Ambiance & Vibe:
The ambiance is one of discreet and welcoming old-world luxury, for a discerning, international clientele of well-heeled jet setters. While children and families are welcome, the vibe is that of romantic, refined elegance, specially suited towards couples celebrating a bespoke holiday for a special occasion. I traveled with my mum, to celebrate her 75th birthday, at what I had always heard was one of the most celebrated hotels in the world, and the hotel exceeded my expectations in every way. We literally felt like we had checked into Heaven!
Design & Style:
Hotel Caruso began life as a grand 11th-century palazzo, and its location is matched by the traditional charm of the décor. The hotel has been painstakingly restored to its original splendour, resulting in an extraordinarily beautiful hotel with high ceilings, frescoes, marble hallways, sweeping arches, vaulted ceilings, chandeliers and ancient walls that reveal the palace’s Roman origin. Its grand salons are furnished with precious antiques and walls are hung with prints and old master paintings. The entrance hall once belonged to the Saint Eustachio church in Pontone in the 1200s. The gorgeous, lush Mediterranean style terraced gardens abound with roses, olive and lemon trees and herbs, and provide open areas and hidden alcoves with comfortable chaise lawn chairs inviting you to sprawl out with a Bellini in hand and read a book or soak in the jaw dropping vistas.
Set into the cliff edge, over tiered groves of lemons and olive vines, Belmond Hotel Caruso seems to float above the ocean. Rooms make the best of the view, with balconies overlooking the sparkling sea. Caruso has 50 rooms and suites decorated in Neapolitan style and with unique antique furniture while some rooms have historic frescoes on the ceiling. All but a handful of the bedrooms and suites have sea views and all have compact terraces, while some have spacious gardens. Most of the rooms have been freshened up recently with new paintwork and smart Frette fabrics in sunny Mediterranean colours. Huge marble bathrooms come with free standing showers, bathtubs and dual sinks, large closets, along with fluffy robes and slippers and Bulgari and Penhaligon’s bath goodies. The newly opened Villa Margherita, located in the grounds, houses two suites and offers a private garden, butler service and a dedicated chef for extra pampering. For families, connecting rooms or large suites are ideal as is the newly opened Villa Margherita.
We stayed in one of the garden seaview suites with a spacious bedroom and bath, covered patio and sizable private garden with a million dollar view of the Amalfi Coast. Watching the sunset over the Amalfi Coastline from your own private garden while sipping on a chilled Prosecco was one of the highlights of our trip.
Belvedere Restaurant: Famed for its fresh local innovative Mediterranean dishes, including specialties such as pezzogna (local sea bream) with capers, black olives, potatoes and cherry tomatoes, and its delectable mixed grills, Belvedere restaurant offers diners an unforgettable experience. Dine in the elegant dining room, or on the sublime romantic outdoor terrace while soaking up the sublime panoramic sea views of the Gulf of Salerno. Breakfast includes a semi-buffet with an order of a main course. If you are feeling indulgent, order a half bottle of champagne or Bellini with a side of stellar views.
Pool Snack Bar: A glam alfresco setting for lazy lunches, snacks and poolside cocktails, set against the idyllic backdrop of the infinity pool with the mountains and Amalfi Coast beyond. We loved the delicious wood-fired pizzas, linguine with clams and lobster salads.
Arcade Bar: The mood lit lobby bar has magnificent 18th-century frescoes and awe-inspiring views and is the perfect place for sunset cocktails or the delicious local prosecco.
Sparkling Garden: Located in the hotel gardens, along the beautiful Ivy covered colonnade that leads to the swimming pool, Sparkling Garden is the perfect chilled mood lit spot for an aperitif and pre dinner snacks, accompanied by relaxing music. Sparkling Garden serves champagne, historic Italian cellar labels, delicious canapés and street food from 7pm-11pm.
Service is old school and impeccable right from the reception staff to the highly knowledgeable concierge desk. Staff remember guests’ names and are encouraged to interact and deliver warm and pampering classic Italian hospitality. Most of the staff speak good English so you can communicate exactly what you want. Our experience while checking in and out was also very efficient and while checking in, we were welcomed with a VIP amenity of chilled Prosecco, a fruit platter and personal card from the GM – Mr. Franco Girasoli.
Facilities & Activities:
Facilities: Besides the celebrated infinity pool that is listed among the best hotel pools in the world there is a small spa and fitness room. The hotel offers complimentary boat trips along the coast and a shuttle service down to the coast. The small gym has a full range of cardio equipment and weight machines, and you have a panoramic view of the coastline while working out. The intimate spa offers offer one single and one couples treatment room and massage and beauty rituals using Italian made natural products are made exclusively from wild plants. The limited spa facilities was the only reason we did not rate this hotel a perfect 10/10 and instead a 9.9/10.
Activities: The helpful Concierge desk can arrange any one of the endless activities available on the Amalfi Coast, from a hike on The Path of the Gods, to a cruise to Capri, wine tasting, lemon tours, garden tours and tours to Naples and ruins of Pompeii.
Belmond Hotel Caruso is located in Ravello, on the beautiful Sorrento Peninsula. This spectacular hotel is perched on the highest point of the Ravello cliffs, 365m above the sea, with wonderful views over the Amalfi coast. The property is set in immaculate terraced gardens with 360 degree views from just about everywhere. Ravello is a classic small Italian small mountain town, with charming pedestrian streets, authentic restaurants, medieval villas and celebrated gardens. Piazza Vescovado, the main square of Ravello with its ancient church and pretty square filled with lively restaurants, bars and shops is a short walk away. A complimentary shuttle bus service runs to Amalfi town (about 20 minutes) frequently.
What We Love:
- A heavenly retreat between sea and sky set on a cliff edge 1,000ft above sea level in Ravello, Belmond Hotel Caruso is a glamorous and romantic luxury hotel with jaw dropping views of the Amalfi Coast, and widely considered one of the best hotels in Europe.
- Take a dip in the celebrated infinity pool which blends effortlessly into the horizon and is one of the most instagrammed hotel pools in the world, with breathtaking views of the mountains and the Amalfi Coast.
- All but a handful of the 50 spacious and sumptuous heritage bedrooms and suites have sea views including compact terraces or gardens with spectacular views of the Amalfi Coast.
- Relax in the gorgeous century-old terraced gardens, with rose bushes, olive and lemon trees and aromatic herbs, with picture postcard views in every direction.
- This former 11th-century palace boasts all the worldly luxuries anyone could desire served up with warm, old school Italian hospitality.
- Complimentary services include a wonderful boat trip along the coast from Amalfi to Positano and a shuttle service down to the coast.
- The hotel is within easy walking distance of the centre of Ravello, with its ancient church, pretty square, and lively restaurants and bars.
Best Time to Visit:
The Amalfi Coast’s best travel months are April thru October. The Spring and Autumn months are slightly less expensive and crowded with pleasant weather.