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“"Better than we could possibly imagine!"”
Review of Hotel Villa Ducale

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Hotel Villa Ducale
Ranked #1 of 87 Hotels in Taormina
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 26, 2012

Our daughter spent her honeymoon here and said that it was an amazing experience. We followed her footsteps ten years later to celebrate our 46th anniversary. She was absolutely right!

How can you not love this place! The staff takes pride in treating everyone like family. Their joy is making you happy. Antonio welcomed us with a glass of Prosecco and said, “This is your home for the length of your stay. We want you to feel like you’re part of our family”. We have never experienced this level of satisfaction and sense of belonging. It is hard to put into words.

Antonio explained that savory and sweet entrees are served at breakfast that include fruit, various types of cheese, meats, Sicilian entrees, eggs made to order, pies, pastry, juice, Cappuccino, Espresso – all delicious!

Afternoon tea and pastry is served at 4 PM and cocktails are available for purchase with complementary appetizers at 6 PM. Ilie and Manuele are the servers in the dining room and bar – always smiling. They can’t do enough for you.

After our intro, Antonio took us to our room, #10. It was spacious with king bed, large tiled bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, shower, and many amenities. We stepped out onto a balcony and were overwhelmed with a spectacular view of the bay and Mt. Etna – makes you melt. It gets better . . . we open another glass door on the opposite side of the room that leads to what may be the largest terrace on property. It had two chaise lounges, umbrella, a ceramic table, two chairs, and a lantern with candle to light when having a glass of wine at night. Antonio also surprised us with a basket of fruit and chilled champagne to celebrate our anniversary. Life is good!

The hotel offers an extensive library of travel books on Sicily as well as DVD’s that you can view in your room. They provide complementary shuttle service into town and back at various times of the day. This adds convenience and value to your stay because taxi’s can cost 15-20E each way.

Alessia, Paolo, Santi, and Antonio will happily arrange shuttle service, restaurant reservations, and excursions to various parts of Sicily. They also offer a free shuttle to their sister hotel, Villa Carlotta where guests can use the pool and court yard - a fabulous gathering place that is ideal for catching up with new friends to compare notes on restaurants and places to visit. We ordered sandwiches and drinks at the pool bar and there are many tables and chaise lounges with umbrellas where you can work on a tan or enjoy a bite to eat. One day as we were leaving to catch the shuttle, Rosaria Quartucci, owner of Villa Ducale, arrived. She asked us and another couple from England to join her in the dining room to have freshly squeezed orange juice and some pastry. Much to our surprise Rosaria then invited us to her kitchen to participate in a cooking class. We made a pasta entrée and dessert that was absolutely delicious. Glasses of red wine were poured and we were in heaven. The owners are the most generous people. Villa Carlotta is located close to the Public Gardens and a short walk into town. We enjoyed the diversity of both hotels during our 10 days in Taormina.

Our mornings would include a leisurely breakfast that is fit for a king. Loredana and Luana greeted us with Buongiorno and a lovely smile to start our day. Many choices followed breakfast . . . Valets, Dilan and Sagar drove us into town to shop, visit the Greek theatre, Public Garden, or several beaches. The hotel provides beach towels and bottled water is always available in our room. I would be remiss in not mentioning that our room was always immaculately cleaned by Milena – she was a joy to meet!

There are many nice shops on Corso Umberto where you can buy wine, Sicilian food specialties, granita, gelato, pastry, clothes, ceramics, and just about anything you can think of.

Rosaria Quartucci met us after breakfast one morning and offered to take us on a drive to the scenic town of Giardini Naxos. We toured a cheese factory and learned about the production process of cheese and sampled fresh buffalo mozzarella. She then drove us to Golo dell Alcantara Gorge, a deep ravine where a waterfall gushed into a stream and later to Motta Camastra, a peaceful hilltop village that Michael Corleone saw when he looked up from the road in The Godfather (Part 1). This was an unexpected gesture of kindness by Rosaria that we will always remember.

