As the hub for luxury vacations in Italy, the Amalfi Coast is the epicenter of spectacular views, outstanding service, and high-quality accommodations. Made up of the major towns of Positano, Amalfi Town, Ravello, Sorrento, and the island of Capri, each offers a unique experience to every kind of visitor. Please enjoy our review of each town and our favorite opulent hotels!
Perhaps the most popular town along the Amalfi Coast, Positano is quite a unique and romantic destination. Perched on a hill overlooking the sea, the town ascends vertically with buildings stacking one another. The steep and winding pathways throughout the town are lined with delectable and smart restaurants, savvy boutiques, and even high-end art galleries. At the base of the town, you will find the Marina Grande beach, a perfect setting for views of the open sea, and the vertiginous town piled up behind you. With the most hotel options including luxurious properties and the best location for catching a ferry to Capri, Ischia, and the Blue Grotto, you will be sure to have a special stay!
Il San Pietro, Positano
Carved into a cliff on the outskirts of Positano, the Il San Pietro may offer the most dramatic setting among the Amalfi luxury properties listed. Set among tiers of gardens, the hotel’s 59 rooms each feature unique, hand-painted doors and scenic private terraces. The white-washed public areas include tasteful vaulted ceilings, surrounded by bright bougainvillea and manicured gardens. San Pietro has its own grotto for swimming, along with a beach cove and lunch pavilion (reached by a cleverly-built elevator that descends from the center of the cliff!) The adjacent tennis court is quite striking, set between the rock face and the Mediterranean. Other amenities include a spa (transformed from a former farming shelter), gym, Turkish bath, small cliff-top pool, and private yacht. We are big fans of the hotels larger, “Special Rooms,” category: some with a large private terrace and others offering panoramic bathrooms. Note: No children under 10 are allowed.
La Sirenuse, Positano
Built around an 18th-century villa, this glitzy, family-owned, 58-room, luxury hotel has a commanding location overlooking Positano’s colorful harbor. We feel the best rooms here are on the higher floors, nearly 230 feet above the sea. Many of the rooms here have vaulted ceilings, beautifully hand-painted tile floors, and contemporary, as well as antique, furnishings from Europe and Asia. The only rooms without balconies at Le Sirenuse are the standard rooms. Brightly lit with over 400 candles at night, the hotel’s Michelin star, La Sponda restaurant is a truly enchanting place to enjoy your evening dinner. Although the property’s pool is quite small and narrow, the lemon trees surrounding the property and its picturesque views do not fail to impress. The Le Sirenuse officially opened in 1951, when the four Marchesi siblings turned their summer house in Positano to the iconic hotel it is today. Marina, the daughter of Paolo Marchesi, created the Le Sirenuse fragrance and skincare brand, Eau d’Italie, along with her husband, Sebastian Alvarez Marena.
Although not ideal for overnights, Amalfi Town is a large and beautiful place to come down to sea level and take in the landscape surrounding you with a unique vantage point. It is highly recommended to make a stop here for lunch, dinner, or simply a stroll for some quality gelato! Perhaps the biggest attraction, however, is the infamous towering cathedral. The Byzantine-style structure is atop 60 steps and stands tall above the piazza below. It’s a great way to work off a fresh meal and inside you will find a forest of columns, frescoes, and original decorations. Be sure not to miss out on this “pearl” of a city (a nickname given from all its bright white buildings!).
The town of Ravello is a tranquil and stunning escape from the other busy coastal towns. Surrounded by valleys of green and terrific views over the cliffs and sea, it is a place to unwind in an unbeatable setting. With close ties to the arts and music, it is an inspirational paradise. The infamous Duomo erected in 1086 dominates the square and neighbors Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone. Travelers looking for a more relaxed visit to the coast will have an unbelievable experience!
Belmond Hotel Caruso, Ravello
The 50-room Caruso was conceived as an aesthetically pleasing compound of various buildings, including an 11th-century palazzo, overlooking the Gulf of Salerno (1,000 feet below!). Similar to the nearby Il San Pietro and Le Sirenuse luxury hotels, the Caruso features whitewashed walls, hand-painted tiles, and modern, updated bathrooms. If you enjoy “dressing-up” for dinner, the property’s Belvedere restaurant offers a lovely terraced setting and innovative dishes inspired by traditional Italian specialties. Caruso’s horizon infinity pool is among the most impressive in all of the Amalfi Coast (the bar patio is a great place to visit and chat). There’s also a fitness center, with a wide range of equipment, as well as personal trainers available. During our last visit here we were most impressed with the hotel’s lush, green terraced gardens overlooking the gulf – truly heavenly!
