Our Sicilian Palazzo…

Design Studio

Villa Igiea. Set in a breath-taking sea-side location on the perimeter of vivid Palermo, the foot of Mount Pellegrino and the Gulf of Palermo.

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This fabled 19th-Century Palazzo has a rich and illustrious history. Originally built to be a private villa, the influential Florio family commissioned Italian Art Nouveau architect Ernesto Basile in 1889 to restore the property and turn it into a luxury hotel.

Named after the daughter of the head of the family, Villa Igiea was once considered the most famous retreat and was known as one of the favourite venues of the bourgeoisie and royalty.

Constructed in 1900 at the height of the Belle Époque, a period of economic prosperity dating from the end of the Franco-Prussian War to the start of World War 1, the hotel is reminiscent of a magnificent castle, which overlooks the sea, complete with turrets and battlements.

Unfortunately, after the start of World War 1 in 1914, the luxury hotel was used as a hospital.

It has been a symbol of elegance and hospitality that has seen artists, Hollywood elite, and royalty pass through its doors. After the war, the building was restored to a luxury hotel and continued its legacy of being a Sicilian sanctuary of choice for everyone from Greta Garbo and Grace Kelly to King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain.

The hotel’s meticulous restoration is being overseen and designed by Philip Vergeylen, Paolo Moschino and the Design Studio here at Nicholas Haslam Ltd. It will be run as a 5-star hotel by Rocco Forte.

Villa Igiea’s rooms and suites blend period features with contemporary flair to exquisite effect. Furnished with classic antiques and sumptuous fabrics in-serene shades, each of the 100 rooms and suites is fresh, light and inherently Sicilian.

Locally crafted elements pay homage to the villa’s extraordinary setting, with classic parquet, traditional Sicilian tiles and exquisite Carrara marble maintaining cool temperatures in the warmest of summers.

The renowned Basile room, frescoed bar and grand mirrored ballroom are being restored to their natural beauty.

Rocco Forte will create menus featuring simple, local delicacies typical of an Italian seaside villa. Guests can dine in the main restaurant, a grand mirrored salon where the Florios used to entertain royals, on the romantic terrace, or at the pool for a more relaxed setting. Over looking the garden, the frescoed vaulted bar, once an iconic meeting place for locals and travellers throughout the ages, will serve a feast of Sicilian aperitive.

The impressive meeting and event spaces that have hosted lavish weddings, party conventions, meetings of ministers and Heads of State are also being carefully rejuvenated to accommodate groups and weddings of all sizes.

Set by the sea amongst the gardens will be the spa. Offering a Mediterranean journey of the senses framed by Sicilian majolica tiles, the typical colours of the Tyrrhenian Sea and comfortable furnishings, the treatments will be curated by Rocco Forte using Sicilian inspired products.

All of this establishes Villa Igiea as the final world in Palermo coastal glamour.

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For more images of this particular hotel project, please visit the project section of our website by clicking here.

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