I stayed at two luxury hotels during my stay in Taormina, Sicily, in Italy.
I kicked off my trip at the real "White Lotus" hotel where the cast lived and filmed season two.
Then, I stayed at UnaHotels Capotaormina, which was more affordable with many of the same perks.
Back in April, I spent one night at San Domenico Palace, a Four Seasons Hotel, where "The White Lotus" was filmed in Sicily, Italy.
I traveled from my home in the UK to spend one night at San Domenico Palace, a Four Seasons Hotel, in Taormina, Sicily, where the second season of "The White Lotus" was filmed.
I stayed in a sea-view room with a terrace, which cost $2,248, or around €2,047, for one night and the price included breakfast.
The 5-star resort is the most luxurious hotel I've ever stayed in due to the excellent customer service, the delicious food, and the decor. I especially enjoyed visiting locations that were shown in "The White Lotus," including the iconic piano bar and infinity pool.
That being said, I didn't think the hotel was worth the money. The highlights of my stay were the beautiful scenery and the hotel's restaurants, two things that I could have experienced without paying $2,248, especially as the restaurants and bar are available for non-hotel guests to book.
After checking out of San Domenico Palace, I spent two nights at UnaHotels Capotaormina, a 4-star hotel that was far more affordable.
My stay at San Domenico Palace was part of a reporting trip to Sicily, and I was lucky enough to be able to take a couple of vacation days while there.
During my time off, I stayed at UnaHotels, an Italian four-star hotel chain that has 27 locations, according to its website. UnaHotels Capotaormina is around a 10-minute drive from San Domenico Palace.
I first discovered the hotel on TikTok, as someone had posted a video showing its gorgeous private beach. After doing some research, I discovered that the hotel had many of the same amenities as San Domenico Palace, including an infinity pool, and several restaurants and bars.
The room was also more affordable — I stayed in a superior double room for two nights, and it cost €242.90, or around $261.65, per night.
Here's how the two hotels compared, from the rooms I stayed in to the scenery.
The rooms were pretty similar, although San Domenico Palace had a couple more luxurious features.
Both rooms had a queen-sized double bed, a TV, chairs to sit on, a bathroom, and a terrace with outdoor seating.
The only major difference I noticed was that my room in San Domenico Palace had a couple of extra touches that made it appear more luxurious, such as extra pillows and complimentary snacks which included a bowl of fruit and some chocolate. The decor was also a little more fancy, as there was a painting on the wall and flowers on the table.
At UnaHotels, there were no freebies in my room but I did receive some freebies at the hotel's bar. One evening after ordering a cup of tea, a server brought me a selection of cookies, which I thought was a lovely touch.
Both rooms had a terrace balcony with stunning views of the ocean.
From my terrace in San Domenico Palace, I could see palm trees and gorgeous views of the ocean below.
When I arrived at UnaHotels, I didn't expect the room to also have a balcony and terrace, so it was a lovely surprise. There were magnificent views of the sea from my room, and a couple of times I woke up in the early hours of the morning to watch the sunrise, which was a remarkable experience.
The bathrooms were completely different.
One of the major differences I noticed was the bathrooms in each room.
At San Domenico Palace, there were marble walls and a sink, a mirror, a shower, a toilet, and a bidet. There were also complimentary shower products including shampoo, a hair dryer, and two robes hanging on the door.
At UnaHotels, the bathroom in my room had green and blue tiles and there was a sink, a mirror, a toilet, a bidet, and a bathtub. While there were plenty of towels and shower products, there were no robes, which I didn't mind as I wasn't planning to spend a lot of time in my room.
In my opinion, one of the most impressive aspects of San Domenico Palace was the infinity pool, so I was overjoyed that there was also one at UnaHotels.
The infinity pool at San Domenico Palace was shown in "The White Lotus," so I was particularly excited to visit it in real life. It overlooks the sea, and there are sun loungers scattered directly across from the pool. A member of staff informed me that the pool was heated, but it was pretty chilly when I took a dip.
I was impressed with the service at the pool area, as a member of staff brought me a cool bag with a bottle of water and a towel and also asked if I wanted to order a drink.
Meanwhile, the infinity pool at UnaHotels was just as aesthetically pleasing to look at, as it also overlooked the sea. The pool wasn't heated, but I didn't see this as a big deal seeing as most people are more likely to visit in the summer when it's hot.
There was also a bar across from the UnaHotels pool, in addition to Le Grand Bleu, a restaurant that was used to film scenes at the beach club in the fourth episode of season two of "The White Lotus," according to the film travel website Atlas of Wonders.
Breakfast was included in the price of both rooms.
Both hotels had multiple restaurants and bars to choose from, and breakfast was included in the price of each of my stays.
Both restaurants had sea views, and a buffet was served at breakfast. Similar food was served, such as cannolis, pastries, fruit, and orange juice.
The only major difference I noticed was the quality of service. Where the staff at UnaHotels was friendly, the staff at San Domenico Palace went above and beyond to make sure I was comfortable. They brought out an extra stool for me to place my bag and asked if I required a pashmina because it was a tad chilly.
Unlike San Domenico Palace, UnaHotels Capotaormina has a private beach.
The second season of "The White Lotus" opens with guests arriving at the hotel's private beach via boat. But if you're expecting to find a private beach at San Domenico Palace, you'll be disappointed as it doesn't exist in real life.
Therefore, I was particularly excited when I found out that UnaHotels Capotaormina has a private beach. Guests of the hotel can take an elevator down to the ground floor, or "sea level," and there is a long tunnel that leads to the beach.
Like all beaches in Taormina, the private beach was pretty rocky, but there were plenty of sun loungers.
While I loved both hotels, UnaHotels Capotaormina is the one I'd recommend to those traveling to Sicily.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at San Domenico Palace, and there's no doubt about the fact that the 5-star hotel had some luxury aspects that weren't available at UnaHotels, including the customer service and the decor.
However, if you are looking for "The White Lotus" experience without breaking your budget, I'd definitely suggest UnaHotels. In my opinion, the hotel had many of the same perks as San Domenico Palace, making it better value for money.
Representatives for San Domenico Palace and UnaHotels did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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