Concierge.com's insider take:
Verdura is a pretty ambitious project, even by Sir Rocco Forte's luxury hotel standards. The only hotel on Sicily that merits the term "resort," eco-friendly Verdura occupies over a mile of pristine coastline and 560 acres of gently rolling land just east of Sciacca, a charming historic town of crumbling Baroque palazzi and buzzing local bars, its streets lined with Cubist-pruned orange trees. A quarter of the way down Sicily's long southwestern coast, only an hour from Palermo's Punta Raisi airport, Sciacca is well placed for day trips to the Greek temples of Selinunte and Agrigento. On arrival, you and your luggage are ferried by golf carts from a distant parking lot to the suavely modernist reception, lounge, and bar area. The 204 rooms and suites occupy low monolithic blocks painted in hot Mexican hues, or landscape-hugging beachfront villas with grass roofs. Inside, Sir Rocco's designer sister, Olga Polizzi, has done a decent job of weaving local motifs, colors, and materials (like Caltagirone tile) into her accessible urbane style. Sharp design meets laid-back leisure, in other words—and the same goes for the clientele, a mix of keen golfers attracted by the two 18-hole championship courses and the discreet, linen-clad Euro rich. The 230-foot pool, the huge spa (including four hydrotherapy pools), and the range of places to munch and sip (our favorite being cliff-perched mod-Sicilian trattoria Liolà) add a wow factor. Perhaps the only downside is the beach: From the main bar terrace it makes for spectacular sunset views, but up close it's partly rocky and prone to seaweed.—Lee Marshall
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:In a departure for hotelier Rocco Forte, whose portfolio has previously focused on transformations of fusty grande dame properties into chic urban hotels, this sprawling resort on Sicily's southwest coast was built from scratch on 500 acres of previously undeveloped beachfront, miles from the better-known sun spots. And with its 9- and 18-hole golf courses, massive spa, and private beach (a rarity in Italy), it feels more like a private compound than a Mediterranean getaway. Famed Italian architect Flavio Albanese conceived the striking stone-and-wood structures that house the 203 guest rooms with warm interiors furnished with deconstructed baldachin beds, custom rattan furniture, and printed fabrics in burnt orange and red. The resort is well suited for families (with a sizable children's club and a pool area for the little ones) as well as for couples looking for an almost-all-inclusive upscale experience. For the moment, the Verdura still feels a little bare: Although the place is touted as being surrounded by olive and orange groves, the grounds are still in the planting phase, the pool exposed to the baking Sicilian sun. And even though it is only an hour's drive from sites like Agrigento's famed Valley of the Temples, the resort is quite removed from the authentic Sicilian experience, which can be a blessing or a drawback, depending on your perspective. 2010 Hot List
Which room to book: All have sea views, but those in the front of the property have their own little garden area as well.Subscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›
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