Opened at the start of June 2021, this “seaside-meets-city sanctuary” has been exquisitely renovated by Rocco Forte Hotels, paying homage to the hotel’s storied history while offering exactly what you need for an amazing cultural and culinary experience on the Italian island of Sicily.
Located on the coast of the Sicilian city of Palermo, this property lives up to its description as a “seaside-meets-city sanctuary” as it overlooks the Marina di Villa Igiea and the Tyrrhenian Sea beyond. All of Palermo is at your disposal, with the opportunity to do everything from visit the city’s eight UNESCO world heritage sites, relax at the nearby beaches, like the popular Mondello Beach, and of course, soak in all the culture on offer. The hotel itself is just a 30-minute drive from Palermo International Airport.
To understand the hotel as it is today, you also have to know its history: Purchased by the affluent Florio family at the turn of the last century, the property welcomed many a famous guest, like King Edward VII of England—a tradition that continued in its post-war incarnation as both a popular film location for famed directors like Vittorio De Sica, and a hotel for many a celeb. With Rocco Forte Hotels now at the helm, the property’s vibe channels that storied history with lots of lush fabrics and Italian elegance, while offering plenty in the way of modern amenities and contemporary style. Designed by Olga Polizzi, Deputy Chairperson & Design Director of Rocco Forte Hotels, with Paolo Moschino of London-based Nicholas Haslam Studios, there are 78 rooms and 22 suites. That includes the “crown jewel” Donna Franca Suite, a 1,550-square-foot suite with sea views and separate living and dining rooms. Bonus: Suites come with a choice of experience, like city tours, wine tasting, and more.
The history and location are only part of what we love about this excellently renovated property. The cliffside outdoor area, with its pool, atmospheric seating areas, and sea views, is particularly alluring, as are the dining options. As one would expect in Italy, the restaurants are top-notch, with Creative Director of Food for Rocco Forte Hotels Fulvio Pierangelini at the head. There’s the signature Florio restaurant (see our F1S tips below for a don’t-miss breakfast choice), featuring lots of seafood and other Italian specialties, with many of the vegetables harvested straight from the garden at Rocco Forte’s Verdura Resort, just 90 minutes away. Igiea Terraza Bar, which offers live music throughout the summer and a private terrace for drinks and meals, and the Alicetta Pool Bar, located in a pavilion inspired by the city’s Palazzo Butera, round out the dining options. You’ll also find a number of wellness offerings, including an on-site spa, personal training, and private Pilates classes, a gym, and activities ranging from tennis to outdoor yoga. And speaking of activities, experiences range from a chance to explore the city by Porsche, culinary walking tours and cooking classes, a private helicopter tour, and more.
If you book with F1S, you’ll receive daily breakfast, up to $200 hotel credit, depending on the type of room booked, a discount on spa services, as well as an upgrade and early check-in/late check-out, if available.
“Make sure to try the ‘brioche with almond granita for breakfast at Villa Igiea’s Florio restaurant—like a true Sicilian,” says F1S advisor George Alexandrou, one of the first North American advisors to experience the new property.