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.
This periwinkle-blue hotel is located in Ortigia and looks out to the open sea. The decor is a fusion of boho-chic and beachcomber style, with whitewashed walls, driftwood mirrors and unique wardrobes fashioned out of steel. The 26 rooms are individually designed and range from “basic” to “plus” categories, with children’s beds available. There’s a lovely roof terrace, and breakfasts feature organic, local produce such as homemade quince jams and cheese from the nearby farm.
Rustic limestone walls, outstanding breakfasts and a private walled garden with a barbecue and pool make this boutique B&B stand out. Located in the historic centre of Palazzolo Acreide, this traditional Sicilian townhouse has been given a modern makeover by the owners, and, with just three rooms, the service is friendly and personable. Clodia is the most luxe room, while the two-storey Cornelia is a good choice for families, as it sleeps four.
With views out to sea across vineyards, superb food and a relaxing atmosphere, this country house hotel in Menfi is a cut above. The infinity pool has a bar area – ideal for sundowners – and wine tasting is also available. Meals can be eaten inside or al fresco, and chef Angelo Pumilia lays on Sicilian delights such as traditional fish and seafood soup with spaghetti. The 14 rooms are spacious, with french windows making the most of the panoramas.
Good wine and sea views blend in perfect harmony at this family-run hotel on the island of Salina. The property is tucked away among lush vineyards with mesmerising views across to Etna. Sample the local vintages with some wine tasting, or book a cooking class. As well as 27 smart guest rooms, there are an excellent restaurant plus a freshwater pool, a garden spa and yoga and pilates classes.
There’s an exclusive feel to this former winery that has been transformed into a boutique design hotel, 30km (19mi) east of Mount Etna. Its atmospheric stone restaurant is Michelin-starred, with dishes that look like works of art and an impressive wine cellar. Rooms and suites are immaculate – for the ultimate luxe, splash out on the pool villa spa, which is nestled in a citrus grove away from the main building.
This 15-room hotel is housed inside an ancient farmhouse, surrounded by olive groves that produce the oil you’ll find on your plate at dinner. The location in Palma di Montechiaro is ideal – though you’ll need a car – just a 20-minute drive from the Valley of Temples in Agrigento and 10 minutes to the nearest beach. Embrace Sicilian family life with a cooking class, where ingredients are picked straight from the grounds.
Set in a 19th-century building on Favignana Island, this boutique hotel offers 16 lovely suites, a pretty terrace and wellness treatments. The style is traditional, with exposed stone walls, original archways and terracotta tiles. Decorated in earthy tones, most suites have direct access to the garden, while the deluxe suites have private terraces. Recharge after a day exploring with a candle massage in the garden gazebo.
There is style in spades at this elegant hotel in Viagrande, a half-hour drive from Mount Etna to the north and Catania to the south. Outside, the manicured garden has a pool flanked by sun loungers and palm trees, while, inside, the guest rooms ooze pared-back luxe with white walls, wooden floors and high ceilings. The Melissa suite is designed to impress, with a large fireplace, a freestanding bath and easy access to the spa.
With stellar views over the baroque town of Modica, this stylish boutique hotel was created by Milanese owners Marco and Viviana, who are on hand to offer tips and conversation. The result is a friendly and relaxed feel inside a property with bags of character, from the exposed limestone walls to the detailing in the bedrooms – think ceramic tiled walls and bamboo ceilings. There is a lovely little garden, where breakfast can be eaten in good weather.
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.