One of the most beautiful options for accommodation on the island of Sicily is Villa des Oliviers, a five-bedroom villa on a vast estate owned by famed French interior designer Jacques Garcia. After many years taking on renovation projects at some of the world’s most glamorous hotels, including the legendary La Mamounia in Marrakech, Mr Garcia has accommodation of his own for welcoming guests: the extraordinary Villa des Oliviers, located as its name indicates in the middle of an enormous olive grove.  The villa was in fact the processing room for the extraction of oil from the olives; in great disrepair when purchased by Mr Garcia several years ago, what was then a roofless shell of a building has been transformed into an extraordinary home.  The main part of the villa consists of two bedrooms, one off each side of an expansive living room.  A further three bedrooms are accessible directly from a beautiful veranda that runs the length of the house.

This being one of the most personal of Jacques Garcia’s accommodation projects, the living room and bedrooms are full of books and artworks from the designer’s vast personal collection.

the living room of Jacques Garcia’s Villa des Oliviers

A section of the living-room floor is clear glass to allow appreciation of the ancient Greek mosaic beneath it.  There is a state of the art kitchen, of course, where a personal chef can work magic with Sicily’s sumptuous bounty of fresh food products; the villa is rented out with full staff to look after guests’ every need.  The large main bedroom is a world unto itself, with books, works of art, and a piano to entertain guests the old-fashioned way, with style and sophistication rather than electronic gizmos.

the main bedroom of Jacques Garcia’s Villa des Oliviers

The second bedroom is another treasure trove of interesting objets d’art; similarly, the three other bedrooms are tastefully decorated and artistically charming.  Sicily’s sunny climate can be amply appreciated outdoors, with walks on the huge estate a relaxing way to take in the views of the surrounding hills.  Afterward, a dip in the chic swimming pool surrounded by exotic vegetation can be enjoyed amid the sublime gardens created by landscape architect and frequent Garcia collaborator Patrick Pottier.  In the long evenings of the Mediterranean summer, outdoor dining amid centuries-old olive trees is a delightful option for dinner before stars fill the pollution-free sky.

the second bedroom of Jacques Garcia Villa des Oliviers

Villa des Oliviers was the first villa to be completed on the property, now complemented by the smaller, two-bedroom Hermitage Royale and the opulent, seven-bedroom Villa Elena.  All are far enough away from each other so that privacy and exclusivity remain uncompromised.  For large families or groups of friends travelling together, the Jacques Garcia villas makes an ideal sanctuary for personal revitalisation in an exclusive retreat.  The property is located six kilometres west of Noto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that figures among Sicily’s most beautiful cities.

the swimming pool at Jacques Garcia’s Villa des Oliviers

Celebrated in equal parts for the exceptional Baroque architecture of its main thoroughfare and its reputation for wonderful gelato and desserts, Noto is well worth a visit.  Villa des Oliviers serves as an ideal base for exploring southeastern Sicily’s many interesting cities such as Modica, Ragusa, and Siracusa as well as farms and archaeological sites sprinkled through the region.

the veranda of Jacques Garcia’s Villa des Oliviers

Written by : Robert La Bua