Verdura is an ultra-modern golf resort set within 230 hectares of rugged Sicilian landscape – olive, lemon and orange groves, huge cacti, and palm trees – and facing a mile of private beach. Rooms and suites are arranged in an attractive arc making the best of the sea views.
Created by Rocco Forte and his designer sister Olga Polizzi, the five-star sprawling property is the epitome of stylish Sicilian luxury, with minimalist interiors made by local craftsmen and artists. While the design is stunning – stark black and white Modernist rectangles, warmed with Sicilian ochre and terracotta – the landscape plays a major role: huge floor- to-ceiling windows are strategically placed to show off the coast and the mountains.
What’s on offer
A striking, lake-sized outdoor infinity edge pool forms the focal point of the resort – positioned beneath towering palm trees and overlooking the beach – while six tennis courts, a football pitch and a shopping centre in a medieval tower complete the offering. To get around, simply grab a bike or call for a golf buggy.
The 4,000 square metre spa is a cool fusion of culture, design and wellness; its dramatic white front is more like an art gallery than a health centre. Based on the Kneipp philosophy of healing, four outdoor thalassotherapy pools are a highlight, each with varying salt densities, minerals and algae (temperatures range from a scalding 38 to a bracing 18 degrees Celsius). While soaking up the mineral goodness, gaze at the mountains in the far distance.
Other facilities include a 20-metre indoor heated pool with clear glass sides, allowing you to swim in full view of the Sicilian landscape; a cavernous stone-tiled steam room; male and female Finnish saunas in the changing rooms; and a spacious, scenic gym. In the summer, the Spa Bar serves healthy smoothies and low-calorie cocktails.
The quiet relaxation room has eight modern recliners, each separated by traditional lace curtains, offering more of those lovely views. It also has the most impressive selection of books (predominantly in English) that we have ever seen at a spa.
Tell us about the treatments
I had a Facial Ritual. Normally, this would incorporate products from Forte Organics, who use local ingredients such as apricot and pomegranate, but – as someone who is allergic to aloe – my therapist, Veronica, accommodatingly switched to Pevonia.
Each treatment room is a spacious cube with a small vanity and changing area, and lined curtains creating a darkened cocoon. Veronica invited me to sit in a woven chair, so comfortable and hammock-like that I began to doze. She bathed my feet in a bowl of warm water infused with Sicilian lemons before massaging my feet and legs. I then lay face down on the bed for a back massage. Veronica used very confident, deep but soothing strokes along my spine, shoulders and glutes, finally moving my arms above my head for an extremely blissful stretch.
For the facial, Veronica massaged a rich cleanser into my skin before removing it gently with hot towels. She then pasted a thick, warming mask, containing soothing rose oil, onto my face and performed a head and shoulder massage while it dried. After removing the mask with warm towels, she massaged in facial oil, concentrating on my eye sockets. To conclude, she sprayed a zesty mist in the air before encouraging me to inhale an aromatic oil to clear the head. Checking my face in the bathroom mirror afterwards, it looked plump, smooth and deliciously hydrated: the effect of the facial lasted a few days.
With four restaurants on site, you don’t need to leave the resort to try the widely-revered Sicilian cuisine. La Zagara offers fine dining (our black prawn ravioli was a triumph) while Liolà is a more traditional Sicilian trattoria in the base of the Medieval watchtower. Adorned in colourful local ceramics, it had a lovey outdoor patio and views over the sea.
In the summer, the Amara beachside restaurant serves salads, pizzas and barbecued-fare, while five bars complete the offering – don’t leave without sampling the lovely Sicilian wine or the olive oil, which is made using the resort’s own olives. Try it with the Saba, a Sicilian concentrated grape juice that's similar to a sweet balsamic.
Who would like it?
Fans of modern design and nature lovers; the resort is a great example of both. Golf predominates, but there is a warm family vibe too – the kids’ club offers everything from cooking classes to water sports.
Find out more. A double room at Verdura starts from €240 and includes access to the spa, three golf courses, six clay tennis courts and outdoor pool.
9th May 2017
Clever, inspiring design, sublime views, a vast, clean and empty pool, solitary relaxation areas to read, write or commune with my muse.
Small talk, discussions about spirituality or astrology, any products containing tea tree oil or aloe (sadly am allergic), busy pools where you can’t do laps.
Behind the scenes