We stayed at the Verdura Golf and Spa Resort in Sicily for three nights in July 2015.
It’s a Rocco Forte hotel, one of only eleven in the world. For this reason and the price, we expected something pretty special.
The property is huge and offers everything a family could dream of: tennis courts, 3 golf courses, gym, spa, pool, kids club, football, planned activities for kids and adults, beach, a variety of restaurants, boutiques, and bikes and buggies to take you from each of those various points to the other.
This above point is both the hotel’s pro as well as its con. Verdura feels like Disneyland, without the characters. Kids run around everywhere (except for the spa pools which are over 16 years only) and with 200 rooms on the property, every facility feels busy. It does cater though to every kiddie need: from special laundry lists and spa treatments, to an XBox and daily activities at the kids’ club. I was a little surprised though to see that the kids’ corner at breakfast was full of only processed sugars – Cocoa Puffs and marshmallows. Something they can do better on for sure.
The most disappointing thing about Verdura is that it seems to completely disregard the rich culture in which it’s set. The resort is devoid of character, composed of flat, rectangular structures for buildings and generic interiors. I commented almost every day to my husband how much nicer it would have been if they had just tried to make it a bit more Sicilian. Parts that do get mention for their authenticity are the seafood at their seaside restaurant Amare, and the atmosphere at their trattoria Liolà.
We had small hiccups like the internet didn’t work the whole time we were there and the room was not exactly as described, but overall I have to say that the service at Verdura was fantastic: the bell staff who drove us around, the crew who ran the water sports on the beach (watch out for the jellyfish), the receptionist to took our broken suitcase to the closest town for repairs after her shift was over, the technicians at the spa, no stone was left unturned in ensuring our comfort.
It’s unfortunate that Verdura is quite far from the parts of Silicy that one might want to explore: Ragusa, Noto, Siracuse, Etna, Taormina. It on the West coast and a short 30 minute drive to Agrigento, the site of the Valley of the Temples, which is a must-see if you are in the area.
So if you stay at Verdura, enjoy the luxury and convenience of it all. It’s no surprise that a lot of its clients are Italian families who come to spend some time away and use its many facilities. But if you want to experience anything Italian, you best plan some time away from the property.
(For reference: After three days of biking, tennis, golf, spa at Verdura we moved to a smaller boutique hotel on the east coast of Italy, which I highly recommend doing for authenticity and exploration purposes.)