For lovers of big resorts, Verdura has got it spot-on. Rocco Forte has long since dominated the Italian hotel scene and along with his sister Olga’s finely tuned decorating skills (previous triumphs including our favourites The Savoy in Florence and The De Russie in Rome) they have now made a brilliant success of Verdura. The resort consists of low-rise, minimalist modern buildings which blend gently into the Sicilian landscape.
Just under two hours from the closest airport, you ideally want to base yourself at Verdura for at least a week. Mind you, there is enough to keep you occupied for months: two championship-level 18-hole golf courses, numerous tennis courts, swimming pools both indoors and out, hiking trails and a long private sandy beach. Verdura spa is fast gaining a reputation as one of the best in Italy.
Children will be in seventh heaven (as will their parents – the kids club is free for over-fours). They get their own cinema for screenings, pizza-making classes, a paddling pool and range of sports including touch rugby and volleyball for the older ones.
Foodwise, of the four restaurants on site we love the fun buzzy trattoria Liolà. However, the fresh fish at Amare which sits on the water’s edge is sublime and dinner there is far more elegant and serene. If you want to explore away from the resort, then nearby Sciacca is a rough and ready fishing village with some surprisingly good restaurants on the port – otherwise head into the countryside to the idyllic village of Palazzo Adriano where the legendary Tornatore’s Nuovo Cinema Paradiso was filmed.
Like the rest of the resort’s interiors, bedrooms are soothingly simple and contemporary. We love the junior suites with their little private terraces and vast bathrooms stuffed with Ortigia products (made just across the island in Syracuse). Being so child-friendly, these rooms along with even the lower categories are large enough for a small child’s bed or a cot.