Donna Carmela is a luxury boutique hotel set amid the largest Mediterranean plant nursery in Europe. Walter the charming Manager has been involved with Donna Carmela since its inception and adheres to the Chic Retreats philosophy of treating guests as individuals and not just a room number. This 19th-century Sicilian house has been expertly refurbished to create a contemporary hotel with a calm and classy feel. Donna Carmela is in a prime position from which to explore Sicily's east coast, with the famous volcano, Mount Etna, just behind and Taormina's beautiful sandy beaches just 25 km away. Piante Faro's Mediterranean plant nurseries make this area a spectacular place for garden enthusiasts and nature lovers.
The magestic volcano Mount Etna rises up behind Donna Carmela. There are a variety of different ways to explore Etna, including trekking, culinary trips and mountain biking, all of which will be memorable experiences. From the highest crater, far-reaching views of Sicily can be enjoyed, and the Circumetnea train will take you around the villages at the foot of the incredible volcano. Taormina is a great place to visit with its breathtaking Greek-Roman theatre and wonderful views over the Ionian Sea, and Catania is close by with its Baroque architecture, much of it made from the characteristic black volcanic rock spewed from Etna herself. There are 2 ski areas on Etna, and golfers needn't go far with the 18-hole Il Picciolo just 25 minutes by car. Sailing is available in the beautiful surrounding waters. There are a number of festivals in Sicily to keep an eye out for too. For those who want to relax in Donna Carmela, there is an outdoor swimming pool, solarium and lounge-reading room. Of course, a massive draw to Donna Carmela is the vast Piante Faro plant nursery where this luxury retreat is set, alive with the scents of colourful Mediterranean blooms.
The food at Donna Carmela is so fresh that they advise booking dinner the day before so they can source the freshest ingredients for their mouthwatering traditional Sicilian menu, and with an expertly selected wine cellar, the helpful staff will suggest wine to go with any dish. The Pietradolce - Archineri Etna Doc wine produced for Donna Carmela is from vineyards on Mount Etna in Castiglione di Sicilia, which are owned by Donna Carmela, and it is a delight to sample the wine, just minutes from where it was made and grown. Tasting sessions can be organised for those wanting to sample local produce. Donna Carmela's own DOC wine Archineri 2007 has won the Gambero Rosso Award "Tre Biccheri" (Three Glasses) for 2009, so be sure to treat yourself to a glass or two.