Villa Sant' Andrea: The White Lotus 2.0
Sicily has gone from being the hidden gem of Italian tourism to a jet-set exclusive luxury getaway over the last ten years. Now, to top things off, it has gone full Hollywood thanks to The White Lotus! I stayed at Belmond's Villa Sant'Andrea in Taormina in October 2022, and can confirm that it is difficult to have a more luxurious experience than this. The trip of a lifetime awaits!
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Where to stay
Villa Sant'Andrea, A Belmond Hotel, Taormina Mare
Luxe property from 1830 with upscale rooms and suites.
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Get ready because your very own White Lotus adventure awaits, just without the drama!
Marbled bathrooms, up to fifty square meters of walking space, Dyson hair dryers and balconies with stunning views to the bay of Mazzaró. The rooms and suites at Villa Sant'Andrea will make you wish you never had to go home!
Enjoy the private beach club with constant service from the hotel staff or lounge in the heated outdoor infinity pool overlooking the bay.
Prefer to relax within the premises? There are plenty of spacious, lighted nooks and crannies where you can open your book. Just beware that you will be constantly distracted by the grandeur of your surrounding to complete a chapter.
Fitness buffs can take advantage of the (small) gym with brand new equipment. Alternatively a morning hike (or run, for the most ambitious) up the steps into the historic town will surely work up an appetite!
Sicily has evolved to become the cradle of refined Italian gastronomy. You cannot go wrong with food in these parts; whether that be spaghetti alle arselle or a cannolo al pistacchio with granita. The daily breakfast at the hotel is feast. For dinner, eat at the hotel one night but then be sure to venture into town to Osteria Santa Domenica, Tischi Toschi and Osteria Rosso Divino.
- Make sure to take passegiatas through the center of town both early in the morning and after dinner in the evenings to get a 360 degree vibe of Taormina.
- For a historical deep-dive, visit the ancient greek theater which offers majestic coastal views.
Tours & Day trips
Il Padrino (The Godfather) Tour: visit the various locations where parts one and two of the legendary trilogy were filmed. In Savoca you will see where Michael Corleone met Apollonia (the Bar Vitelli is still there!) and in Forza d'Agró the church from another unforgettable marriage scene.
Castelmola: this quirky hill top town is a great place to go for an aperitivo as you contemplate the narrow strait separating Sicily from the Italian mainland.
Boat tour: for the best swimming possible as well as exploring caves, I would recommend a sunset boat ride on a traditional gozzo from the port of Naxos.
Mount Etna: instead of admiring it from afar, hike it!
Catania: chances are you will be flying in and out of Catania. I would suggest you take half a day to visit what is one of the more underrated provincial capitals of Italy and indulge in everything al pistacchio!
Pro tip: Make sure to ask for prices from the hotel concierge when booking things through them and to vet it accordingly with your Fora advisor. Luxury tourism in Sicily still operates predominantly on hidden referrals and commissions between hotels and suppliers where the buck is passed on to the client.
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