Where to stay in Taormina

Two hotels with spectacular views on Sicily's east coast.

Grand Hotel Timeo

What's so special

If you tried to picture the perfect Mediterranean luxury resort, you'd probably come up with somewhere like the Grand Hotel Timeo. It has sea views, terraced gardens, a golf course, statue-lined reception rooms and the kind of opulence that will leave you feeling relaxed, but not suffocated.

How they rate it

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"In a hit list of Great Views of the World, the panorama from the bar and restaurant of the Timeo over the clustered rooftops of medieval Taormina, past the coves and headlands of eastern Sicily's volcanic coastline and across the puffing peak of Mount Etna would surely place it high in the Top Ten," says Lee Marshall in The Daily Telegraph. But be warned, the starter-level Double Classic rooms come without the view that is the "chief calling card".

The menu

"With that view to admire, what's on the plate hardly matters", but the food is "fresh and reliable", with classic Sicilian dishes predominating over fancy preparations.

The cost

Prices start from €416, including breakfast. For more information, visit www.grandhoteltimeo.com, or call 00 39 0942 627 0200.

Casa Cuseni


What's so special

If you are looking for smaller, simpler accommodation, but don't want to lose the views, this is the place to stay. Casa Cuseni was built in 1907 by British painter Robert Kitson in a lofty position above Taormina's rooftops. It's now an Italian national monument, B&B and museum.

How they rate it

The public rooms are "filled with fascinating curios: a 15th-century Tibetan rug, dolls that belonged to King Ferdinand IV, ancient Islamic ceramics, a Picasso ink drawing, and letters from Tennessee Williams", says Sarah Gilbert in The Independent.

Outside are terraced gardens "filled with exotic trees, fountains, wisteria-draped pergolas and secret nooks". The five bedrooms are named after famous guests, include Greta Garbo and Pablo Picasso. They are all "furnished with 17th- and 18th-century Sicilian antiques and have captivating views from private balconies".

The menu

There is no evening dining, but breakfast is served on the roof terrace. Expect a traditional Italian breakfast, including Sicilian almond cake and juice made from the garden's oranges.

The cost

Rooms start from €89, including breakfast. Find out more at www.casacuseni.com, or call 00 39 0942 28362.

Family-friendly holidays


Comprehensive childcare doesn't have to mean a compromise on style, says Laura Holt in The Independent, as these three hotels will prove.

Villa San Michele (pictured) is situated outside Florence. It "couldn't be more appealing for grown-ups", with rooms that are "indulgent in a classically Italian way" and a great restaurant serving up traditional Tuscan cuisine.

From May there will be a Smile Club' to take care of the children, offering "pizza-making, Italian lessons and Florentine crafts in a former chapel on the grounds". Family rooms cost from €543 per night bed and breakfast basis (Villasanmichele.com).

The Abama Golf & Spa Resort in Tenerife offers "one of the most expansive kids' clubs in Europe". It can accommodate up to 100 children with indoor and outdoor spaces split into eight zones. Activities include astronomy, theatre, crafts and aquatics area. Family rooms cost from €417 per night, bed and breakfast (Abamahotelresort.com).

The five-star Conrad in the Algarve, Portugal, opened last summer. This year it is adding Little C Palace', a children's club for ages three to 12. "Young guests will be welcomed by two mascots, Adventurer Afonso and Liz the Lizard, who will guide them through such activities as fancy-dress parties, gymnastics, mini golf and face painting all to encourage their adventurous side." Family rooms start from €246 per night, bed and breakfast (Conradalgarve.com).