, it is now run by the fourth generation, and they have introduced modern flavours into to their age-old granita recipes, by injecting basil and black olive into their sweet icy mix.

Sated, we return to Villadorata for a final taste of the best address in Noto. You know that you’ve experienced somewhere special when all its little details leave a perfect indelible snapshot in your mind. And the magnificence of Seven Rooms Villadorata is now firmly etched on ours.
 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Seven Rooms Villadorata’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The accommodation was amazing and clean. Elegant and relaxed

Don’t expect

There wasn't anything to improve apart from fresh orange juice.

Rating

Stayed on 10 Jun 2016

We loved

The friendly staff, the beautiful building, town center location. Manna restaurant was our top pick. The hotel staff have plenty of ideas of places to go to eat and see.

Don’t expect

A pool. You can't have everything..

Rating

Stayed on 2 May 2016

We loved

The quiet, even when we were in the center of the old city of Noto. Go to Trattoria del Crocifisso, perhaps a half mile above the Villadorata. One of the best meals in Sicily.

Rating

Stayed on 1 Oct 2015

We loved

I loved everything about this boutique hotel. It is in the center of the Noto town, right in the UNESCO heritage historical part. Fantastic rooms, staff, view and amazing view from a terrace where breakfast is served. They have a separate small room in the hall with fridge full of complimentary soft drinks and water - fantastic!

Don’t expect

Lunch or dinner is not served in this hotel, but there are amazing restaurants all around.

Rating

Stayed on 18 Sep 2015

We loved

The room, the location, the staff, living in an actual palace in the middle of a beautiful town, breakfast on the roof terrace with splendid views.

Don’t expect

Standard, anonymous hotel services.

Rating

Stayed on 8 Sep 2015

We loved

The rooms, the hospitality, the concierge service, and the location in the heart of Noto. Ten out of 10.

Don’t expect

A restaurant, room service, a gym, or a pool.

Rating

Stayed on 8 Aug 2015

We loved

Everything about this hotel. Our room was amazing. Spacious and impeccably decorated and designed, with a fabulous view.

Don’t expect

Lots of night life.

Rating

Stayed on 15 Jun 2015

We loved

The room was quite simply the best EVER - and we've stayed in a lot of Mr and Mrs smiths - every single detail of our stay was 100 perfect - breakfast on the most picturesque rooftop terrace (ask for anything - they will always get it) and when we said we were off to the beach they had waiting for us in reception the best beach umbrella , a gorgeous beach bag with huge beach towels in it and a cool bag with ice cold water as they warned us there were no bars down at this beach. They really do treat you like you are 100 special - cannot recommend it highly enough.

Don’t expect

It's not a lying by a pool hotel.

Rating

Stayed on 2 Jun 2015

We loved

I loved everything!

Don’t expect

I would've liked a more powerful shower.

Rating

Stayed on 16 Oct 2014

We loved

Fabulous breakfast terrace with views. Wonderful staff and personal touch. Bar Fridge fresh milk and tea making.

Rating

Stayed on 7 Oct 2014