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Verdura Resort – Sicily

Italy, Travel Tips

Apr
08
2010

Verdura Resort & Spa

Sciacca, Sicily

April 2-6 – Easter

With the fortunate assignment of checking out Sir Rocco Forte’s latest resort, Vedura Resort & Spa, on the southern coast of Sicily, my husband and I spent our Easter holiday testing out the resort’s impressive golf offerings – 45 holes, spa complex – 46,000-square feet and encompassing sea views.

The resort's main building, which hosts two restaurants, a terrace lounge and bar area, the lobby and a small shop with caftans, Verdura monogrammed towels and sunhats.

The resort's main building, which hosts two restaurants, a terrace lounge and bar area, the lobby and a small shop with caftans, Verdura monogrammed towels and sunhats.

We had a four fantastic nights trying everything from the three restaurants (buffet style, traditional Sicilian Trattoria and formal dining on Easter night) to the spa (well, Friso indulged there with two massages!) and of course, the golf.

The back 9 has some fantastic (albeit windy and challenging) seaside holes

The front 9 of the East course has some fantastic (albeit windy and challenging) seaside holes

The 18th hole of the west course

The 18th hole of the west course

The weather was crisp and windy, though the sun still managed to fry my shins. We had a challenging but fun time testing out our rusty games on both the west (pictured above) and east courses – driving over olive groves, chipping from the sand (ok, me) and misreading the ever-changing greens.

frisdrive

pitching

Walking both golf courses allows the guest to understand the layout of the resort far better than just driving the golf cart between the buildings. Its also a good way tojudge which room location you’d prefer. Those along the back 9 of west course (or to the right of the main building if you’re facing the sea) enjoy the sunset view along with proximity to the spa. While those closer to the east course (to the left of the main building) are a bit quieter (provided your farther away from the pool) and have more complex views of both the craggy hillside and sea.

The east course facing villas seen from the course

The east course facing villas seen from the course

Divided between ground level villas, suites and condo-style buildings Electronic Cigarette with deluxe rooms stacked atop one another, the room variations are considerable. My preference are the villas all the way around the bend, facing the front 9 of the East course (seen from course above) for more privacy given the resort tends to be favored (and rightfully so – the kids club is impressive) by families.

The villa suites along the west course

The villa suites along the west course

The Superior deluxe rooms set behind and above the villas on the hillside

The Superior deluxe rooms set behind and above the villas on the hillside.

Between the infinity pool and the white sand beach (brought in), there are plenty of cozy spaces to take part in the beloved Italian tradition of ‘taking the sun’. Don’t be surprised if some guests spend their entire day sun bathing. As you can tell, the resort is prepared.

The straw umbrellas give the beach a nice tropical feel. By this summer the sand will extend all the way to the 12th century tower in the background

The straw umbrellas give the beach a nice tropical feel. By this summer the sand will extend all the way to the 12th century tower behind the 18th hole (hard to see in this pic, I'm afraid)

The lovely pool area with its myriad of seating options

The lovely pool area with its myriad of seating options

For Easter, Friso and I went into the neighboring small town of Sciacca for Easter mass and an authentic Sicilian lunch. We were delighted by the impromptu (well, it was for us) street celebration complete with a dancing Jesus puppet and streamers.

The lovely cathedral where we attended Mass

The lovely cathedral where we attended Mass

The parade

The parade and the cheering crowds of Sciacca

Overall, Verdura resort made for a wonderful getaway. We took great pleasure in testing out the vast options of amenities and appreciated the blend of golf (neither of us had ever golfed in Italy before) and the warm, southern Italian hospitality. As the resort ages (it’s less than a year old), I believe it will become even more assured, establishing more traction with international golfers who are eager for a European holiday that will appeal to everyone in the family.

Posted in: Italy, Travel Tips

Published by Meg, Thursday, April 8, 2010 No Comments

ADLER THERMAE TOSCANA

Bagno Vignoni, Val D’Orcia

Detoxing in Italy? If ever there seemed an oxymoronic concept. However, guests at the fully-booked (it’s late March!) Adler Spa & Resort, located in Bagno Vagnoni, the tiny, thermal spring village in the painfully picturesque Val d’Orcia area in Tuscany prove the idea isn’t as absurd as it sounds. In fact, why wouldn’t the promotion of well-being, benessere to the Italians, be perfectly appropriate in a country intent on living la dolce vita?

The Adler Thermae Toscana in the Tuscan Sun

The Adler Thermae Toscana in the Tuscan Sun

Out of all the Athletico Physical Therapy_Massage Therapy rehabilitation and a fantastic read of our specialized services offers, massage therapy is a patient favorite. This type of treatment is the perfect complement to any rehabilitation program.

