By John O’Ceallaigh
All that Covid stuff notwithstanding, things must feel pretty good in Italy right now. There was that recent Eurovision win and then last week’s UEFA Euro triumph, plus the country’s tourism industry seems to be on the road to recovery with a number of exceptional-looking hotel openings and long-awaited reopenings occurring. Among the most promising new arrivals this summer is Borgo Santandrea, a teetering hotel wedged into a cliffside on the Amalfi Coast that has the look of a modern classic.
Some 90 metres above sea level and offering endless Mediterranean views (or Tyrrhenian Sea views to be really accurate) from each of its 29 guestrooms and 16 suites, the new hotel is found in a 1960s building that has just emerged from a three-year renovation. The building’s origins and setting have determined its aesthetic: interiors are a combination of Mid-Century features and classically Italian motifs. Local architects, artists and craftsmen contributed their expertise, with bespoke furniture complemented by classic pieces by leading Italian designer Molteni. One of the most striking features of the property is the handmade and hand-painted floor tiles on display throughout – there are 31 different types to admire. Though they look original, they were in fact commissioned especially for the new hotel and took 15 months to develop; designers researched the history of Mediterranean geometric patterns to eventually concur on how they should look, deciding on forms that are based on classic Roman creations and the mosaics of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Beyond looking so good, Borgo Santandrea will offer its guests ample opportunities to enjoy la dolce vita. There will be two bars and three restaurants, a generous spread for a 45-key property. Relatively casual patio restaurant Alici will overlook the Amalfi coast; La Libereria will showcase sophisticated Mediterranean cuisine; The Beach Club will cater to guests who want to spend the day at the hotel’s private beach, at the base of the cliff. The property is found within the fishing village of Conca dei Marini and is near the Amalfi Coast’s Emerald Grotto (a cave famed for its emerald green water) so there should be a fair amount of activity to observe on the water during the summer months.
Connecting the beach club with the hotel above are a succession of garden terraces, abundant with local plants and trees, including olive, lemon and pomegranate trees, and winter jasmine. Guests can admire them at leisure when walking the many steps up and down to the property, or they can whizz past them a little less strenuously by elevator. Endearingly, the hotel references its ‘8 elevators’ among its list of facilities, but I’d be more likely to book a stay here based on the fact it also offers a gym, outdoor saltwater pool and a private jetty from which to depart for daytime charters aboard its private boat.
All in all, Borgo Santandrea seems to offer yet another strong enticement to again visit Italy, if one were ever needed, and it could pair nicely with many more of the country’s recent knockout openings. I’d perhaps start with Forestis in the Dolomites and then amble on to Castello di Reschio in Umbria before a little downtime at the Palazzo Fiuggi health resort near Rome; Borgo Santandrea could slot in next, perhaps followed by a jaunt to Sicily to check out Rocco Forte Hotels’ Villa Igiea in Palermo or Four Seasons’ 14th-century San Domenico Palace property within sight of Mount Etna in Taormina.
In July and August, B&B soft-opening rates at Borgo Santandrea start at £770 per night.
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