Sicily is an island of contrasts. It’s dotted with Roman ruins, churches and castles, is home to Europe’s biggest volcano, and boasts an impressive gastronomy scene. It’s also home to some world-class hotels, as our Press Officer, Kelly, found out on a recent trip. We sat down with her to find out all about her experience.
The first thing that wows you before you’ve even stepped out of the car at the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo in Taormina is the location.
Driving through the bustling streets of Taormina, where people are ambling in and out of the cafes and shops, you suddenly appear upon the Timeo’s beautiful pillared entrance and realise instantly how special the hotel is.
Opened in 1873, The Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo sits right next to one of Sicily’s must-see attractions; the Greek Amphitheatre. In fact, it’s so close the hotel has its own private walkway to the architectural site which is often used by its rich and famous guests should they choose to visit.
Once inside the historic property, it’s the views in the other direction which then wow you. Perched high on a cliff top, the glamourous hotel has a breath-taking panorama across the bay of Giardini Naxos and Mt Etna and you feel totally secluded from Taormina. Whatever time of day or night it is just stunning and the Literary Terrace and Bar offers the perfect spot for a classic Negroni cocktail.
The rooms too, ooze old-school glamour with elegant touches such as French Balconies (again with views looking out across the bay) and marble bathrooms complete with decadent Penhaligon’s toiletries.
The concierge team, led by the passionate head concierge Steven Ceschia, go out of their way to make sure every guest is being taken care of – whether that just be a friendly chat after breakfast to organising a top secret wedding proposal.
Sicily is the perfect island to explore with many choosing to hire a car and combine more than one city in a holiday. I’d recommend heading south along the coast and combining a stay in Taormina with a stop in the town of Syracuse, which offers even more of the country’s rich history and culture, while blending modern day living.
The streets of Ortigia, which sits in the historical centre of Syracuse, is a place where you can spend hours wandering along the narrow paths and gazing at the Baroque buildings and churches.
To continue with the five star experience, stay at the Grand Hotel Minareto. A complete contrast to the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, the Minareto is located on its own peninsula overlooking stunning Ortigia and is complete with its own private beach set in a protected marine reserve.
A number of the suites have their own private pools which are ideal for lazing the day away. The hotel also has a decadent spa and wellness area, as well as a freshwater swimming pool and Jacuzzis on the hotel’s promenade where you can just sit back and simply take in the views at sunset.
Why not check out some of the great trips you can take in Sicily with Citalia?