Art lovers, foodies and outdoor enthusiasts are all catered for at these storied Sicilian stays, dotted from coast to countryside.
Whether you love a design-forward hotel in Catania, a luxurious wine estate on the slopes of Mount Etna or an art-accented retreat with a museum-worthy haul of paintings and sculptures, these small-scale Sicilian hotels seek to spoil guests of all persuasions. We’ve hunted down hotels in rock-carved palazzos and medieval abbeys to make your stay in Sicily one to remember.
One for foodies and wine enthusiasts (so, everyone really), this romantic cave-carved retreat sits in the Unesco-listed Baroque centre of hilltop Ragusa, a few hundred metres from the hotel’s sister Michelin-star restaurant. The hotel is housed in a 19th-century palazzo with exposed limestone walls, rock-cut staircases and off-white cave-like rooms that please even the most high-maintenance of guests: one suite even has a rock-hewn hot tub. The restaurant – headed by Sicilian chef Vincenzo Candiano, who scours land and sea for the best produce – also features a wine cellar packed with more than 1,000 wines.
Set in a medieval abbey in the Madonie Natural Park, just beyond the coastal city of Cefalù along the north Sicilian coast, this eco-friendly retreat is the perfect basecamp for hikes, bike rides, horseback tours and adventures in the surrounding countryside laced with olive groves and vineyards. The resort houses its own winery with organic and biodynamic products, as well as an outdoor swimming pool and a restaurant where you can sample fresh produce from the abbey’s own garden.
A convenient base for exploring the Baroque towns of the Val di Noto, this simple and snug hotel offers fair pricing, a great location in Scicli, cute rooms with frescoed ceilings and a gratis breakfast buffet. Paintings and sculptures from Il Gruppo di Scicli – a local group of artists – give the spaces a personal, artsy touch. The biggest room can sleep four people, making it a great bet for families and friend groups travelling on a budget.
This boutique hotel is the cherry on top of your romantic retreat, with roof terraces overlooking the bay and Mount Etna, country-chic decor and an outdoor pool that your partner will thank you for. Rooms are note-perfect, too: decked out in Pantone-perfect shades, accented with tactile velvet touches. Its location in Taormina – an east coast hilltop town, dubbed the Sicilian Saint-Tropez – lays on luxury boutiques along the famous Corso Umberto, top-notch seafood restaurants and the beautiful Isola Bella, a postcard-worthy island, which you can reach by foot. Instagram-perfect photos are guaranteed.
Winner of Wallpaper* magazine’s Best Urban Hotel in 2018, these design-forward rooms in the heart of Catania are an inspiring choice for contemporary art lovers. An homage to Sicily’s artistic melting pot, every suite has been individually dressed up in an eclectic mix of design classics with original 17th-century floors, requisite Italian frescoes and art by Sergio Fiorentino, Domenico Pellegrino and Gaetano Pesce, who has exhibited at the likes of LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art.
One of Italy’s three most important wine-producing areas, the volcanic territory of Mount Etna should be on top of any aspiring sommelier’s bucket list. So should this wine estate and vineyard hotel, hidden between the olive groves and vines of Etna’s foothills – a location chosen over 300 years ago by the 18th-century monks of the St Anne’s order. And we can’t blame them: with its views of the Mediterranean and mountains, this is one to worship. It’s all about going slowly here: freewheel on bike rides through the 60-acre (24ha) estate, indulge in a holistic massage or take part in a Sicilian cooking lesson to master age-old recipes that endure today.
The perfect fusion of bed-and-breakfast hospitality and hotel comfort, this idyllic townhouse in the Sicilian countryside is great for a few days of relaxation. The four-course morning feast alone is reason to stay a while: served on antique porcelain plates, it’s different every day, but always includes fresh produce from the area, such as local cheeses and Sicilian sweets, including cannoli and cookies. With an outdoor pool, lush gardens and barbecue area, you can easily idle away a whole weekend here.
Vintage lovers and romantic souls will love this bucolic retreat, conveniently positioned between the sight-filled cities of Noto and Syracuse, in the Sicilian countryside. Owner Elena has searched far and wide for all the antique treasures, now artfully displayed between gallery-esque limestone walls: from the floral serving trays to the vintage mirrors, small details run deep here. Oh, and don’t miss a visit to the tourist-free, Unesco-listed town of Palazzolo Acreide, a 30-minute drive away, for its lavish Baroque architecture and Greek amphitheatre, framed by the Hyblaean Mountains.
Sicily is a great destination for budget travellers, as so many of its unexplored villages offer affordable places to sleep and eat (leaving money for those all-important cocktails and gelatos). This elegantly furnished, small-scale hotel is one such bang-for-buck place. It’s positioned on the waterfront boulevard in Ortigia, the small island on which Syracuse’s historical centre is located, and offers a free breakfast with organic local ingredients, as well as a sea-view roof terrace and simple yet stylish rooms.
Travellers wishing to splurge on countryside luxury will love this family-owned wine estate: with an infinity pool overlooking the surrounding vineyards, an exquisite restaurant and an interesting calendar of wine tastings and cooking courses, you’re granted space to do as much (or little) as you like. The Planeta family are among the top wine producers in Sicily and have hospitality flowing through their veins, with every small detail designed to make guests feel at home and cared for.