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Hotel Raya is one of the most beautiful hotels in the Mediterranean, an immaculate, whitewashed property of elegant simplicity on the tiny Aeolian island of Panarea.
The hotel has a low-key, relaxed atmosphere and has been designed to have minimal environmental impact on the unspoilt, rugged beauty of Panarea. Most of the 36 rooms are located in a small Aeolian village-style complex built into a hillside. A word of 'warning' here, these rooms are a five or ten minute walk from the reception and main section of the hotel, and involve an uphill walk, but the views back across the town, harbour and out towards the perfectly conical (and still active) volcano-island of Stromboli from each room's terrace make it all worthwhile.
Raya's restaurant is located in the harbour with fresh fish and other typical Mediterranean cuisine served on the wide terrace under the stars. From late July there is also a superslick open air club that attracts Europe's most beautiful people.
Panarea itself is a peaceful, car-free island that can be explored on foot or by boat, rented for the day from the harbour.
Why we love it
The hotel was once described as 'the architectural equivalent of a perfectly ironed white linen shirt - immaculate to look at, cool to be in',