Score: 91%

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Recommended for: Couples on a romantic getaway or honeymoon.

Value for money: 4.8/5
For $180 AU per couple per night, La Zagara on the island of Lipari (in the Canetto suburb) is great value for money. I mean, you’re on the Aeolian Islands – for that amount of money it better be pretty bloody special, right?! It’s all about the location and the view for this amount of money, and don’t worry, it has both.

Cleanliness: 5/5
Couldn’t fault it.

Facilities: 5/5
Free wireless internet available on the comfy couches in reception, a lift, your own bedroom-balcony (make sure you pay the little-bit-extra for this – the view of the volcanos across the Mediterranean Ocean is insane!) and a roof-top sun-baking area with wooden-slat deck-chairs and free cappuccinos. Each morning you’re treated to a gourmet breakfast from the white-silky-curtained courtyard which looks out over the Mediterranean. On the horizon, two volcanos (including Stromboli) are waiting to wish you good-morning. Freakin’ awesome. (Would be a perfect score if they had a button to summon the volcanos to erupt). You can also hire a scooter for $30 a day and cruise around the island like a local, and I highly-recommend you do.
On a side-note, which won’t affect the hotel-score… La Zagara owns a restaurant down the road and reception will recommend you go to it and receive 10% off. However, it is an absolute rip-off. I shit you not, we paid $21 AU for 12 thin-slices of zuchinni. You can imagine what the total bill came to. It’s best to visit the market around the corner and make your own food.

Location: 5/5
La Zagara is a modern cottage-styled hotel that sits a few streets back on a hill above Canetto beach on the island of Lipari amidst the Aeolian Islands. It’s hard to top.

Staff: 3/5
This is the only drawback. The owner seems like a nice-enough guy, but he constantly lurks around the property and you’ll see him around nearly every time you come and go. It can be a bit unnerving. You’ll also see him at the restaurant, if you go (don’t, because it’s a total rip-off), because he owns that too.

oh yeah, this is the view from your own private balcony. that’s a live volano!