This dramatic hotel, perched on hills overlooking the Amalfi coastline, is one for the 2021 bucket list…
Where? In the Amalfi Coast’s ultra charming Ravello. Since the 1950s the dreamy destination has hosted the annual Ravello Festival and is known as the city of music. More recently, it featured in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. Villa Cimbrone served as the Sator house and a dinner scene was filmed at Belmond Hotel Caruso restaurant. The hilltop idyll’s cobbled streets are filled with quaint ceramics shops, galleries and restaurants.
The lowdown: The second generation family owners Mariella and Attilia Avino put so much love and attention into this stunning property.
The service is impeccable and every corner of the hotel, known affectionately as “The Pink Palace”, has been thoughtfully styled. Little wonder that since its opening in 1997, the hotel has been named as one of the best in the world.
Design details: Milan based designer Cristina Celestino has done a phenomenal job of merging the palatial 12th Century structure with contemporary touches. Her latest work involves the Capsule Collection, an interior design project that centres on the most important rooms and suites, including the Belvedere suite with a terrace facing the sea and a private swimming pool.
“The idea came by thinking about the essence of Palazzo Avino and its bond with Ravello and the Amalfi Coast,” Celestino says. “Perched on the steep cobblestone alleys, the hotel is like a pink mirage amidst terraces of olive and citrus trees. Hard to reach, it is a destination that proves to be even more extraordinary than expected, thanks to the breathtaking view of the sea and the horizon, glimpsed through the lancet windows in the facades of the Palazzo. The concept takes its cue from the wonders of the Italian gardens of Ravello, and the odyssey of forgotten legends of the Tyrrhenian Sea.”
She blurs the boundaries between earth and sea, classicism and orientalism, indoors and outdoors. Paying particular attention to the bed as the focus of each room, she places it in a slightly concave wall that encloses it like a shell. It has a textile headboard that forms soft curves with a cantilevered arrangement and is lit by custom lamps resembling precious pearls on brass seashells.
Custom-made wood furnishings are treated with a special paint for a mother-of- pearl effect, creating iridescent surfaces. The rainbow onyx used for the facings in the bathrooms of the suites leaves room for the geometric lines of white, pink and variegated terracotta of Giardino all’Italiana, a natural, tactile material.
The carpets, knotted by hand, feature monochrome geometries and oversized floral motifs.
Against a pure white backdrop, the colour palette shifts between aquamarine, coral and sand. A visual feast.
Shop the style: Palazzo Avino has its very own boutique called The Pink Closet. Its powder tones are fabulously feminine. Inlaid marble and ceramic seashells are scattered amongst this small but perfectly formed shop which has also been designed by Celestino. Pick up a pair of shoes, some jewellery or fragrance amongst the treasures.
On the menu: Michelin starred restaurant Rossellini’s offers a sumptuous Italian dining experience and is a ‘dress up and dine by candlelight’ kind of spot. A meal at Terrazza Belvedere is a real treat. Sea views are breathtaking, cocktails are divine and pasta dishes are delectable. Leave space for a lemon fused desert.
What about wellness? There is a spa, fitness centre and two pools. Be sure to visit the rooftop pool which feels like a hidden gem with sprawling views over the Amalfi Coast.
Anything else I should know? The hotel has its own beach club in a seafront location in the quaint village of Marmorata. There are complimentary shuttle services running throughout the day. Sun loungers are scattered along the cliff edges. There is also a casual restaurant serving wood fired pizza and local dishes within the private villa setting.
How do I get there? Naples Airport is just over an hour’s drive away from the hotel. A taxi should cost around 120 Euros.
Book: For opening dates and rates check palazzoavino.com
When in town
Dine at the Belvedere Terrace
The neighbouring Belmond Hotel Caruso is a must visit for a glamorous night out. Start with drinks at the cocktail and piano bar. Surrounded by 18th Century frescoes with arches looking out onto the coast, it is a fun and fabulous place for a pre dinner aperitif. In fact, you’ll probably head back there for a night cap. Head barman Tommaso Mansi will give you the warmest welcome and delights in sharing his favourite tipples.
Soak up the endless sea views from the terrace at the Belvedere Restaurant. Chef Mimmo di Raffaele celebrates traditional Italian dishes alongside innovative twists. The Spaghettoni “Ravello” Vicidomini is a must. With every dish beautifully presented and an excellent wine list to boot, there is a real sense of occasion.
Book a table at belmond.com.
Go ceramics hunting
Ceramics store Pascal is favoured by celebrities, artisans and locals. The likes of Oprah, Bruce Springsteen and Mark Ruffalo have made a beeline for this workshop and boutique packed with crockery and furniture.
Designed by the lovely owner Pasquale Sorrentino, every item can be personalised.
Stroll around the gardens
Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone are two standout gardens for a gentle stroll amongst a divine setting. As well as the grounds and architecture, they come with breathtaking views and are the epitome of Italian style.
Travel advice: the latest COVID-19 travel guidance for Italy can be found at gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy.
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