By Charmaine Hibbert
It is almost 11.30pm as we pull up outside reception; it has taken a little over an hour to get
here, thankfully the check in is very quick and our luggage has been whisked away to our rooms. Due to our late arrival the hotel has informed us there is food in the room but I am
dying for a drink and to be honest a beer is the only thing that is going to quench my thirst.
When I take my first sip I am so glad that I went with the beer option, Birr Arpa turns out to be a very local beer from Sambuca di Sicilia which is 15-minutes away from the resort and I highly recommend you try and find your local stockist.
The darkness of night makes it is hard to take in the resort; it does look beautiful with all the
lights setting a relaxing mood, modern but Moorish architecture and I can hear and taste
the saltiness of the sea in the air. I know what the resort looks like from photographs
but I will have to wait for sunrise to get my bearings. I finally make it to my room and my
eyes light up when I see the bed, which looks beautiful in the low light. A four-poster style
but without the posts and netting hanging down on three sides from the metal rectangle
that seems to float from the ceiling. The furniture complements it completely, I then walk
through the wardrobe where you can hang your clothes on one side and shelves mini bar,
safe on the other are all finished in a dark wood.
My shoes are off so when I enter the bathroom I can already feel the underfloor heating and
the sand stone finish is oozing quality and the walk-in shower is big enough for at least four people and the deep bath with central taps is perfect for a romantic coupleís.
After a wonderfully refreshing sleep I open up the big doors to reveal my own shaded patio
with two sun loungers, table and chairs with a perfect view of the Mediterranean Sea. I then
realise that my room isnít a frontline suite, but the way the resort has been designed the
frontline rooms are built below and into the terrain giving the rooms behind an
uninterrupted view. Flavio Albanese who designed the property has certainly done a wonderful job and with Sir Rocco Forteís sister Olga Polizzi undertaking the interior design, the resort certainly has that uncluttered elegance feel about it. What also impressed me was the design of the window shutters which are again finished in dark wooden and sit snugly to the glass so the sun can be beaming outside but if you choose to have them closed you would never know. I head to breakfast and pick one of the outside tables, the sun is bouncing off the huge swimming pool with the water twinkling like jewels on a tray.
The Rocco Forte Sicilian Open is being played and the boys are out watching the golf which
gives me time to grab one of the green bikes and cycle round the resort to take in the site.
Cycling is the ideal way to traverse the resort. There are a number of docking stations so you can cycle around stop off lunch, a drink or a stroll along the beach and then just pick up another bike, it is the perfect way to get around, enjoy the unpolluted air and exercise at the same time.
As you would imagine in Italy the food is wonderful and over the three days we sample a variety of pasta dishes which are produced to perfection and the buffet lunch
during the golf showcased a variety of dishes and desserts all washed down with some
lovely local wines while sitting perched above the 16th hole, where the sea crashes on the
shore to the right as you look down the fairway.
There are several restaurants here including a fish restaurant which seems to float on small
stilts as the waves gently reach the shore just outside the door and the pizzeria which is at the other end of the property and its delicious BBQ smells waft over the course as we stand
around the 18th green and watch the final groups finishing.
After another restful nightís sleep and breakfast, itís time to hit the spa. I am shown around
the four outdoor thalassotherapy pools which are kept at different temperatures, there are
fifteen treatment rooms including double treatment rooms, an indoor pool, gym, fitness
room, two saunas one Finnish and one infrared and a double-height steam room which is as
big as a football pitch.
Now I love a good steam so after my tour I head there and to my surprise and delight I have
the place to myself, the sand stone is similar to the stone used in my bedroom and the
design could have been transported from ancient Rome with big square slabs of stone in the
middle with stone seating surrounding them.
As you would expect the showers are no ordinary showers, operated by a touch of a button with an option of four cold body jets. After about 45mins of going from the steam room to the showers and back again it was time to relax and I head to the relaxation room which looks out to the mountains, you can choose from indoor or outdoor loungers, now the views are perfect but I am not sure how long I lasted but I feel so relaxed I find myself waking up an hour later.
It is our last night at the resort and watching the sun go down over the pool and looking out
to sea with a few drinks on the outside terrace was the perfect way to end what has been a
wonderful stay at the Verdura Resort.
I would normally end my review there, but the final day sees us leave the resort and head to
Planeta vineyard on our way back to the airport, now as you probably are all aware I like a
glass of wine or four and the Planeta vineyard produces one of the best Chardonnays in the
world so I was certainly looking forward to seeing how this wonderful wine is produced.
As we reach the entrance I have a little chuckle to myself, the entrance is so unassuming,
the buildings are typical Sicilian style farm buildings. We are introduced to our host who is a
cousin to the family who own the vineyard and the knowledge she imparts to us is truly
inspiring, I could listen and taste the wines for hours and not just because of my love for the
grape. Listening how each wine is produced around the island in the different vineyards,
what grapes are used how the vines interact with the soil and the short history of the
Planeta are worth the visit alone.
The visit ended with lunch in one of the courtyards, with different cheeses, breads, olives
and of course, a large quantity of wine produced by Planeta being consumed. If I havenít got
this point across so far let me just spell it out for you, you need to spend an afternoon here.
As we head back to the airport to catch our flight, I reflect back on what has been a
wonderful three days, I could certainly spend a lot longer here, I feel so relaxed and
refreshed. The food and wine has been exceptional and the Verdura Resort is the perfect
getaway for a couple of days, a long weekend or a week or two, throw in the beautiful island
of Sicily and the wonderful locally produced wines, yes you need to put Verdura Resort on
your must visit list.
Verdura Golf & Spa Resort
S.S. 115, Km 131
92019 Sciacca AG
T: +39 0925 998001