Micalo

Naples & Amalfi, Italy Book from

Reviewed by Emma Taylor
Comfy bolthole in edgy Naples, close to the sea 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 boutique hotels. But hidden away on the second floor of a traditional palazzo, Micalò is a one off. An intimate guesthouse in the trendy Chiaia Riviera, it has a clutch of welcoming and spacious rooms. Duplex bedrooms with soaring ceilings and tall French doors are furnished with white Trani limestone; above, reached via stone steps and steel balustrades, hover modern mezzanine-level bathrooms. Ex-pat Brit Michelle Lowe worked with an Italian architect to maximize space and create a haven from hot and hectic Naples.

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

  • Directly opposite the sea, where you can stroll to lots of lovely bars and restaurants. It's also just a 10-minute walk to Mergallina station, perfect for exploring the rest of the city
  • Spacious 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 Sorrento and the islands of Ischia and Capri
  • Good WiFi and in-room satellite TVs

Lows

  • Carrying your luggage up two flights of stairs could be tiresome. Once in your room, look out for the slabs of stone which can graze careless ankles
  • The stairs up to the mezzanine-level bathrooms can be tricky to negotiate in the middle of the night (or for little ones)
  • The lack of any outdoor space might niggle, though you overlook the Villa Comunale park
  • A tired exterior and the in-room decor is also showing signs of wear and tear
  • In addition to nearby busy roads, there is (or was, when we visited) a metro station being constructed directly opposite

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. Fans of Eat, Pray, Love (and world-renowned pizza) should seek out L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele, where Julia Roberts famously feasts in the movie.

Great for...

Beach
City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 8
  • Breakfast only (+ walk to restaurants)
  • Welcome but not ideal
  • Closed: 7 Aug 2017 - 31 Aug 2017
  • 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.

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 room. These overlook the courtyard of the palazzo and are quieter. 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 2-bedroom Family Suite - best for older kids. 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 well. Top quality Italian bathroom fittings and a splash of local art adds sophistication.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Tv
  • WiFi

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.

The simple breakfast starts with a coffee and a cartons of juice, accompanied by a choice of breads, pastries, jams, boiled eggs, cereal, fresh fruit or muesli. You could also spend a sunny morning taking coffee and sweet pastries at a local cafe.

For other meals, 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 (best for groups of 4)
  • There are several smartly furnished beaches across the roads, about 10 minutes' walk away, where, for a small fee, you can chill out on sunloungers 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 in-room staircases would make a stay with young children impossible. Older children would probably need somewhere to let off a bit of steam, too. That said, there is a park opposite, which has two playgrounds.

Family friendly accommodation:

If you do want to take the chance, the Family Suite sleeps 2 adults + 2 children. It has a double bedroom and a twin bedroom (each with its own bathroom), communicating via a veranda. The Junior Suite can hold a baby cot or sofabed.

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
6/
Food
9/
Service
8/
Value
8/
Overall

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