Review: Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel (Amalfi Coast, Italy)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

Today (November 1, 2017): Review of Monastero Santa Rosa in Amalfi, Italy.
  • Location: Google Maps
  • Address: Via Roma, 2, 84010 Conca dei Marini SA,,Italy
  • Hotel website: Monastero Santa Rosa
  • Tip: enjoy free VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso

Perched on the 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 a 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.

Monastero Santa Rosa features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in Italy and the world’s best luxury hotels that are soaked in history.

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

Click to view slideshow.

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • Monastero Santa Rosa enjoys one of the world’s most spectacular settings, as the hotel is located on a razor-sharp cliff’s edge near the sleepy fishing village of Conca Dei Marini on Italy’s famous Amalfi Coast. The monumental hotel literally clings to the mountains in the vicinity of the medieval town of Amalfi and hovers between sea and sky. It’s only from a distance – such as from the road from Conca Dei Marini to Amalfi – that you can truly appreciate the property’s breathtaking, almost heart-stopping setting on a rock that evokes the robe of a king.
  • Because of its location on the region’s most dramatic bluff, it should not come as a surprise that the property offers unobstructed, phenomenal views in all directions. The views of the towering mountains of the Sorrento Peninsula, which are dotted with picturesque Italian villages and plunge straight into the glittering turquoise waters of the Tyrian Sea can be enjoyed from most parts of the hotel. From every angle, a new perspective of the Amalfi Coast and Bay of Salerno is revealed – gleaming white Amalfi to the south, sun-kissed Praiano to the north, Conca dei Marini’s quaint fishing village below, and the ubiquitous sea beyond.
  • The hotel is housed in a former 17th-century monastery and has been affectionately and respectfully restored into the exclusive boutique hotel as it is known today, honoring its historic heritage. The building of the monastery was funded by Sister Rosa Pandolfi, a descendant of a noble family Pontone di Scala who had taken up residence in Conca dei Marini. Upon completion in 1681, the convent was dedicated to the glorious St. Rose of Lima. The nuns became renowned not only for their aforementioned baking skills but also for their apothecary. In the mid-1800s, however, the religious establishment was removed following the laws of eviction and the convent was handed over to the municipality. The monastery’s structural integrity has been maintained and the monastery’s original atmosphere remains ever present in her current design.

  • The historic monastery began life as a hotel in the previous century. Purchased by a Roman hotelier Mr. Marcucci, who recognized the property’s historic value, the old convent was transformed into a hotel in 1924. The property was run by the Caterina family for 3 generation. However, after the death of the Caterina family, the building was once again left without a purpose. Things changed for the better in 2000, when US citizen Bianca Sharma was boating in the Gulf of Salerno with her two sons and admired the majestic yet ruined monastery on the spectacular promontory towering above her. She was instantly captivated, bought the building, moved to Amalfi, and lead a decade-long restoration and transformation of the former monastery into a luxury boutique hotel.
  • Away from the tourist crowds that flood the coastal towns of Amalfi and Positano during summer, the Monastero Santa Rosa property strikes the perfect balance of seclusion without solitude. It’s about a 10 minute drive to the medieval town of Amalfi and the hotel provides complimentary transfers (on request) to/from Amalfi.

