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Our 10 Favourite Hotels in Sicily

March 25, 2024

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Image courtesy of Villa Igiea, a Rocco Forte Hotel

Sicily is having a moment (thank you, “White Lotus”), and we can’t get enough of Europe’s largest Mediterranean island. With seaside villages, ancient ruins and unrivaled Mediterranean cuisine, it’s no wonder Sicily is always in style.

Often hailed as the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Sicily combines the culture, flavour and history of its surrounding neighbours. Travellers can visit Greek ruins at the Valley of the Temples, and savour the Spanish, French and North African influences of its food. Choosing a hotel can be tricky on an island that seemingly has it all — from the towering Mount Etna to the shimmering beaches of Taormina. 

Thankfully, a slew of luxurious hotels has been setting the standard for fine accommodations for decades (in some cases, even centuries). Whether you’re a wine lover yearning for a stay amidst vineyards, a traveller keen on enjoying a private beach on the Bay of Mazzarò or someone who wants to be pampered like a royal in Palermo, Sicily’s best luxury hotels encapsulate Italy’s timeless elegance and the island’s enduring charm. 

Grand Hotel Timeo, A Belmond Hotel, Taormina

Image courtesy of Grand Hotel Timeo, A Belmond Hotel, Taormina (photographer:
Tyson Sadlo)

This five-star hotel sits on the edge of the Bay of Taormina, offering unparalleled views. While all the rooms at the Grand Hotel Timeo merge old-world luxury with cosmopolitan charm, the two-bedroom suite pulls out all the stops. It’s the epitome of Italian design, featuring marble bathrooms, two king-size bedrooms and a large living room leading out to a private terrace. This is a flower- and ivy-covered oasis with a private hot tub and views of the Sicilian coast. Plus, when you book with WeGalavant, you’ll unlock VIP Belmond Bellini Club perks.

WeGalavant Perks:

  • £75 hotel / resort credit.
  • Welcome note & amenity.
  • Breakfast daily.
  • Upgrade whenever possible.

Donna Carmela

Image courtesy of Donna Carmela

This lovely, eco-friendly boutique hotel near Mount Etna is a member of the Harlowe Group, a collection of charming, intimate properties across Italy. I love working with the group’s founder and owner, Tracey Harlowe, and the incredible staff at all her hotels. At Donna Carmela, expect stylish rooms and suites surrounded by lush, biodiverse gardens.

Days are spent lounging by the pool, tasting local wines in a nearby town, attending the not-to-be-missed Radicepura Garden Festival or exploring Catania and Taormina (all of which can be organised by the hotel). (One of the local wineries, Pietradolce, is a must-visit. It’s owned by the same family that runs Donna Carmela.) In the evening, opt for a meal at La Cucina di Donna Carmela and Sintesi. Both restaurants champion only the finest local ingredients — which somehow taste even better when paired with a glass of the region’s best wine.

WeGalavant Perks:

  • £35 hotel / resort credit.
  • Welcome amenity & note.
  • Breakfast daily.
  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

San Domenico Palace, Taormina, A Four Seasons Hotel

Image courtesy of San Domenico Palace, Taormina, A Four Seasons Hotel

Part of the Four Seasons family, the San Domenico Palace resides in a former Dominican convent. (It’s also one of my favorite hotels from TV shows.) This historic 14th-century convent was eventually reborn as a hotel in 1896. Its new design combines its old architecture — such as outdoor walkways flanked by stone arches — with more modern elements. Throughout the decades, the San Domenico Palace has hosted many celebrities and notable guests, from Audrey Hepburn to Elizabeth Taylor to Sophia Loren (not to mention the deliciously toxic “White Lotus” entourage).

Today, the hotel boasts luxe rooms with sea views and private plunge pools. But it’s the experiences that take it up a notch. Take a trip to the Aeolian Islands, a volcanic archipelago north of Sicily, or travel to the remote Mount Etna area for a “star safari,” where you can gaze at the constellations without light pollution. Sign me up.

WeGalavant Perks:

  • When you book Four Seasons with a WeGalavant Club Curator you will enjoy exclusive Four Seasons Preferred amenities. We will be pleased to give you more details.

Villa Igiea, a Rocco Forte Hotel

Image courtesy of Villa Igiea, a Rocco Forte Hotel

The Villa Igiea is a five-star retreat that feels like a boutique hotel thanks to the thoughtful details in every room. Suites give Italian elegance, with luxe fabrics, fine art and expansive views of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Like the San Domenico Palace, Villa Igiea is a historic hotel occupying a turn-of-the-century palazzo that rests on the edge of Palermo and the foot of Mount Pellegrino. Every corner of this luxurious hotel harkens back to the glamour of Europe’s Belle Époque era, best reflected in the on-site restaurant, Florio, named for Italy’s illustrious Florio family. Here, you can sample A+ Mediterranean fare (fresh fish, delicious vegetables, pasta…) inside an original Louis XVI hall. Plus, since Fora is a member of Rocco Forte Knights, when you book with us, you’ll receive top-tier perks.

WeGalavant Perks:

  • £75 hotel / resort credit.
  • Breakfast daily.
  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
  • Other exclusive amenities.

Villa Sant’Andrea, A Belmond Hotel, Taormina Mare

Image courtesy of Villa Sant’Andrea, A Belmond Hotel, Taormina Mare

Home to 69 rooms and suites, the Villa Sant’Andrea is another five-star hotel that delivers old-world glamour and decadence. What sets Villa Sant’Andrea apart from the rest? Its private beach on the secluded Bay of Mazzarò. Here, you can soak in the Sicilian sun while swimming in the clear waters of Mazzarò. Or, sip wine beneath the shade of a beachside cabaña. Should those Sicilian sun rays get too hot, staff are ready to cool you down with Evian water sprays (expect some serious pampering).

