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19 Mar 2019
"To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual" (Oscar Wilde)
The small Sicilian town of Taormina has grown accustomed to hosting some of the biggest names in art, literature and film. Since the 18th century Goethe, Picasso, D.H. Lawrence and many more have come under its spell, seduced by its hilltop setting in the shadow of brooding Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano.
At the heart of Taormina’s mystique lies Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, an elegant, classical villa built into the craggy cliffs next to the Greek Theatre, with stupendous views that have been charming and inspiring guests since 1873.
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo offers 70 suites and bedrooms split between the main building and the adjacent Villa Flora. Most come with that amazing view - over the clustered terracotta rooftops of medieval Taormina, past the coves and headlands of the rugged coastline, and across to Mount Etna’s violet slopes and puffing peak.
The gardens at Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo are something else. A lush, sub-tropical park dotted with palm trees that spreads over five acres, including a kitchen garden that supplies the hotel’s restaurant.
The Restaurant offers a satisfying blend of Sicilian and Mediterranean cooking under executive chef Roberto Toro, making the most of local ingredients, such as Pachino cherry tomatoes, Bronte pistachios, Salina capers, Interdonato lemons and Mozia salt.
Before dinner, guests can enjoy an aperitivo on the famous Literary Terrace. Its view is one of the reasons why American playwright and author Truman Capote stayed at the hotel for two years. Couple that with an Etna Spritz made with local speciality drink, Amara Rossa, and the ultimate Taormina experience is complete.
If the leafy panorama stretching across and beyond the garden is not sufficient to induce peace and calm, then guests can head to the Wellness Centre for a signature massage. Called Sicilian Sensations, it features handmade soap made with the island’s extra virgin olive oil, a lava ash exfoliation, a local pumice stone footbath and a massage with oils scented with orange flowers and almonds.
There is fun to be had for young folk, too, with plenty of family trips on offer, from an excursion out on the water with a Sicilian fisherman, who reveals the tricks of his trade, to swimming in the dramatic Alcantara Gorge at the foot of Mount Etna.
And, at sister hotel Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea, there’s always the beach. Guests can take a short complimentary shuttle trip, or thrilling funicular ride, down the hill to Mazzarò Bay at Taormina Mare to this 19th-century former private residence. With its mystical islets, coves and even personal cabanas, all the family will love its private stretch of sand.
Set high in the rocky hills on the east coast of the island, with Mount Etna as a dramatic backdrop, Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo has long been the destination of choice for glamorous European and Hollywood stars—Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, Marcello Mastroianni and Elizabeth Taylor have all been guests.
Built in 1873 in a stunning location adjacent to the Greek Theatre, the hotel is surrounded by a six-acre park, with magnificent gardens encircling a panoramic pool. It is famed for its Literary Terrace, a favourite meeting point of distinguished guests through the decades.Download Factsheet