Villa Ducale is the true definition of caring, kind people that look after you. The staff is the glue that keeps people coming back.

Salute and mille grazie to Andrea and Rosaria Quartucci, Alessia, Paolo, Santi, Antonio, Loredana, Milena, Luana, Dilan, Sagar, Illie, Manuele, Marco, Santina, Pia, and Dilan! We miss you already.

Tips:

Santina is Villa Ducale’s fabulous chef and will cook fresh fish for dinner from a local fish market provided you place your order before 10 AM. We enjoyed a salad, mussels, Snapper, and shrimp with pasta that was more delicious than any restaurant in Taormina. The food and wine at Villa Ducale is exceptional and reasonably priced. Ditto at Villa Carlotta where chef Pia does an amazing job.

We tasted the best granita at Bam Bar that can be reached by walking toward the Public Gardens. If you have a sweet tooth, go to Roberto’s Pastry Shop that is close to Bam Bar. They offer the world’s best cannoli made with sheep milk – molto buono!

Our hotels have arrangements with several beach lidos such as La Caravella and La Pigna. They provide round trip transportation to the beaches and include two chaise lounges, an umbrella, and a changing room for 12.50E - 15E. This is a good deal because taxi’s are expensive and we received front row location on the beach – most likely because of the high reputation of Villa Ducale and Villa Carlotta. You can also dine at their restaurants. We enjoyed pizza and beer at one and salad plus seafood at another – all good.

One of the highlights of our vacation was going on the Godfather Tour that was arranged by the front desk. We went with two other couples from Villa Ducale to the city of Savoca – about 25-30 minutes drive in a Mercedes bus. The entire tour took about 4 hours and cost 31E per person – very reasonable. The tour guide was Ricardo but I do not know the name of the company – highly recommended!

Our top restaurant picks: We dined twice at Da Nino which is near the shuttle stop. They serve fresh seafood, pasta, and have an excellent wine list. Another great find is Al Seraceno, a five minute walk up the hill from Villa Ducale. Our favorite is Maffei’s, a fabulous seafood restaurant in a garden setting located downtown.

Be sure to tell the front desk staff if you are celebrating a special occasion so they can mention this when making reservations. Restaurants often offer complementary Prosecco when notified in advance.

My wife enjoyed shopping at Daneu located on Corso Umberto, 126. They sell table runners, hand towels, napkins, glasses, and ceramics. She purchased a beautiful hand made table runner with lemons. Adriana, shop owner, is a lovely woman that wants to accommodate everyone that comes to her store.

Room Tip: Room #10 was spacious with king bed, large tiled bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, shower, and many ameniti...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank KenBoston_MA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 24, 2012

This last visit to HVD was our fifth. It was also designated as our (delayed) honeymoon. Keen readers of these reviews may know that Lucy and I were married in Castelmola – a delightful hilltop village above Taormina and a short though challenging hike up from the HVD – in October 2011.

As an HVD addict, I am accustomed to (and dependent on) the euphoria provided by the enthusiastic and supportive service of the wonderful staff. I delight in their company which is why I choose to spend so many of my foreign visits with them. These people are as much family as they are friends.

As I am clearly biased, this is more of an update on the current state of affairs than it is a visitor review.

There are two major changes since our visit in October 2011. The construction of a wonderful reception area has provided the front-of-house staff with the opportunity to conduct their affairs in a more salubrious environment. It looks more the part of a plush and welcoming area. It is worth just sitting on one of the comfy sofas and watching them greet and chat with other guests.

The other major change was in one of front-of-house personnel. For years, Lucy and I have been concerned about what we would do if the team changed. Would we follow them elsewhere? Visit them at their new place of work? Forget them? We had had email communication with Santi, the new kid on the block, before we arrived and were quite optimistic about him. We shouldn’t have worried. Once again the Quartucci’s had found another gem to fit into the crown that is this wonderful hotel and we have found another friend.

