Welcome to the Belmond Hotel Caruso
Nestled into the highest peak of the Amalfi Coast, suspended just below the clouds and high above the Tyrrhenian Sea, is a luxurious 11th century Palazzo. It’s draped in lush greens and fragrant gardens and is crowned by an azurite pool that seemingly extends into the sea. It is a dream. It is the Belmond Hotel Caruso.
A perfectly Italian day
If you peruse the magazine pages or websites of Condé Nast Traveler, Travel and Leisure and other luxury travel publications, you will probably have heard of the Hotel Caruso as it consistently tops their lists of the best hotels in the world. That’s where my obsession started two years ago.
Fast-forward to this spring and we have arrived on the cobble stoned front drive. We arrive a little too early for check in, but we are hungry after the long, beautiful drive from Positano. We walk through the front entrance and barely hear the greetings as we are captivated by the hotel’s artful interiors and the Amalfi Coast views that unfold before us.
Once we are reigned in we are given a tour of the property, trying to keep our cool and our jaws off the ground, and are seated at the perfect lunch table that overlooks that azurite pool that must extend into the sea.
And let me tell about that lunch. That lunch that I am
embarrassed about, yet I still fantasize about. We started with the Belmond Hotel Caruso’s signature cocktail – the Rossini – which is a cousin of the Bellini and is made from fresh strawberries. We had heard about their pizza oven and the circular magic that comes out of it, so we had to order a pizza. Had to. However, the linguini pasta with anchovies and lemons from Amalfi looked really good, too. So…we had both. We had pasta AND pizza. For lunch. I don’t regret it. Both were two of my favorites from the entire trip and some of the best I have had.
Rossini and Pizza at the Pool Restaurant
Once we wrapped up lunch, we were escorted to our room, which had been upgraded to a suite, and it was spectacular. It was very spacious with a huge marble bathroom, lots of storage for our belongings, the best amenity basket I have seen yet, a super comfy bed, breathtaking views of the sea and coastline and a balcony that must have been pulled straight from a fairytale.
We “ooo’d and aahhh’d’ over the room for a few minutes and then it was time to get down to business. We needed to fully inspect that famous pool. We walked through the garden walkway to the pool, nodded at the English couple that had clearly set up camp and had been there for hours, and then we waded in.
Although it was a little bit chilly outside, we were pleasantly surprised by how warm the pool was. We swam a bit, enjoyed the views from the edge, took 3,987,562 pictures and then moved on to the lounge chairs where we watched the clouds wrap themselves around the mountain tops. I swear we could have touched them.
Up in the clouds
Belvedere at Belmond Hotel Caruso
That night we had an aperitif and some beautiful hors d’oeuvres prepared by Belmond Hotel Caruso’s head chef, Chef Mimmo di Raffaele. And, we had the absolute pleasure of being joined by Chef Mimmo who taught us a lot about the cuisine at both the Pool Restaurant and the fine dining restaurant, Belvedere. We also learned about the history and diversity of Campania’s cuisine and the importance of locally sourced ingredients. The standout from our conversation: Chef Mimmo’s passion for food, cooking and Italy.
Afterwards we sat down for dinner on the beautiful (partially enclosed) patio of Belmond Hotel Caruso’s Belvedere restaurant. It was raining and thundering and completely romantic. The service was exceptional and thoughtful. We shared the octopus, more of the linguini with anchovies and a grilled fish plate. All of it was delicious and our evening at Belvedere was just perfect.
A Day in Ravello
We spent the next day lingering through Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone and then sat in the main square, in the rain, with a glass of wine. It was a perfect day and it was all within walking distance from the Caruso. You can find a few photos here.
The Best Night Cap Spot in Town
Both nights we enjoyed after dinner cocktails at the bar, which was a popular place to be. The Belmond Hotel Caruso has nailed down the best three ingredients for a great “night cap” spot:
- The Bar Men, “Tom and Jerry”, as they have dubbed themselves. They could also be called the dynamic duo. They have worked at the hotel bar together for many years and they are hysterical together. They are also very kind, interesting and attentive and bring the bar to life.
- The drinks. They are delicious. I am typically a wine drinker, but found “Tom and Jerry’s” cocktails to be irresistible.
- It’s a beautiful, classic bar and is just pleasant to be in. I looked forward to ending my evenings there.
Each evening we returned to a dimly lit room with our beds turned down and our his and hers slippers placed on each side of our bed. I don’t know how they knew which side was which, but this is one of many reasons we started referring to the housekeeping staff as “The Housekeeping Ninjas”. Their covert room operations were quick and efficient!
Breakfast Your Way
The Belmond Hotel Caruso’s breakfast spread is everything you could ever want or need. There were tons of options and everything was fresh and delicious. The croissants; I wanted to soak in a tub full of the chocolate and lemon croissants. As I was admiring the expansive breakfast layout, one of the servers told me that they are always working to improve it. One way they plan to do this is by adding organic and gluten free sections.
Another great breakfast treat is that you can enjoy breakfast in your room if you prefer. We did this on our last morning and it was so lovely. I was sure to ask for a chocolate and a lemon croissant and they brought two of each. I would have eaten both, but Eddie made me share.
We had a fantastic two nights at the Belmond Hotel Caruso. I wish we would have had more time there. We agreed that if (when) we made it to the Amalfi Coast again, we would stay entirely in Ravello, at the Hotel Caruso of course, and take the hotel’s complimentary boat shuttle into Positano.
As Belmond Hotel Caruso’s PR and Guest relations manager, Iolonda, explained to me, the hotel invites guests to slow down a bit and enjoy the beauty around them. As upscale as the property is, there is a warmth and comfort there that is created by the staff. Many of the staff have been employed by the Hotel Caruso for many years. The hotel closes down for five months in the winter and the staff work other jobs during that time. Chef Mimmo consults for other Italian restaurants and Tommaso, the Barman, grows those delicious Amalfi lemons. But, when it’s time to open back up, they all come back. The surrounding beauty, the comfort of the rooms, the delicious food and the warm staff made us feel like we were coming home at the end of each day. The Belmond Hotel Caruso is truly a special place.
To access hyperlinks click here: Belmond Hotel Caruso Infograph-links
- Try the signature cocktail offering. It is sure to have the freshest ingredients.
- Have lunch at the pool bar and try their top notch pizza.
- Check out the piano bar in the evenings.
- Take the hotel boat shuttle to Positano.
- Try one of their signature experiences.
- Have at least one dinner at Belvedere.
- Walk around the grounds.
- Visit Tom and Jerry at the bar and try a drink made with an Amalfi lemon.
- Walk around and explore the nooks and crannies of the historic Palazzo.
- Of course, dangle over one of the highest points of the Amalfi Coast in one of the world’s most beautiful infinity pools.
- Include a stop to Pompeii on your way in/out from Naples.
- EAT THE CROISSANTS.
- Click here for current Belmond Hotel Caruso specials.