A comfortable and well-run hotel in a fine location, Villa Sonia provides far-reaching views of rugged countryside and Mount Etna, as well as easy access to the atmospheric tourist hotspots of Taormina and Castelmola. The relaxing reception sets the tone - its antique furniture includes an elegant bureau, an antique gramophone, vintage candlesticks, a set of elderly scales and plump, welcoming sofas. More ancient artefacts are dotted around the hotel, striking a slightly incongruous note with the more mundane interior. Unfortunately, the outdoor pool has a slightly tacky classical theme - pillars, topped with plant pots, demarcate the shallow end from the rest of the pool. And it can be tough to get a sun lounger in busy periods and you may have to plonk your stuff on a table next to the bar, which is pretty much on top of the pool. One level down is a running machine, a sauna and showers. It is a bit confusing what you pay for - the hotel literature suggests you have to pay to use the sun beds and the sauna, but in reality nobody seems to be monitoring this.
Villa Sonia's comfortable lounge
A superior room at Villa Sonia
Villa Sonia runs a free shuttle bus down the twisty-turney road to Taormina, but only a couple of times a day in each direction. Still, it is punctual and the courteous driver is careful on the precipitous road. Although it ain't cheap, Villa Sonia is a really pleasant place to stay. 8/10