Micalo

Naples & Amalfi, Italy Book from Eur133

Reviewed by Emma Taylor
Designer bolthole in edgy Naples, close to the sea, furnished with creamy Trani limestone and decorated with vibrant local artwork
With its rich history of Baroque churches and sculptures, and its proximity to awe-inspiring Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii, Naples makes a fantastic city break. However there aren't many truly stylish hotels. But hidden behind an unassuming facade of a traditional palazzo, Micalò is one of the city's coolest boltholes. An intimate guesthouse in the trendy Chiaia Riviera, it has design features in spades. Duplex bedrooms with soaring ceilings and tall French doors are furnished with white Trani limestone; above, reached via stone steps and steel balustrades, hover pristine bathrooms. Ex-pat Brit Michelle Lowe worked with an Italian architect to maximize space, creating a stylish haven from hot and hectic Naples: the pale stone and natural wood hues soothe both mind and body, and the overall effect is one of understated, grown-up style.

Three of the rooms have sea views, as does the cute Art Bar, Michelle's homage to Naples' budding modern art scene. With designer shops and excellent restaurants close by, it's a strong contender for a short city break dedicated to shopping and sampling Italian cuisine, or as part of a longer trip taking in the Amalfi coast.

Highs

  • High quality finish throughout: it is clear that Michelle has poured heart and soul into this project
  • The little touches: Arran Aromatic toiletries, iPod docks, quality bedding and goodnight chocolates
  • Sophisticated rooms in an area where these are hard to come by, and an injection of cool through the funky art by young, local artists
  • Handily located next to the port for trips to the islands of Ischia and Capri, and easy access to public transport to visit the rest of the city

Lows

  • Look out for slabs of stone in the rooms and bathrooms which can graze careless ankles, whilst the stairs up to the bathrooms can be tricky to negotiate in the middle of the night
  • The lack of any outdoor space at all might niggle after a day or two, though you overlook the Villa Comunale park
  • Don't be put off by the tired exterior
  • In addition to nearby busy roads, there is (or was, when we visited) a metro station being constructed very close by

Best time to go

Early summer (May - June) and autumn (September - October) are good times to visit Naples. In July and August, it's very hot and most of the city closes down.

Our top tips

2-3 days is perfect for an introduction to Naples, either as a stand-alone city break or combined with a few days exploring the Amalfi coast.

Great for...

City Style
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 8
  • Café serving light meals & snacks (open daily)
  • Not suitable
  • Closed: 7 Aug 2016 - 31 Aug 2016...
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room:

Rooms

Somewhat suprisingly, there are 8 rooms tucked inside, and the double height ceilings mean they all feel light and airy. Deluxe rooms overlook the courtyard of the palazzo and are quieter; Sea View Rooms rooms are brighter, with gorgeous views past the palms of the Villa Comunale park to the sparkling Mediterranean - on a clear day you can see Capri. These rooms do face the busy roads, but noise is minimised through clever blinds. However, if you are a light sleeper and want to avoid traffic noise completely, go for a Deluxe.

The rooms are duplex in design, with a kingsize bed downstairs and a large bathroom upstairs, overlooking the rooms through an internal window. There's also a Family Suite, with one double and one twin room (each with its own bathroom) communicating via a veranda. The Junior Suite has a small studio area, but we didn’t feel this was worth the extra cost.

Michelle's eye for design and her determination to use natural materials - from stone and marble to linen and wood - means that everything blends together perfectly. Top quality Italian bathroom fittings and a splash of local art adds sophistication. The main material used throughout the rooms is the creamy Trani stone from Puglia, whose polished surface helps reflect the light around the rooms.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

Micalò has a funky little bar/dining room, the Art Bar, the only communal space in the hotel, where you take breakfast, coffee in the afternoon, or a cocktail in the evening. Its walls are lined with paintings and clever sculptures dotted around the room. There's a simple menu of Italian meals, conveniently available throughout the day until midnight, ranging from rocket and pear salad to aubergines and tomatoes baked with parmesan. Of course, there is always a good pasta dish on offer too.

Breakfast (included) is ordered from the menu, and starts with a coffee and a freshly squeezed juice, accompanied by some hot bread rolls, brioches or Italian doughnuts, and followed by scrambled eggs, pancakes with pancetta, fresh fruit or muesli. Additional breakfast items are available for a supplement.

There are plenty of good restaurants within walking distance. Of course, Naples is famous for its pizza, and we visited an excellent pizzeria nearby, packed with Neapolitans: Ciro a Mergellina on Via Mergellina. Michelle and staff can direct you to many different places for lunch or dinner.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Café
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Shopping: both designer labels and more interesting independent boutiques can be found within 10 minutes' walk of the guesthouse
  • The ferry port is a short walk away for celeb-spotting boat-trips to the islands of Ischia and Capri; or hotel staff can arrange a bespoke day-tour of the Bay of Naples in a traditional wooden gozzo (works best for groups of 4 - see Rates)
  • There are several smartly furnished beaches across the roads, about 10 minutes' walk away, where, for a small fee, you can chill out on sun loungers or beach bars on the dark volcanic sand
  • Naples is a big and bustling city full of museums and galleries, laundry-laden alleyways, Baroque churches, hilltop monasteries and grand piazzas; if you want to explore it properly, hire a scooter through reception, and ask about the funicular
  • About 30 mins by either train or car, the preserved cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum are a must-see, giving an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city at the height of the Roman Empire
  • From either of these, you can drive up to the base of Mt. Vesuvius, whose eruption destroyed the cities in AD 79, and (weather permitting) climb to the summit crater (45 mins)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming

Kids

Though they are welcome, it's not really a place for children. The peaceful atmosphere, lack of any outdoor space and steep stairs in the room would make a stay with young children impossible and older children would probably need somewhere to let off a bit of steam too (though they could do so in the park opposite, which also has 2 playgrounds).

Family friendly accommodation:

If you do want to take the chance, a cot or sofabed is available in the Junior Suite, or you can book the Family Suite for 2 adults + 2 children.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
7/
Food
9/
Service
8/
Value
8/
Overall

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