30 June 2015
VERDURA RESORT - CONTEMPORARY SICILIAN DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE
Verdura Resort fuses strong, modernist, environmentally-sensitive architecture with design that is simultaneously luxurious, firmly rooted in Sicilian culture and inspired by the spectacular Mediterranean setting.
In keeping with the raw, rugged scenery beyond the property, the architect, Flavio Albanese of Vicenza and Palermo, applied minimalist, contemporary lines to the construction of Verdura’s accommodation, spa, restaurants and outdoor entertainment arena. Making full use of the 230-hectare property, the 203 rooms and suites are generously sized and grouped and landscaped so that each one has a private terrace and an uninterrupted, breathtaking view of both the sea and the property itself, stretching across the golf courses, the orange, lemon and olive groves, to the mountains in the distance.
Taking inspiration from Mexican architect Luis Barragan, Albanese used bold, Latin terracotta and ochre for the exterior of the buildings, varied the textures by mixing stone, sand and wood and also incorporated essential ecologically-aware features, including solar energy and water-recycling – this is particularly important in Sicily, where rainfall is minimal and concentrated around short periods in the year.
The Rocco Forte Hotels’ Director of Design, Olga Polizzi, brought her experienced and intelligent hand on the design and feel of the resort, so that it has a tangible sense of place, a pared-down, contemporary edge and a simplicity that is in keeping with the local culture.
Upon completing the project in 2010, Polizzi explained, “My inspiration always starts with the place. Every project is a different thinking process: you ask ‘what is right for this place?’ I found Sicily hard, raw and rugged and this was reflected in the square, strong forms we have used and the hot colours. We also aimed to achieve a balance here between luxury and important ecological considerations.”
Scouring the island, Polizzi found that handcrafted tiles were a key traditional feature of its houses and villas, so this became a cornerstone of the design for Verdura. She borrowed the pattern from a 19th century tile and used it in different forms as a motif throughout Verdura’s private and public spaces. The throws, lampshades and cushions in the bedrooms, and the walls and upholstery in one of the restaurants all feature this motif. Sicilian company Caltagirone handcrafted the tiles which are used throughout the resort.
In the rooms and suites, each one slightly different from the next, Polizzi has set intense, Sicilian colours – violet, ochre, scarlet – as accents against a white background. Modern four-poster beds in dark wood have simple, romantic, white muslin curtains. Soft lighting is provided by lamps with fabric cylinders made by the renowned Italian lighting company, Flos. The floors are polished concrete.
Local mosaic was sourced for the bathroom walls. Colourful local artefacts used in the rooms include pots that were commissioned from a local potter and tiled tabletops. At the entrance to each room (and at reception) are plaster reliefs of ancient Sicilian artefacts and recreated by Italian company Recuperando. To create continuity from inside to outside, and to reflect the Sicilian grasses, bamboo canes have been used over the terraces to create shade and then emulated on the room ceilings by taking a plaster mould of the canes.
The rooms and suites are situated in either a ‘courtyard’ or ‘landscape’ building, each with private terraces and uninterrupted sea views. In all there are 47 suites, two large Ambassador Suites (169 sq m) and a Presidential Suite (175 sq m) which has its own swimming pool, hot tub, outdoor dining area and three private terraces.
All of the bedrooms feature walk-through wardrobes and spacious, naturally-lit bathrooms with walk-in showers for two, stone vanity tops and seating areas.
A number of well-known Italian companies collaborated in the resort design process, including Paola Lenti, Bonacina, Driade, Porada, Flexform and Gabianelli.
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Note to editors
Verdura Resort faces the crystal azure Mediterranean Sea on the south coast of Sicily. Set in 230 hectares of stunning landscape, with over a mile of private coastline, yet has just 203 rooms and suites giving a true sense of both space and privacy. Three world-class golf courses by Kyle Philips make Verdura the perfect all-year-round golf destination. There are six tennis courts; a 60m infinity pool; a soccer field; a fully-equipped gym; a wide-ranging sports and fitness offer and running trails through olive and lemon groves. The resort's restaurants and bars celebrate Sicilian cuisine with menus created from fresh organic ingredients complemented by a superb wine list. For a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, the 4.000 sqm Verdura Spa has four thalassotherapy pools, two saunas and one wide hamman, an extensive treatment menu and personalised well-being programmes. 4.000sqm conference room.
Tel :+39 0925 998175
Rocco Forte Hotels
Established by Sir Rocco Forte and sister, Olga Polizzi in 1996, Rocco Forte Hotels is a family of 10 individual hotels and resorts. All of the hotels are landmarks, both old and new, occupying magnificent buildings in exceptional locations. Led by a family who has been in hospitality for four generations, the hotels are united by their distinctive approach to service ensuring guests experience the best of the cities and surrounding areas.
Rocco Forte Hotels comprises: Hotel de Russie, Rome; Hotel Savoy, Florence; Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily; The Balmoral, Edinburgh; Brown’s Hotel, London; The Charles Hotel, Munich; Villa Kennedy, Frankfurt; Hotel de Rome, Berlin; Hotel Amigo, Brussels; Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg.
Future opening: Jeddah
Rosie O’Brien, Group Public Relations Manager
Rocco Forte Hotels