Villa Cheta

near Maratea, Maratea & Cilento Coast, Italy Book from

A charmingly old-fashioned and romantic hotel set in a quiet coastal village near Maratea
Tucked into the hillside in Acquafredda, a village just off the winding Basilicata coastal road, this 19th-century Liberty villa is quaintly pretty. Warmly rosewashed and cream stuccoed, it sits in a fragrant, dappled and multi-tiered garden filled with hundred-year-old trees, hot-pink bougainvillea and little stone statues. There's a bistro-style patio for candlelit dining in the summer months, and a huge suntrap roof terrace with loungers facing glorious sea and mountain views.

The style is deliberately old-fashioned - think lace doilies, silver salvers, oil paintings, delicate curls of wrought-iron and art nouveau glass - and tends to attract an older (but still adventurous) crowd. But it doesn't feel at all fusty. The 23 rooms have floor-length Broderie Anglaise curtains, antique wardrobes, Persian rugs and pushed-together wrought-iron twin beds, softly lit by glass-bell lampshades. Best of all, though, is Villa Cheta's serenity - it is wonderfully peaceful, apart from intermittent train whistles. All you'll hear is the chirruping of birds, tinkling of mountain goat bells and shush of waves down on the nearby shore.

Highs

  • A stunning setting on a 19km coastal stretch of pebbled beaches with azure waters; the hotel cove is a short stroll away, and Villa Cheta also offers a free shuttle service to a couple of bigger beaches
  • Within 10 minutes' drive of Maratea, with its ancient centro storico of winding cobbled streets and 44 churches
  • Tasty, traditional and filling Lucanian fare at the in-house restaurant (think seafood fritters, octopus spaghetti, and swordfish with cauliflower flan)
  • Exceptionally friendly and helpful staff, from head waiter Biagio up to owners Stefania and Piero
  • There's a good choice of indoor and outdoor areas to relax and mingle in, from the suntrap roof terrace to chandeliered lounges

Lows

  • Drinks are expensive, and there are a few petty price policies: a charge for beach towels and loungers on the hotel beach; a charge to use the guest computer; no drinks from outside can be kept in your minibar
  • No double beds - only twins pushed together
  • When we visited (in May, Low Season) the beach cove looked a little tatty, and there was only 1 lonely parasol and 2 loungers; during the other months there are more
  • Occasional Italian conference groups having late-night fun on the patio; a little noisy
  • The booking/reception staff's English is limited

Best time to go

July and August are high season for Italian holidaymakers; most foreigners tend to stay in May-June and September-October. June and September are both quiet with good weather, neither too hot or cold, and in May there's lots of blossom and wild flowers and the sea is at its most scintillating blue. Between November and February however, the whole of Maratea's centro storico lies in the shadow of the nearby Mount San Biagio.

Our top tips

Pack sturdy walking shoes - both for the old town's cobbled streets and steep alleyways, and for the feast of mountain, park and coastal walks.

Great for...

Beach
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Coastal Hotel
  • 23
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 6 Dec 2016 - 21 Apr 2017
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Yoga / Cookery courses
  • Wine tasting
Room:

Rooms

The 23 rooms are all different, but with a similarly quaint, Edwardian aesthetic. Long white Broderie Anglaise curtains waft at the windows, lamps are shaded with coloured glass bells or flowers, and old paintings, prints and framed butterflies add interest to the white walls. The beds are comfortable, pushed-together wrought-iron twins, with just sheets and bedspreads rather than duvets. They sit between little wooden tables, an antique carved wardrobe and a slim set of drawers, on which rests a little boxy old-style TV.

Floors are soft pink or green tiles, locally made, and warmed up with Persian rugs. You can choose a Classic Room with or without sea view, or a Superior Room, again with or without sea view. The difference between the categories is merely size, so if you like more space, it's worth the upgrade. Each room has an anti-mozzie plug-in.

The ensuite bathrooms come with old-fashioned pink-and-green tiles, a shower, bidet, and a basket of complimentary Damana toiletries. There are bathrobes, too.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

The terracotta terrace is lovely for sundowners, and dinner if it's warm enough; otherwise, head in to the quaint dining room - all wickerwork chairs, delicately patterned plates, silver cutlery and lace-clad tables, plus a wonderfully frilly coloured-glass Murano chandelier.

Our hearty 'Lucanian' 5-course dinner of salt cod with tarragon, spaghetti with clams and zucchini, grilled caciovallo cheese with vegetables, a bowl of salad, and a slice of ginger cake with ice cream and biscuits was both tasty and satisfying. Light lunches are on offer, too - pastas and salads.

The pretty breakfast buffet was a standard Continental (yoghurts, breads, cold meats, cheeses and pastries), plus unusual additions of green cedro marmalade (made from large, lime-like citron fruit), a deliciously light creme caramel, and perfectly soft-boiled eggs. Fresh juice, eggs and crepes cost extra.

The best alternative dining options are in Maratea. We loved Il Sacello, the in-house restaurant of La Locanda della Donne Monache, which is famed for its sophisticated nouvelle cuisine, so it's worth booking ahead. Taverna Rovita in Via Rovita and Antiche Sapori in the main square both offer traditional, rich Lucanian fare - though be warned, they speak no English at all in the latter. Lanterna Rossa, overlooking the port, is popular for its fresh seafood.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Drink in the sea views, relax and sunbathe on the large roof terrace with its cushioned loungers

  • Stroll to the hotel's beach (free entry but you pay for the sunloungers), or catch the free Villa Cheta bus shuttle to Anginarra beach (a lovely grey-sand stretch with pay-for loungers)

  • Visit Maratea's beautiful historical centre with its steep winding alleyways and 44 churches. The archeological finds in the Convento dei Cappuccini and Palazzo de Lieto Museum are worth a look

  • Further up the hill you'll reach the medieval village ruins and 21m statue of Christ the Redeemer. There are stunning views from here

  • Or head down, to the lively port with its fishing trawlers, luxury yachts, and an assortment of shops, cafes and chic bars and restaurants

  • Go sailing, paragliding, riding, trekking, rafting or canoeing, or book a diving/snorkelling trip to enjoy the azure waters and visibility up to 18/20m. Ask at reception

  • Walk along the stunning coastal path and enjoy magnificent vistas

  • Take a yoga or meditation class on the roof terrace or in the garden, or book a cookery class to learn regional specialities, or a wine-tasting session (enquire in advance)

  • Spend a day visiting the pretty hilltop towns of Rivello (19km), Nemoli (22km) and Lagonegro (30km)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Paragliding
  • Rafting
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Trekking
  • Wine tasting
  • Yoga

Kids

Families are welcome at Villa Cheta, though the tranquil atmosphere is not conducive to loud children. From 0-2 kids go free, with an extra bed or cot at no charge. From 2 upwards, there's a supplementary charge. The garden's great for hide-and-seek and children will enjoy the nearby beach cove and the winding little lanes of old Maratea.

Family friendly accommodation:

Most rooms can fit an extra bed or baby cot, upon request.

Kid Friendly:

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