Monday, 27 June 2011
I don't exaggerate when I say that Atelier Sul Mare, on the north coast of Sicily, is my favourite place in the world. This is an art hotel that really puts some effort in. Art hotels need to be more than a few paintings on a wall. They need to be special. And Atelier Sul Mare does special by the tonne.
Each room has a different theme, and it's been designed by a different local artist. This one is designed to cocoon you and feel like a bird's nest.
I have a photo of me sitting in the very same place. I've NEVER stayed in a more amazing hotel room than this. The door opens like a drawbridge and you walk through a spooky passage to get here. And then you wake up to that view.
The most unusual room of the bunch. It's in the turret on the hotel, and is designed like a camera lens, so all of your light comes from a large skylight above your bed.
Want to find the view of the sea? You'll have to find the secret button first.
When you stay in the art rooms, you get a choice of where you stay your first night. After that? You move around the hotel experiencing different rooms. You get a tour of the hotel so you can choose your favourites, but every single one is special.
And the rest of the hotel? There's a gallery and arty shop on the lower floor, the staff are friendly and accomodating (especially when your travelling companion arrives at midnight rather than nine and he still gets some dinner). You even get access to a tiny private beach. You'd be forgiven for thinking a stay here will cost a bajillion euros. I'm always surprised at how cheap it is. The art rooms are between €80 and €130 a night, with special rates starting at €35.
I can honestly say that it's worth every single penny. And I've decided to go back in August.
You can bag yourself a return flight to Palermo for around €75 and Atelier sul Mare is in Castel del Tusa, just over an hour from Palermo. A train ticket is about €14 and the train goes right along the coast.