Nestled into the cliffs of Monte Solaro, 300 meters above the sparkling Bay of Naples, the Caesar Augustus hotel in Anacapri, Italy has been the pinnacle of Italian luxury for more than 100 years. The villa was first owned by a wealthy German man, and later turned into an inn for those traveling on the Phoenician steps, which are still intact if you wish to climb them yourself. In 1900, a Russian prince fleeing the revolution in his country purchased the villa, and installed the statue of Caesar on the terrace where it stands today and is commonly known as the symbol of Capri. Forty years later, the prince sold the villa to the Signorini family, who turned it into one of Italy’s most splendid five-star hotels.
Guests at the Caesar Augustus can arrive by helicopter, private boat, or private car. The helicopter ride gives a spectacular view of the cliffs, while the boat allows you to take in the swirling blue sea. If you arrive by private car, the chauffeur will greet you at the airport, escort you on the hydrofoil across the Bay of Naples, and take you up the only paved road that connects Anacapri to the more touristy town of Capri below. The road winds high into the cliffs, opening up to a stunning panorama of the sea and surrounding islands, and now you’ve arrived at the Caesar Augustus.
Inside, your room is the perfect blend of a high-end hotel and a much loved home. The Signorini family has restored the rooms, adding modern amenities and decorating with hand selected antiques and artwork, so each room is unique. Because the hotel was once a private villa, the rooms have a welcoming, personal feel. The suites are filled with natural light streaming through the large windows, and each one has its own terrace or balcony where you can enjoy the sea view. Your private garden is the ideal place to sunbathe in seclusion, while breathing in the fragrant lemon trees and roses. Relax in the Jacuzzi tub in the marble bathroom, and indulge in the locally made Italian olive oil bath products. The sitting area contains comfortable and elegant lounge furniture, satellite television, and an overflowing minibar.
Enjoy a Cocktail on the Terrace
If you can bear to leave your room, head to the hotel’s terrace bar for a glass of wine and a view of the island’s gorgeous sunsets over the neighboring islands of Ischia and Procida. The staff is highly attentive, and will always greet you by name and make you feel like a guest in their home, never as though they’re only doing a job. Ask for the Mediterranean sushi, a fantastic and fresh sampling of the regions’ seafood. At night, a piano player adds another sensory layer of beauty to your stay.
The Caesar Augustus is not only luxurious, but also green. The Signorini’s are firm believers in local, sustainable food, and they source their produce from their own garden below the hotel. Guests can sample the herbs and vegetables used in the restaurant’s dishes, and even help the chef pick them for the night if they choose.
One bite into your meal, and you’ll see the local food movement isn’t only about the environment, but also about taste. From the fish delivered by local fishermen each morning, to the vegetables you just saw, the fresh, regional cuisine is one of the most memorable parts of a stay at the Caesar Augustus. Juicy tomato and mozzarella salads, vibrant lemon dressings, and perfectly seasoned seafood are the epitome of island cuisine, and chef Eduardo Vuolo has won many awards for his creations. Like every region of Italy, Campania has its specialties, and every chef in the Caesar Augustus kitchen is from the area and knows the traditions well. But the best part of dinner is the terrace, suspended beyond the edge of the cliff so you feel like you’re floating over the sea, overlooking Mount Vesuvius and the Sorrentina Peninsula.
After a night watching the stars from your balcony or relaxing in your Jacuzzi, breakfast is served in the form of a sweet and savory buffet. The pastries are so beautiful they’re almost a shame to eat, but only almost, because after one bite you’ll close your eyes in pure bliss. Italians know their sweets, and the farther south you go, the more decadent they become. Savor your coffee while chatting with the attentive staff and gazing over the pool and gardens.
For active travelers, the fitness area is outdoors in the Mediterranean garden. You can run on the treadmill while enjoying a wonderful view of the sea. Afterward, relax in the spa, also in the garden, where you can soak in the steam bath or treat yourself to a massage or facial. On weekends, there are yoga lessons in the gardens, a picturesque place for relaxation and meditation.
Spend the rest of the day lounging by the large infinity pool, which takes up a large part of the lower terrace and provides breathtaking views of the bay. Towels are provided, and cocktails are served all day.
If you have any desire to leave the hotel, the concierge at the Caesar Augustus will organize an excursion for you on one of Capri’s traditional fishing boats. You can sail around the island and explore the majestic sea caves, including the Grotta Azzurra, or blue grotto, where the water reflects around the cave walls and casts a shimmering turquoise light you have to see to believe. You can enjoy secluded swims in the caves or the nearby islets of Li Galli, and sunbathe on your boat. For a land excursion, you can go across the bay to famous Positano, or down the hill to Capri, where stars like Beyonce and Leonardo DiCaprio frequent the restaurants and shopping streets.
Guests depart the same way they arrived, either by private boat, car, or helicopter. The only difference is that on departure your heart will be breaking because you’re leaving the stunning views and indulgent bliss of island life and the Caesar Augustus. The Signorini’s will bid you arrivaderci until your next visit, but even if you never return the luxurious memories will last a lifetime.
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