Partenope Relais

Naples & Amalfi, Italy Book from

Reviewed by Laura Holt
Stylish seafront hotel with a cinematic theme and sweeping views over the Bay of Naples
If the allure of Partenope Relais were to be distilled down to one thing, it would be its stunning setting, overlooking a portion of Naples’ revamped, pedestrianised seafront. The breezy view takes in the wide bay, with Capri basking on the horizon and the city’s ice cream-coloured houses toppling down the hillside in front. What’s more, the people-watching is sublime, with streams of smartly dressed Neapolitans parading past for weekend strolls or their sunset passeggiata.

Opened in 2013 in a refurbished Neoclassical building, it claims to be the only contemporary-style hotel on the seafront. The cinematic theme sees international and homegrown movie stars such as Sophia Loren, Liza Minnelli and Totò (“the prince of laughter”) emblazoned on the walls of the 22 sleek rooms, in expansive black-and-white murals taken from famous film stills. The feel is gently glamorous, and many rooms have balconies gazing out over the water, where you can soak up the southern Italian sun or sip an evening aperitivo as it sinks into the bay.

Highs

  • A central location, a short walk from the main shopping streets, museums and the port
  • All rooms share similar dimensions and the same stylish design, and most face the water
  • The restaurant spills out onto the promenade, making for a lively dining experience
  • The breakfast is more comprehensive than most in Italy, and you can enjoy it in your room at no extra cost
  • Did we mention the views?

Lows

  • The singular theme may not suit those who crave character; individual touches are noticeably absent
  • No communal spaces, other than the restaurant and small lobby
  • Despite double-glazing, noise from outside does filter into the rooms
  • While very efficient, the be-suited staff on reception lack warmth

Best time to go

Naples’ location on the Mediterranean means it basks in sun for most of the year, with long summers and a benign climate. Typically, you can expect fine weather from March to October, with the months between November and February being marginally cooler. Try to avoid visiting in July and August, when cruise ships dock and crowds descend. The month-long Maggio dei Monumenti festival in May sees many of the city’s museums, churches, galleries and palazzi throw open their doors for free cultural events.

Our top tips

  • People-watch at the Gran Caffè Gambrinus, a Neapolitan institution that’s welcomed Oscar Wilde and other left-wing intellectuals over its 150-year history
  • Twin a city break in Naples with a few days on one of the nearby islands, all easily accessible via frequent ferries and hydrofoils. Choose from romantic Capri, larger Ischia or lesser-known Procida

Great for...

City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 22
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Deluxe Room

Rooms

Each room is dedicated to a different movie star, with a plaque outside denoting who’s within. Apart from a suite named after Sophia Loren (who grew up in Naples), Italian actors are positioned at the back of the hotel, occupying the street-facing Comfort Rooms. At the front, international names look out over the bay from Superior Rooms and above. Muted colours prevail, offering a reprieve from the fussy nature of many Italian hotels. Monochrome murals above the double or twin beds depict Ingmar Bergman in Casablanca, Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and more. Underfoot are rich parquet floors, and the cream-and-coffee scheme contrasts wonderfully with the blindingly blue sea outside. In the ensuites, bathrobes wait to swaddle you after hops in the swish Grohe showers or tubs.

All rooms are largely equal in size, but it’s definitely worth paying a little extra for a sea view and balcony - see Rates for details. Those on a romantic break should consider the Marilyn Junior Suite, which has a bright red in-room Jacuzzi. The Sophia Suite is slightly bigger than other categories, with a sitting area.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

The ample buffet breakfast is spread out on a large table in the downstairs restaurant, L.U.I.S.E., until 11am; you can also have a selection delivered to your room - a real treat, especially if you have a balcony. Pile your plate with Italian pastries, pizzettas, cold hams, cheeses, tomatoes and toast, and order cooked options from the kitchen at no extra charge. We loved sitting outside on the terrace while we ate, watching joggers, dog-walkers and skaters pound the pavements.

For lunch and evening meals, the restaurant is popular with locals and guests alike. Let the friendly waiters help you choose a local Campania wine and dine on the likes of Caprese salad and lobster spaghetti bathed in a light pomodoro sauce. There are plenty of options for eating out, too - nearby 50 Kalo is the place to head for an extra-light and fluffy take on the Neapolitan art of pizza making. We also recommend trying another local speciality at Baccalaria, where portions of salt cod are worked into every dish.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity: Piazza Plebiscito

Activities

  • Take a stroll along Via Chiaia, where well-heeled Italians go to spend, then marvel at the ornate Galleria Umberto shopping mall
  • Go on a cycle tour with Bike Tour Napoli to take in the peaceful suburbs and tiny Nisida Island, connected to the mainland by a stone bridge
  • Venture underground through Naples’ ancient subterranean ruins, or embrace the modern face of the city on a free art tour of its metro stations, which have been revamped with works by famous names
  • For views across the entire Bay of Naples, ride the funicular to Vomero, a steeply sloped neighbourhood with a hilltop castle and church
  • Don’t miss the Madre contemporary art museum, which features sculptures by Anish Kapoor and more
  • Head out to the archeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, both less than an hour from Naples, or hop on a boat to romantic Capri and larger but less crowded Ischia

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Wine tasting

Kids

The hotel isn’t overtly set up to cater for families, but children of all ages are welcome and - as is often the way in Italy - staff will lavish them with attention. The restaurant waiters are particularly friendly, and kids will love sitting down to eat as streams of Neapolitan children run past and LED-lit toys shoot into the air.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Most rooms can accommodate a baby cot (free) or extra bed (small charge). One Comfort Room is a designated 'family room' for up to 4 people, with a kitchenette (handy for preparing snacks and baby food), a sofabed and space for a rollaway bed.

Kid Friendly: View from Vomero

Our guests' ratings...

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

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Rates for Partenope Relais