When Cornishman Robert Trewhella built his dream villa on Sicily’s Bay of Mazzarò, little could he have known the celebrity haunt it would become. This is Villa Sant’Andrea, a Belmond Hotel in Taormina Mare.
Engineer Trewhella was instrumental in building Italy’s infrastructure, including the Sicilian railways. Having been captivated by the picturesque bay, he and his wife constructed a summer house right by the water in 1919. Their son transformed it into a hotel in the 1950s, after which it attracted a roll call of glamorous guests, from the cream of Sicilian society to Al Pacino.
However eminent the clientele, the secluded hideaway still feels like a beautiful private home. Set in subtropical gardens, it boasts a heated infinity pool overlooking the crystalline bay, open-air wellness treatments and stylish cabanas on the pebble beach. Guests can soak up the view from their private loungers, sip cocktails served by the beach butler or plunge in with snorkels to explore the hidden coves.
Lavish, light-filled accommodation reflects the Sicilian palette. Balconies bloom with jewel-like geraniums. In the garden-inspired Scented Suites, details include copper bathtubs, bright ceramics and vintage movie posters.
At the acclaimed restaurant, freshly caught fish and decadent Sicilian desserts are enhanced by shimmering sea views. The bar provides an enchanting spot for daytime granita or scenic sundowners. Romantic dinners can be set up on the beach. Tailor-made activities embrace nautical, culinary and volcanic adventures. A courtesy shuttle takes guests to enjoy sister property Grand Hotel Timeo in vibrant Taormina town.