The Amalfi Coast needs no introduction. One of the most beautiful places on Earth, this little spit of land jutting out into the Mediterranean symbolizes la dolce vita. The pastel-painted buildings cascading down the cliffs toward the sea are enough to inspire awe in even the weariest traveller. The sheer engineering marvel of it all is mind-boggling even with today’s technology, yet the area has been inhabited since the days of the Roman Empire. It’s no wonder Amalfi was one of Italy’s most powerful maritime republics.
The big news on the coast this year is the opening of the Anantara Convento di Amalfi, a hotel inside a 13th-century Capuchin convent. After the monks vacated, it became a hotel in 1882 and was a stop for travellers on the Grand Tour. It was run by NH until Thai brand Anantara recently took over and renovated it. The hotel enjoys a privileged position on the main road leading out of town, with breathtaking views of Amalfi’s historic centre, a short walk downhill. (There’s a shuttle to bring tired guests back up.)
The 52 rooms and suites feature modern decor and original floors, but no two are exactly alike. Some have a little terrace with a table and chairs where you can sip a coffee while enjoying the views. One room even has original 14th-century frescoes. The property is long and narrow, with a pool overlooking the sea and gardens replete with lemon trees and herbs the chefs use in limoncello spritzes and other delights. Don’t miss dinner at the fine dining restaurant Dei Cappuccini. In the evenings, the casual restaurant transforms into a pizzeria led by lauded Neapolitan pizzaiolo Gino Sorbillo.
Meanwhile in Ravello, the town favoured by Richard Wagner and M.C. Escher, the Avino sisters have been busy with some exciting projects at Palazzo Avino, the historic pink palace hotel that’s a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. They recently purchased the vineyard adjacent to the hotel and have started making their own refreshingly crisp white wine. They renovated the hotel’s Infinito Suite, which now boasts a streamlined modern style, art by David Tremlett, and a private terrace with a plunge pool. But the project garnering the most buzz is Valentino’s transformation of the hotel’s beach club, decking it out with chic red-cushioned lounge chairs and umbrellas.
Reachable by boat from Amalfi, Capri has some exciting news of its own. The highly anticipated Hotel La Palma by the Oetker Collection—which comprises legendary properties like the Lanesborough in London and the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on the French Riviera—has finally swung open its doors. White and aquamarine dominate the elegant interiors, which were dreamt up by London-based designer Francis Sultana. All of the hotel’s dining outlets are overseen by Michelin-starred chef Gennaro Esposito, including Gennaro’s and Da Gioia, the hotel’s swanky beach club in Marina Piccola.