“Minimalist hotel with pool occupying an 18th-century post house in the deep south, between the sea and the Baroque town of Modica”
The suites, up a flight of steps on the first floor of the main house, have minimalist four-poster beds in oak-wenge, laid with white sheets and perhaps the most comfortable pillows in Sicily, set at a stylish diagonal.
The rooms, in the former stables, have the same pillows and similarly stylish double or twin beds, with an altar-like table that slides up for anyone who wants breakfast in bed. Wardrobes are open with hanging canvas shelves, the idea being that guests can see instantly whether or not they have left anything behind. Ceilings are made of oak beams and bamboo, traditional in this part of Sicily. Sliding glass doors open onto terraces decked with iroco wood and roofed with bamboo, looking out over the palms and orange trees of the geometric garden to the limestone-fringed pool. Room 3 - the largest - is adapted for disabled guests.
Bathrooms, with fittings by Dolomite, have floors of pietra pece, a locally found limestone that is the colour of dark chocolate and streaked with gold. The suites have air-blown Jacuzzis, rooms 1 and 2 have baths, and the others have large square-headed showers.
We loved the décor and slept very well, but there were a couple of minor niggles: the eye-socket taps, into which you have to insert your thumb and swivel, are tricky to operate and may result in an inadvertent shower; and there was a clicking sound in our bathroom all through the night.
Breakfast is exquisitely styled on a high raspberry-red table set with mink and taupe linen, so the poor choice of fruit, supermarket cakes and frozen croissants comes as something of a disappointment in a region famed for its patisserie and orchards. There are, however, delicious Ragusana cheeses for those who like a savoury breakfast, as well as sliced bread ready to toast, local honey (for which the nearby Hyblaean hills are famous), 3 kinds of jam, and sliced hams and salamis.
The snack and light lunch menu largely consists of pasta dishes, salads, and sandwiches like toasted ham and cheese, plus fruit, cakes, salami and cheese. You're also welcome to stock up on local fruit, cheeses and cold cuts and take a picnic lunch on your terrace.
Dinner is available if requested in advance (at breakfast or before arrival), expect a simple, daily changing menu of meat and fish dishes, with ingredients being largely seasonal and sourced locally.
Otherwise you should be prepared to drive to Pozzallo (about 10 minutes) or Modica (20 minutes), or one of the other nearby towns. Recommended restaurants include Torre d'Oriente and the rustic Osteria dei Sapori Perduti in Modica, Michelin-starred Duomo and Locanda Don Serafino in Ragusa, La Giara in Portopalo, Taverna La Cialoma in Marzamemi, and Crocifisso in Noto.
Children are welcome, though the peaceful ambiance means parents of young children might feel self-conscious about the amount of noise they make. Extra beds and baby cots can be added to most rooms, and the suites have sofabeds.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
Both Suite categories can have up to two children sharing with parents on sofa beds; the double rooms can only take a baby cot or extra bed
The grounds are safe, as cars are parked outside and the gates are locked, but the pool has no shallow end