Having been lucky enough to travel throughout Europe with my job, I do sometimes worry that the "wow" factor will be lost on me. Truth be told, sometimes it does all blur into a haze of delectable food and crazily comfortable pillows. Sicily however, was rather different. It isn't the well-manicured island that I was expecting with perfectly proportioned olive trees standing to attention; it has much more character and is positively bursting with flavour. The Italians, Greeks, Arabs and even Spaniards have juggled ownership of the island and you can feel these different influences in not only its architecture but in the food and general attitude of the Sicilian people. It is an absolutely perfect family holiday destination and this is how to do an elegant Sicilian family holiday...
The Verdura Resort
I have to admit that the word 'resort' makes me squirm a little and, having never visited one before, I was feeling a bit apprehensive about my recent visit. However, upon arriving at the Verdura Resort, it was immediately obvious that it is incredibly peaceful and tranquil. Having rolled up the windows in advance of the screaming children, I opened the door to blissful silence. Not a tall building in sight, I was greeted with a cold beverage and an easy check in with spectacular views of the sea. Not convinced that I was out of the woods, I made my way to my rooms which were just a few minutes' walk from the main reception. If you aren't up for the walk, there are buggies or bikes that you can hop on for no charge. Adorable. It is, quite simply, one of the best luxury family resorts in Europe.
The rooms were spacious and airy with a clean yet contemporary design that brings an air of sophistication to any ""family friendly"" resort. All rooms come with sea-facing balconies or terraces and, in the style of all Rocco Forte hotels, are done to an impeccable level of detail. The four poster beds are a lovely addition to an already stylish interior. Having made myself at home, it was time to check out the beach. The sand is that beautiful white, fine stuff that looks like it could be photo-shopped and contrasts perfectly with the breathtaking turquoise of the sea. The beach is completely private and gives the wonderful sense of being truly away from it all. As for the food - Verdura specialises in both trattoria style pizza for the children and smarter gourmet fare for the adults, with a spattering of restaurants all offering a taste of the fresh fish Sicily is famed for. Needless to say, my jeans are a little tighter and food is a lot blander now I am back in the UK.
The Verdura really is a must for all those family travellers who crave the character and peace of a boutique hotel but need the extra facilities of a larger resort and are itching for the sea to dip in and out of during the summer months. So there you have it, for the perfect luxury family holiday this summer look no further than Sicily and the Verdura resort.