Four Seasons Hotel Opening In Taormina, Sicily

Filed Under: Hotels

Want to receive extra benefits for your stay at the Four Seasons Sicily, including a space available room upgrade, complimentary breakfast, a hotel credit, and more? Contact [email protected] for more details. He may even be able to help if you already have a stay booked.

There’s an especially cool Four Seasons hotel opening this summer, which I think is worth covering.

San Domenico Palace becomes Four Seasons

The Four Seasons Sicily will be opening as of July 1, 2021. This hotel will officially be known as San Domenico Palace, a Four Seasons Hotel, and it’s located in Taormina, Sicily. This is roughly a one hour drive from Catania Airport (CTA), and a roughly three hour drive from Palermo Airport (PMO).

The Four Seasons is located just off Taoramina’s main street, the Corso Umberto, so it’s an easy walk to the shops and restaurants in the old town.

Taormina, Sicily

As the name suggests, the Four Seasons is in the space of the former San Domenico Palace, which first opened in 1896. As you’d expect, an extensive renovation is currently in progress, so the hotel should be pretty spectacular when it opens in a few months.

San Domenico Palace (Four Seasons) exterior

San Domenico Palace is built on the site of a 14th century Dominican convent on the eastern shores of Sicily, overlooking the Bay of Taormina and the Ionian Sea. The hotel features views of Mount Etna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

San Domenico Palace (Four Seasons) view

San Domenico Palace (Four Seasons) view

San Domenico Palace (Four Seasons) area

The Four Seasons features 111 rooms and suites, some with private terraces, and even plunge pools. The hotel also boasts a spa, gym, an infinity pool terrace, a beach club, lush gardens, and several restaurants and bars.

This will Four Seasons’ third property in Italy, after the properties in Florence and Milan. On top of that, a new Four Seasons has been announced for Puglia, though that’s still a few years down the road.

Four Seasons Sicily room types

The Four Seasons Sicily has 111 accommodations, including 69 rooms, 31 suites, and 11 specialty suites.

To give you a sense of what to expect, here are the categories of guest rooms at San Domenico Palace:

  • The Superior Room is 301-312 square feet, and has town or cloister views
  • The Deluxe Room is 323-484 square feet, and has town or garden views
  • The Sea-View Deluxe Room is 290-388 square feet, and has sea views
  • The Sea-View Premium Room is 323-420 square feet, and has sea views
  • The Sea-View Premium Room with Terrace is 334-366 square feet, and has sea views

San Domenico Palace (Four Seasons) room with balcony

Here are the categories of suites at San Domenico Palace:

  • The Sea-View Junior Suite is 388-549 square feet, and has sea views
  • The Sea-View Junior Suite with Plunge Pool is 441-517 square feet, and has sea views
  • The Sea-View Executive Suite is 484-624 square feet, and has sea views
  • The Sea-View Executive Suite with Plunge Pool is 505-689 square feet, and has sea views

San Domenico Palace (Four Seasons) room

Here are the categories of specialty suites at San Domenico Palace:

  • The Etna Suite is 872-882 square feet, and has Mount Etna views
  • The Princess Cecile Suite is 969 square feet, and has sea, town, and garden views
  • The Teatro Suite is 689-743 square feet, and has Greek theater and sea views
  • The San Domenico Suite is 947 square feet, and has sea views
  • The Royal Suite is 1,507 square feet, and has Greek theater and sea views

San Domenico Palace (Four Seasons) room with bathtub

Booking the Four Seasons Sicily

It looks like the Four Seasons is currently accepting reservations July 1 through December 1, 2021. I’m guessing the hotel plans to be seasonal, though it’s at least a longer season than you’ll find in much of the rest of Europe.

It looks like rates during peak season start somewhere around 800EUR per night, while in November they start at under 400EUR per night. Obviously this hotel is pricey, but that’s not surprising given the Four Seasons name, the extensive renovation, and the lack of other luxury properties in Sicily.