  • 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 ultra-luxe rooms and suites. Each room is named for a herb that the nuns used in making their medicines from the Monastero Santa Rosa garden. During my holiday, I stayed in a so-called ‘Sea View Deluxe Open Space Suite’ – or Laurus Suite – which is the only one of its kind in the hotel and contains unique historical context as the a nun former refectory. The suite features an elegantly furnished living room and a bedroom with a green-and-gold, antique-framed king-size bed. The bedroom has ample closet space due to the additional storage provided by the custom-made, stylish closet partition that separates the bedroom space from the living room sitting area. The extraordinary bathroom is designed in dark wood and Jerusalem stone with a separate walk-in shower and soaking tub for relaxing baths.
  • As the historic property cascades down the hill, four levels of lush gardens feature magnificent landscaping in the tradition of the exclusive estates and palatial Italian villas of yore. The multi-level gardens offer sweeping panoramic views of land, sea, and sky, culminating at the dramatic cliff-edge infinity pool (cf below). Each level presents stylish, comfortable areas to relax and soak the day away. Ranging from private cabanas on the cliff’s periphery to day beds in the gardens to lounge chairs by the infinity pool, the elegantly manicured grounds are gracefully connected by interwoven stairways and free-flowing passages. Everywhere the Santa Rosa gardens’ intoxicating perfume encircles brimming with the fragrant botanical wonders of bougainvillea, lavender, agapanthus, coreopsis, rosemary, roses, and local-origin lemon trees, just to name a few of the many botanical wonders that grace the grounds.
  • Unquestionably, the vanished-edge infinity pool of the Monastero Santa Rosa is one of the most dramatic and precipitous of the entire Amalfi Coast. Seamlessly architecturally sculpted into the rock-base cliff of Monte San Pancrazio at the lowest level of Santa Rosa’s sloping cascade of gardens, the elliptically shaped fresh water infinity pool blends into the sea, disappearing between the horizon and sky.
  • Rest and relaxation are guaranteed at Monastero Santa Rosa, but should you feel the need to find time for fitness, the property makes it easy to stay on a healthy track. An abundance of walking trails, kayaking, windsurfing, and scuba diving are prominent in the area, and the hotel’s staff is happy to assist with all arrangements. Or, should you choose to feel more of a burn, you can always head to the outdoor fitness area and hop on any of the latest TechnoGym equipment while you stare at the sea. An elliptical trainer, upright bike, recline bike, rowing machine, dumbbells, exercise balls, and weight-lifting bench provide all of the elements seen at a top gym, only in a much more idyllic setting.
  • Each room within the extraordinary spa preserves the original 17th century vaulted ceilings and many of its rustic walls, maintaining the monastic heritage of this beautiful property. The Italian heritage of bathing is presented in the form of a Thermal Suite, consisting of a collection of vaulted spaces inter-connecting the various warm rooms via arched openings & changes of levels. The Thermal Suite includes a stunning double-height vaulted Tepidarium with pomegranate infused foot spas & heated mosaic loungers; domed aromatic steam room; crushed ice fountain to refresh between thermal bathing; rock sauna; hydro pool and emotion showers. The most exceptional treatment room – the Spa Suite – is a ‘private spa within a spa’ with a stunning double height vaulted space with Rasul; steam room; double wet & dry treatment couches; manicure/pedicure; relaxation lounge; private dressing & grooming space and a garden terrace.
  • Monastero Santa Rosa has only one restaurant – called ‘Ristorante Il Refettorio’ – which features a terrace that allows guests to dine alfresco while admiring one of the most exclusive views on the entire Amalfi Coast. The culinary treats of Santa Rosa are as unique as the monastery itself. The hotel’s Executive Chef Christoph Bob has created an innovative Mediterranean gastronomic experience for the most discerning palate with the freshest ingredients from the surrounding Campania region. His insatiable love affair with food is reflected in every delectable dish on the menu. To give you an idea, appetizers include lobster with chickpea puree and smoked olive oil broad bean salad with Colonnata’s bacon and king prawn ravioli with Corbara’s tomatoes and candied lemon. Breakfast is also served hereunder the pergola shaded dining terrace, or, alternatively in the comfort of your room on silver trays.
  • Monastero Santa Rosa’s sophisticated main bar is located on the lower terrace level. Its flowing indoor/outdoor spaces provide cozy entertainment areas that deliver panoramic perspectives around the twinkling bay and offer the ideal setting for savoring an aperitif at sunset, twilight, or après dinner. You can make yourself at home in the bar library area or relax below the stars with a limoncello or a vintage Barolo from Santa Rosa’s extensive wine cellar. The hotel’s bartenders take pride in their cocktails created from fresh fruits and herbs from our very own gardens.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

Monastero Santa Rosa is one of the most stunning hotels I have ever visited. The cliffside setting, infinity pool, ultraluxe accommodations and sublime service blew me off my feet. The hotel is truly perfect for a vacation on the Amalfi Coast, but you may want to know the following nonetheless:

  • The accommodations were once cells and hence some of the rooms are not huge. However, the accommodations are spotlessly clean and every inch of space is thoughtfully used, with no detail left unplanned from the heated floors to the views. However, if you want a spacious accommodation, you should book a suite.
  • The hotel enjoys a spectacular but also secluded location. There are no places of interest (restaurants, shops, tourist sights) within walking distance from the hotel. That said, Monastero Santa Rosa offer a reliable and very flexible free shuttle service into Amalfi or nearby destinations upon demand.

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

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Monastero Santa Rosa, 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 Monastero Santa Rosa when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, welcome cocktail, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
  • Save money: enjoy free VIP perks at Monastero Santa Rosa when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, welcome cocktail, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
  • Room tip: if you want a spacious accommodation, you should book a suite (since some rooms are rather small).
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Without a doubt the best time to see 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 a short 65 km (60 minutes) drive from the hotel. Transfers can be arranged via the hotel, or via a private taxi company (I used Eurolimo and paid 120 euros one way for the transfer between the airport and the hotel). For a list of airlines that offer direct flights to Naples, click here.


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HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL ENTRANCE & ARRIVAL COURTYARD

