TOTAL SCORE: 9
Hotel Caruso, which lies dramatically on a mountainside on the Amalfi coast, has a lot to offer. The former palace from the 11th-century seemingly clings to rocky cliff 350m above sea level, has glorious views of the Mediterranean Sea, and, with its location alongside the picturesque town of Ravello, is a perfect starting point for a few days of la Dolce vita. The palace has been run as a hotel since 1893 and has played host to some notable characters such as Virginia Wolf, Greta Garbo and Jackie Kennedy. Since 2005 the hotel has been owned and operated by Belmond. For us, the trip to southern Italy was well worth it.
Caruso is located at the highest point in the beautiful city of Ravello, which affords the property with the most stunning views of the Amalfi Coast and the Mediterranean Sea. Ravello is a classic small Italian small mountain town, with charming pedestrian streets, steps, vaulted gardens and authentic restaurants. The drive from the airport is an experience in itself thanks to winding mountain roads and panoramic views – but do be prepared for a stop or two in order to allow flocks of local goats and sheep to slowly cross the road ahead of you.
Style/ Interior 9/10
Hotel Caruso has been painstakingly and thoughtfully restored to its ancient splendour, ensuring it’s an extraordinarily beautiful hotel with high ceilings, frescoes and ancient walls that reveal the palace’s Roman origin. The entrance hall once belonged to the Saint Eustachio church in Pontone in the 1200s. The lush terrace gardens abound with roses, olive and lemon trees.
Caruso has 51 rooms and suites. All are decorated in Neapolitan style and with unique antiques from the 18th and 1900s. Most rooms overlook the ocean, while some have a patch of private garden to boot. Some rooms also have historic frescoes on the roof.
We met some wonderfully pleasant staff at the Caruso, both in the restaurant and otherwise. Friendly, interested and helpful at all times, they gave us a sense of being seen and appreciated without being intrusive. The hotel offers daily boat trips with its own venerable boat Ercole. Ercole sails along the Amalfi Coast and is a great way to discover its beautiful landscape. A shuttle to and from the hotel is included and exclusive to hotel guests. The infinity pool is in another class. It is located in the garden, which is also Ravello’s highest point, and almost blends into the blue sky above. With postcard views in every direction, there is no better place to relax.
Restaurant/ Bar: 8/10
The Belvedere restaurant has a fantastic location with a picture-perfect terrace and accompanying views. Mediterranean cuisine prepared with local produce are served here. They have a wide selection of dishes and wines. Belvedere is ideal for a romantic dinner. The food was heavenly and although the weather did not allow “al fresco” dinner for our part, we were more than happy in the beautiful surroundings inside. Bubbles bar located in the garden is also a perfect place to enjoy a drink before dinner or for a lighter meal. The hotel also has a cocktail/piano bar with a wide selection of wines and, of course, plenty of local prosecco.
Who is the hotel is suited for?
The hotel is perfect for romantic holidays. Alternatively, do like Garbo and come alone. It’s a heavenly place to relax alone with a book.
3 things we love:
* Fantastic views of the Amalfi Coast
* Legendary infinity pool
* The city of Ravello with its charm and its distinctive character