If you’re going to book this hotel (or any Four Seasons), you absolutely should book through a travel advisor who is affiliated with Four Seasons Preferred Partner. This is a program allowing select travel advisors to add value for your stays without it costing you anything extra. Perks include things like complimentary breakfast, a hotel credit, an upgrade subject to availability.

Best of all, Four Seasons Preferred Partner can generally be combined with any rates you’ll find directly with Four Seasons. Ford is always happy to help with Four Seasons requests, and can be reached at [email protected]

This seems like a cool addition

I had the chance to visit Sicily several years ago, as Tiffany was living there at the time. I absolutely loved it — it’s so different than most other parts of Italy, and it’s charmingly run down. The food is awesome, the people are friendly (while still mocking you to your face if you order a cappuccino at the wrong time of day, natch), and the landscape is incredible.

Personally I think it’s cool to see a global luxury hotel group manage a property in Sicily (though there is also the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, which is well regarded). In particular, I appreciate that Four Seasons is tastefully restoring an existing historic property, rather than just building some cookie-cutter modern hotel that could be anywhere.

Of course it won’t come without controversy — many will argue it takes away from the charm, that this is just leading to a price hike at this hotel, etc. And that’s all fair enough. To me the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

Bottom line

In July 2021 Four Seasons will be opening its first property in Sicily, with the opening of a renovated San Domenico Palace. I appreciate how tastefully Four Seasons is renovating this property, as the hotel should still have a good sense of place.

For those who may have avoided Sicily in the past due to lack of luxury hotels, think again…

What do you make of the new Four Seasons Taormina?

  1. Very interesting. Location not the best, considering how far it is from the airports and only Palermo is served directly from the US.

    Will have to put rooms on sale in the winter

  2. I’ve been looking at cities to go to in Italy lately. Sicily has never been on my radar because lack of luxury hotels. Now it’ll definitely be on my list. Since Tiffany used to live there, can you have her to do a write up about Sicily?

  3. The Belmond in Taormina is generally considered the best hotel on the island and one of the better Belmonds. Surprised you didn’t mention it.

    I had a drink there and it was museum-like. Didn’t stay, though, so don’t know how good it really is.

  4. Stayed there a few years ago and loved it despite the fact it was not luxurious the way it looks now. It wasn’t cheap to stay there then either but it was really for the experience of staying inside a historical Dominican convent with the lovely views, gardens, etc. Taormina really is worth the hassle of getting to and this should be a really nice option. Would love to go back.

  5. Wouldn’t go anywhere other than the Belmond Timeo if I’m paying that kind of money. Stayed there in ’17 and it was truly excellent.

  6. This shouldn’t be that controversial? Taormina has a beautiful geographic location, but has been a posh tourist resort/village for well over 100 years now, so it’s not like this isn’t in keeping with the place or taking away any of the “charm”.

    Also for anyone reading who hasn’t previously been to Sicily — absolutely do not think you can fly in to Palermo, rent a car, and go to Taormina as an “easy” option. It will take you far more than 3 hours, and would generally not be a good time. Just connect such that you’re flying in to Catania.

    I would also broadly suggest not making Taormina the goal of any trip to Sicily, but that gets longer than a single comment 😉

  7. @ sharon — The U.S. isn’t really a core market for Taormina, historically. Lots of Brits, Germans, and Russians (all of which have plentiful direct flights to Catania), and then a significant number of Chinese packaged tours taking short stays.

  8. @ Kevin — It’s tricky, but I’d probably think of this hotel (or the Belmond) as “destination hotels”, where you’re going for the property and the immediate surrounds, versus “going to Sicily”. Taormina is lovely, but it’s also a fairly sterile museum of a town, and not a great location for actually experiencing the bulk of the things that (in my opinion) make Sicily special. Other than the views, Taormina could be any resort town in Europe.

