Lonely Planet names the Aeolian Islands in Italy as one of the top picks for 2018
And the Hotel Raya looks like the perfect spot within the perfect spot. A tiny Aeolian neighbourhood clinging to the hillside, Hotel Raya is set amidst the surrounding bougainvilleas, olive and lemon trees, with its terraces stretching out towards the volcanic island of Stromboli.
Widely described as a “Cult Hotel”, the Raya’s owner simply sees it as a place where lovers of nature and peace and quiet can finally feel in tune with themselves. It was chosen by guests from all over the world as the winner of the Marco Polo Award for the finest hotel de charme in the Mediterranean.
The hotel is divided into three different parts,
all close by one another:
Raya Alto: 30 rooms with large terraces that look out over the sea, overlooking the volcano and the islets that encircle the island. The small bar offers guests a perfect start to the day, serving a superb à la carte breakfast from the early hours of the morning.
Il Raya basso: less than five minutes’ walk down the hill, just over 100 metres from the sea as the crow flies. A perfect example of assimilation into a rural-urban setting, this beautiful house has six comfortably furnished rooms on the upper floor, each with a splendid terrace, 3 of them overlooking the sea and 3 facing onto the hillside.
Raya Peppe Maria: which stretches out over the sea below. The name, Italian for “Joe and Mary”, comes from a little white chapel that once hosted the Holy Couple and today is home to Mary alone – “for reasons of decorum”, the local parish priest explained with a smile some years ago. Here guests will find the “service area” upon their arrival at the hotel.
On the highest of the terraces, from 6 to 9 p.m., guests can enjoy an exquisite aperitif as they admire the myriad of nuances created by the sun as it sinks down behind the island, its rays glistening on the cliffs in front.
The Island of Panarea: Panarea is the smallest and the lowest of the Aeolian islands. The highest point is Timpone del Corvo, at an altitude of 421 metres. Together with Basiluzzo, Spinazzola, Lisca Bianca, Dattilo, Bottaro, Lisca Nera, the Panarelli and the Formiche rocks, it forms a small archipelago that lies approximately mid-way between Lipari and Stromboli.