Italy – and it’s incredible selection of hotels – has long been a classic summer holiday destination. When the time is right to go back, these new hotels should be top of your wishlist – from a new five-star in Florence to a Sixties Capri classic that’s undergone a renovation by a big brand.
Il Tornabuoni, Florence
Il Tornabuoni – of the Italian hospitality group AG – has one of the most prestigious locations in Florence: in a medieval palazzo on historic Via Tornabuoni, where its neighbours are Ferragamo, Gucci and Montblanc. The five-star glamourpuss has been styled by Milan architect Andrea Auletta who has lavished a sense of old-world opulence on its 62 rooms and suites, with their plush divans and armchairs, sumptuous fabrics, wallpapers in regal colours, antique mirrors and botanical prints. Among the facilities are vaulted wine cellars, a champagne bar and a gourmet rooftop restaurant.
Opening spring; iltornabuonihotel.it
Hotel Castello di Reschio, Umbria
The Bolza family’s 11th-century castle is wrapped in a voluptuous, 3,700-acre estate of wooded hills in northern Umbria. After years of laborious restoration masterminded by architect-designer Count Benedikt Bolza, it’s poised to open this spring. The 36 suites vaunt ancient stone fireplaces, soaring beamed ceilings and a mix of antiques and bespoke pieces from Benedikt Bolza’s furniture company. There’s a spa in the vaulted cantinas and an “enchanted lake” pool ringed by umbrella pines. The surrounding forests, olive groves, vineyards and gardens provide supplies for the castle’s restaurants, and guests can go truffle hunting, horse-riding or watch dressage at Reschio’s Equestrian Centre.
Villa Mojana, Lake Como
Architect-owner Katia Vitale has retained the charm of this turn-of-the-century lakeside villa in her conversion. Its romantic setting on the slopes of Lake Como is just a couple of miles from Bellagio – erstwhile haunt of Byron, Liszt and Flaubert. The six rooms spill out of the elegant main house into the rural stone annexes, all set in terraced gardens with a panoramic pool and olive grove. In this exclusive yet relaxed atmosphere, guests can enjoy organic breakfasts and dinners with a private chef. The views over the lake to the Grigne mountains beyond steal the spotlight.
Opened August 2019; villamojanabellagio.com
- Read the full review: Villa Mojana
Ca’ di Dio, Venice
The historic palazzo Ca’ di Dio sits proud on the Riva degli Schiavoni near Venice’s Arsenale – historically a shipbuilding area, today a modish stage for the Biennale. This former pilgrims’ hospice has been transformed into a five-star hotel and spa, with a grand reception lobby in the former oratorio, 66 rooms and suites. Facilities include two courtyards, a bar and two restaurants – one overlooking the riva to San Giorgio Maggiore. The design concept, curated by award-winning architect Patricia Urquiola, showcases Venetian artisan pieces and plays with watery colours, glass, mirrors and contemporary chandeliers reflecting the luminous essence of the lagoon city.
Capri Palace Jumeirah, Capri
In June 2020, luxury hospitality company Jumeirah (of Burj Al Arab fame) took over the management of this notable Capri hotel. From its clifftop setting in the village of Anacapri, the 18th-century-style palazzo looks dreamily across the Gulf of Naples. Prestigious contemporary art works adorn its dazzling white walls, while its two restaurants have notched up three Michelin stars. To its litany of facilities (including a world-class medical spa), Jumeirah has added a Dior pop-up store at the beach club Il Riccio (haunt of Hollywood celebrities), as well as a third dining space forged from a hidden cantina: the theatrically lit “L’Olivo Undiscovered”.
Opened June 2020; capripalace.com
Villa Igiea, Sicily
Sir Rocco Forte expands his Italian portfolio with this art nouveau villa whose view takes in the port of Acquasanta and the Bay of Palermo; it’s just 10 minutes from the city centre. The restoration, led by Olga Polizzi and Paolo Moschino, revives the lustre of a hotel that once hosted artists, film-stars and royalty in its frescoed salons and mirrored ballroom. Opening in May, it promises 104 rooms and suites in classic-contemporary style, indoor and outdoor restaurants, a pool and spa set in lush Mediterranean gardens, and a boat that will ferry guests to the white sands of Mondello beach.
DoubleTree by Hilton, Rome Monti
Set in the Bohemian Monti neighbourhood (Rome’s answer to Montmartre), this four-star newcomer is a stone’s throw from Termini railway station, the splendid Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Colosseum. From April, DoubleTree by Hilton will offer 133 guest rooms and suites done out in vintage loft style, with plenty of glass and wood, a natural colour palette and exotic potted plants blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces. Facilities include a gym, a restaurant specialising in “cucina romana”, a café on Piazza dell’Esquilino and an eighth-floor sky bar with terrace overlooking Rome’s monuments.
Opens April; hilton.com
Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection, Tuscany
Following an extravagant renovation by the Italian architectural studio Archea, this renaissance palazzo-cum-boutique hotel (one of Marriott’s Autograph Collection) makes a noteworthy addition to Lucca’s hospitality offerings. The building overlooks two of the city’s loveliest squares: Piazza del Giglio, with its historic theatre, and tree-lined Piazza Napoleone. Its lofty and luminous salons are splendidly done in contemporary-classic style, while the 55 guest rooms exploit sumptuous fabrics in shades of plum, olive and wine – a nod to the city’s celebrated silk industry. A traditional Italian restaurant and cantina plus a rooftop bar with heady views over Lucca’s towers and spires add to the sensory pleasures.
Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa, Ostuni, Puglia
Pascale Lauber and Ulrike Bauschke have given vibrant life to Ostuni’s “Red Palace” – an 18th-century mansion which four years ago was a pile of plaster and rusty iron. Overlooking the medieval citadel of the hilltop “white city”, the 11 jewel-coloured suites are a trove of exotic furnishings, artisan handiwork, period frescoes and quirky contemporary art. Completing the idyllic picture are grassy walled gardens with a sunken swimming pool, a bijoux underground spa, gourmet restaurant (chef Giovanni Cerroni at the helm), and a private beach club on the Adriatic, 12 miles away.
Opened June 2020; paragon700.com
Portrait Milano, Milan
Following the success of Ferragamo’s Lungarno Collection hotels in Rome and Florence, the fashion dynasty’s next venture takes them into Milan’s “high-heel quarter”. The five-star Portrait Milano will revive the monumental spaces of Europe’s oldest seminary – long closed, despite its significance. The renaissance structure on Corso Venezia centres round a double-colonnaded cloister of harmonious proportions, and the conversion (by Michele de Lucchi’s Studio AMDL) aims to respond to the “genius loci” – the spirit of the place. In addition, the ex-seminary will house a wellness centre, restaurants and boutique shops.