A trip to the Amalfi Coast is not complete without a visit to the island of Capri! There are ferries and private boats available to take you from any of the towns along the coast across the bright blue water to the rugged island made entirely of limestone. The island was used as a resort for emperors during the Roman Empire era and ensures its visitors feel just as important as those powerful figures were. Aside from its breathtaking landscape and views of the mainland, Capri is known most for its gardens, beaches, astounding food, and luxurious hotels and villas. En route, you’ll want to be sure to make a stop at the Blue Grotto – a unique cave experience on the bluest of water! Whether you stay on the island overnight or simply visit as a day trip, Capri is sure to steal your heart!
La Scalinatella, Capri
Opened in the 1950s and still managed by the Morgano family, there is no secret the 30-room Scalinatella is our favorite luxury property on the island of Capri. This all-suite, villa-style hotel has an idyllic location, with all suites having private terraces overlooking the picturesque countryside and sea. The property is set in a quiet garden off of the Via Tragara promenade, a nice walk to the Town Square with many interesting shops and nice restaurants. All rooms are spacious, sunny, and colorful! Of special note are the majolica, hand-painted floor tiles, and various local accents. Amenities include two heated, outdoor pools, tennis courts, a high-tech gym, and a small spa. Though Scalinatella offers breakfast and lunch buffets, they do not serve dinner.
J.K. Place, Capri
With a nice location near the Marina Grande, the boutique, 22-room J.K. Place features a nice combination of glamor and Old World Italian luxury. All of the rooms have an amazing view of the Bay of Naples, with the Junior Suites including private terraces. The rooms are very stylish: white walls, smooth white wooden floors, canopied beds, and baths with white mosaic tiles. Amenities include a large heated pool, a small spa with a gym, and a dining room, with a picturesque terrace, serving delicious Mediterranean food.
The first town along the Amalfi Coast as you exit Naples, Sorrento is the perfect base for a stay on the coast and offers a variety of 5-star hotel options! Slightly different from its coastal counterparts, Sorrento is sprawled out over a flat surface and is extremely easy to navigate. Walking around and getting from place to place requires minimal energy and allows for more flexibility in walking and exploring. Known for its ceramics, lacework, and woodwork, there is much to do and see in this charming town! Our favorite part of Sorrento is the open and cafe-lined square with shops, restaurants, and an amazing Christmas display during the holiday season. You’ll want to be sure to get a limoncello tasting in during your visit, too!
Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria
Founded in 1834, the 5-star Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria is perhaps one of the most infamous hotels on the coast and is still run by the same family that opened it almost 200 years ago, now on its fifth generation of owners. The hotel is made up of three connecting buildings, each with its own unique character and style. The main lobby is extremely elegant with grand high ceilings, chandeliers, antique furniture, and frescos throughout. Its unique location off the town square offers an optimal position right in the hustle and bustle, yet the property itself is situated back on the water for a tranquil and quiet setting. In the rear of the hotel, there are terraces with stunning and unobstructed views of the Bay of Naples and surrounding cliffs. In addition to this, the hotel has its own Michelin Star restaurant, two bars, an outdoor swimming pool, and an old greenhouse turned into a lovely spa!
Built on the foundations of the Villa where Emperor Augustus was exiled, this gorgeous and historic hotel mixes elegant, classic, simplistic, and modern styles in one. With white walls and tile under Murano glass chandeliers and highly impressive vintage decor, it truly is another level of luxury. It is perched on a cliff on the waterfront allowing guests to have unobstructed views and access to the town’s main square in just a 5-minute walk. From simpler Meditteranean styles to the grandeur of gold and true classic Italian decor, the villa’s guest rooms have something for every type of guest. Each room comes with an ocean view and terrace. Our favorite room is the Roccia Suite, which comes with its very own grotto pool! The hotel itself has a private sunbathing deck, spa with hammam, fitness center, pool, and even its own library. Guests can also enjoy complimentary snacks and drinks (including wine!) on the beautiful terrace at all hours of the day, the perfect way to unwind and soak in the breathtaking scenery. Perhaps the most unique feature is the property’s private access to a nearby cave, an adventure seekers paradise!