Al Jafar

SICILY

Paceco

  • 8 Sleeps
  • 4  Bedrooms
  • 4  Bathrooms
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About the Villa

Live like an Emir in this fabulously comfortable castle with panoramic terraces and a superb pool.

An intriguing, welcoming, refined and luxurious castle in a location that is central to all that is best of western Sicily, Al Jafar offers wonderful views of the sea, the Egadi Islands and Erice, an ancient walled garden with stunning pool, furnishings and fittings of the highest standard, and discreet, efficient service that is the hallmark of Sicilian hospitality.

“We loved Al Jafar and had a wonderful and memorable family holiday. Al Jafar embraces you. It is an unusual historic property with a beautiful pool area. The tone of the house has a relaxed and serene feeling, aided immeasurably by the staff, who really makes one feel at home." JB, Malta, July 2018

"The Leopard Collection": the history of Al Jafar

Al Jafar in the press:
Les Echos, Série Limitée, September 2017
Reise Aktuell, May 2017
Country & Town House, April 2017

Internet Connections Explained

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All The Thinking Traveller's villas have some kind of Internet facility and, where possible, we try to ensure that this is an ADSL broadband Wi-Fi connection.

However, some rural areas and those far from the main towns and cities have not yet been connected to the high-speed broadband network. Therefore, in some of our villas we offer an alternative type of connection (specified in the amenities table of each individual villa page). 

Please note that although we work very hard to provide reliable internet service at our villas, these services are potentially erratic and can fail due to network failures completely out of our control. We regret that we cannot accept responsibility for loss of connection due to such network failures.

Here is some information about the most common connection types:

ADSL Broadband

This is by far the fastest and most reliable connection type available and uses traditional copper wires. In the UK, ADSL is most commonly referred to as broadband. It is suitable for most surfing requirements. Generally an ADSL line is only available within two miles of a telephone exchange, so in rural or more remote areas it usually not available.

An ADSL Internet connection in a villa can then be distributed using a Wi-Fi router, allowing a wireless connection with one or more device, or by a cable, which can be plugged into most laptops.

NB If a fast, constant and reliable Internet connection is vital for you (i.e. you expect to be working a lot during your holiday), please specify this to your Villa Specialist. It may be better to rent a villa with an ADSL broadband connection.


3G WiFi Internet routers

In some of our villas, 3G Wi-Fi Internet connections are provided by a small router unit that uses the 3G mobile network, similar to that used by many mobile phones. The unit receives the signal and retransmits it wirelessly making it possible for a few devices to connect at the same time. 3G Wi-Fi units work best in the immediate area around them (i.e. they won’t create a Wi-Fi environment throughout the entire villa) and so the best connection will be within close range of the unit, usually in the same room.

The signal may be affected by weather conditions (i.e. strong winds or storms), and the overall strength depends entirely on the service provider's presence in the area. We cannot accept responsibility for slow or absent signals.

Please note that 3G Wi-Fi is provided for basic Internet browsing and checking of email only. Guests are requested not to download large files such as movies or make Skype video calls, as most units have a maximum monthly data usage of 10Gb.

NB If a fast, constant and reliable Internet connection is vital for you (i.e. you expect to be working a lot during your holiday), please specify this to your Villa Specialist. It may be better to rent a villa with a normal ADSL connection. 

 

Mobile Broadband Internet Dongles/Keys

Dongles, or Internet keys, can be slotted into a USB port on your computer and use a data SIM card to connect to a 3G or other data network, normally supplied by mobile phone networks. At the villas where this is provided, clients are usually requested to buy their own data SIM card and top up as they go (details of where and how to purchase one are provided in the House Guide you will receive before departure).

The signal may be affected by weather conditions (i.e. strong winds or storms), and the overall strength depends entirely on the service provider's presence in the area. We cannot accept responsibility for slow or absent signals.

NB If a fast, constant and reliable Internet connection is vital for you (i.e. you expect to be working a lot during your holiday), please specify this to your Villa Specialist. It may be better to rent a villa with a normal ADSL conection. 


WiMAX / Satellite connections

WiMAX and satellite Internet connections have performance levels similar to cabled ADSL hi-speed Internet connections. Wi-Fi access within the property is provided by a special modem-router. WiMAX and Satellite connections are present in our villas when there is no normal cabled broadband infrastructure in the area (still quite common in more remote areas). These kind of connections may be affected by atmospheric conditions, however, so we cannot guarantee that the signal will be as constant as cabled connections. The connection speed of this type connection in our Ionian Island villas is a little slower and comes with a limit of Mbs, so guests are requested not to download large files, stream films or use Skype to make calls.


Connecting to the Internet abroad using your smartphone or tablet (roaming)

As of June 2017, there are no roaming charges for EU citizens (with an EU provider) travelling within the EU. 

If you are travelling from outside the EU and wish to use your smartphone or tablet while on holiday, here are a few tips for cutting down on foreign data-roaming charges:

The first thing to do is to check with your provider to see if there are any special deals available (there's usually something on offer). You should also make sure your phone is unlocked (you can ask your operator to do this) if you wish to buy a foreign SIM card while you're away.

