Balù

SICILY

Castelvetrano

  • 11 Sleeps
  • 5  Bedrooms
  • 7  Bathrooms
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About the Villa

A charming olive oil press conversion with pool set in extensive Mediterranean gardens and an organic farm.

Balù is an 18th century frantoio surrounded by olive groves, lawns, citrus trees and a fabulous pool. Tastefully decorated and with plenty of voluminous living space inside and out, the imposing building and its calming grounds provide an ideal base for a relaxing family holiday in close proximity to the sandy beaches and archaeological site of Selinunte.

“Balu and its pool were beautiful. The in-house meal was fantastic - really tasty and lots of it.” Darren Holdway, UK, June 2019

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)  11
  • Bedrooms  5
  • Double beds  3
  • Flexible doubles/twins  1
  • Triples  1
  • Bathrooms  7
  • ... of which en suite  4
  • Daily maid service ¹
  • Cook 
  • Pool (LxW in metres) ² 12x6
  • Air conditioning ³
  • Heating 
  • Safe 
  • Washing machine 
  • Dishwasher 
  • Microwave oven 
  • Bluetooth speakers 
  • Satellite TV 
  • DVD player 
  • Stereo 
  • Satellite Wi-Fi Internet [i] 
  • Wood-burning pizza oven 
  • Barbecue 
  • Private Parking 
  • Table tennis 
  • Shopping service 
  • Laundry service 
  • Exclusive beach club access 
  • The Thinking Traveller local support 24/7 
= yes/present = optional/on request
¹ 3 hours' maid service (Monday to Friday) - only when booking the full house. Bookings for the use of up to 3 bedrooms will include a mid-week clean and linen change
² minimum depth of 1.5m.
³ in bedrooms
includes Sky Movies
why not let us arrange for a pizzaiolo to come and make pizzas for you?
entrance fees apply

 

Inside: accommodation at Balù is spread over two floors. Most of the ground floor is given over to a generously proportioned living area, with with 6-metre-high (20ft) ceilings and comfy sofas and armchairs wrapped around an ornamental fireplace. Accessed from this wonderful space is a dining room to one side and a lovely contemporary kitchen with breakfast bar to the other. Both the living area and the dining room open out into the gardens. Also off the central living area is a cosy sitting room, which in turn leads to a double-twin bedroom with adjacent shower room. A door in this bedroom leads to a small study, which is also accessed from the dining room. Here, stairs lead up to a triple bedroom with en-suite shower room under the sloping eaves. This bedroom is also accessed directly via a flight of stairs from the press room and, while not suitable for taller people, it is perfect for any older children in your group. Back in the press room, a couple of steps lead into a hallway, off which is a large shower room and a flight of stairs to the first floor. Passing a shower room and heading across a gallery overlooking the press room, one soon comes to main sleeping quarters, comprising three double bedrooms, each with its own en-suite shower room. When renting the house for reduced occupancy in low season, these are the three bedrooms which will be prepared.

Outside: a long private driveway leads to the parking area from where one accesses the heart of the grounds. Just outside the kitchen and press room is the gorgeous shady al fresco dining area served by a barbecue and a pizza oven. From here a short path leads through the luxuriously planted gardens to a large lawn and the stunning pool area. The garden is centuries old and features a fine array of palms, cacti, olive and citrus trees, as well as many Mediterranean flowering shrubs.

The extensive organic farm surrounding Balù produces an excellent extra virgin DOP olive oil, oranges, lemons and a variety of vegetables. Guests receive a complimentary bottle of olive oil and each day a basket of fruit, vegetables and fresh eggs is delivered to the kitchen. The farm is also home to some goats, ducks, chickens and sheep, not to mention a renowned stud farm that breeds Arabian thoroughbreds. A pre-prandial stroll around the grounds is wonderful way of working up an appetite.

 

Think About

There is a horse-breeding stable near to the house with horses and dogs.

Guests staying at Balù have privileged access to Planeta's exclusive Beach Club at Lido Fiori near Menfi (entrance fees apply).

When renting the house for reduced occupancy, the three double bedrooms in the main sleeping quarters will be prepared.

Balù's has an excellent ecological pedigree thanks to its solar panels that provide all the hot water for the property.
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