The Top Hotels on the Amalfi Coast
Pebbled beaches, terraced gardens, lemon groves—la dolce vita thrives on Italy’s Sorrentine peninsula. From the Bay of Naples to the Gulf of Salerno, the dramatic Amalfi coast brims with cliff-side towns favored by the jetset. Here’s where they stay.
Via Roma, 2, 16034 Portofino GE, Italy
In a pastel villa that presides over pine-covered slopes and the deep blue waters of the Ligurian Sea, Belmond Hotel Splendido was a 16th-century monastery before it became a cliff-side luxury hotel at the turn of the 20th century. Today, it is one of Portofino’s most iconic resorts, with 70 sunlit rooms (think herringbone hardwood floors, marble baths, and wrought iron terraces) that have hosted the Duke of Windsor, Ava Gardner, and Catherine Deneuve. You’ll get the VIP treatment while sipping champagne on a sunset cruise aboard the hotel’s Chris-Craft Corsair 36, dining on seabream ceviche at La Terrazza, or indulging in a chamomile footbath at the spa. A shuttle can run you down to intimate sister property Splendido Mare, which overlooks the central Piazzetta and is a dressed-up version of a fishing village pied-à-terre, with 16 whitewashed rooms and its own buzzy restaurant.
Via Enrico Figari, 38, 16032 Camogli GE, Italy
Tucked away on the less-trafficked slopes of Mount Portofino, above the picturesque waterfront town of Camogli and scenic Riviera di Levante, Villa Rosmarino is that Italian friend’s vacation house you’ve been dreaming of. Owners Mario Pietraccetta and Fulvio Zendrini left Milanese corporate life to transform this dilapidated turn-of-the-century palazzo into a midcentury-style oasis with touches of Italian modernism, then moved in permanently, inviting others to experience their personal brand of la dolce vita. The library is outfitted with stylish armchairs, warm wood ceiling beams, and a collection of art and travel books that spans the walls, and the living room’s well-stocked honesty bar is the backdrop for friendly nightcaps. Rooms aren’t numbered, and the sprawling gardens are easy to get lost in. Mario and Fulvio are likely to chat guests up while lounging by the pool or sipping espresso on the balcony, offering their insider knowledge about the area and arranging one-of-a-kind excursions, from visits to secluded beach clubs to rides in their wooden motorboat.
Via Mauro Comite, 9, 84011 Amalfi SA, Italy
Built into rocky cliffs that tumble down to the sea, Hotel Santa Caterina is the embodiment of Amalfi Coast dreams. Bougainvillea blooms adorn corners of the 19th-century mansion, while lush terraced gardens teem with citrus trees and vine-covered pergolas. Public spaces are decorated in an elegant Mediterranean style, peppered with antique pieces and sweet details such as hand-painted majolica tiles, while light-filled guest rooms and suites feature Bulgari toiletries and balconies with sea views. Elevators are on hand to whisk guests down to the beach and a saltwater pool, where chic loungers and parasols line a stone sundeck and uninterrupted vistas lurk around every corner. You’ll find classic Italian fare and fresh seafood on the menu at the beachside bar as well as two restaurants, both of which spill out onto terraces. Even the spa offers a dose of local flavor with a signature Amalfi gold lemon massage. The Gambardella family has owned the property for generations, which may account for the consistently charming service and the loyalty of guests, who return year after year.
Via Cristoforo Colombo, 30, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
Nestled within Positano’s hillside tangle of pastel residences and stepped alleys, Le Sirenuse is a legendary boutique hotel that feels more like a private home. Run by the Sersale family since its opening in 1951, the crimson-hued house is filled with antiques, potted plants, and oil paintings that lend it a friendly atmosphere devoid of any snootiness. White-walled guest rooms are accented with Vietri floor tiles and heirloom walnut furniture, while marble bathrooms have whirlpool tubs and Eau d’Italie toiletries, the hotel’s bespoke line. Dining is excellent: The Michelin-starred La Sponda restaurant is as tasty as it is charming, illuminated in the evening entirely by candlelight. There’s also a champagne and oyster bar that commands dazzling views from a panoramic terrace; the vistas are no less stunning from the pool deck, where potted lemon trees scent the air. The hotel also has a top-notch spa, plus fun perks such as free daily excursions on its vintage wooden boat.
Via San Giovanni del Toro
Set in a 12th-century palace that looks like the setting for a Wes Anderson film, Palazzo Avino is skirted in flower-filled gardens terraced across a cliffside in Ravello. Interiors are as opulent as the storybook architecture, filled with antiques and marble and featuring charming details such as stained-glass windows, Hermès textiles, and antique carpets. Picturesque is an understatement for the panoramas that extend from the sunbathing lawns that surround the pool area. Even the fitness facilities take advantage of the vistas: Cardio machines are set in cabanas in the gardens, making for arguably the world’s most scenic spinning sessions. Since you’re right in the center of town, guests can walk to several restaurants and bars or stay put at the hotel’s Michelin-starred Rossellinis, an alfresco lunch spot known for its lobster and champagne pairings; if you’re looking for something more spirited, opt for one of the 100 different martinis on the menu at the Lobster & Martini Bar.
