Review: Hotel Caesar Augustus (Capri, Italy)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

Today (March 21, 2018): Review of Hotel Caesar Augustus in Capri, Italy.

Hotel Caesar Augustus, perched on a cliff over the sea in a breathtaking position in Capri, offers from everywhere one of the most beautiful views in the world. Once a summer house of a Russian Prince, it is now a boutique hotel with an exquisite décor much loved by King Farouk of Egypt who was booking his suite for the year. Here you can enjoy the stunning infinity pool overlooking the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, the flavours of the restaurant with one of the best views on the island, the piano on the terrace at sunset and the wonderful gardens. An intimate Relais & Chateaux, Caesar Augustus has just 55 individually appointed guest rooms and suites, boasting amazing views of the Bay of Naples, Mount Vesuvius, Sorrento and the neighboring island of Ischia.

Caesar Augustus 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
  • Few hotels in the world boast a position as phenomenal as that occupied by Capri’s Hotel Caesar Augustus. The most panoramic luxury hotel on the island of Capri, Caesar Augustus sits perched on the edge of a 300 meter (1000 feet) high cliff, directly above the Bay of Naples. The hotel’s clifftop position captures the dramatic beauty of the island’s landscape, boasting jaw-dropping views of the azure- blue Bay of Naples, the Vesuvius volcano, the Sorrento Peninsula, Ischia island and Capri town from every window, balcony and terrace. The hotel offers the most stunning view to be enjoyed on Capri, and also one of the most beautiful panoramas in the world, and, you’ll be able to enjoy it for the duration of your stay.
  • Caesar Augustus is situated right at the start of Anacapri, the town built on the slopes of Monte Solaro, the highest part of the island. Despite the arrival of mass tourism on the island of Capri, the little town of Anacapri has managed to conserve all of its typical Mediterranean charm. While strolling through Anacapri’s narrow alleys, you might easily come across artisans at work, gaggles of children playing in the piazzettas and groups of eldery islanders sitting outside their cottages, chatting or snoozing in the sun. And, if you fancy a glamorous night out on the town, Capri’s legendary Piazzetta (and the boatloads of jaded tourists ferried in for the day) is only a 10 minute taxi ride away.
  • The historic property was originally built in the 1850s as the private residence of a wealthy German businessman. In the early 1900s, the Russian Prince Emmanuel Bulhak moved to Capri to escape the October Revolution in his own country and purchased the property. He transformed it into a still more majestic residence, even commissioning a lifesize statue of Emperor Augustus Caesar (a replica of the original, found at Rome’s Villa Livia). It still stands on the same spot today on the hotel’s expansive terrace. Towards the end of the fascist period, sensing the winds of war once more, Bulhak decided to move to England and sold the villa to the Signorini family who turned the property into a sumptuous, 5-star hotel.
  • This family-run, five-star property feels more like a private Italian residence than a hotel. The lavish decor is defined by a classic, sometimes sumptuous elegance. The homely lobby features a collection of antiques and colorful artworks that the Signorini family has acquired over the years at antique markets around the world. A piano corner and several colorful seating areas with glossy coffee-table books provide an inviting atmosphere and provoke the ambience of a living room. The lobby opens up to a fabulous, Roman statue-decorated terrace which has been immortalized on countless postcards, and is the stage for a summer music festival featuring everything from classical music to jazz.
  • From the iconic upper terrace, a set of staircases leads down to a lower terrace, which is the setting of a fabulous infinity pool. Ideal for secluded swimming and sunbathing and with breathtaking views of the Bay of Naples towards Ischia Island, the vanishing, two-level pool is easily one of the most glamorous spots on earth, simply because of the incredible panoramas to be enjoyed from all directions. The pool has a length of 27 m (88 ft), a maximum depth of 1,7 m (5 ft), and is heated to comfortable temperatures during the cooler spring and autumn months. Several bright yellow loungers are placed around the pool to enjoy the sun till sunset.
  • The hotel features 55 guest rooms, including 31 junior suites and 11 suites, spread out across two buildings. Each room is unique and individually decorated with original items personally selected by the owners. During my visit, I stayed in one of the much sought-after cliff-side junior suites with sea view in the part of the main villa located closest to the cliff edge. The room featured a four-poster king sized bed, a sitting area, a writing desk, and en-suite bathroom with one sink and a shower. The suite was elegantly decorated with classic furnishings, though light and airy rather than weighted with antiques. As you can imagine, the views from the room, two balconies and bathroom were nothing short of breathtaking.
  • Six of the 11 suites are designated ‘special suites‘, each designed for travelers who won’t settle for anything less than the very best. One is aptly named the Caesar Suite. This enormous suite occupies the entire top floor of the hotel, with columns and arches separating the bedroom from the sitting and dining area, which opens onto an expansive terrace and a private garden. There are two bathrooms, the biggest one with a large jacuzzi. Another special suite is the Farouk Master Suite. Sixty years ago, King Farouk of Egypt would reserve this luxurious suite all year round and today, this charming open space suite with two bathrooms is still decorated with its original antique furniture.
  • The Signorini family has created a kitchen garden on the terraces beneath the hotel’s pool, where the herbs and vegetables used in the restaurant’s delicious dishes are grown. Something of a rarity on Capri – a rocky island characterized by impervious cliffs and with little if any land available for agriculture – Caesar Augustus’ kitchen garden guarantees a supply of fantastically fresh ingredients throughout the season. The owner, Paolo Signorini, is not only a successful businessman, excellent cook and acclaimed yachtsman, but also a keen gardener who enjoys showing the hotel guests his lovely English roses and two acres vegetable plot.
  • Caesar Augustus features a small outdoor wellness center, which occupies one of the most peaceful and secluded corners in the hotel’s clifftop garden. Surrounded by sweetly-scented lavender, lemon trees, and rosemary bushes, the intimate spa features a couple of outdoor treatment pavilions and offers an impressive range of luxurious face and body treatments by Maison Orlane Paris, performed by experts of beauty and massage therapists. Next to the spa is a small open-fronted fitness centre which comes with great sea views; the gym features a treadmill, exercise bike and free weights, along with a steam room.
  • Dinner at candlelit La Terrazza di Lucullo, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant next to the pool, is one of those gastronomic experiences you will remember for a lifetime. For a special occasion, you can book one of the tables on the ‘epensatoioe’, a small private terrace with just one table, or one of the panoramic private dining terraces which give you the feeling of being suspended above the seascape while you dine (serenading guitar player included). All ingredients are locally sourced: veggies from the garden, fish from a trusted fisherman, lemons from the island, and pasta from nearby Gragnano. The dishes are created by chef Eduardo Vuolo, who has worked in the most prestigious kitchens in the region and under chef Alain Ducasse in Paris.
  • Caesar Augustus also features a second nameless restaurant, which is located behind the infinity pool and is open for breakfast only. Breakfast is served as a buffet with an impressive spread of fruits, local cheeses, salads, cold cuts, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and focaccia, along with home-baked pies and pastries (bread is also homemade).
  • Family run since the 1930’s , the owner’s son Francisco was there to greet us on arrival and the owner himself to wave us goodbye upon departure. The staff, ranging from the receptionists to the assistants by the pool, are all exceptional and deliver impeccable service.
  • Caesar Augustus is a member of Relais & Chateaux, which represents a global collection of individually owned and operated luxury hotels and restaurants. The number of Relais & Chateaux members changes as new members are added and others drop away; the group currently has over 500 members in 60 countries on five continents. Strongly represented in Europe, the association is growing in North America, Asia and Africa. The group is known for its strict admission standards. In addition to luxurious facilities, members must have special features distinguishing them from chain hotels. Most of them are historic landmarks such as castles, manor houses, or townhouses in idyllic settings and/or offering exquisite haute cuisine.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