  9. I’ve been long predicting that Sicily will go off with with developments like this. Rocco Forte was one of the recent ones to see it a few years ago and their hotel is fantastic. It’s a great destination, but I just hope and pray it does not become like Santorini, as for years Sicily felt just slightly under the radar with mostly Europeans going there and as such a bit laid back. Four Seasons will open people’s eyes to this beautiful place and I HOPE not bring in a rash of even more developments that will eventually negate its charm.

  10. The train from Catania to Taromina is great service, frequent and cheap. Probably not bad from Palermo. There was good bus service when we were there, too. I’d never rent a car for a CTA to Taromina trip.

    Having said that, been there, unless there was some concert at the ampitheater it is not a place where I’d spend a whole lot of time unless I was a high end shopper. Sicily is a beautiful place and well worth a visit.

  11. Sicily is my favorite beach spot in Italy after Puglia. Taormina is absolutely gorgeous and an easy drive from Catania. I am not sure I would want to stay in the city but probably closer to the beach. Taormina itself gets very crowded so it is nicer to stay away from that area.

  12. We spent our honeymoon at the SanDom in 1976and have returned several times. We sent our daughter and son in law there for their honeymoon. It is atmospheric in a sense of “old time movie majesty” . In fact on our first trip we had to have the two single beds roped together by the chamber maid who then wished us “ Augurri” With spectacular sea views from the terrace adjoining your bedroom, especially at breakfast, and the marvelous gardens, one could easily stay on the grounds the duration of the stay , but for a few jaunts to see the attractions. The only downside is the motorcycle noise coming from the road just below the hotel’s sea view side.

  13. This property looks tailor-made for spending your time reading and drinking and walking the grounds. I would consider booking it for two nights, and then moving to a full-on beach experience, followed by a couple nights in an urban setting.

  14. @ Nate nate — Eastern Sicilians will happily eat gelato-stuffed brioche for breakfast if the weather is nice, but find it very odd to take dairy in one’s coffee in general, and particularly after ~11AM.

  15. Be sure to visit Bar Turrisi in Castelmola if/when you’re ever in Taormina. It’s a (tasteful) penis-themed bar and it’s not something you’ll soon forget. Castelmola also has way better views since it’s much higher up the hill.

  16. For those who don’t know, Taormina is atop a steep hill. It was crazy busy one weekday in late October a few years ago. We had a car and drove from Palermo to Florence over four weeks. Spent about a week in Sicily. Actually preferred Isola di Ortigia which is a tiny cute and crowded island south of Catania. Much of Sicily is sparsely populated with beautiful terrain but many of the towns are industrial and not precious like northern Italy. Taormina is worth an afternoon visit but not sure I would spend more than two days there.

  17. I am in my 70’s now but still live in hope of visiting Taormina and the San Domenico Palace Hotel. My parents served in the 33rd British Hospital in Sicily and were married at St.George’s Church in Taormina in February 1945. Their reception was held at the San Domenico and I have photos of them arriving there in an army Landrover decorated with ribbons etc, my father wearing his uniform of RAMC and my mother wearing her Queen Alexandra uniform. All the bridesmaids were in uniform and most of the guests. I remember as a child seeing postcards of the beautiful sea views from the hotel and I used to dream of visiting. My sister went a couple of years ago and said it was wonderful to visit Taormina , but the hotel was undergoing renovation at the time. So pleased to hear that it will be reopening soon and hopefully I will get to visit it one day.

  18. Taormina is the Porto Cervo of Sicily – that’s where rich folks go on vacation. Not surprising, and glad to see it opening. Also, there are plenty of luxury accommodations in Sicily – just because they do not belong to major chains does not mean they are not there…

  19. I love Sicily – I have heard of the Belmond hotel that is there and it will be great to have a Four Seasons property as well. It is still quite a discreet place to visit generally and great weather in the summer.

  20. Not sure where those photographs showing the views from the hotel come from as having been to Taormina they are not correct. The beach shot showing Isola Bella (island in the sea) cannot be seen from this hotel.
    Best boutique hotel in Taormina is Hotel Villa Carlotta Taormina that has exquisite food and views form its roof top restaurant

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