Alberi del Paradiso in Cefalu, Sicily ©Solange Hando
Set in lush grounds, framed by lofty palms and bougainvillaea, Alberi del Paradiso is a quiet retreat nestling on a slope above town and sea. Birds twitter in the garden, a stream gurgles by the old water mill and the scent of jasmine lingers in the air.
Just minutes from the sea, this low-rise eco-friendly hotel is within the Madonie Mountains Nature Park which claims the highest biodiversity in Europe.
The Reception at Paradiso Hotel ©Solange Hando
Step inside the light airy reception and you will be greeted by a particularly friendly staff. Nothing here is too much trouble, whether you wish to call a taxi, book an excursion or the free shuttle to take you into town or down to the beach (20 minutes on foot, steep climb on the way back). The shuttle stops early evening but if you wish to dine out, any restaurant will call you a taxi (10 euros).
Rooms and suites have balconies with sea or mountain views and air conditioning which controls humidity as well as temperature. Free WiFi and tea and coffee making facilities are standard and there's plenty of on-site parking, shaded by a solar panel roof.
Fresh Fruit, Breakfast Time ©Solange Hando
Breakfast is an attractive buffet, where you can squeeze your own oranges, to be enjoyed on a terrace which almost feels like a tree top house. The policy of 0 km (local products) and 0 waste (efficient recycling) also applies whenever possible in the al capone restaurant.
Prepared by chef Roberto Bonvissuro and his team, the best of Mediterranean cuisine is on offer, based on organic products from the Madonie mountains and the sea and accompanied by quality wines from a well-stocked cellar.
Light lunches and snacks are available in the bar.
Swimming Pool at Alberi del Paradiso ©Solange Hando
Other facilities include a sheltered outdoor pool, tennis court and a spa with jacuzzi, massage and beauty treatments (on request) in a quiet spot among the olive trees.
Add a private beach with loungers and parasols, accessed by hotel shuttle, what more could anyone ask for?
View of Cefalu from the hillside ©Solange Hando
Excursions from Cefalu?
Think Taormina plus Etna, the Aeolian Islands, Palermo or inland villages but it's always a pleasure at the end of the day to return to Alberi del Paradiso, wonderfully peaceful yet so close to the resort with its fine sands, elegant boutiques and al fresco restaurants.