Azienda Agricola Mandranova
- Style Farmhouse in the olive groves
- Setting Coast into country
Spectacularly poised along on Sicily’s rugged southern coast, Azienda Agricola Mandranova hotel sets you on a grand tour of the geniality and gourmet cuisine at the heart of Sicilian life. More than just a charming guesthouse with welcoming proprietors, the hotel welcomes you into fold, offering cooking classes that feature produce plucked from the olive trees and vegetable patches that fill the gardens.
Need to know
- Rooms 13, including four suites.
- Rates Double rooms from $149.88 (€109), excluding tax at 10 per cent.
- More details Rates include breakfast.
- Facilities Library of books, music and films, pool table. In rooms: air-conditioning, bottled water and bath products by Culti; flatscreen TVs in suites. There’s no WiFi, but an internet point is available between 9am and 11 am every morning.
- Poolside The little square little infinity pool (once an irrigation tank) looks down over the olive trees and fields beyond from its hillside perch above the farm. The violet-tinted water does wonders for the skin, thanks to its high sulphur content.
- Check–out 11am – though later check-out may be possible, availability permitting. Earliest check-in, 2pm; however, the reception closes at 7pm so it's not possible to check in after this time.
Children Though the hotel is geared towards adults, kids are welcome. Baby cots are free, and older children can stay on a sofa bed in the suites for €25 a night (including breakfast). Babysitting (€10 an hour) and children’s menus are available on request.
- Also There’s a two-night minimum stay. The restaurant and one dedicated suite are wheelchair-accessible. The hotel is perched by a main road, so you might hear some occasional traffic noise.
In the know
- Our favourite rooms L’Oliva is a deluxe two-bedroom suite big enough for three, with a huge cosy sitting room, a small single bedroom and two bathrooms (shower in one, tub in the other). It’s beautifully tiled, with a quartz and cement floor and an antique bed adorned with carved cherubs with a rich maroon coverlet. Rooms in the newest building are closest to the road – avoid these if you are sensitive to the occasional car horn or rush of traffic.
- Packing tips It’s more a case of what not to pack. Travel light as you’ll want to bring home as much of Mandranova’s homemade pistachio pesto or olive-oil soap from your soap-making class as possible.
- Also La Robazza and Il Casello apartments can both be rented as self-catering properties by the week, but they’re used on a B&B basis during peak season. Visit between September and November if you want to catch the olive harvest, although tours of the groves and press can be arranged all year. A new addition to Azienda Agricola Mandranova's offerings is classes in olive oil soap making: classes cost €20 per person, including soap.
Food and drink at Azienda Agricola Mandranova
- Hotel restaurant The Mandranova restaurant is where co-owner Silvia serves up traditional Sicilian dishes such as torta di mandorle (almond cake) and timballo di anelletti (Sicilian ring pasta with peas and aubergine), all made with fresh-from-the-garden ingredients. Don’t be surprised if the hotel’s dogs settle by your feet throughout the meal.
- Dress code Casual and relaxed – think Palmeritan gentility on a country break.
- Top table In summer, ask for one of the tables alongside the casale (main house), so you can dine alfresco by candlelight.
- Last orders The restaurant stops serving at 8.30pm; the last glasses of local wine are poured around midnight.
- Room service Tapenade, local cheeses, Sicilian wines, bread and, of course, olive oil can be brought to your room between 9am and 8pm.
- Hotel bar There’s no actual bar, but guests can take aperitivi and digestivi until 11pm in the two living rooms or on one of the stylish mint-green plastic sofas set in the gardens.