I’m shallow I know but I love a good hotel. It’s a long time since I’ve found one. In fact I think big anonymous hotels really need to look to their laurels with the rise of air bnb, good bed and breakfast and boutique hotels. The Only point of a big hotel is if it’s easy to find and has a pool. 

We’ve stayed in two big hotels here in italy and the reception staff really didn’t care. In the first place they didn’t care enough to come and let me in when I shoved Rosie over the gate which had been locked between our exit and return from dinner and in the second to find out for me whether there was a petrol station close to the airport to fill up my rental car. 

In all the small places including the very very cheap B&B in Rome, they couldn’t do enough to help.

But Charme Henry’s hotel in Ortigia, Syracuse, Sicily takes the prize for the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in. 

Housed in an old building it has been not just sympathetically, but artistically converted to create an atmosphere of relaxed rococo luxury. Buddhist icons mix with gold leaf and naïf paintings. 




 We stayed in the old wine cellar where the original floor remains and the bathroom is not compromised to keep an old fashioned feel. 


   The two roof terraces both over looked the sea. The service was personal and constantly exceeded expectations. On asking for a glass of wine it was delivered together with three bowls of  local produce to the top terrace where we were sunning ourselves. 


   For sicily it’s expensive at around 90 euros a night but for me, whilst it boasts four stars, it ought to have five. 


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