Borgo Santandrea, Amalfi: Hot Hotels

Privacy and exclusivity are the name of the game here, but with a notable lack of snobbery or pretension. Being brand-spanking-new, Borgo doesn’t rely on an illustrious history, “icon” status or immediately recognisable name for its success, and as such only really draws those in-the-know. The crowd is delightfully discreet yet openly appreciative, savouring every moment—which means spoiling oneself comes all too naturally. An Aperol Spritz on your striped-towel-clad sunbed at 11am? Why not. Just-caught lobster and pasta for lunch, washed down with a bottle of wine? It would be rude not to. Float over to your postprandial massage in a billowing kaftan, and snooze all the way through? It just feels so right. This is la dolce vita incarnate, and guests should (and do) dutifully follow suit.

The Rooms

Conceived to be more ultra-luxe, coastal villa than mega hotel, Borgo Santandrea has just 29 guestrooms and 16 suites—though they’re so cleverly spaced, you’d never know. Each is a haven of blissful calm looking out to the endless azure of sea and sky, which transforms into an inky violet after nightfall, and never ceases to amaze. But while the view is, quite rightly, the star of the show, the interiors come a close second. Think hand-painted tiles and ceramics, antique furniture, locally-crafted objets and even the odd Roman vase dug up during the building process—world-class taste and style, but with an unmistakably Campanian flair. A blue-and-white motif runs throughout, making every space blend seamlessly into its natural surroundings, while the beautifully landscaped gardens in full bloom also add some cheering colour. We must say, the place is spectacular enough that even a box room (of which there are none) would more than suffice—but if we’re doing things properly, we’ll opt for one of the sprawling suites with private pool, floor-to-ceiling windows, gigantic bathtub, romantic terrace and one of the plushest beds known to man.

The Food & Drink

Set as it is in southern Italy and surrounded by some of the most exquisite produce imaginable, it’s only natural that food be central to a stay at Borgo Santandrea. The magic starts at breakfast, when the modern kitchen throws open its doors and every surface is covered in just-made pastries, cakes, homemade lemon granitas, spectacular fruits, whole legs of Parma ham, fresh mozzarella and everything in between, with chefs milling about ready to whip up anything else you might desire—all to be enjoyed alongside that spectacular terrace view. Lunch is fresh fish, Neapolitan pizzas and gigantic tomato and basil salads on the beach, while dinner is a more refined affair to be taken either outdoors at Alici or within the elegant La Libreria. Chef Crescenzo Scotti is at the helm, elevating simple, traditional local delicacies into edible works of art—all perfectly paired with the finest wines the region has to offer.