And speaking about staff changes, one other new face was that of Manuelle. Here again we have a charming, smiling and polite face ever ready to provide what might be needed. I feel for the other hotels in Taormina. How can they do service to their guests when all the best staff are at HVD?

So, apart from endorsing all the good stuff I’m sure everyone continues to rave about at HVD, what news? My little pearl of wisdom would be to add my vote to those talking about L’Incontro. This restaurant is served by the HVD shuttle service (only by coincidence, if there is such a thing) in that it is located just opposite where the bus service drops and picks up hotel guests. Toni (or Saro) is the proprietor of this amazing place that recently moved up from near the beach front to this site just outside the Porta Messina. He has his own Trip Advisor entry which I will now go and contribute to!

Room Tip: Choose the "other side" for the greeting of morning sun. Either side has beautiful views...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank John_the_Rower
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2012

We stayed at the Villa Ducale for 4 nights and loved it. You will be greeted when you arrive as if you were family. The staff (especially Alessia and Santi) are wonderful. They will go out of their way to make sure that you can go see the best parts of Taormina and tell you the best ways to get there. The views from the breakfast terrace and room were spectacular. You are so high up that you could just sit and look at the views for hours. The breakfast was superb - really authentic Sicilian foods - like fried zucchini flowers, stuffed tomatoes, all types of cheeses. There also were homemade sweets for breakfast - strawberry cream pie, pear pie, cream puffs, as well as fresh fruits and Italian breads. The hotel is situated high up in Taormina - almost in Castelmola. It is a little hard to get there because the roads wind up the mountain, but you will be delighted when you get there. Great place to stay...wish we stayed longer.

Room Tip: Room 12 is wonderful because it has a small balcony in the facing the bay and another terrace with l...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank PBRB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2012

We spent seven of the best day's holiday we have ever had at Villa Ducale. The hotel itself is very lovely with the most amazing views of the sea and of Mount Etna. Our room (31) was large, stylish, with a very comfortable bed and a large bathroom. The room was cleaned immaculately daily. We also had a lovely little terrace - very quiet and peaceful with beautiful views.

The team at Villa Ducale were outstanding. Alessia, Sante, Antonio, Paulo and their support team were so helpful, friendly and chatty and the food was amazing - particularly the breakfasts. Nothing we asked for was too much trouble - we really felt like we were staying with friends.

There is no pool at Villa Ducale, but there is a large hot tub and sun deck - or you can visit a private beach - Villa Ducale have an arrangement with 3 beaches - we went 4 times to La Pigna which was very beautiful - also took a boat ride (twice) to the blue caves with Enzo which was very worthwhile and good value.

The Villa Ducale clearly has an excellent reputation in Taormina as we were always given best seats in restaurants (when booked by the hotel) and at the beach. In addition to the beach, we made use of the sister hotel - Villa Carlotta which is in the town itself. This has a lovely garden and pool - and roof top restaurant - which we ate at one night. Transport is easy and the hotel provides regular shuttle service to the town. While you are there you should also visit Castelmola.

Rosaria - the owner of the Villa Ducale (and Villa Carlotta) went out of her way to be hospitable and ensure we had a wonderful holiday - this even included an impromptu cooking class in the hotel kitchen at Carlotta - where we made pistachio and bacon pasta and panacotta - it was a great experience. Rosaria then went for a walk around Taormina with us and showed us some sights that we might not have seen as tourists. It really was beyond the level of service that you would expect anywhere.

By the time we left we felt like we were leaving close friends and family behind. We will definitely be back next year.
Nicola and Andrew

Room Tip: Please note that the pool is actually at the sister hotel Villa Carlotta and there is a very nice ho...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Andrew M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2012

My wife and I stayed in the lovely Villa Ducale for 5 nights at the end of August, and it was really top notch. Everything about this hotel was amazing, starting with the well thought-off stylishly decorated rooms, the location and the amazing views of Toarmina and the coast, the quiet and peaceful surroundings and last but by no means least, the wonderful staff (Santi, Alessia and Antonio and all the others). A big thank you for everybody for making our stay a memorable one.

