It was in 2008 – four years after the Sanoners had inaugurated ADLER THERMAE in Tuscany. That event marked our first step beyond Val Gardena and the Dolomites. Building and starting up our Tuscan resort had been quite a challenge, but now everything was running smoothly. After the UNESCO-listed Dolomites and the rolling hills of Val d’Orcia – another UNESCO World Heritage Site, a seaside resort would be the perfect addition… Why not? So began the long quest for the perfect location. But what were we after, exactly – and where? Whatever and wherever it was, it was clear that we would not need to look beyond Italy to find it. The land of Dante and Leonardo offers charming stretches of coastline galore. Soon, word of our search spread, and proposals for dream locations began to pile on our desks. So, the Sanoner brothers set out to explore the length of Italy, north to south, east to west, again and again. But the perfect location was still eluding them…
Then, they realised they needed to conduct a more independent and targeted search.
To the question of “Where?” they found a clear answer: Sicily, in the very heart of the Mediterranean. An ancient land of world-renowned landscape beauty, heartfelt hospitality and amazing cuisine. The island’s sunny climate was another point in favour of this choice: a land of mild winters, where oranges are harvested as early as February, was the perfect year-round destination. The Sanoners had a very clear idea of what their location should look like to meet the expectations of ADLER’s guests. A secluded slice of heaven, surrounded by nature, and situated on a well-preserved coastline with an unspoilt beach and a crystal-clear sea – preferably within easy reach of the resort.
But could such a place still be found in Europe?
It was February 2009 and the Dolomites were still capped with fresh snow, when Andreas and Klaus Sanoner landed in Palermo. They were greeted by a sunny sky and a spring-like temperature – perhaps a good omen?
They had already scoured Google Maps for long stretches of undeveloped, sandy beaches and bays on Sicily’s southern coastline. Finally, they came to a hill overlooking a perfectly unspoilt stretch of coastline between the towns of Agrigento and Sciacca. Turquoise waters, fine golden sand, pine groves and verdant hills were all that could be seen. A light sea breeze and tranquillity were all that could be felt. It was simply indescribable!
“There’s no better place to watch the sun dip into the sea,” said a passer-by in a kind voice, as they were enjoying the sunset. As if she could read their minds, she went on: “Did you know that this estate is up for sale? It would be good for a hotel...”
What an extraordinary coincidence... The slice of heaven they were after did exist, after all.
And so the adventure could begin.