Sanctuary Under The Sicilian Sun

Passing gentle hills of olive trees, neat vineyards and fertile plains, they gradually appeared… windows peeping out to nature, burrowed undercover like contemporary look-outs, camouflaged by greenery. Sicily’s newest destination, The Adler Spa Resort, came into view, a structure blending into its environment. All natural, all environmentally sensitive.

The resort sits on a panoramic plateau, 80m above sea level, on the south western coast of the island at the toe of Italy’s boot. This expanse of stylish architecture is cloaked in contemporary design oozing tranquillity and stillness. Built into the mountain using natural resources of wood and stone, the slatted horizontal structures blend into the landscape seemingly expressing strength of stability and spirit. The colours grounding as they dissolve into the earth. Opened in July 2022, seeds are sprouting, buds are flowering and orange trees are adding to the organic produce served to nourish its guests as well as the environment. A botanical oasis.

The 90 spacious rooms are open plan, flooded with light from wall to wall sliding doors which lure in nature along with sightings of the Mediterranean Sea, each equipped with elegant furnishings, high-tech controls and offer easy access. Individual terraces offer additional relaxation space leading to communal landscaped gardens. Paved walkways take advantage of inspiring views with wafts of uplifting white jasmine, and dancing white butterflies, a gentle nudge to live in the moment. It’s so quiet and still, I do believe even the crickets whisper.

The pathway down to the beach follows the western border of the Torre Salsa Nature Reserve, a protected area which covers 76 hectares of wetlands, chalky outcrops and rare species including porcupines and tortoises. It’s a 15-minute nature walk through wild grasses and scented heathers or a pleasant ride on the hotel’s buggy. And worth it to hear the waves kissing the shore. The white cliffs in the distance and the buttercream coloured beach stretching as far as the eye can see. So special that sea turtles choose this place to lay their eggs in the sheltered alcoves of the natural dunes.

secluded beach

The Spa is a haven of stillness with colours in tune with its setting. The 15 treatments cabins are stylish and christened with channels of water at their entrance. Each is named after mythologists and enjoy views to the outdoor gardens. The wide range of treatments and therapies can be tailormade using Sicilian ingredients: a mineral mud wrap (especially good for osteoarthritis), a Sicilian candle massage, a bamboo stick facial and an Etna Ritual using volcanic powder, a scented bath with citrus fruit essence and a lava stone massage. Organic products are made specifically for the Adler Group, using natural resources such as pistachio oil, prickly pear, algae and salt. Sicily is a volcanic island and bestows beneficial minerals from the soil enriched in elements such as magnesium and potassium. Tuscany, South Tyrol and Sicily are the three regions rich in raw resources with active ingredients and essential oils.

A timetable of daily activities and classes range from guided e-bike tours and yoga to breathing, balance and posture classes. As for swimming, there’s a salt water hydro-massage pool, a freshwater infinity pool and for the enthusiast, a cooler, deeper pool reflecting into a serious, well-equipped fitness room. Dotted around the gardens and hidden behind trees are sun loungers and comfy oversized chairs to hideaway and relax in the silence.

Perfectly placed on a roof top, the Thalasso Pool Tub is a popular spot, especially at sunset. Floating in the warm water high above the sea, it is easy to believe the sun is communicating personally as it bids a spectacular farewell, journeying under the horizon leaving its trace in a colour palette. Nearby is a steam room and a suite of Swedish saunas, where twice a day the Panoramic Sauna stages its wellness ritual,Aufguss, a theatrical performance and one not to be missed. Expect hot temperatures while wearing a towel.

Created with illuminated channels of water beneath an open staircase, The Seaview Restaurant sets the scene for its display of Sicilian dishes and foods. Gambero red prawns are a rare and expensive delicacy. Their red colouring and distinct flavour come from the depths of the Mediterranean where they feed on rich minerals. Each week a Sicilian buffet welcomes local suppliers proud of their delicacies who delight in regaling their traditions and revealing recipes, from egg plant creations, cheeses and many a dish sprinkled with pistachios. Homegrown and harvested, foods served are led by the seasons from the resort’s garden to include edible flowers and Sicilian fruits and herbs, aided by fertile volcanic soil. Oranges and lemons are plentiful. Sicily is home to 67% of the citrus farms in all of Italy and it is the home to Tarocco,the Sicilian blood orange.

And of course, toasting this myriad of flavours is a long list of renowned Sicilian wines. Tables spill out for panoramic views while sipping coffee in the mornings, while at dusk the fire pits replace the day’s warmth creating a cosy glow on open deck verandas for evening drinks. Lunch is a more casual affair served on the al-fresco terrace at Osteria under the shade of a pergola.

Sicily is peppered with vineyards so, unsurprisingly, a forty-minute walk away, is a local winery, Baglio Caruana, which offers tours and wine tasting of its Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet. A delightful family business in a rural setting with a central pretty courtyard and a contemporary, airy tasting room.

Sicily is the largest Mediterranean island. On its eastern edge is Mount Etna, one of Europe’s highest active volcanoes and the largest of the three active ones in Italy, The island has a rich history with many monuments to see and ancient towns to visit. The resort organises excursions to those within reach or offers electric car for hire. The Valley of the Temples, (Valle dei Templi), is the key archaeological site of Agrigento which contains the remains of Akragas, an important ancient Greek city. The Temple of Concordia is considered to be the best preserved example of Greek antiquity from the middle of the 18th century. In 1997 UNESCO declared this a World Heritage Site. Try to visit at sunset when the shadows and lights create a unique dramatic experience.

Siculiana is a quiet historic town in the province of Agrigento. It was founded by Arabs who named the village “Suq-al-Jani”. Narrow cobbled side streets lead into a town square with a clock tower, built in 1887, the Church (Santuario del Santissimo Crocifisso) renowned for its etched Hebrew writings and the town hall housing art exhibitions of local artists. Dominating the area, high up on the hill is the Chiaramonte Castle built in 14th century.

Without disturbing history, the Adler Spa has harnessed the power of nature and entwined wellbeing within its culture and application of natural resources. With the benefits of treatments using volcanic powder, oils from local organic products, thalassic water and the calming effects of the Mediterranean Sea, I too am embedded in nature and at one in a sanctuary under the Sicilian Sun where the crickets still whisper and the rooms remain hidden from the outside world.

Bellisimo!

Jane travelled as a guest of The Adler Spa Resort, Sicily.

Find out more

Our Silver Travel Advisors can book a luxury break to Sicily: call 0800 412 5678. 

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Jane Wilson

Founder & editor of the Wellness Traveller

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