Hotel Raya

Uber-chic Aeolian Island Resort Hotel

Hours 24
Phone (39) 090 983013

Via S Pietro 98050 Panarea Italy


Who's Going

Stefano Gabanna, Domenico Dolce, Naomi Campbell

Reason to Stay

Romantic Location, Private Retreat, Boutique Hotel

Hotel Type

Boutique Hotel

It's not your usual luxury hotel; in fact it may not be a luxury hotel at all. What it is, however, is an eclectic getaway resort on a removed Italian island offering a bohemian spirit and eccentric design. Created in the 1950's as a friendly getaway for the hotel's owner and his companion, it evolved over the years into a sprawling hotspot built between a seaside lobby and lounge area with Cyclidian archways and panoramic vistas of ominous Stromboli to a hillside tower of guest rooms and suites overlooking the central village.

We can thank Hip Hotel's Herbert Ypma for discovering the hotel, marching it through endless guidebooks and articles in UK dailies. Yet even with so much exposure, one doesn't quite know what to expect upon arriving to the hotel in an electric golf-cart (cars are forbidden on the island). The all-white property features sleek painted staircase drawing a perfect line between the rugged ocean terrain and sun-bleached decks. The lobby terrace offers several Balinese seating areas tossed with perfect-colored pillows and candlelit lanterns. The decor is mainly Eastern influenced and we admit we wanted to see a bit more Italian décor but it turns out the owner also owns an Indonesian import business where most of the hotels furnishings are derived - as well as most of the items in the hotel boutique.

Off the main lobby are several staircases leading out to a grassy sun decks overlooking the sea, as well as a concrete pad that is home to the hotel disco (operated in August). There is a new swimming pool and thermal bathes at the upper outpost of the property as well as an updated in-house restaurant offering a nightly appetizers and light dinner service aside from the complimentary morning breakfast.

The Room

Upon checking in, guests are escorted through a breathtaking lobby area overlooking Stromboli that is one of the most spectacular in the world. But shortly thereafter a fairly strenuous hike begins through the narrow corridors of town, up a hillside that literally takes your breath away and into the hillside property that is actually the main hotel. A bit confused, and for some misled, the hotel offers hillside suite accommodations with tranquil terraces of painted-white floors and well sized seating areas. Rooms are accessed through wooden shutters and glass doors opening into white tiled rooms with contrasting dark-teak Balinese décor. Beds rest of modern platforms assembled with blue-and-white covers and crisp cotton sheets air-dried and fragrant like an Italian afternoon. Beam ceilings have a fresh coat of white paint and in-room bars are well stocked with stylish beverages like Veuve Clicquot and Heineken beer, as well as a classy selection of herbal teas. Wi-fi is available, but only at the right time of day and if your seated in the exact right position, otherwise the signal inevitably fades. TVs are non-existent except for a giant wall-unit air conditioner at ceiling level that is just as big. Bathrooms offer floor-to-ceiling blue and white tile with stand-up showers that have lengthy rules given the island’s water shortage. Toiletries are assembled on the washbasin in terra cotta porcelain and filled with organic soaps of splendid scent. The only thing the smells better are the freshly baked scones that fill the afternoon air and send the local staff and guests begging for piping-hot samples.

Preferred Room

Room 34

Special Features

Hip Scene, Designer Hotel, Small Hotel


Bar, Lounge, Boutique, Disco, Private Beach

Reviewed by:

Editorial Review Author


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