At a Glance
First opened in 1965 and under the ownership of the Sciò family since 1979, Il Pellicano remains one of the most glamorous seaside hotels in Italy. Carved into the rocky coastline of Tuscany’s Monte Argentario peninsula and located just two hours northwest of Rome by car, the hotel with 47 rooms and suites is a true hideaway above the Med, showcasing its startling sea views with casual aplomb. From the creamy neutral tones and terra-cotta floors in the rooms, which are spread throughout the main building and a series of cottages, to the chic white umbrellas and signature white-and-yellow-striped towels at the pool and the rocky terraces below—every detail has been curated by CEO and creative director Marie-Louise Sciò. Under her direction, the hotel participates with a local nonprofit, Marevivo, in maintaining the nearby beach and in highlighting local offerings—including aperitivi, wine, produce and artisanal products—all part of her commitment to preserving the beauty and bounty of the region.
The Standout: A boat trip to explore the coast
Don’t Miss: A cocktail with barman Federico Morosi, and a chance to sample The Teller, named after photographer Juergen Teller, a guest and friend of the hotel—it’s a variation on a Negroni (secret ingredient: Chinotto on top) and was made to be sipped at sunset
- The curated boutique (look for J.J. Martin)
- A fairy-tale history: in the 1960s a British ex-pilot and an American socialite fell in love and turned this seafront spot into a hotel before selling it to its current owner’s family
- The activities: touring Tuscany, tasting wine, standup paddleboarding and tennis
- Dinner at the Michelin-starred restaurant in a glorious setting, along with the popular Pelligrill
A rarity among luxury hotels, Il Pellicano is a singular spot that continues, year after year, to merit its venerable reputation, particularly among romantics. Carved into the rocky coastline of Tuscany’s Monte Argentario peninsula, the deep orange-colored, 47-room hotel showcases its startling sea views with old-world pomp. White umbrellas encircle the squiggle-shaped pool like daisy petals while linen tablecloths reflect the sun from various rocky terraced perches.
The guestrooms, divided between the main building and cottages along the garden and hillside are deluxe rooms, junior suites and deluxe suites. All feature creamy neutral palettes, terracotta floors and floral upholstered headboards. There are old world touches like shelves filled with beach books and antique furniture that lends an old world atmosphere that seems to stand in haughty contempt of the marble and glitz of modern five-star hotels.
The deluxe suites are the largest and offer the most prized views of the sea from arched windows and small terraces, guaranteeing a breezy, romantic sentiment. The main building houses a gym and spa and concierge who can arrange for taxis into the town of Porto Ercole for dinner or a boat trip to explore the coast, which is a must.
During the day, the most taxing decision a guest of Il Pellicano has to make is whether to lounge by the pool or take a dip in the sea. Everyone gathers for cocktails when the coastline turns crimson at sunset. Do dress for the occasion, as the heavy Italian and French guest base will be outfitted to impress. Dinner at the renowned Pellicano is a pilgrimage for many, eager to get a glimpse of the glorified setting.
Who Should Stay
Lovers of old world glamour who want to step into the pages of a Slim Aarons photograph and don’t need the most up-to-date interiors and glitzy bathrooms. This is for the respecters of retro romance.
Written by Meg Nolan van Reesema