Luxury with a Difference: Unique Italian Hotels

28 Sep 2016

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There are hotels and there are hotels. A place to rest your head is a far cry from accommodation that provides a destination in itself; a hotel that orchestrates the details of your stay with unique features to ensure a truly memorable experience. Italy’s rich history and vibrant culture creates fertile ground for incredible hotel experiences, and we’ve rounded up a few for your pleasure.

Tenuta Monacelle, Puglia

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The charming Trulli Houses of Tenuta Monacelle
The charming Trulli Houses of Tenuta Monacelle estate. Photo: Tenuta Monacelle

Tenuta Monacelle Hotel offers you the unique delight of staying in an authentic Trulli building; a charming conical cottage of a style that is unique to the region. Set on 20 acres of glorious Puglian countryside, the Trulli and farm houses stay true to tradition with their charming, rustic decor.  

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Ristorante il Ciliegeto, housed in an 18th century convent.
Ristorante il Ciliegeto, housed in an 18th century convent. Photo: Tenuta Monacelle

Il Ciliegeto Restaurant is housed in the converted remains of an 18th century convent, and the Apulian menu will not disappoint when it comes to home-grown produce and handmade pastries.

Embrace the joys of the region with an olive oil tasting or pasta cooking class, and if you are visiting at the right time of year, you are invited to harvest a cherry tree assigned to you during your stay.  

Hotel Brunelleschi, Florence


Hotel Brunelleschi incorporates Florence's oldest building in it's accommodations
Hotel Brunelleschi incorporates Florence's oldest building. Photo: Hotel Brunelleschi

Staying in the oldest building in one of the most beautiful cities in the world is a hard experience to top. The Hotel Brunelleschi incorporates the restored Byzantine Pagliazza Tower and the Church of San Michele in Palchetto, ensuring a quintessential experience for those wishing to immerse themselves in Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance.

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Beautifully decorated hotel room in Florence
Rooms are furnished with Florentine flair. Photo: Hotel Brunelleschi

The rooms are graciously furnished in typical Florentine fashion; tall ceilings, oak flooring and beds with high velvet headboards are accentuated with bespoke pieces that strive to reflect the original architecture to its best advantage.

Views of the poetic Florentine skyline are a common feature, and major historic attractions are just a short distance away, ensuring your Renaissance fairytale continues without interruption.

Nun Assisi Relais and Spa Museum, Assisi

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Hotel room with original foundations of monastery
The rooms are enhanced by the original architecture of the monastery. Photo: Nun Assisi Relais and Spa Museum

There are only 18 suites in this renovated monastery of St Catherine, and the original brickwork and graceful arches of the original building are integrated into a stunning hotel design. There was great care taken to ensure the features of the original building were protected and enhanced wherever possible, an effort which is evident in the unique pieces and luxurious materials sourced especially for each space.

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Spa with historic Roman foundations
Relax in the spa while marvelling at the first century foundations. Photo: Nun Assisi Relais and Spa Museum

Visit the Nun Spa Museum Wellness Centre for a specialty treatment or simply soak in the hot pool and admire the six majestic pillars of limestone that line that baths, which date from first century AD. A stroll through a courtyard garden rich with lavender and comfortable seating nooks is the perfect way to top off the sensation of historical luxury.   

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Bellevue Syrene, Sorrento

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Bellevue Syrene hotel has incredible views across the bay of Naples
Incredible views across the Bay of Naples. Photo: Bellevue Syrene Hotel

Built into a cliff side of Sorrento, the Relais & Châteaux Bellevue Syrene makes it hard to avoid the incredible views of Vesuvius across the Bay of Naples. All guest rooms face the sea, and the terrace restaurant Pergola offers some of the most magical sunset scenes in Sorrento.

The hotel decor ensures the interiors are also feast for the eyes. Colourful touches and bespoke designer pieces contrast gorgeously with the pure white of the foundations, and each room has an individual flair. 

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Lime green chic restaurant interior at hotel Bellevue
The interiors are also a feast for the eyes. Photo: Bellevue Syrene Hotel

You’ll never go hungry or thirsty; the airy Club Lounge is open 10am – 9pm and serves a variety of complimentary refreshments for those moments when you just need a glass of prosecco and a wedge of cheese. Whether you’re enjoying sunset cocktails, swimming at the private beach, or relaxing in the beautiful common areas, the Bellevue Syrene is the perfect place to call home in Sorrento.

San Domenico Palace, Taormina

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Beautiful formal gardens at a hotel, aerial view
Stunning formal gardens are a feature of this mountainside hotel. Photo: San Domenico Palace Hotel

Views of smoking Mt Etna, a restaurant boasting two Michelin Stars and a fairytale formal garden are just a few of the features designed to enhance your stay in the San Domenico Palace.

During the summer, a piano player will serenade you as you relax under the palm trees of the Cloister Lounge Bar, and in the colder months there is a comfortable seat waiting for you by the fire in the Oriarto dei Frate.

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Historically furnished room in hotel San Domenico Palace
Historical furnishings and artwork are freely displayed. Photo: San Domenico Palace Hotel

A location half way up a Sicilian mountain in an ancient Dominican monastery affords guests both ambience and spectacular views in abundance. Many pieces of historical artwork and furniture were preserved from the days of the monastery, and are freely scattered about the hotel.  

Hotel Caesar Augustus, Capri

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Capri island cliffside hotel with view across the ocean
Enjoy the sensation of a private island oasis. Photo: Hotel Caesar Augustus

This Relais & Châteaux hotel’s multi-level infinity pool is just one of the vantage points from which to enjoy breathtaking views of the Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Two centuries ago, the Caesar Augustus was a private retreat for artists and intellectuals, and the sense of intimacy and inspiration continues today.

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Stylish Italian hotel suite with balconies
Stylish and authentically appointed suites. Photo: Hotel Caesar Augustus

The cliff side location lends the sensation of a private island oasis, and the open air day spa takes advantage of its location by offering stunning views of Capri and the ocean from a traditional herbal steam bath.

Dining at La Terrazza di Lucullo will be a memory to cherish. The regional cuisine is crafted using local produce and ingredients from the hotel’s organic vegetable and herb garden, all served against a backdrop of awe-inspiring beauty. 

Emma Lee

Emma is a travel writer and blogger living in Brisbane, Australia. She followed the snow around the world for many years, and still considers Lake Louise her happy place. Emma's other passion is food; a love that has led her down many sketchy looking alleys in Asia, South America and Europe.