10 luxury hotels in Sicily for fans of The White Lotus

San Domenico Palace - one of the best luxury hotels in Sicily and the location of The White Lotus - MARTINO DINI 2021/Martino Dini

San Domenico Palace – one of the best luxury hotels in Sicily and the location of The White Lotus – MARTINO DINI 2021/Martino Dini

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Our expert writers are usually hosted on a complimentary basis to gain the personal experience necessary for their review.

The HBO series White Lotus has certainly drawn attention to the world of luxury hotels in Sicily, although you may – or may not – know that the reality is very different. Guests are better dressed, décor is cooler — those horrible passion-killing testa di moro ceramic heads are rare — and murders are unlikely. Indeed Sicily has an extraordinary and original portfolio of super hotels, from recently restored grand hotels such as Villa Igiea in Palermo, and Palazzo San Domenico in Taormina, where series 2 of White Lotus was filmed, to hip-luxe retreats on small islands, on vineyards, on the slopes of Mount Etna and in the Baroque town of Bijou Noto. Here are the best luxury hotels in Sicily.

Dating back to the 14th century, this magnificent former monastery, which has been a hotel since 1896, sits on the cliffs overlooking the Ionian Sea in Taormina, with Mount Etna to the right and the city’s ancient Greek theater to the left. Although Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts added a good dollop of 21st century luxury when they took over San Domenico, redecorating the rooms in the 19th century wing and adding private plunge pools to some of the terraces, they have careful to keep the. many significant historical features, from the courtyards filled with statues to the stone door you enter. The charm that attracted Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, Greta Garbo and Humphrey Bogart among many other famous people lives on, as do the hotel’s connections to the screen – most recently as the location for the Netflix series, The White Lotus.

A sumptuous boutique hotel in the baroque heart of Noto, with unrivaled views of one of the most extraordinary cityscapes in Sicily. An elegant residence created as a feast for the eyes, where the ‘common spaces’ – including the elegant reception lounge – feel like rooms in a private home. The walls are a deep Pompeiian red – a nod to the Romans’ favorite wall paint and the traditional grey, cream and oxblood tiles salvaged from the Aeolian islands are used throughout the hotel. There are just nine rooms, each different, from large doubles to three large master suites – all with balconies; one has an original baroque frescoed ceiling. Friendly staff act as hosts rather than employees, and show goodwill and enthusiasm, which puts everyone at ease.

Sant’Andrea is suffused with good class, old-fashioned and style, without ever being stuffy or outdated. Although it is a fairly large hotel – there are 71 rooms – the feeling is intimate and intimate – think of an English country house by the sea in Sicily. The original villa from 1919 is the heart of the hotel, with opulent – but not obscene – marble floors and staircases, while Baroque paintings and family heirlooms are scattered throughout the light and airy lounge, reception hall and bar as conversation pieces rather than re-creations of a stately home. atmosphere. The hotel runs a free hourly shuttle up to its sister hotel, the Timeo, in Taormina (below), making Sant’Andrea the perfect choice for anyone wanting some beach time. a combination of tourism, shopping and dining at home.

The term ’boutique hotel’ may have lost its meaning, but Seven Rooms Villadorata is the real McCoy, a hauntingly gorgeous feast for the senses housed in the wing of Sicily’s most heavenly Baroque palazzo. The philosophy of Seven Rooms is to give guests everything they need within the privacy of their rooms – thoughtfully stocked mini bar, artisan tea and kettle, Nespresso machine – and the large bathrooms, with an abundance of product range. Villadorata’s own body is made of it. natural Sicilian ingredients, make a long bath as relaxing as a spa treatment. Expect high ceilings, soaring windows with white shutter doors and heavy linen curtains, swan tiled floors, and on your super comfy beds, crisp white silk and blue alpaca quilts.

Country house hotel with excellent food and wonderful staff, looking out to sea over the exquisite vineyards in one of the most prestigious wine estates in Sicily. There are 14 rooms, all spacious, with French windows opening onto terraces, tiled terracotta floors, subtle kilims, and traditional Sicilian iron beds dressed in white, hand-stitched Indian linens. In good weather dinner and breakfast are served outside; during bad weather you sit inside at a communal table, long and wide enough so that chatting with fellow guests is not mandatory. Cooking courses with the chef and wine tasting by members of the Planeta family offer a great insight into the world of Sicilian food and wine. (NB It is essential to hire a car here as the property is in a corner in the west of Sicily which is not difficult to get to).

