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Total dedication to the best Italian hospitality at all times is the philosophy at Masseria della Volpe, a luxury boutique hotel and spa in south Sicily. Not only that, their concept of wellbeing extends to the environment, ensuring – by the use of solar panels – that much of the energy required is ecological and sustainable.
Set atop a hill in the Noto Valley, the gorgeous 19-century farm house has been lovingly restored, with a firm eye on retaining original features and materials. Surrounded by 16 hectares of parkland and with the sea as a backdrop, the estate is something quite special.
Fine dining restaurant Codarossa is open all year round, and during the warmer months guests can dine alfresco on the terrace overlooking the Noto valley and swimming pool.
Organic produce from the kitchen garden, oil from the estate's olive trees and citrus fruits from the orchard and used in the modern Sicilian dishes that are expertly prepared each day. Dishes range from linguine with Aeolian yellowtail with turnip greens, thyme and lemon, to slow-cooked Chiaramonte meadows lamb with Giarratana onions, dried tomatoes and mushrooms.
Breakfast is a feast for the senses and includes homemade breads and jams, regional cheeses and meats, and traditional cakes.
The 22 air-conditioned rooms and suites at Masseria della Volpe are bright and spacious with cool stone walls, and decorated with Sicilian materials including handmade tiles and fabrics. While vibrant modern art brings colour and pizzazz. and A choice of pillows, complimentary WiFi, flat-screen TV and sound systems all come as standard across each room type. Some categories feature spacious terraces, balconies and private gardens, offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the sea beyond.
If you're travelling with children choose the split-level, 3-bed Royal Family Suite and enjoy two private terraces with views to the park and pool; the 2-bed Luxury Suites would also work well. Honeymooners or couples looking for a romantic break should consider the Junior Suite with its private outdoor space. And the Comfort Rooms offer luxury on a slightly smaller scale, but with no compromise on style or comfort.
Ancient olive and carob trees provide shade in the garden and by the 20-metre pool, bearing witness to the agricultural history and traditions of the area. Relax on a lounger and order a cocktail from the poolside bar if the mood takes you, or to de-stress in a different way, head to the spa and choose something from the treatment menu, or simply chill out in the hammam or salt sauna.
On-site, there's also a floodlit tennis court, volleyball court and gym and cinema nights under the stars. While out and about, there are a number of acclaimed wineries to visit such as Planeta and Feudo Maccari, and Vendicari Nature Reserve is a short half an hour drive away, and is home to both Calamosche and Tonnara beach. The hotel will also happily organise a number of activities for guests including cylcing, horse riding, snorkelling, diving, windsurfing, kite-surfing, golf, and sea fishing.
Culture vultures can make the most of the Baroque cities in the surrounding area such as Modica and Ragusa, with the former also being well-known for its chocolate. And day trips can be organised to visit impressive wonders further afield such as Mount Etna.
Free parking is available.