Steeped in Old World Glamour, This is Taormina’s Newest Plush Property
Once upon a time, the San Domenico Palace in the chic Sicilian city of Taormina was a stop on every Grand Tour and the hotel entertained countless royals and nobility. Its popularity among the aristocratic set also led to famed artists, business magnates, actors and writers to make it a summer holiday stop. Everyone from Princess Margaret to Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor, to Truman Capote and Oscar Wilde have had a stay at the San Domenico Palace.
Today, the Four Seasons have taken this intimate property of 111 rooms and suites and given it the full Four Seasons treatment while still retaining the hotel’s original glamour to usher in a new era of fabulous Siciian hospitality.
Before it became a hotel in 1896, the San Domenico Palace was a convent for 50 years prior, which means the bones of this building are temple-like with details like artisan iron works, domed rooms, and cathedral ceilings painted with renaissance-like paintings. While these elements have been restored and retained to keep alive the soul of the property, the Four Seasons have beautifully blended its past with the present with elevated updates to result in a hotel that is as historic as it is contemporary.
The rooms and suites have been renovated in the clean and rich style for which The Four Seasons is known—think modern lines, white or neutral tones, and plush comforts. Although, within this aesthetic, there are heritage Italian elements such as perfectly laid wood herringbone floors, graphic black and white marble that panel entire bathrooms from floor to vanity to ceiling, and high ceilings finished with detailed mouldings and trim throughout.
Many of the rooms have terraces (which are bordered in glass for unobstructed views) and some even have private plunge pools, because this hotel centers itself around its spectacular views of both the Mt. Etna volcano and the vast Ionian sea below, as well as a striking view of the nearby Greek Theater.
Of course, The Four Seasons San Domenico Palace hosts a myriad of cultural as well as culinary explorations. The Greek Theater is just steps from the hotel, while day-long helicopter and yacht tours are available for a one-of-a-kind experience of Sicily. Guests can also hike Mt. Etna, visit the fish market and its seafood restaurants in Catania, as well as explore the most preserved village of Baroque architecture in the world, Noto. In the fall, when the summer crowds have left, there are the Taormina Film Festival and the annual wine harvest on the Etna to enjoy. Even within the hotel grounds there is much culture to be experienced as Sala della Grande Madia, the room which was the former convent’s refectory, is now a gallery which houses the most important artifacts and art of San Domenico.
The menu at each of the four restaurants, which range from fine dining to poolside fare, has been created by Mt. Etna native, Chef Massimo Mantarro who has designed dishes that are true to the region, but also creative by design. The Chef de Patisserie, Vincenzo Abagnale, rounds out the culinary team and brings his talents to this property after four years with Chef Mauro Colagreco at Mirazur in France, the three-Michelin star restaurant that was ranked #1 on the list of World’s Best Restaurants in 2019.
Sicily is having a recent rebirth in tourism and travel, and it’s clear this new Four Seasons in Taormina should top every traveler’s Southern Italian hit list.