Escape to Sicily with Rocco Forte Hotels
Elegance, grand design and impeccable service combine at storied Villa Igiea, Palermo. Join Rocco Forte Hotels’ loyalty programme and you could be in with a chance of winning a stay here, too
Sicily has a fascinating and illustrious history, partly thanks to its position close to where Europe ends and Africa begins, its geography influencing the island’s architecture, design, food and lifestyle to this day. And nowhere is this more evident than in its vibrant sea-meets-city capital, Palermo.
So, when it came to Rocco Forte Hotels extending its Sicilian portfolio, Palermo seemed like a natural choice. Opening on 3 June, Villa Igiea will join Verdura Resort as the second property on the island from the family-run group, bringing the total in Italy to seven, with another seven throughout Europe. Villa Igiea was originally a private villa, before the Florios, one of the most influential families in Italy in the 19th and early 20th centuries, commissioned Art Nouveau architect Ernesto Basile to restore it and turn it into a luxury hotel. At one point it was the most famous retreat in Sicily, with royalty – Hollywood, famous artists and writers – having the pleasure of staying there.
From first glance, you immediately know this is somewhere truly special. The palatial sandstone building, constructed in 1900 during the Belle Époque era, is flanked by verdant gardens and overlooks the glistening Tyrrhenian Sea. As befits a Rocco Forte hotel, the inside is just as breath-taking. Rocco Forte Hotels’ director of design, Olga Polizzi, collaborated with Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen of Nicholas Haslam Ltd, to ensure it was lovingly renovated whilst maintaining all the glamour of the era. The Sala Basile meeting room, the bar with its beautiful fresco wall and the grand mirrored ballroom have all been restored to their natural beauty and each of the 100 rooms and suites has the contemporary yet classic Rocco Forte signature style offering a strong sense of place – think handmade tiles, tailormade rugs and accents of creams, blues and browns.
Chef Fulvio Pierangelini, creative director of food for Rocco Forte Hotels, is in charge of the menu, focusing on local delicacies and specialities: expect lots of delicious seafood, classic pasta dishes and an abundant use of aubergines, tomatoes and courgettes. The dining experience will be just as spectacular, with the choice of eating at the main restaurant with its mirrored salon, the romantic terrace or even by the pool, if you’re feeling more relaxed. The bar has been a meeting place for locals and travellers throughout the years and now, with its vaulted ceilings and sumptuous chairs and banquettes, is a gorgeous spot for cocktails and Sicilian-style aperitivi. The hotel has also hosted many lavish weddings in its time and this will once again be on the agenda when the hotel opens. It’s certainly a magical location to tie the knot.
It wouldn’t be a five-star destination without a spa and Villa Igiea delivers on that front, too. Situated in the gardens, the serene space has been curated by Irene Forte and treatments are influenced by the island’s nature and surroundings.
Villa Igiea is a ten-minute drive from the centre of Palermo, where guests will find Baroque churches, the Norman Royal Palace and an abundance of street markets. The pretty towns of Monreale, Erice and Cefalù are all also a short car drive away and, in the summer, guests can take the private boat to dreamy Mondello beach. We know where we’re hoping to be on 3 June.
Become a Rocco Forte Friend
Rocco Forte Hotels’ loyalty programme is free to join and full of exclusive benefits. These include early check-ins, late check-outs and 15 per cent off all dining experiences and spa treatments, plus a few surprise perks.
This month, Rocco Forte Hotels is offering you the chance to be one of the first people to stay at Villa Igiea, Palermo. For a chance to win a two-night stay, simply become a Rocco Forte Friend. The winner will get to stay in a Deluxe Room with a sea view and also enjoy a romantic three-course dinner for two at the main restaurant.
Stay must be taken within 12 months of notification. For full terms and conditions, click here. The winner will be selected at random. Prize draw closes at 23.59 on 30 April 2021.
Terms and Conditions
1. Open to UK and Channel Islands and Isle of Man residents aged 18 or over.
2. The closing date for receipt of entries is 30 april 2021
3. Prizes: A complimentary 2-night stay at Villa Igiea, Palermo in a Deluxe Room with a sea view for two; A three-course dinner at the main restaurant for two
4. No cash alternative.
5. Only one entry per person
6. Travel conditions apply. For full terms and conditions please click here. Promoter: Rocco Forte Hotels
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