IMHO, Caesar August is the best luxury hotel on Capri, because of the heart-stopping views, the wide range of facilities, the homely ambience, and the terrific views. Yet, it’s not perfect and you need to know the following when considering a stay here:

  • Although the decor of the rooms is elegant and classic, some would label it as old-fashioned and dated. Spotlessly clean, the bedroom’s furniture is an eclectic mix of old antiques and new stuff which may not be to the liking of all, and some may feel that the rooms need a refurbishment to be value for money at the rates charged. This is true for the bathrooms as well, which are clean and efficient but more 20th than 21st century. If you like an airy, modern and hip decor, this place is not for you. However, you won’t give a second’s thought to decor once you catch sight of the terraces and their panorama view of the Bay of Naples.
  • More problematic is that the sound proofing of some rooms is not great, which may hamper a good night’s rest. During my stay I could hear my neighbors very good, whether they flushed the toilet, talked to each other (not in a particularly loud way), or did other things I better not mention in this review :-).  Also, my room was directly above the piano bar, which played live music till 11 pm, and it felt like the orchestra was playing next to my bed (not necessarily a bad thing, but still). I feel that this is a problem that the hotel should address given the steep price guests pay to stay here.
  • As said above, the hotel is located away from Capri’s touristic center. Depending on what you want, you will either love this (like me) or hate this. The hotel is not too convenient for enjoying Capri town itself as it costs around 20 euros each way from the hotel to town which hinders the enjoyment somewhat. However, IMHO, Anacapri is a much nicer, authentic and relaxed place than Capri town, with some lovely shops although not designer ones.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 9/10
  • Design: 8/10
  • Pool: 9/10
  • Rooms: 7/10
  • Food: 9/10
  • Breakfast: 9/10
  • Spa: 7/10
  • Service: 9/10
  • Value for money: 9/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 8,6/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Caesar Augustus, 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 Caesar Augustus 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).
  • Room tip: it’s worth paying for a room with a view of the sea towards Naples and the Vesuvius (since that is the prime reason why you want to stay here).
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Without a doubt the best time to see Capri and the Amalfi Coast 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 the Amalfi Coast, 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 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 Capri (which takes around 45 minutes). Once on the island, you’ll find the hotel driver waiting to accompany you to the hotel.


