Rocco Forte Hotels has unveiled its 14th property, Villa Igiea, a historical Art Nouveau palazzo overlooking the Gulf of Palermo. Bookings are open as of Thursday, June 3.

Originally built to be a private villa, the Florio family commissioned Italian Art Nouveau architect Ernesto Basile to restore the property and turn it into a luxury hotel. In its history, Villa Igiea has seen artists, Hollywood elite and royalty pass through its doors.

Constructed in 1900 at the height of the Belle Époque, the hotel is reminiscent of a castle overlooking the sea. Director of design for Rocco Forte Hotels, Olga Polizzi, in collaboration with Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen of Nicholas Haslam Ltd., oversaw the restoration to preserve its historical features, while keeping with Rocco Forte’s signature design style. The Basile room, the frescoed bar and the grand mirrored ballroom have been, while the 100 rooms and suites have been made larger (reducing the total room count) and now also offer interconnecting rooms for families.

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Chef Fulvio Pierangelini, creative director of food for Rocco Forte, will create menus with simple, local delicacies, typical of an Italian seaside villa. Guests can dine in the main restaurant, a mirrored salon where the Florios used to entertain royals, on the terrace or at the pool for a more relaxed setting. Overlooking the garden, the frescoed, vaulted bar, will serve a variety of Sicilian aperitivi and classic cocktails.

Set by the sea amongst the gardens is the spa. Facilities include four treatment rooms, a double treatment suite with a private relaxation terrace, a beauty salon, offering hair and nail services, a relaxation room with an outdoor relaxation terrace, and a Technogym-equipped gym, with a fitness studio.

A true urban resort, Villa Igiea is easily accessible by land or sea and only a 10-minute drive to the center of Palermo, where visitors can admire the city’s Baroque Churches, the Norman Royal Palace or simply wander through the street markets. Year-round sites such as Monreale, Erice and Cefalu are only minutes away by car, while in the summer, a boat is available to take guests to the Mondello beach.

Villa Igiea will be Rocco Forte’s seventh property in Italy and second in Sicily, complementing Verdura Resort (a 90-minute drive from Palermo).

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