Family-friendly features like kids' DVDs, welcome kits, and pizza-making
Free Wi-Fi and parking
Some guests find decor dated and/or lacking in genuine antiques
Spa is small
Some guests find restaurant overpriced for what it offers
The Belmond Hotel Caruso is one of the top luxury hotels not only on the Amalfi Coast, but in Italy. Situated in an 11th-century palace and surrounded by fragrant terraced gardens, it is perched above the Tyrrhenian Sea at Ravello's highest point and offers full-on views of the sea and village. The 50 rooms and suites have beautifully tiled floors and marble bathrooms, and many offer terraces or balconies overlooking the water. Amenities include a truly jaw-dropping infinity pool, a small spa and gym, a piano bar, and a fine-dining Italian restaurant serving a free buffet breakfast. Many guests find the hotel well worth its considerable price tag; during our visit, it was fully occupied. On the Amalfi Coast, Santa Caterina Hotel and Le Sirenuse are among the only properties that can compare.
Ancient palazzo on a hillside with gorgeous terraced gardens and Tyrrhenian Sea views
The 11th-century palazzo that houses the Belmond Hotel Caruso features Moorish arches and preserved ancient walls. But the most spectacular aspect of this property is its ultra-exclusive setting: at the highest point in Ravello on a lush hillside overlooking the turquoise Tyrrhenian Sea. Terraced gardens that surround the cream-colored building are laced with olive and lemon trees and scented with herbs, picked daily for the on-site restaurant. Naturally, interiors take advantage of the location, with open archways and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out upon the grounds and water. Despite its haute location, the Belmond has a relaxed, Mediterranean vibe, from the open-air poolside bar with clay tile floors to the Loggiato Bar furnished with wicker chairs and mosaic-tile tables. Elsewhere, such as in the lobby, a more elegant feel is achieved with antique-style artwork and furnishings and soaring frescoed ceilings. Guests are typically well-heeled couples from around the world drawn to what are undoubtedly some of the finest views available anywhere.
Those who want to stay in this area but can't afford the price tag here could consider Palumbo Palazzo Confalone, an upscale property with stunning views, although less luxe rooms, a few minutes down the hillside.
Ravello's highest point, centrally located for Amalfi Coast exploring
The Belmond Hotel Caruso sits at the highest point in Ravello, a pristine town on Italy's picturesque Amalfi Coast. It's a five-minute walk down to the center of town where there are restaurants, bars, and the 11th-century Duomo di Ravello. It's about a 15-minute drive to Amalfi, a highly touristed town filled with shops, cafes, and sights such as the Duomo di Amalfi. The cliffside village of Positano is about an hour away by car. Free shuttle service is offered by the hotel to both Amalfi and Positano.
The ancient archaeological ruins of Pompei are about 45 minutes away by car. It's about 40 minutes to the former fishing village of Praiano, where it's possible to catch a ferry over to the island of Capri. Naples, where there are more ferries to Capri, is about an hour away by car, as is Naples International Airport. It's also possible to take direct trains to Naples from Milan (five and a half hours), Florence (four hours), and Rome (two and a half hours), and continue on to Ravello from there.
Elegant and spacious, with clay- or mosaic-tile floors and marble bathrooms; some with sea-view balconies
Rooms and suites at the Belmond are individually decorated in a classic style that some guests have found to be a bit dated. Antiques (or antique-like) furnishings and beautiful floors of clay or colorful mosaic tile may be accented with bronze chandeliers, rich wooden bedside tables, or mosaic-tile wall hangings. High-quality bedding covers the twin- or king-size beds. Some feature archways, arched ceilings, and/or peeks of original ancient stone walls.
Many rooms have terraces or balconies with incredible views of the sea, the gardens, or the village of Ravello. Some also have private gardens with herbs and olive trees. Each room features a flat-screen TV and DVD player (family-friendly DVDs are available), as well as free Wi-Fi. Minibars are well-stocked, but not free. Bathrooms vary in terms of style, but all are done in marble and offer separate showers and bathtubs, Bulgari toiletries, and bathrobes.
The apartment-style Exclusive Suite has a hot tub facing the sea, and a kitchenette area with a two-burner stovetop and sink. Rooms range in size from 376-square-foot Double Rooms to 484-square foot Junior Suites to 592-square-foot Exclusive Suites to Two-Bedroom Suites measuring 968 square feet.
Incredible infinity pool, two restaurants (one formal, one with pizza), piano and poolside bars, and boat rides
The Belmond's incredible hilltop location, with views out to the sea and surrounding towns, is a major draw. The hotel's infinity pool takes full advantage of the hotel's position, and overlooks and appears to drop off into the Amalfi scenery. The pool is nicely sized and lined with white-cushioned sun loungers and umbrellas. Clay pots filled with pink and white flowers decorate the stone-tile deck. The concierge makes poolside deliveries of iPods pre-loaded with guests' choice of music -- indicative of the level of pampering guests can expect throughout their stay.
Beside the pool is a restaurant/bar serving light lunches such as wood-fired pizza and salad. The Belvedere fine-dining restaurant serves dishes inspired by traditional Italian cuisine and uses herbs from the on-site gardens. A free breakfast buffet is served daily and includes pastries replaced on the half-hour to ensure freshness. The indoor bar features live piano music and serves cocktails, wines, prosecco, and Champagne from around 10 a.m. until midnight. Room service is available 24/7.
The gym is air-conditioned and pleasant with sea-facing windows and wooden floors. It is roomy enough but not huge, and offers a somewhat dated array of cardio and weight equipment. The small spa has outdoor treatment space for massages, and offers various aromatherapy treatments, facials, and hair and nail services. Guests can also take free rides around the Amalfi Coast in the hotel's traditional wooden boat, Ercole.
An on-site boutique sells high-end items that were hand-selected or made specifically for the hotel. There are a few different meeting and event spaces for business gatherings, cocktail parties, and weddings, plus a business center. Families can take advantage of kids' welcome kits, slippers and robes, spa treatments, and activities ranging from sailing to pizza-making. Babysitting is also available. Wi-Fi and parking are free.
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