HOTEL ENTRANCE & ARRIVAL COURTYARD

HOTEL ENTRANCE & ARRIVAL COURTYARD

HOTEL ENTRANCE & ARRIVAL COURTYARD

HOTEL ENTRANCE & ARRIVAL COURTYARD

HOTEL ENTRANCE & ARRIVAL COURTYARD

LOBBY: CONCIERGE AREA

LOBBY: CONCIERGE AREA

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY TERRACE: VIEW

LOBBY TERRACE: VIEW

LOBBY TERRACE: VIEW

LOBBY TERRACE: VIEW

PRAYER ROOM

GUEST ROOM FLOOR

GUEST ROOM FLOOR

GUEST ROOM FLOOR

GUEST ROOM FLOOR

GUEST ROOM FLOOR

GUEST ROOM FLOOR

SUNSET TERRACE

SUNSET TERRACE

SUNSET TERRACE

SUNSET TERRACE

SUNSET TERRACE

SUNSET TERRACE

SUNSET TERRACE

SUNSET TERRACE: VIEW

SUNSET TERRACE

SUNSET TERRACE: VIEW

SUNSET TERRACE: VIEW

SUNSET TERRACE: VIEW

LAURUS SUITE: ENTRANCE

LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM

LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM

LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM

LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM

LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM

LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM

LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM

LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM

LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM

LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM

LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM

LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM

LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM

LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM

LAURUS SUITE: LIVING ROOM

LAURUS SUITE: BEDROOM

LAURUS SUITE: BEDROOM

LAURUS SUITE: BEDROOM

LAURUS SUITE: BEDROOM

LAURUS SUITE: BEDROOM

LAURUS SUITE: WARDROBE

LAURUS SUITE: WARDROBE

LAURUS SUITE: BATHROOM

LAURUS SUITE: BATHROOM

LAURUS SUITE: BATHROOM

LAURUS SUITE: BATHROOM

LAURUS SUITE: BATHROOM

LAURUS SUITE: BATHROOM

LAURUS SUITE: BATHROOM

LAURUS SUITE: VIEW

LAURUS SUITE: VIEW

LIBRARY

BAR

BAR

BAR

BAR

BAR: TERRACE

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS

GARDENS: FITNESS

GARDENS: FITNESS

GARDENS: FITNESS

GARDENS: FITNESS

SPA: ENTRANCE

SPA: ENTRANCE

SPA: ENTRANCE

SPA: THERMAL SUITE

SPA: THERMAL SUITE

SPA: THERMAL SUITE

SPA: THERMAL SUITE

SPA: THERMAL SUITE

SPA: THERMAL SUITE

SPA: THERMAL SUITE

SPA: THERMAL SUITE

SPA: THERMAL SUITE

SPA: THERMAL SUITE

SPA: THE SPA SUITE

SPA: THE SPA SUITE

SPA: THE SPA SUITE

SPA: THE SPA SUITE

SPA: THE SPA SUITE

SPA: THE SPA SUITE

SPA: THE SPA SUITE

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOLS

INFINITY POOLS

INFINITY POOLS

INFINITY POOLS

INFINITY POOLS

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL: LUNCH

INFINITY POOL: LUNCH

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

RESTAURANT: DINNER

RESTAURANT: DINNER

RESTAURANT: DINNER

RESTAURANT: DINNER

RESTAURANT: DINNER

RESTAURANT: DINNER

RESTAURANT: DINNER

VIEW IN EARLY MORNING

VIEW IN EARLY MORNING

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 (LIVE HARP MUSIC)

RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST (VIEW)

HOTEL’S ROOFTOP

HOTEL’S ROOFTOP

HOTEL’S ROOFTOP

HOTEL’S ROOFTOP

HOTEL’S ROOFTOP

HOTEL’S ROOFTOP

HOTEL’S ROOFTOP

HOTEL’S ROOFTOP

HOTEL’S ROOFTOP

HOTEL’S ROOFTOP: VIEW

HOTEL’S ROOFTOP: VIEW

CHURCH NEXT TO THE HOTEL

CHURCH NEXT TO THE HOTEL

TOWN OF AMALFI

TOWN OF AMALFI

TOWN OF AMALFI

TOWN OF AMALFI

TOWN OF AMALFI

TOWN OF AMALFI

TOWN OF AMALFI

TOWN OF AMALFI


 

Filed under: Trip reports: luxury hotels Tagged: amalfi, Amalfi coast, Hotel Review Europe, Hotel Review Italy, Luxury, Luxury travel, monastero santa rosa, review, Sorrento Peninsula, Travel, Trip report

Top 10: best luxury hotels on Capri, Ischia & the Amalfi Coast

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!

Click to view slideshow.

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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).

THE GRAND HOTEL EXCELSIOR VITTORIA, SORRENTO


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).

HOTEL IL SAN PIETRO DI POSITANO


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.
  • 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).

HOTEL SANTA CATERINA, AMALFI


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: coming soon.

J.K. PLACE CAPRI HOTEL, CAPRI


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: coming soon.

MEZZATORRE RESORT & SPA, ISCHIA


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).

LE SIRENUSE, POSITANO


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: coming soon.

HOTEL CAESAR AUGUSTUS, CAPRI


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: coming soon.


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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Filed under: Top 10 lists Tagged: Amalfi coast, Belmond, capri, ischia, Italy, leading hotels of the world, sorrento, Top 10, top 10 2017, Top 10 hotels

Travel news: this month (October 2017) in luxury travel

Friday newsletters always feature luxury travel conteststipsseries, or news.

Today (October 27, 2017): October 2017 luxury travel news.

