La Dolce Vita in the Amalfi Coast

In the travel business, the old saying goes that if you have not been in 10 years, then you have not been! With so many gorgeous and classic properties, both old and new, I recently spent several days touring the Amalfi coast checking out very special properties in Sorrento, Ravello, Amalfi, Praiano, and Positano.

Here are some photos and a recap. Call me to discuss which will be the best fit for you!

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View from Grand Hotel Vittoria overlooking Bay of Naples

SORRENTO – Sorrento is the perfect stopping off point on the way to Capri or if you are in Rome or Naples and just want to experience a bit of the coast with easy access to the Roman ruins at Pompei and Hercolano.

The hotel in Sorrento is without doubt the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, owned by the same family since 1834.

Truly a grand old hotel with history, cache and a feeling of old-world glamour.

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Another view of the Bay of Naples arriving to Sorrento
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A view of the Bay and Mount Vesuvius from Grand Hotel Vittoria

POSITANO – By far the most famous and poshest towns on the Amalfi Coast. Positano has two very special properties but as our driver says “It all depends on the Client”.  Which would you choose – Il San Pietro or Le Sirenuse?

Il San Pietro sits atop Positano with incredible views, a fabulous, private beach, superb service and truly impeccable grounds and gardening – inside and out. The design is special and there is not a pinch out of place. The entire experience is dreamy right down to the cocktails and food. All of the produce is grown on terraced plots that fall down the hill, there is even a sea side tennis court.

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Gorgeous welcome amenity at Il San Pietro – fresh strawberries and strawberry juice with a splash of champagne
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Breathtaking view from Il San Pietro

Zass – A most memorable meal

 Michelin starred restaurant of Il San Pietro is surrounded by a bright, Mediterranean atmosphere, with an astonishing view over Praiano and the coast.

Taste the dishes prepared by chef Alois Vanlangenaeker with their homegrown produce, accompanied by an excellent selection of local wines.

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One of the suites at Il San Pietro.
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The view of the stairs down to the beach. Dont worry, Il San Pietro also offers an elevator down to the beach.

Note to those not familiar with the Mediterranean – When I say fabulous beach, it means there is a rock platform with serviced lounge chairs sea side. Europeans love to soak in the sun and the views, all with a wonderful restaurant and bar nearby.

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The beach at Il San Pietro

LE SIRENUSE – In the heart of Positano, overlooking the cathedral and beach, Le Sirenuse is an eclectic baroque luxury mansion with heart and character.

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What a lovely welcome to our room at Le Sirenuse!
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Le Sirenuse, formerly a private mansion.
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The view at Le Sirenuse.

RAVELLO – For those seeking a mountain top haven of luxury, sophistication, peace, culture and history, Ravello may be the answer to their visit to the Amalfi Coast. Two spectacular palace hotels are located just a few minutes walk from the center of Ravello – Palazzo Avino and Hotel Caruso.  This is truly the place to stay if you want to soak in the views!

PALAZZO AVINO

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A family palace in Ravello is the hotel Palazzo Avino
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Birds-eye view of the pool at Palazzo Avino.
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Life is very good at Palazzo Avino!

HOTEL CARUSO – a Belmonde Property (fomerly called Orient-Express). Old-world charm and sophistication: a very understated and relaxing property.

The view from the window at Hotel Caruso.
The view from the window at Hotel Caruso.

PRAIANO

CASA ANGELINA – This is an uber-modern property located in the small town or Praiano just 10 minutes from Positano.  The hotel is very contemporary with unique colorful glass art work throughout the public areas and starkly white clean rooms above.  The manager told us that while a housekeeper may clean 10 rooms in a regular hotel per day, at Casa Angelina, the housekeeping do just 4 rooms a day due to the detail and maintenance required in an all-white room.

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The view from Casa Angelina.

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AMALFI

Amalfi is a bustling town and a bit more congested and touristy due to the cruise ships coming in to the port but if you are seeking action and being able to walk to it all, The Santa Catherina is a fantastic option.   The hotel winds down the cliff with many unique rooms spread throughout the property.  With its own dock, a great spot to venture off by boat for a dry trip to Capri.

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Birds-eye view down to the pool and beach

Above Amalfi is the gorgeous Monastero Santa Rosa which sadly we did not get a chance to inspect on this visit but trust me, we will be back! Think sophisticated, seclusion, vast grounds and gardens for just 20 rooms, views galore from the infinity pool, an enviable full service spa and just minutes from the town of Amalfi.

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View of the grounds from Monastero Santa Rosa

IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE DRIVER – It always gives me a giggle when people say they think they will drive on their own to the Amalfi coast. Plain and simple, it is a bad idea. Driving is not fun in summer when traffic can be excruciating on the one lane roads, plus who doesn’t want a glass of wine or two at lunch? To get there, take a train to Naples and let us arrange a driver to collect you from there.  While in the area, the best thing to do is to hire a driver for a day to visit many of the charming towns and restaurants and a driver guide can give you so much local insider knowledge.  We lucked out with Cristiano who’s favorite line was “it all depends on my client”. Well we say it all depends on the driver! Thanks for showing us the best of the Amalfi coast, Cristiano!

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