As our society and we as individuals become increasingly more focused on our personal well-being and preventive measures towards living longer, healthier lives, it seems not only wise but practical to invest in such maintenance, no matter the cost.  Here at Adler Thermae Toscana, the idea is to enjoy your state of well-being. Unlike us goal-oriented Americans, who often see pleasure as something only available upon merit, the Italians have combined, yet again, doing what’s good for you with doing what feels good.

The charming town of Bagno Vignoni

The charming town of Bagno Vignoni

With over 100 treatments, 25 spa rooms, three different pools and multiple saunas, natural grottos and of course, the water from the famous, local springs, the Adler Spa is as impressive a spa complex as any. The multiple grottos separate it from other spas given the sheer option. Below is a picture from the Salt Grotto which is available just for women every day from 10:30 to 1pm so no bashfulness need be overcome.

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Grotta Salina

Moreover, it miraculously caters to all ages, from honeymooners to families with small children. Sure, there are silent rooms and various quiet corners tucked around the property so that kids don’t have to be part of your experience, however, as a result, the stuffiness that permeates so many high-end spas today is noticeably, and wonderfully absent. Given the spa is run by Italians, the mood is constantly cheerful with chatter echoing down every hallway and strict attention is paid to the aesthetics of the resort with potted pansies and manicured lawns.

The grounds and pools at the Adler

The grounds and pools at the Adler

And, as to be expected, the food is excellent. Yes, they do offer spa-friendly meal options and half of the meals are buffet style allowing one to choose their level of indulgence. The wine list displays all the spoils of the local area (Montalcino is less than 20 minutes away) while the resort offers guided tours of local vineyards. What amuses me most about staying at the Adler Thermae though is witnessing the wide range of people, who despite their dissimilar intentions, seem to coexist quite pleasantly right alongside one another. Just now I am watching from my balcony an elderly couple dressed in coordinated track suits heading back to the room from a brisk walk in the hills pass by a family splayed along three lawn chairs cheering their toddler as she stumbles to walk from one chaise to another while a couple embrace romantically in the corner of the larger pool.  Ah, harmony or is it just the very fact that everyone here knows they are doing exactly what they want in order to feel good.

A Shiatsu Massage

A Shiatsu Massage

Whether it be sport – the gym is fully equipped with life fitness equipment (far better than that cruddy Technogym stuff European gyms often stock) and a roster of classes, including daily morning yoga – or relaxation or pure gastronomic indulgence, the Adler Thermae wisely caters to embracing the combination.  Must we truly suffer to promote our own well-being? My advice is to ask an Italian.

TESTED TREATMENTS:

I'd like you to believe this is me, please?!

I'd like you to believe this is me, please?!

Shiatsu Massage – my therapist Simone was fantastic. Even though I’ve got a big bump preventing me from lying on my stomach, Simone manipulated my whole body with deft technique that allowed every crick, sore spot and tense muscle to relax and all I had to do was breathe. It felt like the yoga high after a tough class but without any of the personal effort.  It could get addictive.

Cocoon Facial – this is recommended as an anti-stress facial. It certainly worked for me! So much so that I lost control over my bowel and committed the number 1 spa fauxpax – remember, I am pregnant and it’s hard to control gas at this late stage.  And okay, maybe I shouldn’t have had gelato so close before my treatment. Luckily the sumptuous Maria Galland products she used are wonderfully fragrant, thus she was safe from any potential odor.  (Either way, my farts smell like roses)

The Cleopatra Body Rub – a decidedly soothing body treatment where you are first painted with thick olive oil cream and then covered in a cooling and honey milk combo, all the while lying one what you first think is a plastic tarp splayed over the table. Only after the painting is done and you are wrapped mummy-like, in thin paper sheets does the tarp fill with warm water and surround your entire body eveloping you in this sort of inner-tube tomb – hence the Cleopatra reference. Luckily they leave your face open to the air so clausterphobia won’t entail.

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Posted in: Italy

Published by Meg, Thursday, March 25, 2010 No Comments

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About Meg

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Meg is the founder of luxury travel consulting company, Friend of a Friend Consulting. Her three books, Italian Hideaways, Caribbean Hideaways and England's Hideaways are published by Rizzoli. Passionate about travel, hotels and wine, she continues to write freelance travel pieces and is currently pursuing a Masters in Wine through the WSET.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are solely my own and do not reflect separate business relationships with the subject. Whenever posts are supported financially, they are designated as such.