Dreaming of an ultra romantic wedding with the rugged hills + dazzling shoreline of Sicily as your backdrop? We know we are! If you share our sentiment for a one-of-a-kind celebration, then look no further than The Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, where your vision for a destination Italian wedding can easily become a reality! Entertain your guests in a stunning environment and treat them to a tailored menu of regional cuisine. Accommodate your friends + family with style by renting out the entire hotel or adjacent villa for exclusive use. Or plan the Italian honeymoon of your dreams and let the Grand Hotel Timeo staff set you up with all of the must-see sights + send you off on the most exciting adventures. Whatever journey you have in mind, The Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo will take care of all the details + hook you up with the trip of a lifetime!
Belmond hotels (formerly Orient-Express) have many amazing hotels, trains and cruises throughout the world. They have a few stunning properties in Italy and since we love Italy so much (we can’t wait for our next trip), we thought it would be fun to partner with Belmond to introduce one of their amazing hotels each month for the next several months. Hopefully this series will help those of you dreaming of a wedding or honeymoon in Italy! If you’re already married, consider one of the Belmond properties for an anniversary trip. :)
To give you a better sense of the personality and key features of each Belmond property, we’ll be interviewing a member of the hotel staff. These team members will share with us what they love most about their property, weddings and some tips from a local. To begin our series, we’re sharing the thoughts of Anna, The Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo PR Manager, and Mariangela, their Events Manager (who has arranged nearly 500 weddings!), a couple of questions:
GWS: Where is your favorite location on property for a wedding ceremony and why?
Our favorite location for a wedding ceremony is the private and exclusive terrace of the Presidential Suite with the most romantic view over the Bay of Naxos and on Mount Etna. Another great location is the hidden and exclusive terrace which leads right to the Ancient Greek Theatre of Taormina. We held amazing ceremonies in this terrace with a great view on the Theatre itself and on the Bay of Naxos.
GWS: Do you have a favorite wedding that was held at your property? If so, what made the wedding so special and memorable?
The most memorable wedding we had was a Danish/English wedding we had some years ago. The bride was a beautiful Danish girl and she was already pregnant. The groom was a young and fashionable English businessman. All the guests were beautiful and elegant, all the men were wearing tight and top hats, while all the women had long dresses. During the ceremony the landscape looked astonishing and while the bride went down by the stairs, with the sound of the violin playing “Here comes the bride”, flashes of lightings splashed on the nearly dark sky, it looked like a movie. Everything was moving and it was very touching. All the evening was very elegant with jazz music and decors of white lilies, grapes and grapevine – typical of September. They all had a great time and at the end of the meal wonderful musical fireworks were a splendid frame to the huge wedding cake.
GWS: Is there one area of the hotel, a feature or a service that guests cannot stop raving about when they visit and experience it for the first time?
One of the many highlights our guests rave about are definitely the gardens of the hotel. Most visitors might think that the Island of Sicily is rather dry and the landscape barren. Who has visited the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo in its blooming season from April until June will be surprised by its colourful flora and fauna which is almost too tacky to be true. Flourishing almond trees, purple Bougainville entwining around fences and door posts and perfumed iceberg roses seaming the paths! And if this is not enough, guests can continue their stroll right into the Botanical Garden of Taormina, which is connected to the hotel’s garden.
GWS: What is your must have dish at a restaurant on property?
One of our Signature Dishes, which our Executive Chef Roberto Toro and his team prepare at the Restaurant is the Fish and shellfish from the gulf served raw or lightly marinated with herbs. As you’d expect from an island, seafood is celebrated on most menus, and crudo, the Italian version of sashimi, is one of the most popular ways to eat it. Raw tuna and sea-bass Carpaccio in citrus marinade, oysters, red prawns from Mazara and much more is a plate of fresh flavours and soft, silky textures, topped with the salt of the salt mines from Trapani.
GWS: What is your favorite drink on property and where is your favorite place to enjoy it?
It’s said that the Literary terrace of the Timeo with it’s amazing view on fiery Mount Etna was one of the showplaces, which inspired D.H. Lawrence to write the novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. No wonder – our Head Barman Alfio Liotta had more than one muse when creating the passionate Cocktail LoveMe! Champagne Rosè, Chambord liquor, fresh strawberries, Passion fruit and black pepper are the ingredients of this aphrodisiac.
GWS: What is one local destination, store or restaurant you recommend our readers experience during their stay to give them a true sense of the local culture?
The staircase of Madonna della Rocca is a wonderful panoramic walk with fantastic views on the city of Taormina from above. In order to access the walking path, leading to Madonna della Rocca, you need to climb up one of the many stairways that cross Corso Umberto and after passing by picturesque Sicilian villas you will reach the bypass road Via Don Bosco, crossing the road and climb up the many stairs that will lead you up to the shrine of the Madonna della Rocca. The sanctuary itself is a very romantic place which embodies the heart of Taormina and this is also the reason why many couples chose this intimate place for their wedding or wedding proposals.
GWS: What activities offered by your property or locally do you recommend to your guests?
Start your married life by taking on a big challenge and conquer Europe’s tallest active volcano – Mount Etna. You will discover the volcano when less crowded and hot. Wait for a magic moment: the Etna Sunset. Explore Etna’s lava caves while our friendly and knowledgeable guide will explain the fascinating volcanic phenomena. You will wait the magic moment when the sun sets behind the volcano.
Another real once in a lifetime experience, which will last forever in the mind of our newlyweds, is a 30 minutes helicopter ride with breathtaking aerial views and great opportunities to take your own pictures of Europe’s tallest volcano, Mount Etna.
GWS: How do you make a visit special for a couple on their honeymoon?
We try to surprise them with little romantic touches throughout their stay at the Timeo. This can be a heart formed dessert at the restaurant at the end of dinner, a romantic turn down with rose petals and candles in their bedroom on their return at night or even a personalized welcome amenity with a romantic poem and a bottle of sparkling Sicilian wine to clink glasses on a lovely honeymoon.
To see how fun + stress free planning a celebration or honeymoon at The Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo can be, visit their website for more details today! And for all of you lovely couples who pull of a dreamy Sicilian destination wedding, know we’ll be just the teensy bit jealous, but more than anything super happy for you! ;)
Ciao bella + happy wedding planning!