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In the heart of the Mediterranean, the island of Sicily is home to an array of diverse landscapes, fascinating culture and superb cuisine. You can’t miss the smoking hulk of Mount Etna, the most active volcano in Europe, while the offshore islands are enticing with their pristine beaches and laid-back vibe. When it comes to boutique hotels, Sicily has its fair share, from restored wineries and farmhouse retreats to family-friendly B&Bs.
In the shadow of Mount Etna, this country retreat is a lush escape from the real world, with stone buildings and a rambling garden creating an eco-chic atmosphere. The rooms have polished wooden floors and enormous windows that flood the space with natural light. The decor features pops of colour and clean lines. Warning: you may have a difficult time leaving the estate when you can lounge by the pool, sip a cocktail at the bar or take a yoga class in the garden.
Located in the centre of Modica Alta, between the Church of San Giorgio and San Giovanni, Le Case dello Zodiaco is the perfect base for exploring the southeastern corner of Sicily. It’s an albergo diffuso, which means the rooms and apartments are scattered across town, making you feel like a true Sicilian. Each of the five options – named after a sign of the zodiac – has a unique style, although you can expect plenty of period furnishings.
Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian Islands that lie off the Sicilian coast, and Hotel Mea is a short stroll up from the historic centre and harbour. There are broad views over the bay of Marina Lunga and towards the castle from the large swimming pool. The rooms are bright, with white linens and marble bathrooms. All have a balcony, and most have sea views; the suite has a large private terrace. The Chimera restaurant serves Aeolian specialities for lunch and dinner.
This elegant hotel in a historic palazzo has wood-beam ceilings and whitewashed walls. The spacious bathrooms have brightly coloured ceramics and are stocked with fluffy towels. Book the Deluxe Spa room, and you’ll have a private Jacuzzi on a seafront terrace. The hotel also operates a restaurant that highlights freshly caught fish and Sicilian wines.
Hidden away on a narrow lane, this hotel has bright rooms full of design details – an oasis of calm in beautiful (but chaotic) Palermo. You can deepen your knowledge of Sicilian cuisine with a visit to Vucciria Market, followed by an onsite cooking class with the hotel owner – learn how to create Sicilian pasta and other local dishes before ending the experience with a glass of Sicilian wine.
Join the in-the-know jet setters on the far-flung island of Panarea. The Quartara Hotel offers simple beachy charm and wooden furniture that contrasts with flowing white linens. The onsite restaurant has a view over the water and serves modern cuisine created from the traditional bounty of seafood and summer produce of the island.
Gillian McGuire contributed additional reporting to this article.