By Kristen Oliveri
Villa Neri Resort & Spa Hotel, located in the Etna National Park, is an enchanting place to visit while in Sicily. Located in Etna and situated close to the volcano, the hotel boasts 24 exquisite rooms with the most luxurious of amenities. In 2014, the hotel went through a renovation to upgrade their offerings, and now has a series of sumptuous suites and executive suites showcasing traditional Sicilian architecture, but in a fresh, updated new manner.
At the top end of the Executive suites, the Fuedo Arrigo suite features two separate bedrooms and a living area, along with a spectacular furnished terrace with views spanning from Etna and the Nebrodi mountains out to the crystal blue sea. It also boasts two fireplaces, a wine cabinet fridge, and a coffee machine, among many other amenities. The expansive Marchesa suite is divided into two levels, with a living area, a sofa bed, and sitting room. The upper level contains a hydro-massage Jacuzzi and a bathroom.
During their stay, guests are encouraged to visit the “Petra Spa” and wellness center, which uses local Sicilian ingredients in many of their spa products and treatments. Ingredients such as fresh plant extracts and cold-pressed plant oils, sea salt, Etna grapes, spices, and citrus fruits that can aid in connecting both the body and the mind are used during your spa experience. The five-star spa also boasts world-class facilities including a sauna, a Turkish bath, a heated swimming pool with whirlpool, an experience shower, an ice fountain, and a relaxation area with water beds.
There is also a rustic dining experience to be had at “Le Dodici Fontane” restaurant adjacent to the hotel’s luxury swimming pool located amidst the property’s birch and olive trees. The cuisine is a mixture between Mediterranean classics and international flavors, and offers a degustation menu with a wine pairing, which includes the best of Sicilian wines.
Visitors looking to learn more about where that delicious Sicilian wine hails from can discover Cottanera, a nearby vineyard that’s only a short drive away. Cottanera was founded in the 1960s by Francesco Cambria, father of Guglielmo and Enzo, the two brothers who created Cottanera winegrowers in 1990. It stands on the northwestern side of Mount Etna, in Castiglione di Sicilia, and the vineyards are found at an average height of about 700 meters above sea level.
Also in Castiglione di Sicilia is Planeta Winery, located in the northern slopes around the village of Passopisciaro. While visiting the vineyards, guests can stroll along the footpaths, where they can experience the volcano after a glorious tasting at this picturesque winery.
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