Don’t credit me with the term – Four Seasons is the one who polled over a million social media followers and dubbed an official trend “Wandermust”: the insatiable urge of private travel globetrotters to satisfy their needs. desire to travel with an urgency and a rediscovered passion. . Sounds fair to me and perhaps explains why on a recent getaway to Sicily – an island I have dreamed of visiting for years – nothing short of a palace would do.
Enter the San Domenico Palace, Taormina, a Four Seasons hotel. The 14the-The Convent of the Century became a luxury hotel in 1896, welcoming personalities like Oscar Wilde and Audrey Hepburn. Now the Four Seasons have taken it over and turned it into one of the most exquisite, dare I say perfect properties that I have ever checked into, so much so that when I checked out outside three days later, I felt myself inadvertently ejected from the Garden of Eden. Here are the magic ingredients.
DESIGN It is the consummated marriage of the old and the new. The remains of the historic convent are everywhere, from nave-shaped hallways and vaulted ceilings to medieval art. But the incredibly luxurious rooms are immaculate and new, with modern decor that pays homage to a rich past; in the seaside suites, the private plunge pools are pure happiness. One room in the lobby, however, won me over: it has the magnificent nerve to have nothing but an antique desk, two gargoyles, and a magnificent view of the ocean.
THE LOCATION Speaking from this point of view, Taormina specializes in it. There is a volcano (celebrated Mt. Etna). An ancient Greek theater. Mountains that plunge into Cerulean beaches. Local art fueled by Sicilian mythology. And charming cobbled streets filled with bars, restaurants and shops. It is no wonder that Taormina has attracted famous travelers since the 19e century. If you only have a few days to spend in Sicily like me, spend them here.
THE VIEWS Etna is at your breakfast table, a surreal backdrop on the hotel terrace. While swimming in the divine infinity pool, there is this majestic island landscape that the tourists watching you have come here to take photos. And from select rooms, admire the ancient Greek theater while lounging in your bed. Even if you never leave the hotel, you’ve seen it all.
THE FOOD You came to Sicily to eat. Of course you did; 56% of Four Seasons ‘Wandemus’ survey respondents were eager for an ‘all about the food’ getaway. The San Domenico Palace knows this and does not disappoint. The property’s delicious restaurants specialize in Sicilian delicacies as well as locally sourced food and wine. I don’t think I’ve sipped a single variety that isn’t from the slopes of Etna (and in three days, I’ve sipped multiple drinks!). Breakfast is served on the terrace: Sicilian omelettes, freshly made cannoli, a decadent assortment of cold meats, cheeses, fresh fruit and pastries. Lunch at Rosso is an elegantly relaxed affair: pickled eggplant tartare and steamed octopus carpaccio; eggplant parmigiana; slices of “Cinisara” beef with arugula, pachino tomato and cheese flakes – or, on the pool terrace in Anciovi, a tribute to all things of the sea: sip a shot of grapefruit while indulging in chefs – of the sea like linguine with lobster, cherry tomatoes and zucchini flowers. The jewel of the hotel is the Principe Cerami, a gastronomic celebration of Sicilian cuisine offered by the chef from Etna, Massimo Mantarro. The tasting and à la carte menus are full of nuggets: raw Mediterranean langoustines, vegetable pearls, “cola” apple jam, steamed wheat and “calvisius” caviar; squid ink spaghetti, marinated squid tagliatelle and zucchini flower fondue; Roasted lamb loin with Tropea red onion, smoked ricotta and parsley sauce; for dessert, Etna hazelnut with mascarpone, Earl Gray and lime. Allow yourself five pounds to earn on this vacation.
LUXURY What did I say about the Garden of Eden? It’s outside your door, above the pool terrace: a medieval-style garden planted with orange and lemon trees and rows of aloes and lavender, overflowing with fragrance. It’s also in the hotel lobby courtyard, where an herb garden flourishes and sofas welcome guests to sit and, after all we’ve been through, take a break to enjoy. all this perfection.