Every last Friday of the month, you can read my news round-up of what’s happening in the world of luxury travel. In this issue:

  1. Jewelry brand Bulgari opens a Beijing hotel
  2. Singapore Airlines’ new A380 cabin product to debut on Sydney route
  3. Rosewood announces a Chengdu, China, hotel
  4. United Airlines announces last Boeing 747 flight
  5. Dhevanafushi Maldives is no longer a Jumeirah resort
  6. Emirates to receive 100th A380 aircraft in November
  7. The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui, is now open
  8. Qantas takes delivery of first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
  9. Capella opens Shanghai’s first urban resort
  10. American Airlines introduces new bedding

1. Bulgari opens its Beijing hotel

Bulgari opened a new property in the heart of Beijing’s exclusive Embassy District, the Bulgari Hotel Beijing. Designed by architects Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel, and crowning 7 years of meticulous construction works, the fourth jewel of the Bulgari Hotels & Resorts collection rises within the new Genesis Project, an oasis of tranquility that balances art and nature. Conceived as the ultimate Urban Resort, The Bulgari Hotel Beijing balances art, design and nature with sculpted gardens that extend along the Liangma River. Designed by the acclaimed architectural firm Antonio CItterio Patricia Viel, each element of the hotel has been handpicked for a seamless sense of refinement. The hotel’s 119 exquisitely furnished rooms include the exceptional Bulgari Suite, with some of the best views over the city. Measuring nearly 400 square meters – and offering guests modern Italian design, the Bulgari Suite is one of the largest suites in Beijing. The 1500 square-metre Bulgari Spa adds a further luxurious touch to the guest experience featuring 11 treatment rooms, a fitness center and a 25-metre pool made of shimmering mosaic tiles inspired by Terme di Caracalla Roman baths. And finally, featuring creations from the Italian chef Niko Romito, Il Ristorante Niko Romito brings to China a menu that expresses the culture, elegance and vitality of ‘Made in Italy’ to the maximum.

BULGARI HOTEL BEIJING


2. Singapore Airlines’ new A380 cabin product to debut on Sydney route

Singapore Airlines’ eagerly awaited new cabin products, which will be revealed at global launch events in Singapore over 2-4 November, will debut on the Singapore-Sydney route in December. The introduction of the new cabin products – in Suites, Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class – follows four years of development involving extensive customer feedback. They will initially be fitted on five new A380s that the Airline has on firm order with Airbus. The first of the A380s with the new products will operate daily from 18 December as flight SQ221, departing Singapore at 2040hrs and arriving into Sydney at 0740hrs the following day. It will return as flight SQ232, departing Sydney at 1215hrs and arriving into Singapore at 1735hrs. Additional destinations for the new products will be revealed in the coming months. The A380 entered service with Singapore Airlines in October 2007. In addition to Sydney, the Airline’s superjumbos serve Beijing, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, Mumbai, New Delhi, New York, Osaka, Paris, Shanghai and Zurich.

SINGAPORE AIRLINES A380


3. Rosewood announces a Chengdu, China, property

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has been appointed by Chengdu-based property developer Saiho Group to manage Rosewood Chengdu, scheduled to open in 2023. The ultra-luxury hotel will occupy the top floors of a new 300-meter mixed-use tower in an integrated complex in the city’s central business district. The property signifies an important addition to Rosewood’s expanding footprint in Greater China, which includes the acclaimed Rosewood Beijing; recently opened Rosewood Sanya, the brand’s first China resort; and the upcoming Rosewood Guangzhou and Rosewood Hong Kong, both opening in 2018. Rosewood Chengdu will feature 180 rooms and suites and the exclusive Manor Club executive lounge will offer additional privacy and privileges for guests. The hotel is destined to become a dining and entertainment destination with four restaurants and bars. Recreation options will include spa, fitness center and pool. The Pavilion, Rosewood’s signature, residential-style meeting and function area, will be ideal for corporate and social events. Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, is one of China’s most important commercial centers; more than half of Fortune 500 companies have branches in the city. However, its historic, cultural and gastronomic riches are perhaps better known attractions to world explorers. It is home to the largest breeding center for giant pandas anywhere as well as the outlying, world-famous wild panda nature reserve.

CHENGDHU, CHINA


4. United Airlines announces last Boeing 747 flight

In celebration of United Airlines retiring the Boeing 747 from its fleet, United flight 747, on Tuesday November 7 from San Francisco to Honolulu will be the airline’s farewell flight to the 747 fleet. This journey will serve as the ultimate throwback for customers, employees and invited guests as it recreates the first 747 flight operated by United in 1970. From a 1970s-inspired menu to retro uniforms for flight attendants to inflight entertainment befitting of that first flight, passengers will help send the Queen of the Skies off in true style. The original United 747 aircraft that first made this journey from San Francisco to Honolulu was named the ‘Friend Ship’, the same name bestowed on this farewell flight. Seats on this special, one-way trip, United flight 747, are available for purchase at united.com or through the United app. The seats in the upper deck will not be sold, giving all guests the opportunity to spend time in this iconic space. Customers seated in United Polaris first class and United Polaris business class will be entered into a drawing that will take place at the gate prior to boarding for an opportunity to occupy one of a select number of seats in the upper deck during the flight.

UNITED AIRLINES B747


5. Dhevanafushi Maldives no longer a Jumeriah resort

This caught me by surprise. The famous Dhevanafushi property is no longer a Jumeirah resort, and has been acquired by the AccorHotels under the name of ‘Dhevanafushi Luxury Resort, Maldives‘. Nestled at the south end of the Maldives in the heart of the Indian Ocean, the Dhevanafushi property is stretched across two islands, with lush foliage, crystal blue waters and stretches of white sandy beach creating a sanctuary for all senses. The property is home to 21 island villas, each with its own private beach and pool. Over the water, you’ll find another 16 ocean villas with steps directly down to the deep and outdoor marble baths looking out the horizon. Here, guests can delight their senses with the sumptuous menus of the resort’s three restaurants. I visited the property last February, and I can only hope that the new owners will have more attention to the food department and the maintenance of the property, since it did not live up to the stellar Jumeirah reputation (you can read my review here).  Besides the Dhevanafushi Maldives Luxury Resort, AccorHotels is also adding two new addresses to its tropical Maldivian portfolio: the Mercure Maldives Kooddoo and the Pullman Maamutta Maldives (set to open in 2018).


