view over hotel grounds in sicily with pool to the right and aetna volcano in background
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Grand Hotel Timeo, A Belmond Hotel, Taormina

Honeymooners, couples and families looking for luxury in the heart of Taormina will find it at Grand Hotel Timeo, A Belmond Hotel, Taormina, Sicily.

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looking over water to italianate villa-style hotel buildings on a coastal cliff
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Villa Igiea, A Rocco Forte Hotel

Reopening Summer 2021 under the Rocco Forte brand, Villa Igiea is the must-stay property in Palermo thanks to its seaside location and bustling vibe.

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Room  at 7 Rooms, Sicily

7 Rooms

Part of the Palazzo Nicolaci and hidden at the end of a gorgeous courtyard, this small hotel has a vivacious owner and a lot of style.
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Room at Algila Ortigia, Sicily, Italy

Algila Ortigia

A few doors down from the Hotel Gutkowski, the Agila is larger (with 30 rooms) and offers a few more services and amenities (including larger rooms and room service). Get one of the larger suites, some of which come with terraces, and enjoy the sea views and the prime location in walking distance to Ortygia’s pretty maze of streets. One day and night in Syracuse is enough to have a great lunch, tour the Greek Theater, stroll along the beautiful Piazza del Duomo at dusk and have a wonderful Sicilian dinner.

Beach view - Belmond Villa Sant’ Andrea, Sicily, Italy

Belmond Villa Sant’ Andrea

This lovely villa, located on Teormina's pebble beach, is the more casual sister property to the Grand Hotel Timeo.

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View from Terrace - Hotel Gutkowski, Sicily, Italy

Hotel Gutkowski

The hotel options in Syracuse are limited to the very old (read: tired and musty) Hotel des Etrangers and family-run three- and four-stars that are basic but can be fine for travelers willing to rough it in exchange for the immense joy of exploring magical Ortygia (Syracuse’s historic islet) when the hordes of day trippers have left. The Gutkowski is such a place.

The renovated seaside rooms are spacious, minimalist and modern, with stone floors, large, comfortable beds and plush chairs. Bathrooms are decidedly on the small side (they may remind visitors of those on a yacht), but the showers are modern and the water pressure surprisingly great for a B&B. Gauzy white curtains line the large French windows that open onto a beautiful view of the sea.

The family who runs the Gutkowski is thoughtful with its guests, and the breakfast buffet, complete with homemade ricotta and marmalades, is one of the best in town. The hotel is in walking distance to all the restaurants and Ortygia’s car-free historic Piazza del Duomo (one of Italy’s most beautiful places). Even the Greek Theater is only about a 25-minute walk away. A word to drivers: Ortygia’s streets are notoriously narrow, even for a small car like the Fiat 550, so it’s best to park near the hotel and walk the rest of the time.

Aerial view - Hotel Villa Athena, Sicily, Italy

Hotel Villa Athena

This family run boutique hotel (part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World) has just 28 rooms, all with different layouts and 20 with wonderful views of Agrigento's famous Valley of the Temples. In fact, the hotel is located inside the UNESCO-protected park, and at night, when the lush gardens are shrouded in darkness, the lit-up Concordia Temple appears close enough to touch. For lovers of ancient Greek culture, the experience of staying here is unbeatable.

Rooms were renovated in 2009, so all feel bright and cheerful, if not particularly memorable in décor. Bathrooms are large and some even have showers with temple views. The most impressive is the Villa Suite, which comes with a massive terrace, overlooking the garden, pool and temple valley.

The property feels spacious and the pool, framed by large trees, is a nice place to beat the afternoon heat. From the terrace of the restaurant, one of southern Sicily's most coveted lunch and dinner spots during the high season, you can watch the sightseeing action over in the temple valley, and count your good fortune that thanks to your close proximity to this major Sicilian sight, you are able to be first on line to visit in the morning.

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long pool with six loungers and palm trees alongside it

Il San Corrado di Noto

Set in an ancient masseria, Il San Corrado di Noto is a modern wellness sanctuary with a boutique sense of intimacy.
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View from Garden at Monaci delle Terre Nere, Sicily, Italy

Monaci delle Terre Nere

With its pink-hued villa, terraced gardens and sweeping views up to Mount Etna and down towards the Ionian Sea, Monaci delle Terre Nere feels a bit like the Sicilian version of the estate in the Bertolucci film Stealing Beauty. The air is fresh, laced with the scent of jasmine, honey and fresh-cut grass; the vines are Kermit green; and the views are so vivid that they tease the book you're reading right from your fingers, making you stare into the yonder.

It’s a magical setting, and one that immediately captured the heart of Alessandro Guido Coffa, the earnest owner of Terre Nere. A native of nearby Trecastagni, Coffa worked in the U.S. for many years before his native Sicily drew him back, or, more precisely the opportunity to turn an overgrown estate back into a working vineyard and orchard. Along the way, he decided to turn a personal passion for architecture and art into an agriturismo hotel.