HOTEL ENTRANCE
HOTEL ENTRANCE
HOTEL ENTRANCE
HOTEL ENTRANCE
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR
ENTRANCE TO LOBBY
ENTRANCE TO LOBBY
LOBBY: RECEPTION DESK
LOBBY: RECEPTION DESK
LOBBY: CONCIERGE DESK
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
ELEVATOR TO GUEST ROOM FLOORS
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: BEDROOM & SEATING AREA
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: BEDROOM & SEATING AREA
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: BEDROOM & SEATING AREA
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: BEDROOM & SEATING AREA
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: BEDROOM & SEATING AREA
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: BEDROOM & SEATING AREA
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: BEDROOM & SEATING AREA
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: BEDROOM & SEATING AREA
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: BEDROOM & SEATING AREA
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: BEDROOM & SEATING AREA
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: BEDROOM & SEATING AREA
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: WELCOME GIFT
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: WELCOME GIFT
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: MINIBAR
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: BATHROOM
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: BATHROOM
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: BATHROOM
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: BATHROOM
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: BATHROOM
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: BATHROOM
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: TERRACE & VIEW
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: TERRACE & VIEW
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: TERRACE & VIEW
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: TERRACE & VIEW
JUNIOR SUITE SEAVIEW CLIFFSIDE: BEDROOM & SEATING AREA
UPPER TERRACE
UPPER TERRACE
UPPER TERRACE
UPPER TERRACE
UPPER TERRACE
UPPER TERRACE
UPPER TERRACE
UPPER TERRACE
UPPER TERRACE
UPPER TERRACE
UPPER TERRACE
UPPER TERRACE
UPPER TERRACE
UPPER TERRACE
UPPER TERRACE
UPPER TERRACE
UPPER TERRACE: VIEW OF CAPRI ISLAND
UPPER TERRACE: VIEW OF CAPRI ISLAND
UPPER TERRACE
UPPER TERRACE
UPPER TERRACE
MIDDLE TERRACE
MIDDLE TERRACE
MIDDLE TERRACE
MIDDLE TERRACE
MIDDLE TERRACE
MIDDLE TERRACE
MIDDLE TERRACE
LOWER TERRACE WITH INFINITY POOL
LOWER TERRACE WITH INFINITY POOL
LOWER TERRACE WITH INFINITY POOL
LOWER TERRACE WITH INFINITY POOL
LOWER TERRACE WITH INFINITY POOL
LOWER TERRACE WITH INFINITY POOL
LOWER TERRACE WITH INFINITY POOL
LOWER TERRACE WITH INFINITY POOL
LOWER TERRACE WITH INFINITY POOL
LOWER TERRACE WITH INFINITY POOL
LOWER TERRACE WITH INFINITY POOL
LOWER TERRACE WITH INFINITY POOL
LOWER TERRACE WITH INFINITY POOL
LOWER TERRACE WITH INFINITY POOL
LOWER TERRACE WITH INFINITY POOL
LOWER TERRACE WITH INFINITY POOL (SUNSET)
LOWER TERRACE WITH INFINITY POOL (SUSNET)
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS
GARDENS: SPA & GYM
GYM
GYM
SPA: RECEPTION
SPA: RECEPTION
SPA: RECEPTION
SPA: TREATMENT ROOM
SPA: TREATMENT ROOM
SPA: TREATMENT ROOM
RESTAURANT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
RESTAURANT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
RESTAURANT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
RESTAURANT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
RESTAURANT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
RESTAURANT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
RESTAURANT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
RESTAURANT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
RESTAURANT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
RESTAURANT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO: TERRACE
RESTAURANT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO: TERRACE
RESTAURANT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO: TERRACE
RESTAURANT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO: TERRACE
RESTAURANT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO: TERRACE
RESTAURANT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO: TERRACE
SUNSET
SUNSET
SUNSET
SUNSET
SUNSET
SUNSET
SUNSET
SUNSET
HOTEL AT NIGHT
HOTEL AT NIGHT
HOTEL AT NIGHT
HOTEL AT NIGHT
HOTEL AT NIGHT
DINNER AT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
DINNER AT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
DINNER AT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
DINNER AT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
DINNER AT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
DINNER AT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
DINNER AT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
DINNER AT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
DINNER AT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
DINNER AT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
DINNER AT LA TERRAZZA DI LUCOLLO
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT

BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
CHAIR LIFT TO MOUNT SOLARO
CHAIR LIFT TO MOUNT SOLARO
CHAIR LIFT TO MOUNT SOLARO
CAPRI ISLAND: VIEW FROM BAOT
CAPRI ISLAND: VIEW FROM BAOT

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