Best hotels in sicily on the beach

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (February 22, 2021): Top 10 best luxury hotels in Sicily & the Aeolian islands

Located between Europe and Africa and full of stunning architecture and spectacular nature, Sicily – the largest island of Italy – has a charm that’s all its own. Most travelers come here to escape to a luxury beach resort overlooking the blue Mediterranean Sea. But you can also head inland to explore UNESCO landmarks and idyllic villages with magnificent views across mountains and brooding volcanoes, then savor fresh Sicilian cuisine and unwind at your exclusive island escape. Located off the northern coast of Sicily are also seven tiny islands – known as the Aeolian islands – each with its own strong identity but all having the same volcanic origin. Both Sicily and the Aeolian archipelago continue to seduce travelers with a dazzling diversity of raw landscapes, cultural treasures, and a wide range of accommodations. Here’s my round-up of the 10 best luxury hotels in Sicily & the Aeolian islands.

There is more information (with reviews & YouTube videos) below my slideshow. Which hotel is your favorite? Or do you think I missed a property? Leave a comment.

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10. LOCANDA DON SERAFINO, SICILY

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In the maze of little streets and baroque churches of Ragusa Ibla, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is where you find Locanda Don Serafino, a Relais & Châteaux hotel located in a fully restored small medieval building. It hosts eleven elegant and comfortable rooms, a charming place with only 22 beds for highly demanding guests. The hotel also manages one of the finest restaurants in Sicily. Near the ramparts of the lower section of the city, in the palace’s former barn, the restaurant sits under high vaulted ceilings of exposed stone. Two-Michelin-star chef Vincenzo Candiano sources his ingredients exclusively from the island, yet draws his inspiration from well beyond the Mediterranean to elevate Sicilian cuisine with his own style.

  • Hotel website: Locanda Don Serafino

LOCANDA DON SERAFINO, SICILY

9. DONNA CARMELA RESORT & LODGES, SICILY

As you take your first quiet step into Donna Carmela’s subtropical gardens, nature takes the spotlight. Scents of the Mediterranean punctuate the backdrop as you wind your way through leafy lawns to your lodge. With just a handful of rooms dotted among lush greenery it’s the perfect starting point to explore eastern Sicily and the Ionian Coast. From sea views to mountain landscapes, each unique lodge is tailored for relaxation and peaceful seclusion. Lie back in stylish comfort in the treetop Flora lodge, or one of the several spacious suites with Etna or sea-facing views. A getaway for both body and mind, the interiors bring together design and sustainability. As well as little extras: a panoramic terrace, a lava stone hot tub or your own private garden.

  • Hotel website: Donna Carmela Resort & Lodges

DONNA CARMILA RESORT & LODGES, SICILY

8. CAPOFARO LOCANDA & MALVASIA, SALINA

Salina is the greenest of the seven Aeolian Islands that emerge from the deep blue Tyrrhenian Sea. Capofaro’s small whitewashed buildings and fresh water swimming pool stand regally amid the vineyard of the Tasca d’Almerita family, at the foot of one of two extinct volcanoes. Simply adorned, each room opens onto a terrace facing the sea where the fascinating silhouettes of neighboring Stromboli and Panarea take shape. The chef leads guests on a sun-filled gastronomic journey, infused with the salty and sweet flavours of the produce grown in the property’s rich volcanic soil. Following the grand monsù tradition befitting this Sicilian land of aristocracy, he proposes pairings with the Malvasia wine produced in the family vineyard.

  • Hotel website: Capofaro Locanda & Malvasia, Salina

CAPOFARO LOCANDA & MALVASIA, SALINA

7. HOTEL VILLA ATHENA, SICILY

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Hotel Villa Athena has an astounding position within a stone’s throw of the magnificent Temple of Concordia, part of the Unesco World Heritage Site of the Valley of Temples, just outside Agrigento. The hotel is a handsome 300-year-old villa set in pretty landscaped gardens with a restaurant, bar, outside pool, spa and wellness center, vegetable garden and amazing views of the temple. Recently extended in sympathy with the original building, Hotel Villa Athena offers a delightful collection of rooms and suites tastefully decorated in designer fabrics and furnishings. Some rooms even have spa facilities. tip: rise early and take advantage of Hotel Villa Athena’s location by walking to the archaeological site of the temples before the crowds visit.

  • Hotel website: Hotel Villa Athena

HOTEL VILLA ATHENA, SICILY

6. SIKELIA LUXURY HOTEL, PANTELLERIA

Simple monastic architecture meets striking modernist interiors at Sikelia – a boutique retreat in a dramatic setting. Housed within porcelain-white dammusi, ancient stone buildings typical of this part of Italy, this is an atmospheric escape with effortless style. Sikelia is perfectly in harmony with both its history and lava-strewn landscape on Italy’s undiscovered Pantelleria Island. Expect crisp, clean lines and a muted, monochrome palette, high vaulted ceilings and archways, as well as a gorgeous palm-lined pool. In the sleek suites, look out for eye-catching works by contemporary artist Gennaro Avallone. Then spend evenings being treated to creative cuisine in Themà.

