This article first appeared in Fathom, March 2018.
PRAIANO, Italy — The Amalfi Coast. When I imagine it, I think in blues, an infinite palette from lights to dark, just as moody as the Mediterranean, turning from a dramatic phthalo of a morning temporale (rain storm) into a vibrant indigo in the afternoon sun. When I was a kid, my family used to visit La Costiera for a few days here and there, and my sister and I spent all our time jumping into the sea from makeshift “beaches” made from leftover rocks. The water was chilly and dark, but every now and then a light patch would shine through, and we’d pretend it was a mermaid holding a lantern. The seaside was our liquid blue playground with salt water and sunburns.
My mental color palette changed drastically after a four-day meditation weekend at Casa Angelina. The cascading, white-washed palace inspired me to give up the blues for a clean slate or 15 or more shades of white that Casa Angelina constantly curates to create a harmonious — and dare I say Zen — counterbalance to the hotel’s precarious position on the cliffs of Praiano.
I chose a late October weekend as my Me Time escape from Rome. By the end of October, the Amalfi Coast is pretty much all locals (and the visitors who can just about pass). Although there was absolutely no promise of good weather, I rolled the dice and enjoyed the incredible warmth of October sun, which shines soft and strong, like the end of the last day of summer.
Casa Angelina, however, glows year-round, and its location — isolated but in the middle of it all — makes it a quiet retreat for those seeking calm as well as a central hub for those seeking Amalfitana action.
Praiano. Say it a few times in a row and you’ll be mesmerized. Even more so once you see the Amalfi Coast’s sapphire blue waters. A 15-minute drive south from Positano, Casa Angelina greets you just before you enter the tiny town of Praiano. An auspicious position in the cliffs gives guests an unobstructed view from the cove to the Mediterranean panorama. If you take a second, you can even spot the Fariglioni of Capri in the distance.
A palette of whites, the cascading hotel is painted with more than 15 shades of the hue, creating a feeling of all-embracing peacefulness and tranquility. An open-plan layout, ; tasteful, minimal décor accented with vibrant contemporary paintings and sculptures; and floor-to-ceiling windows with a never-ending views of the sea all contribute to the modern vibe, making Casa Angelina unabashedly contemporary and constantly in the now.
This Place Is Perfect For
Couples who want a sexy getaway or are looking for a meditative and outdoorsy vibe with the perfect mix of relaxation and no-stress retreat. Casa Angelina is also the place for a fabulous destination party — a wedding, birthday, my tenth anniversary, a secret affair.
But Not So Perfect For
Families. Casa Angelina’s golden rule is no guests under 12 years of age, and, frankly, it’s a great idea. The gorgeous hotel, with its meters of white on whites and hundreds of steps, is an accident waiting to happen for anyone in the primary school crew.
What’s on Site
All you really need to do is relax on a chaise on your terrace and watch the sea. But when you get up, there’s a beautiful, sea-facing spa with the latest Techno gym gear. Go on: Treadmill into the sunset. The small gym also has light weights and machines, a lap pool, and a sauna, as well as yoga and personal training sessions. The hotel has a small spa with skin and body care treatments, but I think the best wellness thing around here is a dip in the sea. Off the Marrakech lounge is a tranquil outdoor pool and deck with a Japanese garden vibe.
Food + Drink
Un Piano nel Cielo (which translates as “a floor in the sky”), the hotel’s rooftop restaurant, is aiming higher than the sky (#michelingoalz), serving fine dining with an Amalfi vibe — relaxed, comfortable, and stylish, with a seasonal and local menu. Desserts are fabulous. Marrakech Bar, inspired by the owner’s love of Morocco, is an open-space lounge with a front row to the Med and great cocktails like limoncello mojito. Cigar aficionados will appreciate the Cigar Room just off the Marrakech Bar, where a tobacco-colored humidor is stocked with lots of Cubans (Cohiba, Romeo Y Julieta, and Partagas), and vintage grappas.
Number of Rooms
39 rooms and suites, all with seaside views. Each room is a ceiling-to-floor celebration of white and contemporary design with Philippe Starck lighting, Flos bed, and Driade chairs — all white, light chrome, and clear polycarbonate.
You had me at Etro. The chic Italian fashion house gets you between the sheets with pristine cotton linens and cuddles up with you with its plush robes. The bathroom is stocked with Jo Malone products, while the room itself is straight out of Architectural Digest: premium Apple, Bang & Olufsen, and Nespresso tech; Philippe Starck lighting; Flos bed; Driade chairs.
I can’t really think of any. Maybe the traffic in the summer months is a pain, but, hey, you’re not here to leave the property, unless you’re going by boat.
Everything is standout — from the white on white and the gorgeous design elements to the ever-present, impeccably dressed staff in their cashmere sweaters, loose-fitted linen pants, and Positano slides who deliver everything from a warm welcome and local intel to fresh almond milk.
But what truly blew my mind were the Eaudesea rooms: four beautifully designed rooms built into fishermen’s caves. Pure rustic, nautical chic. The Eaudesea are completely separate from the rest of Casa Angelina and come with two full-time butlers on site for all needs. The butlers set up a fabulous, open-air breakfast on the private terrace area each morning. Eaudisea guests have access to Casa Angelina’s private boat for taxi trips to where ever they want to go.
No matter how busy the Amalfi Coast can get in the summer months, it is one of Italy’s most spectacular landscapes, dramatically set into the cliffs of the Campania countryside. So gorgeous and historic, it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Check the Fathom Amalfi Coast Guide for the complete to-do.
Yes, you are in the cliffs, but just 200 steps down from Casa Angelina is La Gavitella, a private beach club carved into the rock, facing west to Positano, which means optimum sunlight through the day and into the evening. La Gavitella has an area dedicated exclusively to Casa Angelina guests.
Praiano is a walking city, and it’s an easy, uphill climb from Casa Angelina. The charming town is one of the starting points for Il Sentiero degli Dei, The Path of the Gods, a five-mile nature trek along stunning gorges, cliffs and precipices of the Amalfi Coast.
Yes, you should take a trip to top hits Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, Ravello. But remember too that the coast is teeming with tiny fishing towns like Maiori, Minori, Cetara, and Furore — and the best way to discover them is by boat. For the more ambitious, take a day trip to islands Capri and Procida or go inland to archaeological sites Pompei, Ercolano, and Paestum.
Plan Your Trip
How to Get There
Either take the train to Naples Central station or fly into Naples Airport (NAP). From there, it’s a windy, 90-minute drive (depending on traffic, and your timing will vary) to Praiano. Twenty airlines fly in Naples, including major European carriers like Alitalia, British Airways, Turkish Airways, Lufthansa, and Air France.
You will need transport to get around Praiano. There are buses and taxis, and Praiano itself is a quaint walk. Scooters are a great solution for local travel and are rentable in town. Casa Angelina provides hourly shuttle service to Positano. If you just want to visit other coastal towns like Amalfi, Casa Angelina can organize shuttle service, but you’ll have more fun coast-hopping with the hotel’s private boat. If you plan on day-tripping in land, hire a car.