Looking for a five-star experience in Sicily? We’ve found the grandest places to sleep on this sun-soaked Italian island, from rambling historic retreats to elegant city palaces. Whether you visit to see Mount Etna or historic Roman ruins, there’s plenty to do in Sicily to keep you busy. Use our guide to the most luxurious hotels in Sicily for a trip to remember.
A unique 19th-century building in Ragusa’s historic centre, with its own Gothic arch and 14th-century staircase, travellers looking for luxury will enjoy a stay at Locanda Don Serafino. With exposed limestone and a neutral colour palette, the rooms have a minimalist chic feel to them. A highlight of this boutique hotel is the richly-furnished cave room that has been carved out of stone. The hotel also boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant that sits under beautifully lit, vaulted ceilings, serving up traditional Sicilian cuisine.
A restful countryside escape awaits you at the estate of Monaci delle Terre Nere. On the slopes of capricious Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe, this is where you come for slow Sicilian living, Italian wine and nourishing food. Their 18th-century villa accommodation blends Sicilian architecture and upscale luxury, with muted tones and historic features including an antique wine press. The villa is surrounded by a picture-perfect organic farm, vineyard and eco-friendly vegetable garden. It’s certainly a unique spot for sipping local Etna wine whilst enjoying dramatic volcano views.
Formerly a 1920s post office reimagined as a luxury hotel, Ortea Palace is surrounded by historic squares, chic bars and Baroque architecture. The hotel is right in the centre of Porto Piccolo, on the island of Ortigia. Despite its historic beginnings, Ortea Palace has modern interiors with touches of glamour – Sicilian antiques and white marble blend perfectly with Papyrus plants and splashes of colour. Foodies should endeavour to visit the hotel’s wine shop to sample local cheese and Italian wines.
This historic residence began life as a private villa in the late 1800s and still retains an aristocratic charm. Enjoy the balmy Sicilian nights sipping local wine on Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea’s sea view terrace, with terracotta pots overflowing with foliage. Bathe in the cobalt waters of the Mediterranean on their private beach – during the summer months, guests can enjoy boat tours, paddleboarding and helicopter rides, facilitated by the villa. Prefer a heated pool? Their modern swimming pool is warm and also boasts beautiful sea views.
In medieval Palazzolo Acreide, this historic residence has been updated whilst still retaining Baroque features and furnished with stately pieces. There are BBQ facilities and a small, seasonal outdoor pool where you can take a refreshing dip under the intense heat of the Sicilian sun. Breakfast is somewhat of an event with a buffet of fruits, pastries, yoghurts, Sicilian cannoli, regional cold cuts and cheeses – including traditional cavagna ricotta, supplied by the local farmer.
Dimora delle Balze, also in the town of Palazzolo Acreide, is a meticulously revamped manor house where you can enjoy a wellness cabin, pool and little touches of luxury in a historic setting. The residence centres around a courtyard with rooms spread out across the estate, each with their own design, including potted palms, stone walls and upscale furnishings.
Wine lovers rejoice – this estate on the island of Salina is owned by prestigious wine producers Tasca d’Almerita. The Anfiteatro vineyard grows the exclusive Malvasia grape, which produces the island’s famous white wine. Guests can go deep and work in the vineyard, or choose a more leisurely pursuit and attend tastings with the estate’s sommelier. The property enjoys whitewashed buildings and a deep blue pool with views over the vines out to the sea. Each room has a private terrace with views towards Stromboli, plus you can even stay in the lighthouse overlooking the Aeolian sea.
This grand hotel is right next door to Taormina’s Ancient Greek amphitheatre. Step inside the sumptuous lobby, furnished with antique furniture and oriental carpets, and look out onto the vast terrace with a view of Mount Etna and the sea. The hotel is located high above the coastline below, but guests have exclusive access to a private beach at their sister resort. Rooms are decorated in an understated Italian style, and many have balconies. Indulge in a spa treatment at the on-site wellness centre and don’t miss a cocktail at the terrace bar.
There’s little reason to leave the grounds of this exceptional resort on the southwest corner of Sicily. Splash out on one of the Verdura Resort’s three villas, each with private pools, sleek furniture and muted colours. Two golf carts also come with each villa, which are perfect for exploring the property. Football-mad kids can sign up to coaching with professional coaches from Italy’s Juventus team – plus there’s also a water sports club, six clay tennis courts and two highly-renowned gold courses. If lounging is more your style, relax at the private beach or with an indulgent spa treatment.
Live like royalty at the Palazzo Brunaccini, which was originally owned by the princess Lucrezia Brunaccini. This boutique hotel, located in the heart of the city of Palermo, is full of original art and Art Nouveau style. The expansive suites have beamed ceilings and a mix of warm hardwood and bright, ceramic floors. Start your day with a Sicilian-style breakfast spread, before you head out to explore the nearby Ballarò market and Baroque architecture.
The island of Pantelleria, off the coast of Sicily, requires a plane flight or ferry trip to get there. Once you step inside the enormous doors of Sikelia, you are transported to another dimension. 20 dammusi rooms (white stone houses, traditional to the island) are the epitome of relaxed Italian luxury, kitted out with fine linen and high-design fixtures. There is a gorgeous pool and spa services as well as fine dining at the Themà Restaurant.
A carefully restored stone structure made up of small houses, Casa Talía now functions as a unique, hillside hotel in Val di Noto. Rooms are spread out over the residence with reclaimed design quirks, patterned tiles and wrought iron beds. Inside lies a hidden garden with fig and palm trees, where you can enjoy a relaxing breakfast under shady trees. Feast on local jams, fresh-squeezed blood orange juice and flaky pastries.
This is an updated version of an article originally written by Gillian McGuire.
For an ultimate local experience, check out this guide on where to stay in Sicily, bookable through Culture Trip.
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