Via Laurito, 2, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
Perched high above the Bay of Positano, Il San Pietro is the epitome of Italian seaside glamour—the hotel has attracted a coterie of international VIPs since its opening in 1970, including Gregory Peck, George Clooney, and Julia Roberts—but retains the charm of a family-run inn. Michelin-starred Zass restaurant culls ingredients from the property’s organic gardens, which spill down to the sea across 10 terraces teeming with local produce, and rooms feature custom ceramic tiles made in local factories using traditional techniques. If the 400 steps down to Positano’s only private beach sound daunting, an elevator cuts through the rock to water level, where tangerine loungers on the stone sundeck give way to a cove with sandy shores. Here, breezy Carlino restaurant serves up lemon spaghetti beneath a cheerful thatched roof. Prefer more active endeavors? Hugging the cliff face above, seaside tennis courts serve up sets with a dazzling view.
Via Marina Grande, 225, 80076 Capri NA, Italy
This glamorous villa is situated on Capri’s main road—and just a five-minute walk to the port—but JK Place feels like a refuge from the tourist throngs. Interiors have a chic, polished aesthetic that’s the embodiment of la dolce vita: The crisp white-and-navy spaces are filled with beautiful art and antiques, dramatic fireplaces, and colorful bouquets of blooms, while large windows and panoramic terraces capture views of rugged green hills that fall into the sea. (Yes, that’s Mount Vesuvius looming in the distance.) Posh touches continue in the guest rooms—think monogrammed pillows, canopy beds, wingback chairs, and marble- and mosaic-tiled bathrooms. Lemon trees scent the air throughout the property, from the elegant pool deck and on-site spa to the terrace bar, where sunset aperitivos are accompanied by tasty bites such as sea bream sliders and quail-egg canapés.
44 Via Bernardino Rota
A departure from the pastel villas that dominate the Amalfi Coast, Parco dei Principi is a modernist edifice enveloped in tropical gardens and set on the outskirts of Sorrento. The work of famed Italian architect and designer Gio Ponti, the boxy white structure bears his signature at every turn, from the furniture and fixtures down to the blue-and-white floor tiles (each of the 96 guest rooms features a different pattern). Beyond the eye-catching geometry, accommodations are minimalist in style, featuring midcentury chairs and crisp white beds. Even the saltwater pool looks like an art piece, its angularity punctuated by a diving board that sits swanlike above the water. Tunnels cut through the cliffside lead to a private beach, where an alfresco restaurant on the waterside deck serves up fresh-caught seafood in the summer. For a bird’s-eye view of the scene, opt instead for the panoramic vistas from the terrace of the hotel’s Gio Ponti restaurant.
Piazza dei Mulini, 23, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
Formerly the private residence of Gioacchino Murat, king of Naples and Napoleon’s brother-in-law, Palazzo Murat has the mark of aristocracy—white-walled interiors are outfitted with elegant antiques, oil paintings, and decorative tiled floors—but also the welcoming atmosphere of a dear friend’s home. The 18th-century villa is tucked away behind cascades of bright bougainvillea and greenery-filled grounds fragrant with jasmine and citrus trees yet centrally located in Positano’s pedestrian zone, making it an ideal base for shopping holidays and seaside idylls alike. The pool is especially impressive, flanked by a lawn studded with chic sunbeds and backed by a storybook scene of pastel-hued houses stacked higgledy-piggledy along the hillside. Just steps away is the charming Al Palazzo restaurant, which incorporates ingredients from its vegetable patch and twinkles with candlelight in the evenings. As for the guest rooms, soothing white spaces are accented with pops of blue and lemon yellow, and French doors open onto lovely balconies with views of the gardens, town, or sea.
11 Via Croce
Right in the center of town, Capri Tiberio Palace mixes la dolce vita glamour with a globe-trotting sensibility that’s equal parts quirky and elegant. Wanderlust-inducing knickknacks such as globes, vintage trunks, and an eclectic collection of art stud the public spaces, and bookshelves are stocked with coffee-table tomes from the publisher Taschen. A white baby grand provides the soundtrack for aperitivo hour at the Jacky Bar, where wicker poufs, striped blue-and-white banquettes, and Panama hats repurposed as wall decor signal vacation vibes; things are slightly more reserved at the terrace restaurant, a formal space whose brightly colored dishes (think seared scallops with almond sauce and beef tartare with chestnut cream as well as kosher fare) are rivaled only by the panoramic views of the island’s craggy peaks coast and azure sea. And the indoor-outdoor swimming pool, though small, is a savior in the summer heat.
Isola di Capri NA IT, Via Capodimonte, 14, 80071 Anacapri NA, Italy
It’s hard to say what’s the biggest draw at Capri Palace Hotel & Spa, a whitewashed retreat overlooking the Gulf of Naples with 68 rooms that blend stylish minimalism with beach-chic comfort. As the name implies, wellness junkies beeline to the property to indulge in anti-aging facials, body scrubs and massages, and signature leg treatments at Capri Beauty Farm, a 10,800-square-foot oasis of calm. Then there are the dining options. With its inventive coastal cuisine and impeccable service, L’Olivo is the island’s only restaurant with two Michelin stars, while the hotel’s beach club eatery Il Riccio earned a star of its own for its seafood-heavy Mediterranean menu; given the accolades, both spaces are much better looking than they need to be. Another strong contender: the pool. Though small, it features a wall studded with windows, so you can swim with a side of voyeurism.