ORTEA PALACE LUXURY HOTEL is the result of a ten-year renovation of a palatial 1920s post office into an enclave of refined hospitality. Situated at the end of one of two bridges that connect Syracuse to the island of Ortigia, the hotel is the perfect place from which to explore this popular destination, which lies off Sicily’s southeastern coast. Chief among the town’s charms are its scenic harbor, crystal-clear waters, relaxing beaches, and rich historical past. Since car travel is limited, you are free to explore safely on foot, taking in the ancient Greek temples (one dedicated to Apollo is steps from the hotel), Baroque churches, tree-dotted piazzas, and a slew of coffee shops, bistros, and boutiques. Once back at the hotel, you can catch up with fellow travelers at the tree-lined courtyard, indulge in a rejuvenating treatment at the onsite spa, or check with the concierge for access to the private beach. The bright and spacious rooms and suites offer all the amenities of home amid elegant furnishings—many designed and produced in Italy—along with precious artworks and antiques, Murano chandeliers, and marble floors and bathrooms
Suites include sitting areas, and some of them occupy two levels, with marble staircases leading from downstairs sitting and eating areas up to bedrooms with king-sized beds and luxurious bathrooms. All accommodations include balconies or large windows offering stunning views of the town and harbor. Likewise, the rooftop Incanto restaurant, which specializes in sophisticated interpretations of Sicilian traditions, is a great spot from which to soak in the scenery. The lovely ground-level Il Cortile restaurant offers additional culinary delights, including a daily breakfast spread featuring a number of hot and cold dishes and a selection of pastries. The Champagnette bar is sunlit by day thanks to its glass ceiling, but dimly lit and cozy at night. Either way, it’s a great spot to enjoy a drink from comfortable chairs upholstered in colorful Missoni-style prints. Make sure as well to book a winetasting at the onsite cellar—the offerings include some of Italy’s best vintages.