6. Emirates to receive 100th A380 aircraft in November

Emirates, the world’s largest A380 operator, is set to receive its milestone 100th A380 aircraft on 3rd November. Over 80 million passengers have flown on the superjumbo in the nine years since it first joined Emirates’ modern fleet. Today, Emirates flies the A380 to over 45 destinations spanning Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. Everywhere it operates, the Emirates A380 attracts consumer demand for its industry-leading inflight experience in all cabin classes, and is welcomed by local economies as a contributor to tourism and visitor growth. Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said: “The A380 has been, and continues to be hugely popular amongst our customers, many of whom deliberately plan their travel so that they can fly on it. But we don’t rest on our laurels and continually invest to enhance our product so as to continue offering our customers the best possible inflight experience. On the ground, Emirates had also worked closely with stakeholders to launch and operate an A380-dedicated airport concourse with 20 gates offering direct boarding from the airport lounge, and one of the world’s most advanced engineering centres which include six heavy maintenance hangars, paint shops, and the capability to completely overhaul an A380.


7. The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui, is now open

Marking its first presence on the Eastern coast of Thailand, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company announced the newest addition to its collection of renowned global properties with the opening of The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui. Located on the tropical island paradise of Koh Samui on the Gulf of Thailand, The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui seamlessly combines the brand’s legendary service with the traditional spirit of Thai hospitality and colorful Samui island life culture to create a unique melting pot of indelible new memories. The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui offers 175 suites and pool villas nestled amid 58 acres that overlook the turquoise waters of The Gulf of Thailand. Built on the site of a former coconut plantation, the resort pays homage to its past through the extensive use of coconut and other natural materials such as ceramics, touches that imbue a sense of place and help immerse guests in their destination. To further draw guests into the local culture, The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui has curated some of the best authentic southern Thai experiences to explore and experience, including the Muay Thai Gym with its indoor kickboxing ring, where guests can learn the martial art of Muay Thai (or ‘The Art of Eight Limbs’) with trained instructors. Additionally, guests can sign up for a journey to a local market to source seasonal produce, followed by a class to unlock secrets of southern Thai cooking.

THE RITZ-CARLTON, KOH SAMUI


8. Qantas takes delivery of first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner 

The first Qantas Dreamliner has touched down in Sydney. The 787-9 features Qantas’ next-generation seating across Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class. The aircraft also features the Boeing-designed turbulence dampening technology, improved air quality to reduce jetlag and 65 per cent larger windows that give an increased sense of space. Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the arrival of a new type of aircraft was a special time for any airline, but the capability of the Dreamliner put it in a different category. “We’ve taken delivery of hundreds of aircraft in our 98-year history but only a few of them have been game-changers like this one,” he said. “In the 1940s the Lockheed Constellation meant we could fly around the world, and in the 1960s the Boeing 707 took us into the jet age and cut flying time in half. The Boeing 747 changed the economics of travel for millions of people and the sheer size of the Airbus A380 meant we could reimagine what inflight service was like. The Dreamliner aircraft means we can finally offer a direct link between Australia and Europe, with our Perth to London flight that starts next year”. The first Dreamliner, registered as VH-ZNA, will fly a number of domestic passenger services around Australia to assist with crew familiarisation before its first international service from Melbourne to Los Angles on 15 December this year.


9. Capella opens Shanghai’s first urban resort

The Capella Hotel Group has made its highly anticipated debut in the Chinese market with the opening of its property in Shanghai’s cultural preservation precinct. Set against the backdrop of a vibrant cosmopolitan city in Shanghai’s architectural heritage Jian Ye Li estate, Capella Shanghai is a unique all-villa urban resort in the last remaining cluster of historical “shikumen” (stone warehouse gate) estate. Centrally located within the cultural preservation zone of Xuhui District, the Jian Ye Li estate was originally built by French real estate company Foncière et Immobilière de Chine in the 1930s to house the upper-class.  The compound houses 22 rows of shikumen lanes, connecting more than 200 two-story houses dating back to the 1930s. Embodying a blending of traditional Shanghainese and Western architectural styles, these distinctive shikumen buildings first appeared in the 1860s. Due to the city’s currently accelerating development, original shikumen houses are a cultural rarity, set as they are against the glistening skyscrapers and modern architecture. Capella Shanghai, Jian Ye Li will serve as a showcase of Shanghai’s residential heritage featuring Chinese courtyard houses with Parisian flair. The heritage landmark features 55 ultra-luxury villas, 40 residences, The Capella Library, a French brasserie, Auriga spa and a retail gallery.

