Just 15 kilometers from Taormina, a 19th-century aristocratic mansion has been transformed into a small boutique hotel owned and operated by the Pennisi family. Shalai offers thirteen rooms, a relaxing Spa where an array of beauty treatments are available to pamper guests, and a gourmet restaurant. The setting is intimate, ideal for seekers of fine food in a superb location off the beaten trail and far from crowds. The term shalai is Sicilian dialect for “complete joy, a time for genuine well-being”, which is what the experience here is all about. Guests are treated to an array of Mediterranean tastes where the focus is on Sicily, brought to you by chef Giovanni Santoro and his staff. Numerous traditional meat and fish dishes are available on the menu, including Pigeon cooked two different ways, Beef cube roll, and Rack of lamb. Pastas and soups take their cue from the Sicilian tradition – look for all the best-loved shapes served with an abundance of fresh vegetables, fish and tomato. Like its ingredients, the menu varies with the seasons. The wine list boasts prestigious local selections from the vineyards of the Mount Etna area, as well as top-shelf champagnes and other leading wines from around the world.