“A charmingly old-fashioned and romantic hotel set in a quiet coastal village near Maratea”
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.
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.
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.
Most rooms can fit an extra bed or baby cot, upon request.