Immersed in vineyards which seem to reach all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, La Foresteria Planeta Estate near Menfi in south western Sicily is a very special place to stay. With incredible cuisine matched with the estate’s own wines, the hotel is a gastronomic paradise.
Recommended by Annabel from Smudged Postcard
If you thought western Sicily was all about the sweet wine of Marsala, think again. La Foresteria showcases the best of Sicilian wine from the white Grecanico to the red Nero d’Avola.
The Planeta family planted vines back in the 1980s and have seen huge successes in recent years. Although the wine is now sold all over the world, there is no better place to experience it than at the estate itself.
Unlike a lot of luxury hotels, at La Foresteria you will not find muted beige colour schemes. The fourteen rooms at Planeta are full of warm Mediterranean colours.
Doors lead onto a garden terrace surrounded by fragrant herbs and olive trees: expect scents of rosemary, lavender or marjoram to come drifting through along with the sound of the Mediterranean Sea which can be viewed from most of the rooms.
The bedrooms share the incredible sea views with the hotel’s infinity pool, a perfect destination to while away the afternoon or to contemplate what might be on the menu for dinner. For it is the food which makes La Foresteria such an incredible place to stay.
The tasting menu at La Foresteria is particularly popular: each of the eight courses is accompanied by one of the estate’s wines. Expect delicately flavoured ravioli with ricotta and mint or perhaps freshly caught scabbardfish followed by a local Sicilian dessert such as cassata.
Although guests at La Foresteria will no doubt want to spend much of their time outside in the glorious sunshine, the hotel also has peaceful areas within it for those quiet moments.
The drawing room is filled with books and offers an honesty bar while the bar area itself is open at all times of day for a drink, be that a morning cappuccino or an evening aperitivo.
Trips to the estate’s wineries can be arranged, including the 16th century farmhouse at nearby Ulmo where the first vines were planted. Cookery courses with the resident chef are very popular: guests can learn the art typical Sicilian dishes such as caponata or cannoli.
Bike hire and walking routes are available for guests visiting outside of the scorching Sicilian summer while spa treatments can also be arranged.
La Foresteria is located midway between the medieval town of Sciacca and the incredible Greek temples at Selinunte. The hotel is an excellent base for exploring this much underrated corner of Sicily.
Palermo can be reached in an hour and a half while the port town of Mazara del Vallo with its strong links to North Africa is under an hour away.
Guests of La Foresteria may however find it difficult to tear themselves from the beauty which surrounds the hotel. The views from the terrace at La Foresteria across the vineyards to the sea are quite breath-taking.
There are some incredible beaches in Sicily and summertime on the island is legendary. The blue flag beach at Porto Palo is backed by sand dunes and located just a five minute drive from the hotel.
Here, at the Planeta’s own beach club, guests can enjoy a glass of wine or a light meal after a refreshing dip in the Mediterranean. There are many other excellent Sicilian beaches to explore close by including untouched nature reserves east of Sciacca.
La Foresteria can be reached from both Palermo and Trapani airports in an hour. Transfers are available from the hotel but car hire is highly recommended for guests who wish to fully explore this rich and fascinating part of Sicily.