my new favorite place to stay in italy

It seems I've always been in love with Italy, but now I'm officially in love with a hotel in Italy. We stayed at some great places during our trip, all good, all nice, but Relais Don Alfonso 1890 in the village of Sant'Agata sui due Golfi near Sorrento was absolutely the standout. We're already talking about going back years from now. It's special. A perfect place to celebrate an anniversary, or some other milestone in life and romance. Here are some pics I shot around the property.

cobblestone drive as you enter; restaurant is on the left, seating and cooking school ahead, and the terrace and reception are on the right. we didn't take a cooking class, but would love to next time...

outdoor fireplace near the cooking school

gardens, and behind is the tiled courtyard where we had breakfast each morning—the weather was absolutely perfect

a view toward the street; herbs are planted in the beds in the foreground

the main building; our room was at the front on the third floor

could have spent days at the beautiful pool; that structure to the right is an outdoor shower

next time i want to stay in this charming stone building, which houses a two-story suite

a pretty view of the church at the center of town from the gardens and pool

a view of the hotel's buildings from the pool; too bad these pics don't capture the pureness of the colors too well—the sky, the stucco, the flowers...

the terrace: nice place to sit before dinner and enjoy a drink

love the classic decor with a bit of an edge with the bright, mismatched cushions; at night the lanterns are all lit and give the place such a magical atmosphere

The buildings are historical, at lease one going back to the 800s, but the wine cellar dates to wayyy back; it was originally a Roman tunnel. It goes down 25 meters, with a cheese aging room at the bottom. We got a tour, and it was absolutely incredible. Can you imagine being the sommelier at this place? He knows where to find each of the 25,000 bottles down here.

Don Alfonso is the chef behind all this, and it's really his restaurant that's the draw to the hotel. He and his charming wife Livia (so lovely, so friendly, so happy, she makes everyone feel special and she alone could be your reason to visit this place!) run the hotel with impeccable style and grace and attention to detail. The service seriously could not have been better. We were treated and felt spoiled the entire time we were there, from the organic lemon soda brought out when we arrived, to the offer to park our car, to the birthday cake they made for me at our dinner. Oh, and the dinner! Four hours and who knows how many courses...and all incredibly delicious and creative. By the way, much of the food comes from their organic farm nearby. Yummy.

Dinner was on my birthday, and Michael arranged for these to be waiting at the table when we arrived. I told you I felt spoiled!

You see all the food still in front of us!? Cake, cheeses, lemon custard, and chocolates. The bottle of wine of wine was long gone ;-) I'll say it again: for a once-in-a-lifetime memorable vacation, I can't recommend Don Alfonso enough. Wait til I show you our room—chic, gracious, funky, colorful, thoughtfully designed with antiques and all the modern conveniences. It deserves its own post—check back here tomorrow to see!


Valerie Wills Interiors said...

Looks absolutely gorgeous Casey. The last photo of you two is just so cute too... you both look so happy.

Belated birthday wishes too!

Carrie @ Hazardous Design said...

Sigh...Looks like such a spectacular place. I'd love to be able to go back to Italy someday.

Happy Birthday!
(That Michael, he's a keeper)

My Many Moments said...

What a place! You guys look happy and relaxed! Happy Birthday by the way. The way you described the place is magical. I think everyone deserves to have memories like you made! Welcome home ;)

René said...

This looks and sounds like a dream. It must have been very hard to come home. That is a great picture of you two love birds.