Today, there are thirteen rooms, scattered throughout the property. Some are located in the main villa, which dates from 1800 and was also used for winemaking, as evidenced by the massive stone trough in the breakfast room (a so-called palmento, it was used to gather the pressed grape juice). Most of the suites are located in a freestanding building, a short walk from the villa, made of lava stone and dating from 1730. Coffa painstakingly restored the buildings, eager not to lose any of the original details and charm. Interiors are strikingly modern, however, with select pieces from such Italian companies as FLOS and art work by Brazilian artist Olivier Mourao. Exposed wood ceiling beams and stone walls remind of the past, while wood-burning fireplaces and large bathtubs hint at modern-day pampering.

All rooms come with pros and cons (contact our Bookings Team for details). Also, potential guests must understand that this is a bucolic country setting on a working wine and olive oil estate, so if discovering a bug in your bathroom is unacceptable, you should not book here. The staff is very kind and caring but not highly trained in hotel services, so the service is uneven. Coffa and his longtime girlfriend Ada live on the premises and are usually mingling with guests during the aperitivo, which consists of a lovely spread of local goods, many of them grown on the property.

In sum, Monaci is a good choice for a young, eco-conscious couples who want to relax in a beautiful setting and who don't mind inconsistencies in rooms and service. The Catania Airport is an easy 45-minute drive away, so it's a good place to end a Sicilian sojourn.

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Suite at Palco Rooms & Suites, Sicily, Italy

Palco Rooms & Suites

With just four rooms, the Palco feels more like a guest house than a hotel (it’s also often booked well in advance), but the advantage of its intimate size is that the hotel doesn’t have the big group tours. The motivated, young couple (she’s Swiss, he is Italian) who run the property is hands-on and fluent in English, German and Spanish.

The Palco occupies an entire floor of a large, residential building, and rooms have high ceilings and a sense of space. Interiors are done in a contemporary, white-on-white style, with splashes of color in throws and artwork, as well as modern furnishings and amenities like Nespresso makers and iPhone docks. Bathrooms are stocked with Hermès products. The location, across from the Teatro Massimo is terrific (the Romeo & Juliet Suite has a balcony that overlooks the legendary opera house), and all major sites are within walking distance. The breakfast buffest is wonderful, with lots of homemade gourmet goodies, and the owners are plugged into the Palermo scene and are generous with tips and recommendations. (Know that it can get noisy at night, especially on the weekends; as this is a buzzy part of the neighborhood.)

pool with daybeds and umbrellas looking over the bay

San Domenico Palace, Taormina, A Four Seasons Hotel

Steeped in history and much beloved, the San Domenico Palace has been transformed by Four Seasons into a true treasure of Taormina.

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Lounge at Villas, Sicily, Italy

Sicily Villas

Pool Lounge at Verdura Golf and Spa Resort, Sicily, Italy

Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte Hotel

Sitting on the Southwestern coast of the island, about 50 minutes from Agrigento’s famed Valley of the Temples, more than 500 acres of beachfront have been reimagined as a luxe Mediterranean hideaway. Inside, architect Flavio Albanese and Rocco Forte Director of Design Olga Polizzi drew inspiration from traditional Sicilian houses, incorporating bold geometric lines and local colors and textures such as Latin terracotta and ochre, along with stone, sand and wood. The chic southern-facing rooms feature custom rattan furniture and printed fabrics in burnt saffron shades, as well as large marble bathrooms kitted out with Irene Forte products.

A highlight of the property is the excellent spa with 11 treatment rooms, a yoga studio, a gorgeous glass-covered 60-meter lap pool, and four thalassotherapy pools, all set at varying temperatures and mineral content density. Three Kyle Phillips–designed golf courses, a private beach (rare in Italy), a sizable children’s club and six restaurants and four bars round out Verdura’s considerable offerings. Couples and families will be happy here as activities abound: fishing and boating trips, horseback riding and water sports (including diving). Guests have access to a Porsche 718 Boxster, helicopter rides; quad biking and mountain e-bikes, too; and there are also special weeks with soccer, tennis and golf academies for kids.

The 20 private villas spread throughout the property offer grocery shopping services, daily housekeeping and golf buggies for three- and four-bedroom villas, along with e-bikes and two rounds of golf, plus full access to the spa, beach and Kids’ Club. Private Villa guests can enjoy special tours and hikes, such as a sunrise or morning visit to Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Sicily’s most significant, followed by a farm-to-table breakfast or picnic lunch amid the Doric temples or the Diodoros garden. The ancient archaeological sites of Selinunte and Segesta are also within striking distance—from 40 minutes to one hour away. Exclusive private tours of the Valley of the Temples are available upon request and availability.

Contact your trip designer for assistance in arranging additional tours and excursions in Sicily.

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Enjoy a relaxing stay at the Indagare-reviewed Zash hotel in Riposto, Sicily, where delicious cuisine, orange trees and understated elegance charm guests.

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