Destination: Italy: Capri
Capri Palace Hotel & Spa
The Capri Palace, a glamorous 77-room property with Michelin¬-starred restaurant L’Olivo and the world-famous Capri Beauty Farm spa, is the place to stay if you’re willing to forgo Capri town and opt for relaxed Anacapri instead. Owner Tonino Cacace, a serious collector of contemporary art, has a distinctly modern aesthetic, so don’t expect Capri-typical ceramic-tile floors or antiques; instead, the rooms (most were recently redone by Rome-based Fabrizia Frezza) feature sleek furnishings, canopied beds with billowing fabrics, wood floors and spacious marble bathrooms.
More dramatic are the themed suites, many named after artists (Kandinsky, Mirò, Magritte), particularly the Maria Callas Suite, which has a black-tiled plunge pool and a sculpted freestanding bathtub surrounded by black-and-white framed photos of la divina. Rooms on the lower floors look onto the cable car that takes visitors up to Monte Solaro, but day-trippers leave Anacapri even earlier than the ones in Capri town (they have a longer way back to the ferry), so starting in the early evenings, the town becomes blissfully serene. Capri Palace has a large pool with orange-colored loungers that look toward the sea, as well as a popular poolside restaurant, Mosaic.
The hotel also houses the Capri Beauty Farm, a sprawling spa complex that includes the world-famous Leg School, where vascular problems, including venous and lymphatic return, are treated. Fine dining restaurant L’Olivo is the only two Michelin star on the island. The chef also oversees buzzy beach club and restaurant Il Riccio ; one Indagare member returning form Capri raved: “Lunch at the beach club of the Capri Palace was off the charts.” Rooms from €430 ($679).
Grand Hotel Quisisana
Some resorts will always be tied to the hotels that transformed them into iconic destinations in the first place (the Splendido in Portofino, the Hôtel du Cap-Eden Roc in Antibes and La Sirenuse in Positano). “The Quisisana is Capri,” one local told me when I asked about the island’s grande dame, which opened in 1845 and presides over the center of town like a majestic ocean liner. I didn’t stay at the Quisi, as everyone calls it, and reviews I heard were mixed, ranging from complaints about lackluster service to impassioned declarations of “it’s the only place to stay.” (Read a postcard rave from stylish hotelier Grace Leo-Andrieu.) It certainly is the best option for those who like to be part of the action. Situated in the center of town, a two-minute walk from the piazzetta, the sprawling 150-room property is made up of a complex of cheerful yellow-painted buildings, a Vegas-worthy lobby, three restaurants, a large outdoor pool, an underground spa, a restored 1929 theater, beautifully landscaped grounds, two tennis courts and tons of terraces. It’s huge and busy, so if you’re coming to Capri for a tranquil setting, this is not the hotel for you.
Rooms are spacious and airy, with ceramic-tile floors and tasteful, if somewhat conservative, decor. Note that only the fifth-floor suites have uninterrupted sea views; those on lower floors look onto the trees of the gardens and pool area. (The hotel calls them “park-side view” rooms, but the sea is visible in the distance; be sure to ask for one of these, as the standard double rooms face the narrow shopping street out back.) It is suggested that families book in a two-story wing, added in the 1950s, right by the pool. Scenesters should reserve a table on the terrace of the new Rendez-Vous restaurant, which faces main shopping thoroughfare Via Camerelle and is already one of the most coveted tables in town. Choice Capri restaurants, like Aurora and Da Giorgio, are just a short walk away, as is all of the big-label shopping. Rooms from €350 ($552).
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