Two words hard to define and open to interpretation.
‘Boutique’ in the luxury hotel world is a small, exclusive property, no more than 100 rooms in size and with its own quirky, unique character that distinguishes it from its grand, yet sometimes generic, rivals. When it comes to ‘romantic’ on the other hand, we each have different ideas, yet candlelit dinners, mesmerising sunsets over the sea, and gentle serenading seem to be popular.
Below, you can find some of our favourite boutique-style hotels in Italy, a country of fine art, impressive landscapes, ancient ruins and delicious food, hard not to fall in love with.
Bauer Il Palazzo, Venice
Think romance, think Venice. Its winding waterways, bobbing gondolas and magical, stone palaces are enchanting, and the Grand Canal is its heartbeat, which is where you can find a palace of your own, the Bauer Il Palazzo. This five-star, 18th Century Venetian house is a family heirloom, honoured by the time and dedication that its owners have put in to making this hotel unsurpassable in relaxation, cuisine and service. Its Gothic façade and expansive regal windows are striking as you first catch glimpse of the hotel on your arrival by private water taxi, and inside is equally as impressive with 38 guest rooms and 34 suites, each lavishly decorated with European artwork, glass chandeliers, and period furniture. Enjoy a candlelit dinner directly perched on the Grand Canal, with distinct Mediterranean cuisine served to the sound of serenading gondoliers, or head to Teatro La Fenice for a night at the opera, just a five minute stroll from Bauer Il Palazzo.
The Inn at the Spanish Steps, Rome
As a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, The Inn at the Spanish Steps is an intimate, luxury retreat hidden from sight in the very centre of Rome by the iconic Spanish Steps. Once a stately home in the 1800s, the hotel retains its rich character, with period décor, Italian frescoes on the ceiling, and marble bathrooms in its 30 rooms and suites. Amidst the famous names of the Via Dei Condotti shopping street, the building is listed as a national monument, tucked away but still boasting splendid views of the Piazza di Spagna and within easy walking distance of Rome’s most famous, and most romantic sights, including the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and Piazza Navona. In the evenings, couples should head to Ponte Milvio, Rome’s take on the love lock bridge, to steal a kiss with stunning vistas of St Peters Basilica.
Hotel Capo La Gala, Sorrento
Sat on the rugged coastline of Sorrento, overlooking the glistening Gulf of Naples, Hotel Capo La Gala consists of just 22 rooms, including 1 opulent suite with private, outdoor Jacuzzi for a couple. The property itself is bright and modern, with rooms decorated in nautical blues and reds to complement the sweeping bay vistas, and chic yet contemporary dining terraces where you may experience the delight of Mediterranean-style, Michelin-star fine dining. This coastal gem is ideal for exploring the wonders of Italy’s coastal towns and islands, with the hotel offering a luxury boat tour across the Gulf to admire Sorrento’s kaleidoscopic landscape, and excursions available to visit the historical sites of Pompeii, the island of Capri and the Blue Grottos.
Palazzo Avino, Ravello
Famous for its clifftop vistas and spectacular, verdant gardens, Ravello is a polished, idyllic town discovered by the winding mountain roads of the Amalfi Coast. Positioned 1,000ft above the Mediterranean Sea, it is here where you can find Palazzo Avino, a former 12th Century private villa for Italian nobles. Inside, echoes of its past remain, with regal décor, golden hues and a grand entrance hall which still serves the same purpose as it did centuries ago. Managing Director Mariella Avino declares her love for the Palazzo, and her pride in the 32 rooms and 11 suites here, with a ratio of 2 attentive staff members to 1 room, ensuring each guest receives personal, exceptional service. As a romantic gesture, the spectacular helicopter service that the hotel offers sends you flying over the irregular yet beautiful coastal gardens and historic villages of Ravello, sure to set your hearts racing.
Belmond Villa San Michele, Florence
Oozing romance and sophistication, Florence is known as the birthplace of the Renaissance, and Villa San Michele pays homage to that, with a façade attributed to Michelangelo and lush gardens of lemon trees and roses circling the entire property. Perched on the hillside, the hotel is set within the countryside, around a 15 minute shuttle ride from the hustle and bustle of the centre of Florence, but its position rewards guests with sweeping vistas and a peaceful, serene setting. The furniture in the 45 rooms and suites is all custom-made, with elegant upholstery in shades of cream and warm pastels. For a romantic escape, the Michelangelo Suite stretches the front of the hotel and was once the library for this Renaissance monastery, with a dramatic stone fireplace, open-plan design and canopied king-size bed. The dedicated massage gazebo in the secluded Italian gardens is the ideal spot to relax with a couples’ massage and dazzling views over Firenze.