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“Excellent hotel”
Review of Hotel Villa Ducale

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Hotel Villa Ducale
Ranked #1 of 87 Hotels in Taormina
Certificate of Excellence
Hertford, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
112 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
“Excellent hotel”
Reviewed October 3, 2012

We had an extremely enjoyable stay at The Villa Ducale. The room (14) was very clean and comfortable. The hotel is small and the staff strive, and succeed, in making its customers feel like honoured house guests. Everyone involved in running this hotel was friendly and helpful. The food was good and locally sourced. It is the perfect choice for a relaxing Sicilian holiday.
I have read the negative reviews and I frankly do not believe that some are genuine. They do not describe the hotel which I stayed in.

Room Tip: It seems from other reviews that people had not read the room descriptions very closely.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank hikingthree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed October 2, 2012

Very difficult to know what to add to everyone's warm comments extolling the virtues of the little gem, the Villa Ducale. Candice and I visited there in August and all we can say is that the reviews are entirely justified, and it really is a very special hotel staffed by genuinely warm people.

Paolo and all the team should be very proud of what you have created, not so much hotel but rather an opportunity to stay in an intimate villa as part of a family, where everything you will ever think of has already been taken care of....even quite a few things you won't have thought of!

Thank you very much for making our stay so special, I can only hope that holidays we will have tin the future will live up to the heady standards you have set! All the great things people have said from the food, the service, the rooms, the querky sicilian decor, the breathtaking view are all true and more, and we will be recommending that everyone we know and are related to go to experience what we did.....Hopefully we ourselves will be back before too long! Thanks again Candice and Matt

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Spud1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaDucale, Owner at Hotel Villa Ducale, responded to this review, October 4, 2012
Dear Candice and Matt,
I would like to tell you that we all appreciated so much your lovely review and so we want to thank you for having taken the time to write it.
A warm hug,
Villa Ducale staff
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York State
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed October 1, 2012

Having read the many ecstatic reviews that Villa Ducale has garnered, I looked forward to our stay with the idea that if it was even half as good as its press, it would be wonderful. It wasn't half as good; it was twice as good.

There is little I can add to the overwhelming chorus of praise for Villa Ducale; and, therefore I write this as a public tribute to the wonderful people at Villa Ducale who made our stay, quite literally, a dream come true.

We arrived at the villa bone-weary after a long year of work and worry. We arrived with no plans for anything other than a bit of peace and quiet. And rest we did. From the moment we walked through the door, the staff wrapped us in a blanket of solicitude and hospitality that is unparalleled in my experience. While friendly and attentive service is the hallmark of any good hotel, the people of Villa Ducale are gracious. And there is no higher compliment I can give them as it is a rare and wonderful attribute these days.

A few notable details about the hotel: The elegance of the villa and environs added immeasurably to the quality of our 10-day stay. The pallet of our room was a tranquil blue-green. There were so many thoughtful details including a hand painted armoire and fabric lined lingerie boxes in the closet. There was plenty of room to store clothing and the inevitable clutter of travel. The bath was immaculate with crisp lighting, beautiful tile and fixtures and a seemingly endless supply of fresh towels delivered day and night. The bedroom had ample lighting overall and particularly good bedside lamps for reading. An electric tea kettle and packets of Nescafé and teas supply early risers with their morning cuppa and the staff happily provides a jug of fresh milk for those who wish it. This, to me, is a clear indication of their hospitality as it was offered before I had even thought to ask. The water in the mini-fridge is gratis and the other refreshments are at a nominal charge (the beers are local micro-brews). Room service is prompt and cheerful. When one tires of their room and terrace, the public room and terrace are the center of the quietly buzzing hive with sofas and armchairs in the main room to sink in to, books and magazines to read, the spectacular vistas of the main terrace to breathe life into your soul and a friendly face to inquire if you have had a pleasant day.

One last word about the kitchen: it is the pride of the house and rightly so. Aside from the well-documented and opulent breakfast, tea and cocktail offerings, the kitchen is open for the major part of the day. One can order anything from a sandwich to an entire meal and everything is of the highest quality, beautifully presented. Frankly, I think you would be hard pressed to find a better meal in the entire city and certainly not at such a reasonable cost. But at least as importantly, it provides guests with the convenience of a private house (albeit a very grand house with a talented cook on staff). When we arrived at 2pm after a more-than-typically exhausting transatlantic flight, we were able to have a light lunch on the terrace while our bags were whisked up to our rooms and we were effortlessly checked in.

So to all at Villa Ducale, I join chorus of compliments and thank you sincerely for your gracious hospitality. We came to you weary and left renewed.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Guida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaDucale, Owner at Hotel Villa Ducale, responded to this review, October 4, 2012
Dear Guida from New York state,
I would like to thank you so much for your review which we consider a poem rather than a simple comment.
You have fully understood our hotel concept and our staff philosophy and for this reason you have enjoyed Villa Ducale completely in every aspect.
I showed your review to every single member of our beloved staff and they felt so proud and happy that their efforts are so well paid back!
We were happy to take care of your body and your soul !!!
Warmest regards to you and your partner,
Andrea and Rosaria Quartucci, the owners
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed September 30, 2012

My husband and I stayed here at the beginning of September. The praise that has been heaped on this hotel is entirely justified. The staff are wonderful and go out of their way to be as helpful as possible. Our bedroom and bathroom were however more functional than inspiring and I am glad we went for a deluxe room as there was not a great deal of space. The pillows could definitely be improved upon, although when I asked I was immediately given a very comfortable feather and down one. None of this (apart from the pillows) is meant as a criticism, just to advise that it is the overall experience rather than the individual parts that make this an excellent hotel.

Room Tip: Go for the largest you can afford
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank LondonKit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, MA
Level 6 Contributor
111 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank KenBoston_MA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
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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Helpful?
1 Thank John_the_Rower
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
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
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank PBRB
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$$
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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