Room Tip: Room 12 - Roof Junior Suite with terrace and sea view Room 5 - Suite deluxe with terrace and sea...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Chatila
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 17, 2012

We just left Villa Ducale after 6 amazing nights. Everything at this hotel has been planned, thought out and executed to absolute perfection. The hotel itself is amazing, our room (we stayed in Suite 6) was incredible, the staff are so caring and warm, breakfast was absolutely amazing and showcased the best of Sicilian cooking even though many of the dishes where not intended to be eaten in the morning. I could go on but I would just be repeating what other guests have said, I will however repeat how amazing the view is from the terrace, VA BENE!!!

Can I highly recommend a cooking course with Aurelio who is Paolo's (one of the teams) father. This was by far the highlight of our Sicilian trip. Aurelio met us at the bus stop just before 11am, we went to the local market and chose fresh produce that we could also find at home, we then went back to his place and cooked up a storm and eat with him and his family. Truly great day.

I do have 2 pointers for Villa Ducale. 1. The DVD library is great but could have a few more Italian themed movies in English, there where none we saw. 2. This is small but our laundry had tags stapled to either the back neck label or the garment, no good. That said laundry prices where very reasonable and I'm just being picky as this hotel came so close to absolute perfection.

Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
Thank Trent H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaDucale, Owner at Hotel Villa Ducale, responded to this reviewResponded September 18, 2012

Dear Trent H from Melbourne,
I would like to warmly thank you for praising so much our hotel which always makes me and my staff feel so proud and happy. Regarding our complimentary DVD library, as I told you in the hotel we are having trouble in finding good Italian movies with English versions, we are surfing the net and maybe Amazon will help us. We apologize for the inconvenience regarding your laundry (actually it was made in outsourcing with a local company), if you write us privately we will surely pay for that.
Again, thank you so much and please come back to your Taormina home !
Regards,
Mrs. Rosaria Quartucci, the owner

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 15, 2012

I have seldom stayed in an hotel that makes you feel so comfortable. When we arrived we were ushered to the terrace and given a drink. That was very welcome after an interesting drive up the mountain (we missed the turn to the easy route). Whlst enjoying the delights of a chilled wine we were given the information about the hotel and the area. The staff make you feel as though you are one of the family. Each time we met with a new member of staff they introduced themselves. Nothing was ever too much trouble. The luggage appeared in our room while we were having a drink. What a good room with its own small terrace! The breakfast was brilliant. An added bonus is the afternoon tea with a wide selection of cakes. I will now have to go on a diet! We were sad to leave and could easily have stayed much longer.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Ian G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Villa Ducale

Address: via Leonardo da Vinci 60, 98039, Taormina, Sicily, Italy
Phone Number:
Location: Italy > Sicily > Province of Messina > Taormina
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Taormina
Price Range: $166 - $455 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Villa Ducale 4*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Taormina Hotel Villa Ducale is small luxury boutique hotel perched in an elevated position above the centre of Taormina km 1,3) commanding a unique outstanding view over the Mediterranean sea and Mount Etna.Our hotel,member of HIP hotels, is incredibly pretty, with flowers and colours adorning every angle, and a view to die for.Every bedroom is individually designed with the highest attention to detail, furnished with great taste in a mix of Sicilian traditional and Italian design contemporary style, each has its own private panoramic terrace or balcony.The hotel is able to offer a variety of personalised services, such as cooking lessons, wine tasting and tailor made meals, special romantic candle-lit dinners which can be arranged easily with the super friendly staff.Eleven Double rooms and six suites with full aminities and free wi-fi connection.Free shuttle to center and the beach. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ducale Hotel Taormina
Hotel Villa Ducale Taormina, Sicily

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