At the foothills of Mount Pellegrino resides the dignified Palazzo Villa Igiea, its elegant, sand-coloured walls, arched Moorish windows, and characteristic tower heralding your arrival as you sail into the Gulf of Palermo. Here, on the fringe of Sicily’s bustling capital, encircled by blooming gardens, snug corners, a magical pool, and terraces with a view of the Mediterranean Sea, an extraordinary experience beckons.
“Villa Igiea is a splendid revelation. Picture a fusion of Raffles Singapore with a Sicilian mansion flair. Post an extensive restoration and refurbishment, it flung its doors open in 2019, manifesting the grandeur it once boasted and continues to exude. The details are a visual banquet, with each room and suite uniquely crafted both in dimension and decor, whilst the level of service is soaring. Does it verge on too refined or aristocratic? Absolutely not. The ambiance is more cosy than imposing. It’s one of those domains where you reckon an additional night would have sufficed—there’s a plethora to explore and savour in Palermo.”
Flight time: 3h and 5m
Transfer time: 30m by car from the airport
Best period: April to October
Time difference: None
It took nearly a decade for the charismatic British hotel magnate Sir Rocco Forte to restore this venerable icon to its former glory, originally envisaged by Palermo’s affluent merchant family Florio, during the city’s halcyon days in 1900. Then and now, Palazzo Villa Igiea emerged as the city’s crown jewel, a coveted haunt for Hollywood luminaries, sports icons, political dignitaries, and royals from across the globe, illuminating both the establishment and the city. Under Rocco Forte’s stewardship, Villa Igliea’s illustrious era was resurrected.
Stepping into Villa Igiea is akin to traversing through time. It’s as if one is invited to the old family Florio’s private villa. The ambiance radiates an elegant and enchanting extravagance, synonymous with the social life of the aristocracy. The edifice, captivating living areas, and the 78 individually adorned luxury suites and rooms have been meticulously restored to their original grandeur. High ceilings, an abundance of natural light, splendid terraces with vistas of the ocean and gardens, sumptuous soft beds, expansive marble bathrooms, and stylish furnishings in vibrant yet classic hues. It’s opulent enough to host royalty, yet the demeanor and ambiance render everyone at ease, making one feel at home. Here, the entire family can unwind and revel in la dolce vita, enveloped by an authentic Sicilian ambiance.
Awaken to serene Sicilian mornings, with the aroma of the sea and jasmine, and a delightful breakfast on the terrace or in the open garden lounge of Florio Restaurant. Fresh ingredients are either harvested daily from the hotel’s own vegetable garden or delivered from the local surrounding fruit and vegetable gardens. The culinary craftsmanship in both Florio Restaurant and Alicetta Pool Bar is of a superior calibre. The dishes, prepared with the finest produce and crafted with heart – simple and sincere. Pizzas, fresh fish, and shellfish are grilled to perfection on a large open grill – accompanied by desserts, cocktails, and a seasoned sommelier’s selection of southern Italian wines.
Igiea Terrazza Bar is the heart of the hotel. Here, the true essence of ‘Aperitivo Ora’ is unfurled. The bar’s drink maestro has concocted an unparalleled menu of beverages, each inspired by the locale’s history – classic concoctions with Sicilian and modern nuances. Each night unfolds with live music, dancing, and card games in the delightful ‘games room’, well into the night.
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