CAPELLA SHANGHAI, CHINA


10. American Airlines introduces new bedding

American Airlines announced that it is partnering with innovative global sleep company Casper to offer an enhanced sleep experience to its passengers. Beginning in December, customers seated in long-haul international and transcontinental First or Business Class and Premium Economy will be able to enjoy a suite of advanced sleep offerings designed by Casper’s award-winning engineering team. The Casper line of sleep products will include a mattress pad, duvet, pillow, day blanket, lumbar pillow, pajamas and slippers, with the exact offering varying based on the route. Casper’s sleep engineers applied their renowned expertise in sleep research and sleep science to design innovative products specifically for air travel and made exclusively for American Airlines. Casper researched more than a dozen versions of the onboard pillow and tested it with a variety of fibers to find the perfect balance of support and breathability for customers. Inspired by performance outerwear, Casper’s signature duvet and the onboard duvet are created to provide comfort at all altitudes, and its sewn-through seams create small, rectangular chambers for a consistent fill distribution to stay fluffy and in place. American put these designs to the test with customers on some of its longest flights, including Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand. The airline also tapped the expertise of some of its most frequent travelers, its flight attendants, for advice on fit, durability and comfort.

NEW BEDDING ON AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHTS


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Filed under: Travel news Tagged: American Airlines, Bulgari, Capella, Emirates, Jumeirah, Maldives, Ritz-Carlton, Rosewood, Singapore Airlines, Travel news, united airlines

Review: Belmond Hotel Caruso (Amalfi Coast, Italy)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

Today (October 25, 2017): Review of Belmond Hotel Caruso in Ravello, Italy.

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.

Belmond Hotel Caruso features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in Italy, the world’s most spectacular cliffside luxury hotels and the world’s most stunning hotel pools.

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

Click to view slideshow.

