What: A 15th century monastery, now a luxury hotel with sweeping views of the Mediterranean and Mt. Etna.

Where: Perched on the hills of Taormina, Sicily, once a favorite holiday destination of Goethe, Capote, Dali and Dumas.

Why: Referred to frequently as the most luxurious hotel in Sicily, San Domenico is nothing short of a palace of serenity. In using the original structure of the former monastery, the hotel has managed to cleverly retain the undisturbed sense of tranquility. The modest, beautifully decorated luxurious bedrooms boats views over the warm Mediterranean Sea and the historic town nestled below. The restaurant’s cuisine takes its inspiration from local Sicilian gastronomy and guests have a choice enjoying it in a number of settings — from the old refectory and the sweet-smelling lemon garden to the sublime dining room overseen by chef Massimo Mantaro. For further relaxation the Beauty Corner is on hand to give the body ‘new luster’ through natural thalassotherapy, while the large swimming pool located in the spacious flower garden provides guests with a place to achieve paradisiacal repose.