Just in time for the much-anticipated high season in southern Italy, the landmark San Domenico Palace received a fresh new look and is now welcoming guests back to the lovely town of Taormina.
A 14th-century Dominican convent has been transformed into a hotel in 1896, with the addition of a new building in Italian Art Nouveau style (the Grand Hotel Wing), right next to the former nuns’ quarters in the Ancient Convent Wing. The Palace quickly became a highlight on the Grand Tour, favored by royalty and nobility and later on by artists, writers, and Hollywood stars.
The elegant hotel is uniquely situated between the majesty of Mount Etna, the deep blue waters of the Ionian Sea, and the beautiful south-eastern coast of Sicily, with spectacular views in every direction. It is surrounded by lush gardens re-designed by the acclaimed Italian landscape architect Marco Bay, boasting sweeping sea views and combining contemporary art with antiquities and authentic architectural detailing.
With only 111 guest rooms and suites, the atmosphere is quite intimate; and 19 rooms have en-suite plunge pools for added privacy, another key feature in corona times. Most coveted is the Royal Suite, boasting rooms opening onto a large terrace and plunge pool, with superlative views of Mount Etna, the ancient Greek Theatre, and the Ionian Sea.
“Everything past guests have always loved about San Domenico Palace has been restored, with familiar faces and vistas at every turn,” said General Manager Lorenzo Maraviglia. “It’s been a meticulous evolution that honors the site’s past while elevating every aspect to a new level of personalized service, extraordinary experiences, and the opportunity to create memories to last a lifetime.”
According to Assistant Chef Concierge Roberta Maria Cariola, “Within the hotel, our Art Concierge will take guests on a journey through 700 years of art, architecture, and fascinating stories. Our Sala della Grande Madia, the former convent’s refectory, is now a gallery displaying San Domenico’s most important treasures.”
On the culinary side, the rebirth of the San Domenico Palace heralds the return of celebrated restaurant Principe Cerami, where Executive Chef Massimo Mantarro offers a menu is inspired by the very land where he grew up, on the slope of Mount Etna. Additional dining experiences include the Rosso, with a large terrace, panoramic views of Mount Etna and Taormina Bay, and a menu of local and international classics; and the poolside Anciovi, with a menu rich in the bounty of the sea. Finally, the garden is the setting for Bar & Chiostro, where drinks are paired with lighter fare.
And should you want to venture out, you will find that most of Sicily has re-opened, from designer shops to charming outdoor trattorias to cultural venues such as the ancient Greek Theatre, with a full calendar of musical performances already scheduled for the summer.