ohos09_sicily_2Give your European vacation the boot—head to Sicily’s Verdura Golf & Spa Resort.
By Stacey Marcus

One hour from the international airport in Palermo, just beyond the lemon trees and olive groves, a new chapter in the rich history of Sicily, ItalyÂ’s largest island, is about to be written. When the doors open to unveil Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, the first resort in the Rocco Forte Collection, on the southern coast of Sicily, ItalyÂ’s best kept secret will quickly become one of EuropeÂ’s most exciting new luxury resort destinations. The $175 million hotel and golf resort will be the only luxury resort in the Mediterranean offering a five-star experience across golf, hotel, dining, and spa facilities, including 55 luxury villas.

Featuring 203 oceanview rooms and suites, each with a private terrace overlooking 1.2 miles of private coastline, Verdura was designed by Italian architect Flavio Albanese and the Rocco Forte CollectionÂ’s director of design, Olga Polizzi. Endless amenities include two championship golf courses, a 43,000-square-foot thalassotherapy spa, a yoga center, four restaurants, five bars, and a private beach. Additionally, there will be a 10,764-square-foot open-air amphitheater, seating up to 500 for screenings and live shows. Electric buggies will be used to transport guests, as there is a no-car policy.

Guests at Verdura can enjoy a variety of land and sea excursions to explore the rich culture and landscape of the area, including a helicopter tour over the Valley of the Temples, a trip to the city of Taormina to explore Mount Etna, a boat excursion to the Aeolian islands of Lipari and Vulcano, and a tour to the ancient Doric temple of Segesta. 39-0925-998180, verduraresort.com.

ohos09_sicily_1Staying in Sicily Three other hot resorts on island.

La Plage Resort, the regionÂ’s first five-star boutique property, which is a member of the hip Ragosta Hotels Collection, opens in September in Taormina Isola Bella. La Plage boasts fragrant gardens, solariums, and gathering spaces for guests to relax and unwind. 39-0897-634-111, ragostahotels.com.
The vineyards, olive groves, gazebos, and fountains at kempinski hotel giardino di costanza create an ideal oasis in which to relax and rejuvenate on the western side of Sicily in Mazara del Vallo. It is ideally situated to explore the treasure and tradition of the region. 00-800-426-313-55, kempinski.com.
Built on the site of a 15th-century monastery, the san domenico palace hotel is magically situated between an ancient Greek theater and Mount Etna in Taormina. The historic property boasts antique furnishings, peerless sea views, and year-round gardens. 39-0942-613-111, kiwicollection.com.