It's hard to fault Villa Ducale. Originally a Taormina coaching inn, it was converted into a patrician home at the turn of the century by the great-grandfather of the present owner, Andrea Quartucci. In 1993, he and his wife opened the house to guests and their new venture was an instant success. Why? Because of the wonderful terrace, the feel of a family home, the unexpected, special touches and the friendliness of the staff. No two rooms are alike (try for one with a private terrace), but they all have fine linen on the beds, billowing curtains and terrazzo floors, painted furniture and pretty bedheads; in one junior suite is the painted bed, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, of Andrea's grandparents. Many walls are decorated with trompe l'oeil or with fruit, a symbol of richness in Sicily.
Perhaps the real quality of Villa Ducale comes through best at breakfast, served until 11.30 am. You won't easily forget sitting on the broad balcony, the table before you laden with fruit, local cheeses, specially baked bread and Sicilian iced cakes, with its amazing view across the town, the bay and Mount Etna. Sipping a drink there at sunset is pretty romantic, too. A recent ecstatic report from a reader only confirms our enthusiasm, as does the recent Tripadvisor ranking of Ducale as the 6th best luxury hotel in the world.