My love affair with Italy is pretty well-known. I studied in Florence five years ago, returned unexpectedly for a two week road trip last year, and somehow found myself on a plane to Sicily rather than to the United States a week ago. I cannot stay away. Sicily was extra special for me though, as I’m siciliana. I have wanted to visit Sicily for many years, and tried to journey south when I lived in Florence, but it was always too expensive. This year, when I stumbled upon an affordable flight to Italy’s southern-most island, I couldn’t pass it up. The United States could wait a few more weeks…
To make things even better, I found out that I had Italian relatives living in Sicily that I’d never met. It sounded like a great plan to combine a beautiful island with my ancestral roots, so we embarked on a seven day road trip in Sicily, beginning in Palermo and ending in Catania. We covered some serious distance within Sicily — we went from Palermo to Monreale, Segesta, Erice, Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro, Trapani, Marsala, Selinunte, Scala dei Turchi, Agrigento, Caltanisetta, Leonforte, Capizzi, Ragusa, Modica, Syracusa, and Mt. Etna, before finally concluding our road trip in Catania. After an exhausting week, we couldn’t have asked for a better place to stay than Una Hotel Palace in Catania. At check-in, we were told that we were upgraded to a suite!
Rather than our classic twin double that was originally booked, we were upgraded to a two-floor suite!
Upon entering, we found a plush couch, flatscreen TV, two chairs, desk, and mini-bar along with a toilet.
Walking up the semi-spiral staircase, the room opened with a king-sized bed, a large walk-in closet, and bathroom with a second toilet and bathtub.
With a chic yet homey feel, this room was well suited for anyone from singles wanting a bit of glam, to couples wanting a romantic getaway, or businessmen looking for comfort and class.
Each room was provided with comfy bathrobes and slippers, large quantities of toiletries, Italian sweets, and high-speed WiFi. Heading up the stairs, one can find a small gym with a Turkish Bath free to use for all guests.
Una Hotel Palace offers the epitome of Italian breakfasts included with every reservation. With incredibly tasty pastries originating in Catania, melon and prosciutto crudo, meats and cheese, along with a few hot dish options, you couldn’t go wrong.
Pair that with a real Italian Cappuccino or Espresso, and some of Una’s delicious fresh squeezed blood orange juice, and you’ll be good to go! As it’s buffet style, this colazione is bound to test your self-control because the ricotta fritters are to die for!
If you’re looking for a more sophisticated breakfast, or just want a greater variety of Sicilian treats, Una Hotel Palace offers a special rooftop breakfast for an additional price. A chef will prepare a set menu for you (reserved ahead of time), and you’ll have the opportunity to dine with a backdrop of Mt. Etna.
Situated in the heart of Catania’s Old Town, each site is easily within walking distance. Bear in mind that Sicily is hot in the summer, so be sure to bring plenty of water for your day of exploration! Should the heat be too much to handle, the bus stop is directly across the street. There are a few must-see sites in Catania, including Piazza del Duomo, Via Etnea, Piazza Stesicoro, and the Benedictine Monastery. We walked everywhere with no problems.
If you’re looking to get out and further explore Sicily, Catania makes for a great home base as it’s one of the two major travel hubs on the island (with the other being Palermo on the West coast). From Catania, there is easy access to Mt. Etna, Taormina, Syracusa, and Ragusa to name a few.
When all is said and done, there is one aspect of Una Hotel Palace that sets it apart from most other hotels: it’s rooftop. From their Etnea Rooftop Restaurant and Bar on the seventh floor, be sure to walk out onto their patio for the most spectacular view of Mt. Etna.
On a clear day, I can promise that you will be just as astounded as myself. On the patio of Una Hotel Palace, we were rewarded greater views of Mt. Etna than when we journeyed to Mt. Etna itself!
I was truly so impressed by the quality of Una Hotel Palace and hope to further enjoy Una Hotels and Resorts throughout Italy next time I visit. A love affair always leaves you wanting more, right? Italy, I’ll be back again soon!
For anyone interested in Una Hotel & Resorts, know that they aren’t contained just to Sicily. In fact, they have 31 properties throughout Italy! If you’re traveling to the “Italian Boot” anytime soon, feel free to use the promo code C-UNASOCIAL on www.unahotels.it for a 20% discount, upon availability, at any of the UNA Hotels & Resorts!
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**Special thanks to UNA Hotel Palace for sponsoring our stay. As always, all opinions are my own.