Pantelleria, the exclusive island that had a recent star turn in Luca Guadagnino’s A Bigger Splash, is now home to a retreat created by the owners of Coste Ghirlanda, a premier producer of this island’s cult Zibibbo wines.
The 20 suites at Sikelia (www.sikeliapantelleria.com; from €400) were artfully fitted into a centuries-old complex of dammusi (the traditional domed stone houses) by the Milanese architect who designed Giorgio Armani’s house here.
Pantelleria is closer to Tunisia than Sicily, which is evident in Sikelia’s cuisine (replete with African spices and inflections) and its spa, set to open next year in a Moorish-inspired pleasure garden. It is precisely this privileged position (Homer called it “the navel of the Mediterranean”) which gives the island its look and its culture rich in contrasts, a place of Arabic forms and typical scents of Southern Italy.
The island stands out, amongst other things, for its rugged coastline and the green countryside overhanging the sea. This isn’t a place of sandy beaches, but rather one of small coves with crystal clear waters, spectacular and mysterious caves and a descent to the sea over smooth rocks. Pantelleria’s volcanic origins are also to thank for its authentic open air spa facilities: from the hot springs of Gadir and the Benikulà Cave natural sauna to the mud of the Lago di Venere, every corner of Pantelleria offers regeneration for the senses and reconciliation with nature.