Halfway between Taormina and Catania, high on the eastern skirts of Etna, where ancient bush-trained vines rise from the dark, lava-rich soil on dry stone terraces sits this country hotel. The adventurous mood is barefoot eco-chic, with the emerging volcano giving off a special energy. Much of the food served at breakfast or dinner in the handsome in-house restaurant, Locanda Nerello, is grown on the estate, while the rest is carefully sourced from smaller, organic producers. Owner Coffa is an authority on Etna’s up-and-coming wine scene and the estate now has its own 15-acre winery, with tastings of its own production and other Sicilian wines led by two in-house sommeliers.

This is a sophisticated Aeolian island retreat, with a design that makes it almost indistinguishable from the rest of the island’s villages. All of its 27 rooms are in individual whitewashed, Aeolian-style houses – simple single-storey cubits, each with its own terrace – scattered around the wine estate, and in the recently restored lighthouse (Faro) that gives the hotel its name. Architecture, landscape and unfailingly discreet service combine to create a place where guests can take time off from the world. In addition to the freshwater pool, there is a massage pavilion, a padel tennis court and a clubhouse. Chef Ludovico de Vivo applies eclectic creativity to both Sicilian and international traditions, with a fierce loyalty to local produce (including homegrown vegetables and salads from the garden above the pool, and Taska d’Almerita’s own olive oil).

Lying between Mount Etna and the sea – and overlooking both – what really makes this place special is the feeling of being far away from the world, completely immersed in an exotic paradise. Rooms with plunge pools in large individual bungalows hidden within the subtropical gardens may make you think you’re in Bali – but the hotel is just an easy drive from Catania airport. The ‘eco-lodges’ (bungalows) are huge, softly lit and minimalist, with sliding glass doors opening onto a terrace shaded by greenery. Rooms in the main house offer a minimalist touch to more traditional spaces, featuring natural stone, white tiles and shades of cream and pale green. Most have a private outdoor space, and the ‘Jacuzzi Exclusive’ suite has a terrace (during immersion) and views of the sea and Mount Etna.

Taormina can be overcrowded with tourists during the high season, but there’s no denying how picturesque it is, and the Timeo is just a few minutes’ walk from the main drag and right next to the entrance to the amphitheatre. wonderful Greek of the third century BC, making it one of the best luxury hotels in Sicily. The Timeo began life in 1873 as a five-room guest house and is now the main building of the hotel, and was popular with European artists, writers and aristocrats. Belmond bought the hotel in 2010, bringing with them their very high standard of service; from the lorry that takes your luggage on arrival to the front desk staff, everyone is relaxed and courteous. There is a spa and heated swimming pool set in the beautiful gardens and plenty of terrace space, as well as lounges with huge windows to enjoy the magical views.

Back to the former splendor at the Hotel Rocco Forte family, the Art Nouveau palazzo, originally designed by Ernesto Basile for the wealthy Florio family, overlooking the Gulf of Palermo. It has 78 rooms and suites, two restaurants showcasing the rich cuisine of Sicily, a spa and a swimming pool. Much of the hotel spills out onto terraces above the gardens where the Igiea Terrazza Bar offers the perfect spot for a martini and the pool restaurant and main restaurant offer al fresco dining. Meanwhile, the painted walls in the Basile Room are not to be missed. The concierge team has created a series of itineraries that will take guests to any of Palermo’s eight Unesco heritage sites or through the vibrant markets to purchase ingredients for a cooking lesson.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where was The White Lotus filmed?

The second series of The White Lotus was filmed around the north east coast of Sicily. The Four Seasons hotel called the San Domenico Palace is where most of the story takes place – and this is the location of the fictional ‘White Lotus’ hotel that the series is named after.

Can you stay at the White Lotus hotel?

The White Lotus isn’t a real hotel, but of course you can stay at the San Domenico Palace, you’ll need a significant budget though because, as the show suggests, it’s the kind of place to put high-end travelers reserved for luxury holidays. starting room rate from around £1,000 per night).

Donations from Mary Luisiana, Lee Marshall

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