Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.
Today (October 29, 2017): top 10 most exclusive hotels on Capri, Ischia and the Amalfi Coast.
Italy has no shortage of spectacularly beautiful and utterly romantic destinations, but the Amalfi Coast, Capri and Ischia are without any doubt the most magical places in the country, if not Europe. The Amalfi Coast is a 52 km (32 mi) stretch of coastline that runs from Sorrento to Amalfi along the edge of the Sorrento Peninsula, in Italy’s Campania province, just south of Naples. Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the mountainous scenery of the Amalfi Coast is dotted with vineyards, lemon trees, olive groves and tiny villages – all clinging to jagged cliffs that plunge straight into the turquoise Mediterranean Sea below. Capri is an exceptionally beautiful island located in the Bay of Naples, a short 20 min boat ride from Sorrento. Its dramatic coastal scenery has been known for at least 2000 years as Emperor Augustus and Emperor Tiberius both had homes here and Odysseus sailing past Capri in Homer’s the Odyssey. Capri’s lesser-known island cousin to the north, Ischia, is one of Italy’s best kept secrets, featuring lush green mountainscape, hot springs, lovely villages and superb beaches. The region also harbors some of Italy’s finest accommodations, and today, I share with you my top 10 list of the most fabulous luxury hotels on Capri, Ischia, and the Amalfi Coast.
There is more information below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite hotel in this Italian region in the comments section, or take my poll below!
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10. THE GRAND HOTEL EXCELSIOR VITTORIA, SORRENTO
The Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria is a family-friendly luxury destination resort located in the town centre of Sorrento, on the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Naples. The building is secluded from the main square by private gardens with citrus groves. Guests pass through the main gate and through the gardens to find the hotel right on the seafront of Sorrento. The hotel dates back to the early 1800s and is built on the very same spot where the Roman Emperor August had his villa. The hotel is owned and managed by the Fiorentino family for six generations. Comprising three buildings, its 91 elegant air-conditioned rooms vary in size and style, from tasteful simplicity to extravagant frescoed opulence. Each has a view of the hotel’s lush gardens or over the sea to Mt Vesuvius. The historical suites, facing the Bay of Naples, are in high demand.
- Hotel website: The Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, complimentary WiFi, and $100 USD wellness credit).
9. HOTEL IL SAN PIETRO DI POSITANO, POSITANO
Il San Pietro overlooks the bay of Positano, surrounded by scented gardens. From the main terrace you can take in at a glance the Coast as far as the Faraglioni of Capri, or simply enjoy the spectacular and worldwide famous view of Positano. The atmosphere immediately capturing you in the hall, at the bar, in the corridors or in the other common areas is one of a noble mansion, with precious furniture, a private writing desk, paintings, carpets and many flowers. The property feels more like a private house than a hotel, where the painting of Carlino Cinque looks on the table where guests leave books others will read, as a message-tie with forthcoming people. All rooms have a private terrace overlooking the sea, while ‘special’ rooms are so-called because of their particular position, structure and size.
- Hotel website: Hotel Il San Pietro Di Positano
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, complimentary WiFi, $50 USD wellness credit, one bottle of Italian Prosecco and two Rubinos – Raspberries and Prosecco cocktails – served in the room upon arrival).
8. CASA ANGELINA, PRAIANO
Casa Angelina is a small, white-themed boutique hotel that emerges gleaming from the rocks on the Amalfi Coast in the small village of Praiano. The property offers a sublime slice of modern minimalism on the Mediterranean, with an emphasis on elegant simplicity and first-rate food. The hotel serves as a sanctuary, bearing a fresh, pared-back aesthetic and a white-on-white palette that accentuates both the sea and sky blues outside and the contemporary artworks on display inside. Understated chic is also the design ethos in the 39 rooms, from the pillowy and pristine white Etro cotton sheets dressing the beds right down to the carefully placed garnish of garden-grown herbs on your plate.
- Hotel website: Casa Angelina
- Other accolades: Casa Angelina also features in my top 10 list of restaurants with views that match the food and swimming pools with stunning views.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, a bottle of Casa Angelina Champagne with in-season fruit platter in the room upon arrival, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
- Review: read here my review of Casa Angelina.
7. HOTEL SANTA CATERINA, AMALFI
Just outside Amalfi proper (giving it a grand vista of the town), the Santa Caterina takes full advantage of its hillside location. There are vast, terraced gardens and orchards overlooking the sea, and down by the water is a luscious seawater-pool area, complete with an idyllic thatched-roof cafe. The lobby is charmingly coved, while decor is unobtrusively traditional, with Belle Epoque accents. The luckiest guests are allowed to book the hotel’s extraordinary, 19th-century hunting-box châlet, set at water’s edge at the far end of the hotel’s romantic orchards. 40 accommodations and 13 Junior Suites and Suites are located in the main building. There are 14 additional accommodations between the garden Suites and the Villa Santa Caterina annex. Each of the 67 luminous rooms and suites has a balcony with view on the Amalfi coast.
- Hotel website: Hotel Santa Caterina
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, complimentary WiFi, $100 USD credit on all local ceramic items in the boutique shop during high season, and a complimentary lunch during low season).
6. J.K. PLACE CAPRI HOTEL, CAPRI
J.K. Place Capri is a dazzling white villa on the cliffs above Marina Grande on the island of Capri. The hotel is set in manicured gardens with astounding views over the Bay of Naples. The hotel’s 22 spacious bedrooms and suites look out over the sea or J.K. Place Capri’s immaculately-kept gardens. All rooms have been individually decorated with the highest quality furnishings and a range of luxurious accessories. The same attention to detail present in the bedrooms can also be found in the bathrooms, where over size marble baths and showers and exclusive JK hair and skincare products ensure both comfort and pleasure. The hotel’s spa has created a range of sophisticated treatment influenced by East and West philosophies to bring harmony to the mind and body.
