Hotel Signum: Sea Spa on Salina

Even though Hotel Signum has the trappings of a stylish, luxury hotel, it retains a warm, family character. An island couple, Clara Rametta and Michele Caruso, founded it in 1988, and they still own and run it with their children, Luca and Martina Caruso. (Photo shows the famous volcano, Stromboli, in the distance.)

It is just off the main street in the tiny town of Malfa…


There is no automobile access, just this quiet, narrow footpath that leads to the hotel.

As soon as I checked in, I went to the sea spa, which has warm and cool pools, a natural steam room built as the Romans did on the island…

And a massage and treatment area.

The Fossa volcano I had climbed earlier in the day loomed above as the sun was setting.

Rooms are arranged along paths and stairways, giving the impression of private cottages. Some have terraces overlooking the pool,

While more expensive rooms have sea views.

Dinner was served on an airy terrace with tables topped with island ceramic tiles. (You can visit local ceramic artisans.) This is Luca Caruso’s territory that he manages with a crisp but friendly style.

His younger sister, Martina Caruso, in her mid-twenties has made a name for herself as the chef. She grew up helping her father, Michele, in the kitchen, then trained in Rome and London under top professionals like Jamie Oliver. In the winter, she goes off the island to work. Last year, she learned under legendary chef, Gennaro Esposito, in Vico Equense.

She proposed an exquisite, light, tasting menu beginning with delicately cooked fish..

Tartar of shrimp…

And a Cannolo of Baccalà

Luca paired the dishes with Porta Del Vento Cattarato Terre Siciliane IGT 2013. The grapes come from old vines in the hills above Palermo, fermented in stainless steel and left five months on the lees: light with delicate aromas and flavors, crisp from the sandstone soil, and fresh from the windy, high altitude vineyards.

And Tenuta Di Fessina A’Puddara Etna Bianco DOC (100% Carricante): from high altitude vineyards on the south slope of Etna, fermented in large, oak barrels, fuller bodied with characteristic minerality from the sea and the volcanic soil.

At the end of dinner, Martina came out to greet her guests. This photo didn’t turn out well, but it does capture her lovely ebullient smile.

My only regret was not being able to say several days to fall into the languid rhythms of this special place.

Via Scalo,15
Malfa, Salina (Me)
Tel. 090 9844222
Closed from Mid-November to April

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Tags: Boutique hotel, Hotel Signum, luxury hotel, Salina, Sea Spa, sea spa hotel, steam room, volcano
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