“Mediterranean blues meet modern minimalism at this great-value hotel in Ortigia, with its glorious views of the Ionian sea”
This once hidden gem has become a real word-of-mouth hit (you will need to book ahead) for its laid-back charm, simple elegance and seafront location. Sip fresh orange juice on the rooftop terraces and bask in the sun to the sound of the waves, then head out and wander the ancient alleys and twisting streets of Ortigia - the island heart of Siracusa in southeast Sicily. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, thanks to its impressive Greek and Roman ruins, and there's plenty to see, architecturally and archaeologically. The surrounding area is beautiful too, with fortified hilltop towns and some of Italy's best beaches along the Ionian Sea.
- Everything about it is great value. The low prices coupled with its relaxed charm make it ideal for flash-packers or those on a budget; there are a few triple rooms so it suits friends and families, too
- The location - throw back the shutters and taste that salty sea air!
- We liked the light and elegant design touches, the cheerful ambiance and the general warmth of this lovely small hotel
- Taking breakfast on either terrace is a delight, as is enjoying a sundowner glass of wine
- The food at Gutkowskino, the hotel's restaurant, is outstanding, some of the best we had in Sicily. It's popular though so make sure you pre-book
- There's a small road right in front of the hotel so it can be noisy with cars and scooters during the day (but only occasionally)
- Service can be quite relaxed - staff prefer to leave you to your own devices
- The minimal design makes the rooms a little too sparse for some
- The area behind the hotel is not considered the nicest in Siracusa, but we thought it had character
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurant (closed Sundays)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
The rooms are spread across the 2 buildings that make up the hotel, and each is a little different in décor and style. Expect minimalist Mediterranean-meets-Zen decor: white walls, white linens, wooden furniture and tiled or parquet floors. Rooms in the newer building have antique little wooden desks and chairs, metal industrial-style beds, metal lockers, lots of funky lampshades with exposed wiring.
Some may feel the decor is too minimal, but 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 4 categories: 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.
- Air conditioning
- Central heating
- Cots Available
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
Breakfast, served in the breakfast room adjacent to reception (you can take it up to one of the sunny roof terraces in summer), is delicious and typically Sicilian: local, seasonal and organic, and takes the shape of fresh fruit, homemade cookies, yoghurt, pastries and cheese. Tea, coffee and fresh orange juice are on offer.
The restaurant, Gutkowskino, serves a daily changing menu of fresh, Italian fare for dinner only. We thought the food was phenomenal, and we loved the buzzy bistro-style atmosphere. The menu is fish-heavy and makes the most of local produce. We feasted on the most succulent squid with Sambuca and orange, grilled mackerel crostini, seafood linguine and homemade pasta with wild fennel. It was all divine. Make sure you book a table, it’s very popular. 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.
- Organic produce
- Restaurants nearby
- Wander around Ortigia and take in its ancient cathedral, fortress and narrow alleys, before relaxing in a piazza café with a cappuccino
- Stroll along Ortigia's charmingly crumbling lungomare (sea walls), which come to a head at the 13th-century Castello Maniace
- Go shopping: buy traditional food and wine at Ortigia's market, treat yourself to soaps and perfumes at the Antiche Siracuse in Piazza Archimede, taste Sicilian cakes and pastries at Artale, and admire beautiful pottery at Circo Fortuna
- Drive down the coast and explore some of Sicily's best beaches. The closest, Fontane Bianche, is a 15-minute drive from Siracusa; Lido di Noto is about 1 hour away, and Isola dei Correnti is right at the southeastern tip of Sicily with windswept views of Malta
- Visit the vast archaeological park on Siracusa's 'mainland' (15 minutes' walk), containing the remains of the ancient Greek and Roman cities (theatres, quarries etc); time it right and you can see an ancient play staged in the Greek theatre (May-June)
- Take a boat trip around the harbour or up the Ciane river in a gozzo (traditional sailing boat)
- The hotel can arrange guided trips to natural beauty spots, including the Pantalica Gorge, the valley of the Anapo river, and the Vendicari Nature Reserve. They can organise Italian lessons, too
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Language courses
- Museums / galleries
- Plantlife / flora
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
- Wine tasting
Children are welcome and incur no extra cost if they share their parents' bed. Note that the hotel doesn't have extra beds, but there are triple rooms and baby cots available.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
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 2 Basic rooms (no. 1&2) together, there's an additional door which will create a family suite.
- Baby cots are available for a small charge, see Rates
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Kids Activities nearby:
- This area of Sicily has some great beaches for children of all ages
- The nearby archaeology museum and sights will appeal to children covering the Roman and Greek periods at school
- Older kids will like the Archimedes Museum
- Younger kids will enjoy the Puppet Theatre in the Jewish area
- Airport: 1 hour
- Doctor: 10 minutes
- Shops: 5 minutes
Hotel Gutkowski is set on the waterfront in Ortigia, the historic peninsula of Siracusa, in southeast Sicily.
Catania (60km away) is the closest airport, but if you're touring the whole of Sicily you might fly into Comiso (114km away) or Palermo (300km away).
From the Airport
From Catania it's around an hour south by road to Siracusa, mostly on a motorway (the A18). The hotel can arrange a transfer.
There is also a train, which takes 1.5 hours, and an intercity bus which takes a little less, but you'll probably want a hire car for your stay (see below).
If you want to hire a car see our car rental recommendations.
If you're driving from southern mainland Italy, take the regular ferry from Villa San Giovanni to Messina (every 20 minutes; sailing time of 20 minutes) and then follow the A18 motorway south to Catania (155km / 1.5 hours) and on to Siracusa (60km/1 hour).
You will need to unload and then park in a municipal car park nearby - reception staff will advise where.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.
- Catania Fontanarossa 60.0 km CTA
- Comiso 114.0 km CIY
- Beach 10.0 km
- Shops 0.2 km
- Restaurant 0.1 km