After brushing off the sand, you’ll return to a room with marble bathroom floors, a private terrace, lush amenities and, if you opt for the two-bedroom pool suite, a private pool. During your stay, don’t skip the curated experiences connecting guests to Sicilian culture and cuisine. Visit a local clam farm in the fishing village of Ganzirri in northern Sicily, catch a show at an ancient Greek theater, sample rare wines from local wineries or sail to the famed Blue Grotto aboard a traditional Sicilian fishing boat. Even better, book with us to receive exclusive Belmond Bellini Club perks.

WeGalavant Perks:

  • £75 hotel / resort credit.
  • Welcome note & amenity.
  • Breakfast daily.
  • Upgrade whenever possible.

Monaci delle Terre Nere

Image courtesy of Monaci delle Terre Nere

A few words come to mind when one thinks of a trip to Italy, two of which are pasta and wine. For the latter, look no further than the Monaci delle Terre Nere, a Relais & Châteaux property nestled in the heart of Etna National Park, 20 minutes from the Ionian coast. This hotel is for wine lovers who want to surround themselves with Italian vineyards and savour the best local wine to accompany gourmet dinners.

Set in an 18th-century aristocratic villa and private houses spread across several acres, the Monaci delle Terre Nere combines rural charm with an elevated gastronomy. The property doubles as a 62-acre working farm, and sits between the lush slopes of Mount Etna and the shimmering Ionian Sea. The hotel is also a member of the Slow Food Movement, reflected in its menus and the Etna wines produced on the estate. 

WeGalavant Perks:

  • Hotel / resort credit.
  • Complimentary welcome beverages.
  • Upgrade whenever possible.

Hotel Villa Athena

Valley of the Temples, Agrigento, Sicily

The Hotel Villa Athena is the only hotel situated within the Valley of the Temples, an archeological park designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for exemplary ancient Greek art and architecture. This five-star hotel is mere steps from the Temple of Concordia, dating back to the 5th century BC. Villa Athena boasts verdant gardens, a shimmering outdoor pool and glorious views of the surrounding Greek temples, which are illuminated at night (so dreamy).

While the hotel’s elegant rooms and dramatic surroundings are spectacular, the spa is out of this world. It’s housed in an ancient building once used for storing wheat and olive oil harvested from the surrounding valley, and is built around an ancient Greek cistern used to collect water. Today, the spa honours its past with ancient earthenware and relaxing wellness services that use locally harvested fruits. And because Hotel Villa Athena is part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, when you book with us, you’ll receive special SLH withIN benefits.

WeGalavant Perks:

  • £35 hotel / resort credit.
  • Breakfast daily.
  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Atlantis Bay

Taormina, Sicily

If Monaci delle Terre Nere is a love letter to Sicilian wine, then Atlantis Bay is a sonnet written for the Sicilian Sea. Found in one of the most picturesque (read: Instagrammable) spots in Sicily, Atlantis Bay is a five-star hotel located between the Baia delle Sirene and Taormina. Self-described as “the perfect location for sea lovers,” you need only walk around the stunning property to see why.

The hotel seems to almost blend in with the sea: an outdoor infinity pool juts out over Atlantis Bay and the hotel rooms’ sea-facing terraces overlook the sparkling Baia delle Sirene. Atlantis Bay Hotel even has its own boat dock, from which you can sail off on a tour of the bay while sipping sparkling wine. Even better, when you book with us, you’ll unlock exclusive benefits thanks to WeGalavant’s partnership with J.MAK Hospitality, which represents Atlantis Bay.

WeGalavant Perks:

  • £35 food / beverage credit.
  • £35 spa credit.
  • Welcome amenities.
  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte Hotel

Image courtesy of Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte Hotel

If you love golf, then Verdura Resort is for you. Designed by architect Kyle Phillips, you’ll be hard pressed to play a round of golf on a course more beautiful than this one. After you finish teeing off for the day, relax in a luxurious room with beachfront views, a private terrace and a private swimming pool.

Whatever you do, don’t miss a meal at one of the spectacular on-site restaurants serving fresh Mediterranean fare. For seafood lovers, the restaurant Amare rivals many in Sicily. Sitting steps from the sea, order the catch of the day, which is caught by a local fisherman and brought to shore that very day. Plus, since WeGalavant is a member of Rocco Forte Knights, when you book with us, you’ll receive top-tier perks.

WeGalavant Perks:

  • £75 hotel / resort credit.
  • Breakfast daily.
  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
  • Other exclusive amenities.

Seven Rooms Villadorata

Noto, Sicily

Now is your chance to channel your inner royal. Seven Rooms Villadorata is a bed-and-breakfast found in the center of the baroque town, Noto. It’s housed within a palace once home to a prince. Although Seven Rooms has launched its second act as a hotel, that doesn’t mean it has ditched its royal flair. When you check in, expect frescoed ceilings, Baroque decor and ornate balconies.

Unlike some of the other hotels on this list, Seven Rooms is a boutique hotel with only seven rooms (hence the name). The best room in the house is undoubtedly the prince’s former bedroom, Austro. With its elegant French doors, a balcony that overlooks the countryside and lovingly restored gilded tiles and frescoes, it’s clear this room was meant for royalty. But whichever room you stay in, you’ll be greeted with amenities worthy of a king or queen.

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