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • Belmond Hotel Caruso is located on a picturesque cobblestone square in the heart of Ravello, one of Italy’s most utterly charming villages. About a 60 minutes drive from Naples’ airport, the mountain village of Ravello is set on the Sorrento Peninsula, far removed from the crowds that flock to its coastal neighbours Positano, Amalfi and Sorrento. Founded in the 6th century, Ravello features a 12th-century cathedral, houses built in Arabic-Sicilian style, winding narrow streets, and fragrant gardens. Villa Cimbrone is a magnificent lookout point in the village, and there’s a summer music festival on the terrace at Villa Rufolo, whose garden inspired Wagner’s Parsifal. La Dolce Vita was surely born here, surrounded by lemon trees in the lazy, hot climes of Italy’s Campania province.
  • The ultraluxe property is the best located hotel on the Amalfi Coast, perched on its own little rocky spur at Ravello’s highest point (350 meters or 1150 ft above sea level). The hotel offers jaw-dropping, unobstructed  views over the mountainous Amalfi shoreline and the turquoise Tyrrhenian Sea from just about everywhere (including the pool area, gardens, rooms and restaurant). The Belmond’s incredible hilltop location and its fabulous views out to the sea and surrounding towns is unquestionably one of the property’s major draws and will sweep you off your feet. The panorama from the hotel has often been described by glossy travel magazines as ‘the most beautiful in the world’.
  • Belmond Hotel Caruso began life as an 11th-century palazzo, built by a patrician Roman family who set out to reach Constantinople, the new centre of the Roman Empire, but failed because of a storm at sea and ended up in Ravello. Over the following centuries, as the Italian republics squabbled, Ravello was destroyed and the palace fell in and out of ruin. By the 16th century, it had been completely rebuilt, with the addition of a splendid colonnade in the raised garden. A further period of neglect followed, until 1893 when Pantaleone Caruso, a hotelier and vineyard owner, opened the property as a hotel. Belmond (previously Orient-Express Hotels) acquired the Hotel Caruso Belvedere in 2000 and began a painstaking, four-year restoration, working closely with the Italian Fine Arts authorities, before reopening the hotel as it is known today.
  • Just like its sister property Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice (which I reviewed here), the Belmond Hotel Caruso is a celebrity hotspot. The fame of the hotel started in 1903, when a New York Times journalist visited, and his article inspired many wealthy and influential Americans, overwintering on the European rivieras, to visit. It became a favourite haunt of Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group. Attracted by the cocoon of privacy, later guests included Greta Garbo, Gina Lollobrigida, Humphrey Bogart, Jackie Kennedy and Dustin Hoffman, who all enjoyed the peace of walking among the
    vines in the colonnaded gardens, the taste of authentic Neapolitan cooking and a charming atmosphere away from prying lenses.
  • Belmond Hotel Caruso features a classis decor in grand style with frescoed salons, mosaic floors, arched stone vaults, and marble hallways. Guests are still greeted in the sumptuous lobby by two stone 13th-century lions guarding the entrance and the fabulous view that have defined the palazzo right from the beginning. Walking around the property is a like a journey back in time to the Renaissance era. Colourful frescoes of ribbons, flowers, cornucopias, Arcadian scenes, cameos, goddesses and nymphs adorn the ceilings in several salons, the drawing room, the chapel, the bar, the boutique shop and the lobby. The hotel’s interior was created by designer Federico Forquet, who introduced modern elements and 21st-century technology, without losing the authenticity of the palace itself or the Neapolitan spirit.
  • Belmond Hotel Caruso offers 51 rooms and suites, all very spacious and each with its own individual style. Most boast sea views from their terraces and many enjoy a private garden. During my visit, I stayed in a Deluxe Suite, located on the property’s upper floor and featuring a separate living area and one bedroom with a kingsized bed. The suite embraced a Neapolitan style decor, was furnished with 18th- and 19th-century antiques. The floor was covered in magnificent mosaic tiles resembling a piece of art. The spacious bathroom featured a separate shower cubicle, bathtub, bidet and double vanity basins, and a unique (and very private) outdoor shower. Exclusive Bulgari and Penhaligon toiletries were provided and replenished daily. The rooftop terrace was furnished with sunbeds, a table and chairs, and offered stupendous views of the gardens and the sea. Unquestionably, this was one of the most astonishingly beautiful hotel rooms I have ever slept in.
  • Belmond Hotel Caruso features magnificent, Mediterranean style gardens, that cascade down the hill in layered terraces. The gardens have been over 100 years in the making and comprise a collection of hidden spots, large lawns and scented walkways, with olive trees for shade, and lemon trees and herb beds providing fresh mint, thyme, rosemary and bay for use in the kitchens. Roses bloom and climb at every turn, most memorably over the elegant colonnade that leads up steps to the highest point of the property, where you find the pool area (more on that below).
  • The property’s truly jaw-dropping infinity swimming pool is often listed among the best hotel pools in the world. Built in 2005 on the domain’s highest point, the pool is an architectural triumph which appears to be suspended over the Amalfi coastline, taking full advantage of the phenomenal vistas. The pool is adequately sized and lined with very comfortable white-cushioned sun loungers and umbrellas. Clay pots filled with pink and white flowers decorate the stone-tile deck. Pool services include the concierge delivering an iPod pre-loaded with your choice of music, or a fresh fruit appetizer or cocktail to the side of the pool as you swim.
  • There’s also a small villa in the gardens with an air-conditioned gym on the ground floor and an intimate spa upstairs. The gym, though small, has a full range of cardio equipment and weight machines, all positioned in front of a window with a distracting, panoramic view of the coastline – the perfect way to forget how hard the workout is. A personal trainer is also available. The first-floor wellness centre offers a well-constructed menu of essential treatments using products by Aromatherapy Associates and Sothys. Treatments are tailored for face, body, hair or beauty, with massages and aromatherapy experiences offered alongside specialist rituals, such as a 140-minute mothers and daughters wellness package.
  • Dining facilities at the hotel include the fine dining Belvedere restaurant and a casual poolside restaurant. Belvedere restaurant provides a stellar dining experience – with focus on authentic Italian cuisine – which surpasses the view. The restaurant’s terrace – from where you can admire the breathtaking views of the Amalfi Coast – is shaded by a canopy, so that guests can eat outside without being affected by the sun. Breakfast is also served here, with a beautifully displayed buffet in one of the salons complemented by an a la carte menu for eggs. The poolside restaurant – which has the stunning infinity pool as the backdrop – offers an easygoing menu of Italian favourites, a lavish salad bar and authentic Neapolitan pizza straight from a wood-fired oven.
  • Indoors, the Cocktail & Piano Bar is a sophisticated spot for an early evening cocktail or a late-night digestif. This is one of the hotel’s public rooms which benefits from having magnificent, restored 18th-century frescoes, and if you can take your eyes off the ceiling, there are also views over the Amalfi coastline. The atmospherically lit bar area, with its immense wooden bar, offers an extensive list of cocktails – Italian favourites and new mixes – and a wide selection of wines, champagnes and delicious local prosecco.
  • The Belmond Hotel Carusdo belongs to the portfolio of the Belmond Hotel Group fomerly known as Orient Express until its rebranding in 2014. Belmond is a hotel and leisure company that manages a ultraluxe collection of 49 iconic hotels, trains and river cruises in 24 countries, bringing together some of the world’s most sensational journeys and destinations. It ranks among the most exclusive hotel brands in the world. With Belmond, you can stay in timeless hotels in Venice, Rio and St. Petersburg, embrace the spirit of adventure at Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat, glide along the rails through the Swiss Alps, soar across the Andes, or explore the mystifying rivers of Myanmar.
  • It’s about a 15-minute drive to Amalfi, the beautiful but also very touristic seaside town filled with shops, cafes, and sights such as the Duomo di Amalfi. The village of Positano – which clings precariously to the mountains –  is about an hour away by car. Complimentary shuttle service is offered by the property to both Amalfi and Positano.  Guests can also enjoy the daily complimentary boat excursions along the Amalfi Coast, on board of the hotel’s private boat.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

Hotel Belmond Caruso is one of Italy’s most romantic boltholes. The hillside setting in a medieval town, the grand palalazzo-like design, beautiful rooms, lush gardens, a spectacular pool and a world-class restaurant match the breathtaking views.  It’s very hard to fault the hotel, but you may want to know the following nonetheless:

  • I’ve mentioned it before, but the spa is small. If you are looking for a wellness stay, you may be disappointed since state-of-the-art spa facilities (e.g. sauna, steamroom, whirlpool, etc …) are lacking except for the treatment rooms. That said, you can still enjoy a range of treatments and massages designed to nourish mind, body and soul and some therapies can even be enjoyed in the romantic gardens under an azure sky.
  • The property is extremily expensive, but so are most top hotels on the Amalfi Coast, an area of Italy where holiday budgets come to die. But given the fact that Belmond Hotel Caruso is one of the most exclusive hotels in Italy and provides an amazing travel experience, I find the hotel well worth despite its considerable price tag.  It’s a place you will never forget.