- Hotel website: J.K. Place Capri
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, $100 USD spa credit, complimentary transfer from/to Capri’s port, complimentary transfer from/to Capri City center, complimentary WiFi, and complimentary minibar).
- Review: read my review of J.K. Place Capri here.
5. MEZZATORRE RESORT & SPA, ISCHIA
Perched on a bluff above the sea and surrounded by a pinewood forest, the Mezzatorre Resort & Spa is located in Forio d’Ischia, not far from the wonderful villa where the famous Italian movie director Luchino Visconti once lived. Greatest attention has been paid to any detail of the rooms, thus offering guests a unique atmosphere. From the hotel, guests can enjoy extremely beautiful views from the Epomeo Mount up to the Vesuvio volcano. One third of the 57 guestrooms is located in the 16th century tower, which was carefully restored maintaining its original structure. Thermal swimming-pools and special treatments provide guests with the great benefits of water resulting from the long path followed by water in the deepest bowels of the earth.
- Hotel website: Mezzatorre Resort & Spa
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, and late check-out, and one complimentary 4-course dinner for two people; with a minimum 3 night stay guests also receive one themal water treatment in pool per person).
- Review: read my review of Mezzatorre Resort & Spa here.
4. LE SIRENUSE, POSITANO
You’ll have to pinch yourself to believe you’re basking in the beauty that is Le Sirenuse. The 18th century palazzo converted into a 5 star deluxe hotel is located on a bluff in the heart of Positano, and owned and managed by the Marchesi Sersale. The eclectic-style public space here is limited, the pool is not large but the views offer panoramic sea sweeps. The décor with its romantic arches, vaulted ceilings and handmade floor tiles has a unpretentious residential feel to it and the staff is sophisticated and adept at anticipating their guests needs. All rooms are full of light and decorated with a combination of antique and contemporary furniture, contrasting cool whitewashed walls. Most rooms have a balcony or terrace overlooking the azure sea where at night the gentle sound of waves can be heard.
- Hotel website: Le Sirenuse
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, $100 USD wellness credit, early check-in, and late check-out).
3. HOTEL CAESAR AUGUSTUS, CAPRI
Perched on a cliff’s edge, 300 m (1000 ft) above the sea, Caesar Augustus was originally built in the 1850s as the private residence of a wealthy German businessman. In the early 1900s, a Russian Prince purchased the property and turned it into his majestic island home, complete with life-size statue of Emperor Augustus. The Signorini family took over the ownership in the mid 20th century, but it was not until 1995 that Paolo Signorini became the manager and set about transforming his much-loved family home into what is now one of Italy’s finest luxury hotels. An intimate Relais & Chateaux, Caesar Augustus has just 55 individually appointed guest rooms, boasting amazing views of the Bay of Naples, Mount Vesuvius, Sorrento and the neighboring island of Ischia.
- Hotel website: Caesar Augustus
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, 50 euros food beverage, 50 euros wellness credit, welcome gift, early check-in, and late check-out).
- Review: read my review of Hotel Caesar Augustus here.
2. MONASTERO SANTA ROSA HOTEL & SPA, AMALFI COAST
Perched on a cliff’s edge, Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa stands alone in majestic solitude, its rock base evoking the robe of a king. Originally a 17th-century monastery, Monastero Santa Rosa has been affectionately and respectfully restored into an ultraluxe boutique hotel. It’s hard to imagine that the generous grounds, filled with four levels of gardens, lush landscaping, plentiful lounge chairs, and canopied daybeds, serve just 20 rooms and suites. Monastero Santa Rosa also hosts a fully equipped spa to rival any major city spa, offering not just treatment rooms, but large-scale amenities that include a sauna, steam, mosaic-tiled experience shower, hydro pool, and tepidarium.
- Hotel website: Monastero Santa Rosa
- Other accolades: Monastero Santa Rosa also features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in the world that are soaked in history and the best luxury hotels in Italy.
- Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP benefits when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, welcome cocktail, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
- Review: read my review of Monastero Santa Rosa here.
1. BELMOND HOTEL CARUSO, RAVELLO
Situated in the most spectacular location, almost suspended between sea and sky, Belmond Hotel Caruso occupies a former medieval palace at the highest, quietest point of Ravello, overlooking the rocks and cliffs of Italy’s Amalfi Coast and the Mediterranean (or, more correctly, Tyrrhenian) Sea. With frescoed salons, arched stone vaults and just 50 highly individual rooms and suites occupying every shape and corner of the ancient palace’s architecture, it is an intimate retreat with an intriguing sense of history. But above all, with its rose arbour leading to one of the world’s most spectacular infinity pools, with sunlit or candlelit dining in the Belvedere Restaurant, and with a rich sense of its past as a retreat for presidents, writers and film stars, the hotel is almost impossibly romantic.
- Hotel website: Belmond Hotel Caruso
- Other accolades: Belmond Hotel Caruso also features in my top 10 lists of the world’s most spectacular cliffside luxury hotels, the world’s most stunning hotel pools, and the best luxury hotels in Italy.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, $100 USD food & beverage credit, early check-in, late check-out, and daily breakfast for 2).
- Review: read my review of Belmond Hotel Caruso here.
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Beautifully done as usual with your usual detail. You really do give us a sense of place in your videos. How does one travel “on a budget” at a hotel as grand as this? Thanks
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to travel in this region of Italy ‘on a budget’ since you cannot use points and the hotels rank among the most expensive in the world. But using Virtuoso can save you several hundreds of dollars in terms of perks (e.g. breakfast, hotel credit, etc …).