If there are no suitable deals available from your operator (and your phone/tablet has been unlocked), we recommend you buy a local prepaid data SIM card (details of where and how can be found in your House Guide). It might also be useful to bring a cheap handset, put your UK SIM into the cheap handset and the local data SIM into your smartphone, so that any data you access will be charged at the local rate. If you do buy a local SIM, most smart phones can then be used to provide a Wi-Fi hotspot, providing data access for up to five devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Finally, when abroad, switch off 3G, switch off ‘data roaming’ on iPhones or switch the priority to Wi-Fi rather than 3G on Symbian devices, thus avoiding charges when your phone attempts to access emails.

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Amenities

  • Accommodates (max)  8
  • Bedrooms  4
  • Double beds  3
  • Flexible doubles/twins  1
  • Bathrooms  4
  • ... of which en suite  3
  • Daily maid service ¹
  • Cook 
  • Breakfast included ²
  • Staff/owner on the grounds 
  • Pool (LxW in metres)  18x4
  • Gated pool (LxW in metres) 
  • Air conditioning ³
  • Heating 
  • Safe 
  • Library 
  • Washing machine 
  • Dishwasher 
  • Microwave oven 
  • Phone landline 
  • Laptop computer 
  • Printer 
  • Satellite TV 
  • DVD player 
  • Stereo 
  • ADSL Wi-Fi Internet [i] 
  • Barbecue 
  • Private Parking 
  • Shopping service 
  • Laundry service 
  • Masseur 
  • Yoga instructor 
  • The Thinking Traveller local support 24/7 
= yes/present = optional/on request
¹ Monday to Saturday for up to 3 hours
² Monday to Saturday. Continental breakfast (ingredients included)
³ in bedrooms
includes Sky Movies and sports

Pool open from Easter to end of October

 

Inside: accommodation at Al Jafar is spread over three floors of the main castle and at the top of an independently accessed tower. The main entrance leads from a large walled courtyard into a voluminous hallway, whose elegant furnishings, original features, frescoed beamed ceiling and honey-coloured stone walls set the tone for the rest of the property. Off the hallway is a well-equipped Sicilian kitchen with pantry, a guest bathroom, and a splendid living and dining room whose high vaulted ceiling and welcoming fireplace make for a grand yet intimate atmosphere. Steps lead from the hallway up to a mezzanine floor, home to a double-twin bedroom with en-suite shower room. A few more stairs take one up to the first floor proper, where there is a large comfortably furnished living area and library and a beautiful double bedroom with adjacent bathroom with tub, antique maiolica tiles and an elegant aristocratic ambience. The final flight of stairs leads up from the first floor living area up to another large living space and the largest double bedroom, complete with en-suite shower room and an antechamber with a chaise longue. The second floor opens out onto a spectacularly panoramic terrace.

Exiting the main house and heading back across the central courtyard, one comes to a tower rising above the impressive entrance gate. Inside, up a 33-step spiral staircase, is the fourth bedroom, a comfortable self-contained double (a small double bed) with en-suite shower room. This little nest is most suitable for independent teenagers or those looking to appreciate the star-gazing skylight.

Outside: Al Jafar sits amidst a peaceful, gently whispering 15-acre olive estate. On the ground floor, accessed from the living and dining area and the hallway, is a large panoramic walled courtyard, furnished for relaxing and dining amongst the towers. From here, a stone staircase leads down through the walls to an utterly private Arabic sunken garden. Once a quarry providing tuff stone for the construction of Trapani's baroque churches and palazzi, the garden now hosts an al fresco kitchen with barbecue and dining area, and an enchanting array of flowering plants, pomegranate and other fruit trees, exotic palms and a host of fragrant Mediterranean flora. At its centre sits the fabulous 18 metre-long pool with an advanced chlorine-free saline filtration system, a water feature and feature wall decorated with antique ceramic tiles. The terrace accessed from the second floor landing is probably the best spot for an aperitif, a thesis supported by the presence of dumb waiter connecting it to the kitchen below. This is also where the views are at their best, with 360-degree vistas taking in the surrounding olive groves, the Egadi Islands, the sparkling sea and ancient Erice, perched atop its eponymous mountain.

Al Jafar wouldn't be complete without its delicious farm produce, which guests are encouraged to make use of. Its 180 olive trees, some of which are hundreds of years old as is evident from the girth of their trunks and their sheer height (reaching some 10m), produce a superb extra virgin olive oil, and there are also around 40 citrus trees, including orange, mandarin, clementine, lemon, grapefruit and citron, whose zagara blossom perfumes the air at certain times of year. If that weren't enough, there are also plum, apricot, fig, mulberry, pear, quince, medlar and almond trees, free range hens for delicious eggs, and a vegetable garden where heirloom varieties of tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes, artichokes, bell peppers, fava beans, peas and even chick peas are cultivated. Everything is grown without pesticides and no matter the time of year you visit, there'll always be something delicious to use in your cooking.

 

Think About

Al Jafar has an excellent ecological pedigree: its solar panels, low energy light bulbs and an eco-friendly water pump system make it virtually self-sufficient, saving some 15,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

This house is a restored mediaeval tower and has an intriguing collection of staircases. As a consequence it is not really suitable for very young children or people with mobility restrictions. It would, however, be fabulous for a family with children who are confident with stairs as there is so much to explore!

On the second floor antechamber outside the bedroom there is a chaise longue and a fold-out bed that may be used as extra beds for children on request and at a small extra cost. Please let us know at the time of booking if you would like to make use of them.
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