Verdura Golf & Spa Resort is Europe’s most exciting new resort, located on the south coast of Sicily near the fishing village of Sciacca. Recently picked by Conde Nast Traveller to appear on their 2010 Hot List, the resort offers discreet exclusivity that few places can match.

The resort is set over 230 hectares of stunning landscape with 1.8km of private coastline, yet has just 203 rooms and suites, giving a true sense of space and privacy. All rooms have private terraces and sea views and the Olga Polizzi-designed interiors combine modern luxury with authentic Sicilian motifs. There are two 18-hole championship golf courses and a 9-hole, designed by leading architect Kyle Phillips; six tennis courts; a 60m infinity swimming pool; a fully-equipped gym and running trails which meander through the olive and lemon groves. The resort’s restaurants and bars celebrate Sicilian cuisine with menus created from fresh organic ingredients complemented by a superb wine list. For those seeking deep relaxation the Verdura Spa is exceptional – with four thalassotherapy pools, an extensive treatment menu and personalised well-being programmes.

The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily is as captivating as it is diverse. For centuries, it has been at the crossroads of civilisations and each has left an indelible imprint on this Italian region. Verdura is perfectly positioned to explore the island with many historical and cultural sites situated close by.

If golf isn’t quite the first thing you think of when you think of Sicily, you’re not alone. But don’t let that fact count against the Verdura Golf & Spa Resort; after all, if they’re successful, it’ll soon seem like the most natural association in the world. And while the olive country of Mediterranean Italy may not immediately recall the links at St. Andrews, it is a stunning setting for a boutique-style luxury resort, especially one by Rocco Forte.

We generally don’t place much stock in brand-name hotels, but Mr. Forte’s name has so far exhibited a pretty strong correlation with a certain tastefully decadent luxury, as well as a visual style that’s at once classic and modern, thanks to the Forte family’s Director of Design, Olga Polizzi. Here on both counts Verdura is no exception. It’s built on a slightly larger scale than some of his urban properties, with 203 rooms and suites set on a mile-long stretch of southwestern Sicilian coastline, with two 18-hole golf courses and a spa complex that’s itself the size of some boutique hotels.

Four restaurants keep guests comfortably fed, and for such a stylish place, it’s remarkably family-friendly — there’s a separate pool and children’s club, and even menu accommodations for picky eaters. In a way it’s the classic Forte luxury boutique, grown up and moved to the seaside — a confident first step indeed.