  • Hotel website: Sikelia Luxury Hotel

SIKELIA LUXURY HOTEL, PANTELLERIA

5. THERASIA RESORT SEA & SPA, VULCANO

Therasia Resort Sea & Spa is an idyllic retreat on the Aeolian island of Vulcano. Set on a rocky headland with a view that encompasses the entire Aeolian archipelago, Therasia Resort Sea and Spa is a sun-kissed sensation far from the bustle of the mainland. Wonderfully low-key, it has Michelin Star Restaurant “Il Cappero” , a wellness center, and two glorious, seawater-filled infinity pools. Cool stone floors and chic furnishings come together in crisp white rooms with balconies or terraces.. Many of the rooms overlook the Sicilian sea, with a view of Lipari, the islands of the archipelago and the sea stacks that, like monoliths, emerge from them water. The sunset views at Therasia Resort are so sensational, you will not want to close the curtains.

  • Hotel website: Therasia Resort Sea & Spa

THERASIA RESORT SEA & SPA, VULCANO

4. SAN DOMENICO PALACE, TAORMINA, A FOUR SEASONS HOTEL, SICILY

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San Domenico Palace, a Four Seasons Hotel, is ideally placed on the hilltop town of Taormina on the eastern shores of Sicily, overlooking the Bay of Taormina and the Ionian Sea. The iconic property features multiple terraces with clear views of the surrounding waters, as well as Mount Etna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hotel comprises of an ancient Dominican convent from the 14th century, as well as a Grand Hotel Wing that was added in 1896. The 111 guest rooms and suites feature original architecture and facades from the historic building. Facilities include a state-of-the-art spa with seven treatment rooms, an indoor pool, a beach club, and the two-Michelin star restaurant, Principe Cerami.

  • Hotel website: San Domenico Palace, Taormina, a Four Seasons Hotel

SAN DOMENICO PALACE, TAORMINA, A FOUR SEASONS HOTEL, SICILY

3. BELMOND VILLA SANT’ANDREA, SICILY

When Goethe called Taormina a “piece of paradise on earth,” he may well have been describing Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea. Along one of Italy’s most picturesque bays on a private beach with exclusive cabanas, this former villa is just a courtesy shuttle ride away from Taormina’s town center and oozes glamour and old-world charm. The five-star property features 71 elegantly furnished guest rooms and suites. Guests are greeted with freshly-made Sicilian sweet treats in-room on arrival, and find hand-picked local fruit at breakfast. Take in panoramic views from the heated outdoor pool, revel in complimentary boat cruises, relish fresh seafood at Oliviero Restaurant, and relax with a soothing massage in their room or beneath an orange tree.

  • Hotel website: Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea
  • Save money: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
  • Review: read my review of Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea here.
2. VERDURA RESORT, A ROCCO FORTE HOTEL, SICILY

Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte Hotel, is set in a stunning landscape in South Sicily with 1.8 km (1,2 mi) of private coastline. The contemporary architecture combines luxury with simplicity that is in keeping with the local culture. There are 168 rooms, 32 suites and a dozen stunning private villas, all with sea view. The resort’s four restaurants enchants the senses with menus inspired by celebrity chef Fulvio Pierangelini and the authentic taste of traditional Sicilian dishes realized with fresh, organic produce sourced straight from Verdura’s own garden. The resort’s award-winning spa offers holistic treatments and health programs. Golfers from all over the world come to enjoy the two 18-hole championship courses and a nine-hole par-three course, all designed by world-renowned golf architect Kyle Phillips.

  • Hotel website: Verdura Resort, a Rocce Forte Hotel
  • Save money: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
  • Review: read my review of Verdura Resort here.
1. BELMOND GRAND HOTEL TIMEO, SICILY

Follow in the footsteps of Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren and experience the glamour, romance, and luxe way of life at Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo. Located beside an ancient Greek theater, it was the first hotel to be built in the city of Taormina. Its 71 guest rooms are decorated in exquisite Italian baroque, and most boast fabulous views of the sea and Mount Etna. Stroll through town to shop for ceramics and visit local artisans, then visit the hotel’s wellness center, set within the verdant park, for a spa treatment made with local flowers and fruit essences. Dinner on the terrace overlooking majestic Mount Etna features tantalizing and Michelin-star awarded Sicilian and Mediterranean cuisine.

  • Hotel website: Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo
  • Other accolades: Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in Italy and the world’s best hotel views.
  • Save money: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
  • Review: read my review of Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo here.

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