Caruso, A Belmond Hotel, Ravello
Belmond Hotel Caruso, located in the hills of Ravello, is a choice destination for travelers looking for peace and sanctuary above the Amalfi Coast, Italy.
The 39 room Casa Angelina in Praiano, which is between Positano and Amalfi, boasts a minimalist-chic style, a rarity in the normally colorfully tiled interiors along this coast. The all-white rooms are quite small, with contemporary furniture. Junior suites have the best views and balconies from which to enjoy them. Arriving at the property is not for the feint of heart, due to hair-pin turns and a deep drop to the sea. Needless to say, views from Angelina’s terrace are gorgeous. There is access to a beach, but it is down 259 steps—and then back up again. The beach scene is not like that at the private stretch at the San Pietro either. It’s a local’s beach, where sunbathers stack in chair-to-chair (you do feel like you are truly part of local life, which is also not always a given on the overly touristy Amalfi Coast). The hotel has a small spa and arranges boat charters as well. Don't miss a meal at the hotel's gourmet restaurant, Un Piano Nel Cielo, which has stunning views of the coast.
Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria
The “Grand” in Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria is no exaggeration. Arriving through five acres of lush private gardens, the castle-like property hugs the cliffside above the Gulf of Naples. For cinephiles, it’s as if you’ve stepped into an Antonioni or Fellini film. Located in the heart of Sorrento, this hotel is a tranquil home base for exploring the town on foot to discover boutiques, gelato shops and more.
Owned and operated by the Fiorentino family since 1834, the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria celebrates its long history by lining the lobby walls with black and white portraits of the family and past celebrity visitors (including royals, singers and actors). Flanked by large potted plants, the entrance and lobby areas open up to two large fresco-ceilened parlors and views of an expanse of blue.
The 81 guest rooms and suites are enormously spacious, some with a separate living room, complete with luxe décor touches–like a vintage armoire, large writing desk or velvet curtains. The color palette across the property echoes the landscape with neutral creams, calming blues and sages, along with intricate woodwork and lace (nods to the beloved Sorrento handicrafts). Depending on the room category, guests may have a sea view or garden view. Expect large marble bathrooms that are only available in older hotels. Apartments are available for extended stays.
One of the most picturesque corners of the property is the iconic Terraza Vittoria, the back patio with views of the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius. Stark white busts are perched on the railing, framing both the ocean and dramatic cliffside. Guests can dine on light bites and snacks (don’t miss the olives, local, of course) along with an extensive cocktail menu, wine list and coffee offerings. The Guido Royale is the hotel’s take on a limoncello spritz, and was invented by Ritz Paris head bartender Colin Field when he visited the property. Named for the current owner, Guido Fiorentino, the cocktail is a mix of prosecco and the property’s bespoke limoncello, finished with carpaccio-sliced lemons from the garden.
A show stopping breakfast buffet is served in the Vittoria Restaurant—a ballroom-like space with frescoed ceilings and authentic 19th century art. Expect a wide range of hot and cold dishes, every pastry imaginable and homemade jams. At L’Orangerie, the poolside bar and restaurant, guests can dine on Mediterranean cuisine among the property’s orange grove for lunch or dinner (an especially atmospheric spot in the evening under twinkling lights). Standouts on the menu include Neapolitan pizzas for lunch and the fish served in salt for dinner. The little ones will enjoy pizza making classes with the chef.
Awarded one Michelin star, Terrazza Bosquet Restaurant has sunset views paired with an inventive seasonal cuisine. The tasting menu focuses on fresh, local produce and a variety of citrus fruits from the hotel's garden. To amp up the romance, stop by La Pergola for Champagne served in a tressiled, secret garden.
Between meals, guests can relax poolside (including a separate kid’s pool and playground), at the spa or sneak in a quick sweat at the gym where one-on-one personal training sessions are available. The 19th Century greenhouse has been converted into Boutique Spa La Serra, a rejuvenating retreat for signature treatments, massages, facials and more.
Sorrento, a fishing town scented with ubiquitous citrus trees, is more relaxed (and authentic) than nearby Amalfi Coast towns, whose “it” factor and iconic hillside beauty have made them a glamorous “must-see” for millions of visitors. Significantly, for anyone who is eager to actually explore the area, Sorrento makes for an easier home base than the famed resorts in Positano and Ravello. Excursions for guests include hikes, day trips to Pompeii (without the twisty, two-hour drive through the mountains from Positano) and chartering the hotel’s yacht for trips to Capri and Amalfi Coast villages (a must-stop: Nerano, famous for the delectable zucchini pasta on Stanely Tucci’s Searching for Italy). Plus, if you love the local Sorrento treats, guests can purchase the hotel’s limoncello, olive oil and ginger marmalade before check-out.
Hotel Santa Caterina
Il San Pietro
Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa
The Villa Cimbrone, located in the midst of the magnificent Cimbrone gardens, is often described as “wedding central,” easy to understand given its splendid surroundings. It’s a good fifteen-minute walk from the center of town (unless you’re staying at easy-to-reach Avino or Caruso, you have to walk to reach your hotel). The nineteen rooms, all of which were recently refurbished, feature antique furniture, colorful tile floors and charming architectural details like stone fireplaces, vaulted ceilings and frescoed alcoves. Most requested is the Greta Garbo Suite (the actress stayed in the villa with Leopold Stokowski in 1938), a blue-and-white-tiled extravaganza with an enclosed balcony, but the smaller Peony Room has a terrace with gorgeous bay views. The hotel has a pool, and guests have access to the glorious gardens in the hours before and after they’re open to the public.