“Amalfi coast design hotel with slick white décor, bold artwork and delicate cuisine framed around stunning 180-degree sea views”
But it's in no danger of being too cool for its own good. The 'casa' tag, like the sociable bar, encourages hospitality sans frontières among guests, oiled by first-name friendliness from youthful staff. Though the clientele is cosmopolitan, the buildings remain in the Cappiello family. Quite what Angelina, the late mater familias, would make of her new home, goodness only knows.
- Plunging 180-degree sea-views stretching from Capri to Salerno (though slightly marred by tatty buildings in front)
- Easy access to Positano (taxi boat or free shuttle bus) without the noise, congestion and cost of staying in town
- We loved lying beside the pool and soaking up those views, especially with a homemade ice lolly in hand
- An elegant restaurant and a delicious feast of a breakfast - rare in Italy
- Unremittingly helpful service and a spoiling arrival - your car will be parked for you, your bags will be carried and an ice-cold drink will be waiting
- The blindingly white bedroom décor is not for everyone
- Dinner is formal, but there are more casual options within walking distance
- Some of the balconies are small
- The hotel's beach is just a small grey-pebble strip 15 minutes' steep walk below - though a lift takes you part way, and of course boats whisk you to better ones
Best time to go
Our top tips
Don't bother with the Grotta dello Smeraldo seacave (overpriced and underwhelming). If you go shopping in Positano, be prepared for crazy prices and shoulder-to-shoulder jostling. Nice wares, though.”
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- Children 12+ only
- Open all year
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Skippered speedboat
All is pure white inside the bedrooms and suites: the walls, the floor tiles, the square stack of bedside shelves, the inviting down duvet and its plump pillows. The only relief comes in the chromes and greys of a plasma screen, 2 anglepoise lamps, a sinuous silver vase with pert narcissi, and an ice bucket which is busy keeping your bottle of house champagne cool. So keep your shades on and slip, with bottle and fruit basket, through translucent white curtains to a balcony where, suddenly, all is blue. An endlessly sparkling sea, disturbed only by tiny triangles of boat-wakes and distant fingers of mist-haloed rock, lies enclosed in the rugged embrace of the Sorrento peninsula and an overarching azure sky. The view hits you like a parachute jump; just don't drop the bottle.
Coming back down to earth, you may find the odd minor niggle in the room: when we visited, the multimedia TV (including WiFi service) was playing up. But the bed was irreproachable and the bathroom was both sensuous (smooth cream walls of composite marble) and functional (glass-walled tub with both overhead and handheld shower). Shiny chrome towel rails, retro-chic weighing scales and provençal body lotions from L'Occitane keep up the contemporary standards.
The rooms are divided into 2 buildings (which do communicate, but not obviously) and 9 categories of room. All have sea views (the best are from the Relaxing Rooms on the corners, which also have bigger terraces with sunbeds). The magnificent Junior Suite boasts a huge terrace, an indoor sitting area and, in the bathroom, a separate shower and tub, the latter basking in front of a sea-facing window.
There also 4 former fishermen's cottages, refurbished into the stylish self-catering Eaudesea Suite with kitchenette, terrace, bathroom with shower and a fun round bathtub under the exposed rock in the bedroom, as well as having access to all the hotel’s amenities. They are reached by a panoramic elevator followed by 200 steps(!), and are available from May to September.
- Air conditioning
- Central heating
- Coffee / tea making
- DVD player
- Extra beds
- Internet access
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
A groovy exterior lift, with rising views over the sea, whisks you up to the hotel's top-floor Un Piano nel Cielo ('Storey in the Sky') restaurant and dining terrace.
The evening cuisine is seriously impressive. There's a fantastic range of fresh seafood - we sampled scallops with apple, but there might also be prawns with cream of broad beans, or marinated sea-bass with salad from their garden. Pasta and carne dishes also make an appearance, such as our rosemary fillet of beef with blackberries. For dessert, it was hazelnut panna cotta. Whatever you order you'll be presented with a stuzzichino (trio of amuse-bouches) to whet your appetite - ours were crudites and melt-in-the-mouth sliders. As you'd expect, it's all presented with an eye for beauty; they also do a 5-course and a 7-course menu.
Breakfast is an excellent buffet spread - our highlights were the smoked tuna, ricotta meringues, orange and lemon marmalades, pistachio cake, lemon tart, pancakes and scrambled eggs with crispy bacon. But the biggest highlight is sitting outside on the terrace and watching the morning sun burn the mist off the lilac sea. Light poolside lunches are perfectly crafted for the Italian summer heat - our Caesar salad was light and fresh.
If you fancy eating out, there's La Gavitella fish restaurant on the beach below, the excellent La Brace in the centre of Vettica Maggiore (5 mins walk), and various seaside gems accessible by boat or car (try sociable Da Adolfo on Laurito beach or Lo Scoglio in Nerano).
- Coffee / tea making
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Whatever you do, don't miss a boat trip along the peninsula's rugged coast: the hotel has a 'Sea Gem' speedboat for up to 10 people and offers high-end excursions to Capri, Amalfi, even Naples; or, at Positano pier, you can book a day-trip exploring nearby sea-caves, waterfalls and rockstacks.
- Head into Positano - there's a free hourly minibus, or a water taxi from the pier below - for some shopping, sunbathing and celeb-spotting: its boutiques are ever so chic (if a little samey) and recommended for fashion, footwear, glass and ceramics, while its twin beaches are full of beautiful young things tanning on hired sunchairs, or dancing in open-air discos by night
- The active can hire a canoe to visit the cave-pocked coast either side of Positano, or the extravagant yachts moored in its bay (look out for Denzel Washington, Rod Stewart, Lenny Kravitz)
- If you have a car and good nerves, follow the breathtaking corniche road along the coast to Amalfi and back; detour to Ravello to see the astonishing gardens of the Villa Cimbrone, stop for lunch in the neglected piazza of Atrani (try Osteria da Luisella under the arches), walk down to the coves of Conca dei Marini for a swim, and pass on the overrated Grotta dello Smeraldo
- If you don't have a car, you can take a public ferry from Positano to Amalfi for the day, to enjoy its medieval duomo, its Cappuccin monastery (now a hotel), its creamy sfogliatelle pastries (Andrea Pansa makes the best), even a Michelin-starred lunch at La Caravella
- If you have boots and lots of energy, the Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods), which links Praiano with Positano via a stomach-churning path up in the clouds, is a must
- Other spectacular hikes include the ascent to the ridgetop chapel of Santa Maria del Castello, feasible - in clear conditions - as a 5-hour circuit from Positano
- If that's too strenuous, you can enjoy a massage or sauna in the hotel's wellness centre, join a Pilates class, go jogging or weight-training in its gym, or just chill by the pool (there's an indoor and an outdoor one)
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
- Well being
Children 12 and over are welcome, but to be honest it is really more of an adults' retreat: there are valuable works of art in the living rooms, the beach below the hotel is small and gravelly, and the general atmosphere is one of ambient cool.
Family friendly accommodation:
Extra Beds Available