Friday, 4 May 2012

Hotel Llio, Elba

Via Sant Andrea,
5, Isola d Elba,
57030 S.Andrea Leghorn,
0565 908018

Discreetly set amongst lush gardens and private terraces laden with citrus fruit trees, which provide sheltered spots for sunbathing and quiet spaces in which to simply relax with a book or magazine in hand, Hotel Ilio is an idyllic destination for those in search of a peaceful holiday.  The hotel is located in Capo Sant’Andrea, a seaside hamlet and one of the most fashionable retreats in Elba, which is located on the north-west coast of the island.

Food is a highlight at Hotel Ilio.  Breakfast is a glorious affair on the open terrace overlooking Capo Sant’Andrea, when only the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks below disturbs the peace.  In the evening, Chef Giancarlo Pollidini cooks dinner to a standard that has been widely praised by Italian food critics.  A typical meal might start with red mullet and ginger pasta, followed by grilled wild Tuscan steak and a side dish of tomato gratin, and end with a plum frangipane tart. 

All the guest rooms are spacious and simply furnished in keeping with a seaside hotel.  There are doubles, as well as family rooms, with one very special room that is set apart from the main hotel and is located right on Cap Sant’Andrea’s beach – honeymoon couples and those celebrating a special anniversary usually opt for either this room or the Bougainvillea Room with its four-poster bed.

Hotel Ilio was founded by Guiseppe Testa in 1959 and is still family run, now being owned by his son Maurizio.   Though the main building is 150 years old, the hotel is very modern in many ways, with – for example – solar panels and the heat generated by the kitchen both being used to produce the hot water used by guests.  Innovations such as these have been introduced by Maurizio, a tourism specialist who lectures in the off-season, who likes to keep abreast of the latest advances.

Hotel Ilio opens for the start of the season on 20th April 2012 and closes on 14th October 2012.

Elba: 10 reasons to visit
1.       Go in 2012 or 2013, before the crowds arrive in 2014, when the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s exile to the island will be celebrated.
2.      The Brits go to Tuscany in the summer; the Italians go to Elba.  Need I say more?
3.      The island has 150 beaches of all different shapes and sizes.
4.      It’s a secret Mediterranean gem: do you know anyone who’s been to Elba?
5.      Reputedly some of the clearest Mediterranean waters are be to found around Elba, so it’s a top destination for snorkelers and SCUBA divers.
6.      To experience an old-fashioned, unmanaged peace; it really is for those who enjoy the simpler pleasures in life.
7.      Walking tours in the autumn, when daytime temperatures are warm but not hot for longer hikes.
8.     A cheaper alternative to Sardinia or Corsica, with all of the same attractions (great beaches, climate & food), as well as history.
9.      It’s an adventure, within Europe; getting there’s an adventure as there are no direct flights (it’s either two flights or a plane, train and ferry ride) and there’s plenty of controlled adventure on arrival (mountain biking, mine visits, SCUBA diving, hiking and sea kayaking).
10.  It’s a National Park of outstanding natural beauty.

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