- I stayed overnight at the real "White Lotus" hotel in Taormina, Sicily.
- Although I'd prepared for my stay, the luxury hotel and the town surprised me.
- Those looking to visit should consider the expensive price of taxis, and the restaurant is popular.
In April, I stayed at "The White Lotus" hotel in Taormina, Sicily.
In April, I spent one night at San Domenico Palace, a Four Seasons Hotel. The luxury, five-star resort is where season two of "The White Lotus" was filmed in Taormina, Sicily, Italy.
I stayed in a sea-view room with a terrace, which cost $2,248, or around €2,047, for one night and the price included breakfast.
It was the most luxurious hotel I'd ever stayed in, and a highlight for me was getting to see aspects of the hotel that were a big part of the show, such as the piano bar, the infinity pool, and the restaurant where the characters ate every meal.
But there were also many things about the hotel that I couldn't have known just from watching the show.
There were many surprising things about both San Domenico Palace and Taormina, the town the hotel is located in, that you wouldn't know from watching "The White Lotus."
As I was visiting the hotel for work, I did a lot more research than I would have done if I were visiting for a personal vacation. Despite this, there were many things that surprised me, from the lack of pavements in Taormina to the facilities available in the hotel that weren't shown on screen.
Here are eight things every "White Lotus" fan should know before booking a trip.
Unlike the characters in the show, guests don't get to relax at the hotel's private beach as it doesn't exist.
Season two of "The White Lotus" opens with the characters descending upon the hotel's private beach via boat, and there are several scenes that take place at the beach throughout the season.
But in reality, the hotel doesn't have a private beach. Noneof the beach scenes were filmed in Taormina because the beaches there are too rocky, series producer Dave Bernad said in an interview with Condé Nast Traveler. Instead, they were filmed at Cefalu in the northwest of Sicily, he said.
It was the most expensive hotel I'd ever stayed in.
The starting rate for an overnight stay at San Domenico Palace ranges from €1,900 to €2,500 or around $2,087 to $2,746, and prices vary depending on the time of year, the demand, and the type of room, a spokesperson for the hotel told me.
At $2,248 per night, my hotel room was the most expensive I'd ever stayed in.
There are more affordable options for fans who want the "The White Lotus" experience on a budget.
After checking out of San Domenico Palace, I spent a couple of vacation days in Taormina and checked into UnaHotels Capotaormina, a four-star hotel that cost €242.90, or around $262.70, per night. It was far less expensive than San Domenico Palace and had a lot of the same perks; the hotel had an infinity pool, a restaurant and bar, and my hotel room had a balcony with spectacular views of the sea. There was also a private beach, which as I mentioned, San Domenico Palace doesn't have.
There were many other affordable hotels in the area, including Hotel Isola Bella, a three-star hotel which is located directly across from the beach and costs around $109 for a double room for one night.
And even if you opt to stay at another hotel, you can still visit San Domenico Palace as the restaurants and bar are available to the general public.
I'd suggest taking public transport around Taormina, as taxis are expensive.
Unlike the characters in the show, I arrived in Taormina by bus. My journey from Catania Airport to Taormina's bus terminal took around one hour and cost €7, or around $7.50, for a one-way ticket. I'd advise anyone traveling by bus to purchase their ticket in advance at the ticket booth at the airport or online, as tickets can't be purchased on board the bus.
After arriving in Taormina, I took a taxi from the bus terminal to my hotel. The journey took around 10 minutes and cost €15, or around $16. Originally, the taxi driver tried to charge me €20 and subsequently lowered the price after seeing my shocked reaction.
I only traveled via taxi on a handful of occasions in Taormina, and each time it cost between €15 and €20, or between $16 and $21.50, for relatively short journeys. I'd advise public transportation for those looking to save money, as there were many bus stops dotted around the town.
There aren't many pavements in Taormina, which made it difficult to walk from my hotel to the beach.
One thing that surprised me about Taormina was the lack of space for pedestrians on the streets — there were almost no pavements.
It wasn't too bad in the town center, as there were lots of tourists, so cars tended to slow down. But whenever I attempted to walk close to the beach, which was in the opposite direction, I felt stressed and uneasy. There weren't as many people in this area, and there were many cars and motorcycles traveling at a faster speed.
Guests at the hotel are allowed to play the piano.
The pianist was off sick when I visited the piano bar, a staff member informed me. But they said I was welcome to give it a shot if I wanted, and they sounded sincere about the offer.
I'm sure any fan of "The White Lotus" would be surprised about this, given that one of the show's main characters, Mia, was extremely musically gifted and yet spent a long time trying to convince the hotel staff to allow her to play.
The restaurant is very popular, so make sure to book a table far in advance of your visit.
The hotel's main restaurant, Principe Cerami, was used to film many of the breakfast and dinner scenes in "The White Lotus." In real life, it's extremely popular and was completely booked up for dinner when I visited the hotel in April.
Luckily, I was able to dine at the restaurant for breakfast as this was included in my stay.
There are several facilities that weren't shown in the series, such as the spa.
The hotel has several facilities that weren't shown on camera, including a spa, gym, and a jewelry store that sells items worth millions of euros.
I didn't get a spa treatment, but the hotel staff allowed me to photograph one of their treatment rooms during my visit.
Prices vary depending on what treatment you get; for example, an aromatherapy massage and hyaluronic facial lifting treatment cost €480, or around $520, and a stone treatment massage costs between €250 and €270, which is approximately between $270 and $295, according to the website.
Overall, I had a fantastic time at "The White Lotus" hotel, and I'd encourage all fans of the show to visit Taormina.
Taormina is now one of my favorite places I've ever visited due to the gorgeous natural landscape; the town is located on a hill, so wherever you go you'll be able to witness stretches of gorgeous scenery, including the beautiful beaches, wildflowers, and Mount Etna, a volcano located between Messina and Catania in Sicily.
I'd definitely recommend Taormina to all "The White Lotus" fans. Whether you're able to visit San Domenico Palace or a different hotel in the area, you're bound to have an unforgettable experience like I did.
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