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

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Belmond Hotel Caruso, 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 Belmond Hotel Caruso when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
  • Room tip: Although you can’t go wrong here – since each room is utterly charming – I recommend to book or request a room (or even better, a suite) on a higher floor with view of the sea. Suite Deluxe #208 (the one I stayed in during my visit) is incredibly beautiful and boasts an enormous private terrace.
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Without a doubt the best time to see 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 a short 65 km (60 minutes) drive from the hotel. Transfers can be arranged via the hotel, or via a private taxi company (I used Eurolimo and paid 120 euros one way for the transfer between the airport and the hotel). The hotel’s concierge can also arrange a private helicopter to meet you on your arrival at the airport and transport you to the hotel in supreme luxury. For a list of airlines that offer direct flights to Naples, click here.


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HOTEL ENTRANCE ON SQUARE IN RAVELLO

HOTEL ENTRANCE ON SQUARE IN RAVELLO

HOTEL ENTRANCE ON SQUARE IN RAVELLO

HOTEL ENTRANCE ON SQUARE IN RAVELLO

HOTEL ENTRANCE ON SQUARE IN RAVELLO

HOTEL ENTRANCE ON SQUARE IN RAVELLO

HOTEL ENTRANCE ON SQUARE IN RAVELLO

HOTEL ENTRANCE ON SQUARE IN RAVELLO

HOTEL ENTRANCE ON SQUARE IN RAVELLO

HOTEL ENTRANCE ON SQUARE IN RAVELLO

HOTEL ENTRANCE ON SQUARE IN RAVELLO

HOTEL ENTRANCE ON SQUARE IN RAVELLO

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SUITE DELUXE: TERRACE

SUITE DELUXE: TERRACE

SUITE DELUXE: TERRACE

SUITE DELUXE: TERRACE

SUITE DELUXE: TERRACE

SUITE DELUXE: TERRACE

SUITE DELUXE: TERRACE

SUITE DELUXE: TERRACE (SUNSET)

SUITE DELUXE: TERRACE (SUNSET)

SUITE DELUXE: TERRACE (SUNRISE)

HOTEL’S FIRST FLOOR

HOTEL’S FIRST FLOOR

HOTEL’S FIRST FLOOR: CHAPEL

HOTEL’S FIRST FLOOR: CHAPEL

HOTEL’S FIRST FLOOR: CHAPEL

HOTEL’S FIRST FLOOR: LIBRARY

HOTEL’S FIRST FLOOR: LIBRARY

HOTEL’S FIRST FLOOR: LIBRARY

COCTAIL BAR

COCTAIL BAR

COCTAIL BAR

COCTAIL BAR

COCTAIL BAR

COCTAIL BAR

COCTAIL BAR

COCTAIL BAR

PIANO BAR

PIANO BAR

BUBBLES BAR

BUBBLES BAR

BUBBLES BAR

BUBBLES BAR

GARDENS LEADING TO THE POOL

GARDENS LEADING TO THE POOL

GARDENS LEADING TO THE POOL

GARDENS LEADING TO THE POOL

GARDENS LEADING TO THE POOL

GARDENS LEADING TO THE POOL

GARDENS LEADING TO THE POOL

GARDENS LEADING TO THE POOL

GARDENS LEADING TO THE POOL

GARDENS LEADING TO THE POOL

GARDENS LEADING TO THE POOL

GARDENS LEADING TO THE POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL (MORNING)

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL: VIEW

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL

INFINITY POOL AT SUNSET

INFINITY POOL AT SUNSET

INFINITY POOL AT SUNSET

VIEW FROM PROPERTY’S HIGHEST POINT

VIEW FROM PROPERTY’S HIGHEST POINT

VIEW FROM PROPERTY’S HIGHEST POINT

VIEW FROM PROPERTY’S HIGHEST POINT

VIEW FROM PROPERTY’S HIGHEST POINT

VIEW FROM PROPERTY’S HIGHEST POINT

VIEW FROM PROPERTY’S HIGHEST POINT

VIEW FROM PROPERTY’S HIGHEST POINT

POOLSIDE RESTAURANT

POOL RESTAURANT

POOL RESTAURANT

POOL RESTAURANT

POOL RESTAURANT: LUNCH

POOL RESTAURANT: LUNCH

POOL RESTAURANT: LUNCH

POOL RESTAURANT: LUNCH

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

GARDENS BELOW HOTEL

SPA

SPA

SPA

SPA

SPA

SPA

SPA

STAIRS TO GYM

GYM

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

HOTEL AT NIGHT

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: DINNER

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: DINNER

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: DINNER

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: DINNER

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: DINNER

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: DINNER

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: DINNER

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: DINNER

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: DINNER

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: DINNER

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: DINNER

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: DINNER

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: DINNER

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

BELVEDERE RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST