Review: Mezzatorre Resort & Spa (Ischia Island, Italy)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

Today (March 14, 2018): Review of Mezzatorre Resort & Spa (Ischia Island, Italy).

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. 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. Greatest attention has been paid to any detail of the rooms, thus offering guests a unique atmosphere. 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.

Mezzatorre Resort & Spa features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels on Capri, Ischia, and the Amalfi Coast.

In this review (more info below my slideshow & Youtube clip):

  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • My verdict
  • Tips for future guests & save money
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get there
  • Photos

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • Just a one hour ferry ride from the chaotic seaport of Naples and the glamorous island of Capri is the volcanic outcrop known as Ischia, the largest and most developed island in the Bay of Naples. Home to the Mezzatorre Resort & Spa, Ischia has a wealth of things to see and do, from its beaches (the best in this part of Italy), thermal parks, and botanical gardens to idyllic villages, vineyards, and historical sights such as Castello Aragonese and Chiesa del Soccorso. Although less touristy than its more famous sibling Capri or the nearby Amalfi Coast, its beaches are still very popular in summer months but in between the coasts lies a tranquil landscape of dense chestnut forests, loomed over by Monte Epomeo, Ischia’s highest peak.
  • The Mezzatorre Resort & Spa is located on the border between the resort towns of Forio and Lacco Ameno. The hotel sits at the end of a long and narrow wooded road in one of the island’s most majestic spots, a rocky and lush pinnacle in a secluded cove that overlooks San Montano Bay and the Tyrrhenian Sea beyond. In 750 BC the Greeks landed here and founded the first colony of Magna Grecia and the small village of Lacco Ameno, where you can stroll along the seafront or sip a coffee at a bar on the square. The Ischia Port (where all ferries arrive) is a 20-minute drive away, while La Colombaia, the former villa of famous Italian director Luchino Visconti that’s now a museum, is less than a 10-minute walk from the hotel.
  • The hilly hotel grounds comprise several buildings that lie behind a private bay. The lobby is located in a separate pavilion atop the rocky parkland from where a small road descends towards the main restaurant and a renovated watchtower, which represents the center of the resort. This tower is a remnant of the 16th century, when numerous defense and sighting towers were built along the Italian coasts to defend against the devastating rides of pirates Saracens. The spa, a lounge area and one third of all rooms are located inside this ancient Saracen tower, while the remaining rooms and the other hotel facilities are scattered across the expansive domain along pine trees and Mediterranean scrub.
  • In keeping with the original design, the watchtower (from which the hotel takes its name) is an example of fine architectural salvage, which is characterized by a choice of warm and delicate hues, lavish woodworks and rare materials that balance luxury and elegance. The refined decor of the common areas and the rooms, and the distinctive charm of the differently styled suites exude exclusivity and blends tradition elements with modern design features. The ground floor of the tower is the resort’s most refined spot, with several snow-white loungers tastefully contrasting with the modern, colorful paintings that adorn the thick walls.
  • Mezzatorre Resort & Spa features 45 rooms and 12 suites, with views of the sea or the gardens. The more authentic rooms are located within the old watchtower while the more spacious living arrangements are found in the outlying buildings. During my visit, I stayed in a brand new and gorgeous Deluxe Suite located in the historic watchtower. The bright and contemporary decorated suite featured a living area with dressing, a heavenly king-sized bed and a luxurious ensuite bathroom with separate shower, double wash basin, bidet, and a wet area with bathtub. The suite’s highlight though was the immense private terrace (complete with sun loungers and dining table) from where to take in the lovely panoramas and relax in the sun.
  • The hotel’s pine wood forest that surveys the sea from the headland is one of Ischia’s most beautiful nature spot. Strolling through this lush parkland, filled with Mediterranean scrub and old trees, is a pure delight and a natural antidote to the stress of daily life. The workout areas, jogging and trekking paths snake around smelling shrub and broom scrub, where pines and holly oaks ensure complete privacy. At the end of property is a trail (non maintained though) that leads to a cliff’s edge from where you can take in the spectacular sunset views.
  • The hotel features three indoor pools (more on that below) and one outdoor pool, the latter located at the resort’s lowest point. From this outdoor pool, which is filled with seawater, you can enjoy a majestic view of Mount Epomeo and the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Naples with its faraway islands. At the pool’s end is an open-sided restaurant (called Sciue Sciue) and a fully equipped solarium with sunbeds and umbrellas for total relaxation. The pool – which is naturally heated, again by the thermal water – is surrounded by elegant terraced platforms that overlook the bay and a lush garden of subtropical plants with irresistible smells. In the evening, the pool turns into the perfect setting for a romantic dinner by the moonlight.
  • Mezzatorre’s health & beauty center is a sanctuary of well-being set in the basement of the picturesque 16th-century watchtower. There’s a beautiful wellness spa on-site which offers indoor three thermal pools for balnotherapy and thalassotherapy. Massages and beauty treatments can be arranged in the spa in one of the total-white rooms (filled with the intense scents of candles and essential oils) or outdoors in white gazebos with gorgeous sea views. All the provided treatments are given by highly skilled therapists and use the thermal water flowing at 45°C (113°F) from the hotel’s private spring. These healthy waters are often used with mud to treat rheumatic, respiratory or skin diseases.
  • The Mezzatorre resort has two restaurants, the formal Chandelier, which also offers al fresco dining on a sea-facing terrace below the tower, and Sciue Sciue (from a Neapolitan expression that means ‘fast), a poolside eatery that serves snacks and quick meals. Giuseppe D’Abundo, chef executive at Chandelier, delivers delectably sophisticated menus at his elegant restaurant, while the simple ingredients of the Neapolitan cuisine inspire the culinary philosophy of the more casual Sciué Sciué. Both dining venues benefit from a candlelit terrace with live music in the summer season. Breakfast is served each morning in the Chandelier restaurant (an extensive and delicious buffet in addition to separately charged à la carte items).

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

Mezzatorre Resort & Spa is the best hotel on the island of Ischia. It offers a 5-star experience, but you need to know the following before considering a booking here:

  • The hotel has no beach. From the terraces around the outdoor pool, you have direct access though to the Mediterranean Sea via some uneven stairs.
  • The indoor thermal pools can only be accessed when you book a spa treatment (except when your rates includes a daily thalasso therapy). Although this policy keeps the spa experience quiet and private, it’s a bit unusual for Ischia, where most luxury hotels make their thermal pools available to their guests all the time. In addition, the indoor thermal pool area feels a bit dated and dark, and could use a refurbishment.
  • I visited the resort in the month of October, and I was surprised that the pool area was in the shade most of the time (as the sun was always behind the pine trees on the surrounding hills, except for about 2 hours at noon). I believe that sun exposure is not a problem though in summer.
  • The lowest category rooms are small and a bit underwhelming, especially those located in the historic watch tower. I would advise to book at least a suite in the historic tower.
  • The property is quite hilly, which could be challenging for those with mobility issues. Buggy service is provided when needed, but not all areas of the hotel can be reached by buggy.
  • This is not the best hotel for families with younger kids as there is not a lot going on, but it’s great for couples for a romantic getaway.
  • Mezzatorre Resort & Spa is open seasonally only (from April through October). It closes during the winter season.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 8/10
  • Design: 9/10
  • Pool: 9/10
  • Rooms: 8/10
  • Food: 8/10
  • Breakfast: 8/10
  • Spa: 9/10
  • Service: 9/10
  • Value for money: 9/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 8,4/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Mezzatorre Resort & Spa, whether it’s booking a room at the cheapest price or receiving complimentary VIP perks (e.g. upgrade, breakfast, resort credit, etc …).
  • Save money: enjoy free VIP perks at Mezzatorre Resort & Spa 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 thermal water treatment per person).
  • Room tip: I recommend to book one of the charming rooms with sea view or a deluxe suite set in the historic watch tower.
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Without a doubt the best time to visit Ischia is from April to June, when the spring flowers are in bloom, the weather is just warm enough, and the temperature of the Mediterranean allows for the first dips of the season. By choosing late spring or early summer, you can also avoid the tourist crush of July and August and the oppressive temperatures later in the year. The autumn months of September and October are also an excellent time to visit Ischia, since the temperatures are still mild, the days sunny (most of the time), and the lion’s share of tourists have left.


HOW TO GET THERE

Naples International Airport in Capodichino is the major getaway to Ischia, Capri and the Amalfi Coast. For a list of airlines that offer direct flights to Naples, click here. From Naples airport, you need to take a taxi to the port of Naples and then take the hydrofoil to Ischia (which takes around 60 minutes). Once on the island, you need top take a taxi to the hotel (or prebook the hotel car).


BOAT TRANSFER TO ISCHIA
BOAT TRANSFER TO ISCHIA: INDOOR SEATING
BOAT TRANSFER TO ISCHIA: VIEW OF VESUVIUS
BOAT TRANSFER TO ISCHIA: VIEW OF VESUVIUS
BOAT TRANSFER TO ISCHIA
BOAT TRANSFER TO ISCHIA
BOAT TRANSFER TO ISCHIA: ARRIVAL IN ISCHIA
BUGGY TO HOTEL
BUGGY TO HOTEL
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: EXTERIOR
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: EXTERIOR
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: EXTERIOR
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: EXTERIOR
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: EXTERIOR
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: EXTERIOR
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: GROUNDFLOOR LOUNGE
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: GROUNDFLOOR LOUNGE
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: GROUNDFLOOR LOUNGE
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: GROUNDFLOOR LOUNGE
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: GROUNDFLOOR LOUNGE
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: GROUNDFLOOR LOUNGE
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: GROUNDFLOOR LOUNGE
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: GROUNDFLOOR LOUNGE
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: GROUNDFLOOR LOUNGE
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: GROUNDFLOOR LOUNGE
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: GROUNDFLOOR LOUNGE
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: GROUNDFLOOR LOUNGE
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: GROUNDFLOOR LOUNGE
HISTORIC WATCH TOWER: GROUNDFLOOR LOUNGE
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: SEATING AREA
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: SEATING AREA
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: SEATING AREA
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: SEATING AREA
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: SEATING AREA
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: BEDROOM
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: SEATING AREA
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: SEATING AREA
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: SEATING AREA
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: BATHROOM
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: BATHROOM
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: BATHROOM
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: BATHROOM
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: BATHROOM
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: BATHROOM
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: BATHROOM
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: BATHROOM
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: BATHROOM
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: BEDROOM
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: BEDROOM
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: PRIVATE TERRACE
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: PRIVATE TERRACE
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: PRIVATE TERRACE
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: PRIVATE TERRACE
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: PRIVATE TERRACE
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: PRIVATE TERRACE
DELUXE SUITE TOWER: PRIVATE TERRACE
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL
TERRACES & POOL: ACCESS TO SEA
SCIUE SCIUE RESTAURANT: LUNCH
SCIUE SCIUE RESTAURANT: LUNCH
SCIUE SCIUE RESTAURANT: LUNCH
SCIUE SCIUE RESTAURANT: LUNCH
SPA: RECEPTION AREA
SPA: RECEPTION AREA
SPA: RECEPTION AREA
SPA: INDOOR POOLS
SPA: INDOOR POOLS
SPA: INDOOR POOLS
SPA: INDOOR POOLS
SPA: TREATMENT ROOMS
SPA: TREATMENT ROOMS
SPA: TREATMENT ROOMS
SPA: TREATMENT ROOMS
SPA: OUTDOOR TERRACE
SPA: OUTDOOR TERRACE
SPA: OUTDOOR TERRACE
SPA: OUTDOOR TERRACE
SPA: OUTDOOR TERRACE
SPA: OUTDOOR TERRACE (VIEW)
SPA: OUTDOOR TERRACE (VIEW)
SUNSET
SUNSET
SUNSET
SUNSET
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: DINNER
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: DINNER
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: DINNER
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: DINNER
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: DINNER
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: DINNER
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: DINNER
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: DINNER
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: DINNER
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: DINNER
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST
CHANDELIER RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

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