“Mediterranean blues meet modern minimalism at this great-value hotel in Ortigia, with its glorious views of the Ionian sea”
The original hotel was in the white house whose former breakfast room is now an additional chill-out space and its cute lounge has been eclipsed by the stylish one adjacent to the reception area next door in the bigger blue building.
As the rooms are across both hotel buildings, each is a little different in décor and style. Expect minimalist Mediterranean-meets-Zen calming rooms: white walls, white linens, wooden furniture and tiled (in the blue building) or parquet floors (in the white), plus splashes of soft olive and teal. The furniture is spare but chic - Eames chairs, modern four-posters, heavy old armoires and bright occasional lamps.
With views like this you don't need much room decoration, the windows are the thing: long, sheer curtains and blue shutters frame azure sky and turquoise sea in several rooms, while others look out over the town or the internal courtyard.
There are 5 categories: Single, Basic, Classic, Sea View and Plus, most of which can be doubles or twins. A higher tariff gets you more space, a better view and a private balcony, and the Plus Rooms have a desk and bookshelves, too. Three of the Plus rooms are triples, with an additional single bed, and there's one Family Room (a Plus) with a double bed and 2 single beds.
Bathrooms are chic, with wood-surround baths or showers, slate floors, white tiles, fluffy towels and a similarly modern, minimalist approach.
Breakfast, served in the breakfast room adjacent to reception, (you can take it up to one of the sunny roof terraces in summer), is a real high point. The food is typically Sicilian: local, seasonal and organic, and takes the shape of citrus marmalade, fresh fruit, homemade cookies, yoghurt, cereal, cake, cheese, brioche and croissants. Tea, coffee and fresh orange juice are on offer. You can also get almond milk and granita in the afternoons to cool you down in summer.
The adjoining restaurant, Neo Bistrot Gut, serves a daily changing menu of fresh, Italian food for dinner only; dishes are simple and include spaghetti with clams, risotto with mussels, grilled mackerel fillet and calamari, all served alongside an array of Sicilian wines. We're yet to try it but reports are excellent. Note that it's closed on Sundays.
For eating out, there are some superb restaurants and trattorias in Ortigia, including Don Camillo (where you'll find some particularly good seafood and a comprehensive wine list) and low-key, laid-back Taberna Sveva (Piazza Federico di Svevia). Literally round the corner is Antica Locanda, which has great unpretentious Sicilian fare including seafood (and English menus). The hotel recommends La Gazza Ladra as the best on the island with a daily changing menu.
Children are welcome and incur no extra cost if they share their parents' bed. Note that the hotel doesn't have rollaway beds, but there are triple rooms and baby cots are available.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
There's a Family Room (in the Plus category, no.27), which has a double bed and 2 single beds. Three other Plus Rooms have a double and a single bed. In the blue building you can take two Basic rooms (nos. 1 & 2) together, there's an additional door which will create a family suite.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking