What dream is more glamorous than the Italian Dolce Vita? That’s what Italy’s best hotels promise – long summer days, sea, sun, lush olive groves, sparkling lakes, gondola rides, ice cream, pasta, fresh peaches and melons, fresh basil. All against the backdrop of jaw-dropping architecture and stunning scenery.
How lucky we are to visit this vibrant country surrounded by so many coasts. From the authentic delicacies of Genoa to the scorching temptations of Sicily.
But while the destination is enduring, the hospitality industry isn’t resting on its laurels. In fact, in the past few years alone, a slew of new, enticing boutique addresses have popped up, full of fantastic interiors. From the most exclusive palaces of the Amalfi Coast to the mid-century beauty of the North, we’ve picked out a small slice of Italian paradise to suit every feeling.
The best hotels in Italy
1. Daniel Palace
Neoclassical grandeur meets modern minimalism in this Puglia region.
The hotel was founded by Francesco Petrucci, the last descendant of the Italian aristocratic Daniele family, who has owned the palace since its construction in the 19th century.
In the ten romantic suites, simple furniture blends with original features such as fine frescoes and mosaic floors.
The stylish and sparse rooms are decorated with contemporary art, including lithographs and sculptures.
Located in a small village called Gagliano del Capo, the southernmost part of the Salento region, the food is prepared by local chefs nonas.
A recent addition to the hotel is The Black Suite, a penthouse with a terrace overlooking an elegant courtyard.
Book Hotel Palazzo Daniel (opens in new tab). Rooms from $380.
2. Il San Pietro di Postiano, Amalfi
All the tasteful opulence you would expect from the Amalfi Coast. The hotel itself is situated on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Rooms combine stunning views with luxurious comfort, with sofas and bedding fabrics embellished with rich colours. All rooms and suites feature Italian marble bathrooms. Nature.
Guests at Il San Pietro have direct access to the hotel’s private beach via an elevator that leads directly from the cliff face to a secluded cove.
The property itself features an organic garden spread over a dozen level terraces that serve the property’s various dining locations.
Book Il San Pietro di Postiano (opens in new tab). Rooms from $700.
3. Il Sereno Lake Como
What happens when mid-century style meets timeless Lake Como fashion? This very popular luxury hotel is the answer.
The 40 lakeside suites with accommodation were designed by Spanish-born Milanese architect Patricia Urquiola. This isn’t her first foray into hospitality, she has also worked at the Mandarin Oriental in Barcelona and W Retreat & Spa in Puerto Rico, as well as collaborating with Italian furniture brand Cassina and iconic fashion house Louis Vuitton.
The property is ideally located near the town of Torno, on a promontory of sunshine 140 m (450 ft) on the east shore of Lake Como.
Urquiola’s clean lines and airy spaces set this address apart from some of the more traditional hotels that dot the lake, and the elegant design is a fitting tribute to the dazzling lights and colors of this legendary destination.
Book Hotel Il Sereno Lake Como (opens in new tab). Rooms from $850.
4. Palace Experiment
Paris meets Venice, what could be more fashionable than this? The unstoppable Parisian hotel group, which started out as a trendy cocktail bar, opened its canal-side hotel in late 2019.
If the building is quintessentially Venetian Gothic (note those distinctly slender windows meet in pointed arches and terrazzo floors), then the interior has a French flair thanks to Paris-based IT designer Dorothée Meilichzon.
Thirty-two guest rooms and suites feature pastel colors, retro headboards and elegant swooping arches in room structure and detailing. Typical of the group’s hotels, there are many thoughtful details, from the custom toiletries in the marble-edged bathrooms to the pre-made cocktails in the minibar.
Book your stay at Il Palazzo Experimental (opens in new tab). Rooms from $190.
5. Villa Lario
This villa was once the residence of the Lombard nobility and was built exclusively on the eastern shore of Lake Como. Today, it has been reimagined as a luxury boutique hotel with a modern minimalist interior that makes the jaw-dropping location a talking point.
There are no TVs in the rooms and suites. The idea is that you don’t need one. Why would you do that when you can just stroll out to the balcony and enjoy the view?
Rooms are spread across four different buildings – the main villa and private options, including the stunning Garden Suite.
Book Villa Lario (opens in new tab). Rooms from $490.
6. Borgo Santadrea
This dazzling brand new mansion is almost as beautiful as the world-famous Amalfi Coast where it sits.
This enticing boutique hotel opened modestly during the pandemic, but now it’s really on its own. The coveted space along this stretch of coast, which is actually the first time the Amalfi Coast has opened in over a decade, doesn’t disappoint.
Inside are 45 ultra-luxurious rooms and suites, designed by Rino Gambardella. The ocean-fresh blue and white decor in the room—think local artisan tiles and hand-upholstered sofas—sets the stage for the incredible blue view outside.
The price means that accommodation will be a once-in-a-lifetime event for most ordinary people, but it will certainly be memorable.
Book Borgo Santadrea (opens in new tab). Rooms start at $967.
7. Private Residence
Casa Privata or Ca’ P’a is located off the most popular tourist route in Praiano, a small town on the Amalfi Coast known for its authentic feel and stunning sunsets .
In fact, the hotel was once a fisherman’s house, and it still has a rustic charm, with its own rambling gardens and private beach.
The house was originally converted into a family home, and that sense of intimacy still prevails. With its muted tones, soothing tones and carefully selected linens and vintage furniture, you’ll feel like you’re staying in a (very stylish) friend’s room.
Stretching along the private waterfront is scattered level platforms with sun loungers, beautiful white parasols and fresh water showers.
This has to be one of the most authentic and charming hotels on the Amalfi Coast.
Book Casa Privata (opens in new tab). Rooms from $855.
8. The Windsor Hotel
This charming 26-room hotel has been renovated after being closed for 15 years.
Laigueglia is a quiet fishing village close to the French border, on the same coastline as the more touristy Cinque Terre. This part of the coast, Riviera di Ponente is a 1960s place, decorated with retro-style velvets and Hungarian parquet floors to pay homage to the area.
Exquisite artwork surrounds the hotel and a large selection of books is available in the public areas. The on-site restaurant serves a menu made with local ingredients, including freshly caught fish.
The hotel’s private beach, Bagni Windsor, is a highlight: guests can swim, rent a boat or enjoy life on the photogenic sun loungers.
Book a Windsor Hotel (opens in new tab). Rooms from $280.