The New Destination To Know This Summer

The New Destination To Know This Summer

Rocco Forte Hotels owns some of the best-known five-star properties in the world – think The Balmoral in Edinburgh and Verdura Resort on the Sicilian coast. This month, the hotel group has opened Villa Igiea in a former palazzo overlooking the Gulf of Palermo. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or a family holiday, here’s why it should be top of your list – and how to win the chance to be one of the first to experience it...




Villa Igiea is located in a turn-of-the-century palazzo on the Sicilian coastline. The hotel – which only opened this month – is Rocco Forte Hotels' eighth property in Italy and is just 90 minutes from Verdura Resort – ideal for anyone wanting to plan a longer break on the island. It’s also only a 10-minute drive from the centre of Palermo, where visitors can explore the city’s baroque churches, the Norman Royal Palace or wander through the lively street markets. Year-round sites such as Monreale, Erice and Cefalu are only minutes away by car, and during the summer months, a boat is available to take guests to Mondello beach and yacht tours of the beautiful Sicilian coastline can be arranged.


Established by Sir Rocco Forte and his sister Olga Polizzi in 1996, Rocco Forte Hotels is a collection of 15 individual hotels and resorts. Each hotel is a landmark, occupying magnificent buildings in exceptional locations. Villa Igiea is no exception. Originally built as a private home in the 19th century, the influential Florio family bought the villa in 1899 and commissioned Italian art-nouveau architect Ernesto Basile to restore the property and turn it into a luxury hotel. Once considered the most famous retreat in Sicily, the hotel has been a symbol of elegance and hospitality that has seen artists, Hollywood elite and royalty pass through its doors. A long-loved seaside-meets-city sanctuary, the newly transformed hotel makes the most of its original tiered gardens, which sweep down to the port and out to the Tyrrhenian Sea. There are now 100 bedrooms, three Italian restaurants and bars and a Mediterranean spa, all of which make the most of its original palatial interior.


Designed by Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen of Nicholas Haslam Studios in collaboration with Olga Polizzi, Villa Igiea’s bedrooms and suites make the most of the building’s period features, while adding a modern edge. Furnished with classic antiques and fabrics in calming shades, each of the 78 rooms and 22 suites is fresh, light and designed to be inherently Sicilian. Details such as classic parquet flooring and Carrara marble maintain cool temperatures in the heat of summer and many of the rooms have sea views, adding a real sense of place for guests.


Set by the sea, in the middle of the tiered gardens, you’ll find Villa Igiea Spa. Inspired by the Mediterranean, the spa merges Sicilian design with multi-sensory healing techniques and signature treatments. Framed by Sicilian majolica tiles, typical colours of the Tyrrhenian Sea and comfortable furnishings, treatments have been curated by Irene Forte, which combine the scent of orange blossom and nourishing Sicilian botanicals picked from Verdura’s organic farm. High-tech and advanced facials and body treatments are combined with relaxing and indulgent therapies, carried out by an expert team of therapists and specialists. There’s also a state-of-the-art Technogym-equipped gym and fitness studio.


At the property, you’ll find three places to eat and drink, each typical of an Italian seaside villa. Guests can dine in the main restaurant, Florio, a grand mirrored salon where the Florio family would entertain royals. Here, the team serves some of the best local produce, including raw crustacea and grilled catch of the day, alongside traditional fresh Sicilian pasta. 

At the Igiea Terrazza bar, you’ll find a romantic terrace. Overlooking the garden and decorated with original charming frescoes painted in the 1950s, the vaulted bar serves Sicilian aperitivi and a cocktail list created by famed bar ‘maestro’ Salvatore Calabrese. His ‘Spirit of Igiea’ cocktail menu offers innovative twists on modern classics, inspired by Sicilian flavours and stories of the illustrious guests who have graced the hotel over the years.

For something a little more relaxed, guests can head to the Alicetta Pool Bar, which is enclosed in a pretty pavilion modelled on the same design as the pavilion of the Palazzo Butera in Palermo. Guests can enjoy sea views and discover a menu of Sicilian daily specials as well as fresh crudo, sashimi and seafood platters.

Interested? Here's Your Chance To Win A Two-Night Stay...


Rocco Forte Hotels has teamed up with SheerLuxe to offer one reader and a guest the opportunity to be one of the first to experience the striking new property. Register to become a Rocco Forte Friend – which gives you benefits such as early check-in, 15% off drinking, dining and wellness experiences and more – for a chance to treat a friend or loved one to a complimentary two-night stay of deep relaxation and pampering. The winner will get to stay in a junior suite with a sea view, enjoy a three-course dinner in Florio restaurant and have access to the hotel’s VIP amenities.


To enter the competition, register to become a Rocco Forte Friend and visit

Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily