Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, Sicily, Italy

Dolce far niente


What can we say about Belmond that hasn’t already been said? The premium hotel brand is an OutThere favourite for many reasons, one of which is its penchant for the experiential. Thanks to its innovative business model, the luxury chain is never shy to devise the most cutting-edge activities for its guests – and we would know, having enjoyed their experiences in all four corners of the world. Just when we thought we’d seen it all, Belmond’s Italian offerings invite distinguished travellers on a pastime we deem peak sophistication: doing hardly anything at all.

It’s a rather strange, but admittedly clever move from the premium hotel brand with a penchant for the experiential. The luxury brand usually comes up with the most cutting-edge activities for its guests – and we at OutThere should know, we’ve tried and tested many of them in all four corners of the world.

But for those of us with busy lives, perhaps doing nothing is the ultimate experiential activity – a new peak of sophistication in luxury travel.

We’re unsure whether this ‘dolce far niente’ – the sweet art of doing nothing – was cooked up by Belmond’s brand team or it is something rooted in Italian ideals of blissful laziness and indulgence. But honestly, who cares, we quite like the idea.

So, this year, Belmond properties throughout the Italian peninsula offer a myriad of sweet nothings. For instance, the second season of the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeos Otto Gelend pop-up restaurant is on the horizon. Join us sometime between May and October, we can savour the breezy eatery’s delights, looking out onto the Ionian Sea, together! We’re glad to report that on a previous visit, the restaurant’s impressive eight-course dinner was kind to our waistlines.

Around the corner, Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea has got us excited about a lazy boat ride starting from the hotel’s private beach. We’re thinking a chilled glass of super-Tuscan while we immerse ourselves in the humble allure of the lesser-known islets off Sicily’s coast. Local life and traditions, a little birdie has told us, will be shone a light on during the mini-cruise, but we’re promised that this is an invitation to reflect and dream, not a history lesson.

If anything, history is only ever a vehicle driving the year’s experiences at Belmond, not a field of study. In the case of the brand’s properties in and around Florence, Villa San Michele and Castello di Casole, this is taken quite literally. Street artist Luca Maleonte’s customized 1930s Fiat Musone will be on display at both hotels, alongside other opportunities to wallow in art: we’ll be roaming around Tuscan sculpture parks like the Pazzagli this summer.

A little bit and a lot of nothing has rarely felt this good.

Belmond dolce far niente

Photography courtesy of Belmond

Belmond dolce far niente

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