The ideal destination for honeymooners keen for a bit of sporting action to go with their poolside cocktail.
This beachside behemoth is truly a resort will all the trimmings. Multiple restaurants, a large spa with indoor pool, a beach packed with water sports options and a world-renown golf course? You got it. There is quite literally something for everyone at Verdura Resort, including an all-day kids club for any couples keen to bring the whole family, but anxious for some respite by the beach as well.
Set the scene
Set over a sprawling expanse of land are multiple terracotta hued buildings, laid out like a sunburnt village enclosed with neat lawns, decked out with lavender and bougainvillea. Guests cycle on one of the hotel’s many freely-available bikes around twisting paths that snake between these buildings and down to the beach, or maybe to one of the resorts many eateries.
The main hotel building sits opposite the spa, and encloses within it the Zagara restaurant and the hotel bar as well as the terrace where you eat breakfast. Beyond that is a lagoon style pool which, at the right angle, feels as though it spills into the sea behind it. Sipping your evening cocktail from the terrace, it is the idea spot from which to see the sun set behind the palm trees, and the reflection dance beautifully across the still water.
These are all spacious and well-appointed and most come with impressive views over the sea and the hotel’s verdant surroundings. While the designs are a tad dated and will not be to everyone’s taste, there is no faulting the size and luxury of the rooms, most especially the bathrooms, which are gargantuan in style (and feel more like a spa) and which come decked out with divine Irene Forte products.
Food & Drink
Where to eat at Verdura? You are spoilt for choice. The main restaurant, Zagara, is framed by orange blossom (from where it gets its name) and serves the most note-perfect Mediterranean cuisine. The watermelon and avocado with candied lemons is a mouth-watering delight, and the pasta dishes are divine- the linguine with local shrimp and red mullet spaghetti in particular. The wine (most of which is Sicilian) is a real treat and the mixologists create new and exciting cocktails every day from the upstairs (and very atmospheric) bar.
If you are a fan of seafood, Amare should be your first stop. The fact that you can walk up from the hotel’s sandy beach just adds to its charm. The space is rigged up to feel like a local fisherman’s taverna, and the food here is fresh and fantastic, matched only by the unfettered sea view and the sound of the Med lapping against the rocks beneath you.
Across Verdura’s vast landscape is an old medieval style tower and courtyard, within which an event space and restaurant have been ensconced. The latter is Liolà which is bursting to the Sicilian-plate-clad walls with character. It is a favourite spot, thanks to its proximity to the course, with golfers, but is also a must-visit lunch or dinner destination for any guests, churning out traditional Sicilian trattoria dishes and boasting a sublime beach view.
Opened in 2009, as the passion project of keen golfer Rocco Forte himself, Verurda Resort takes its name from the Dukes of Verdura, who used to own the land. As an homage to the last Duke of Verdura, cousin to The Leopard writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, a copy of that seminal work is in every room. Now a gold standard gold course, which has hosted global championships, Verdura is said to be Rocco Forte’s favourite of his hotels- where he goes to ‘recharge.’
Verdura is the flagship eco-project of Rocco Forte hotels. It is here that they are trialling their rainwater harvesting system and where they pioneer most of their sustainable initiatives: from solar power to locally sourced ingredients thanks to the resort’s own organic farm (which incidentally supplies the materials for Irene Forte skincare). The eco credentials here are therefore the best of any Rocco Forte hotel, which already has a dedicated and rigorous sustainability programme, which includes using mostly local producers to reduce carbon footprint, electricity saving technology, recycling, almost totally paperless administration, plastic reduction and the use of biodegradable materials.
This was without doubt the most family-friendly hotel we visited during our honeymoon. The resort has, actually, been designed with families hugely in mind. The impressive Verduland kids club runs pretty much all day and has educational facilities and its own pool and kitchen (for children’s cooking lessons!) as well as a fully operational nanny organisation for babies.
There is a dedicated concierge for older children, with everything from tennis to spa treatments on offer, and all children receive their own individual turndown service: with mini robes and teddies. It’s enough to make you want to be a child again.
Verdura’s spa is a world-class operation and clearly draws in a Sicilian crowd in its own right. When we visited, strolling around the steam rooms, indoor pool and outdoor relaxation deck, complete with plunge pool and jacuzzi, there was a local mother daughter group out for a spa day- proof positive that this place is a recognised treat.
The facilities here are excellent. There is an ardent professionalism here – from the gym encased within, which was one of the most well equipped we had seen- to the wellness programmes and treatments on offer – all of which are superlative Irene Forte creations: facials, full body rituals- the works. What makes that even more special is knowing that most of the ingredients in her products are sourced from this very resort.
Set in the stunning countryside outside the historic town of Sciacca (and near to the UNESCO World Heritage Valley of the Temples), Verdura is brilliantly situated for exploration of the area’s many charms. Yet part of the draw of Verdura is the place itself. It has so much on offer that any couple looking to base themselves somewhere for a few days will have the very best time just cycling around the landscape, or indulging in the spa after a day on a sailboat or an afternoon on the links.
Verdura Resort is a 2 hour drive from Palermo Airport, with regular flights from London on British Airways, Easyjet and Ryanair.
Elegant Resorts offers a 4 night, Deluxe Room package at Verdura resprt on a B&B basis from £1,475 per person, including economy flights, private transfers and UK lounge passes.
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