When it comes to glamorous European holiday destinations, it doesn’t get much better than Positano – a charming hillside town located on Italy’s picturesque Amalfi Coast, which oozes style, sophistication and sheer ‘Instagrammability’, and has fast become a popular hotspot amongst the rich, the famous and the trendy.
This tiny yet breath-taking seaside haunt has won itself a reputation as a bucket-list destination over recent years, and just so happens to be one of the most beautiful places to see in Italy. With its towering hilltops and hodge-podge of pretty, colourful buildings which pile higgledy-piggledy upwards across the steep cliffs, it’s all topped off with a good old dose of all-round Italian charm – making it easy to see why Positano has become such a sought-after luxury must.
Arriving by ferry from Sorrento, we were instantly stunned by the views that greeted us as our boat drew into the harbour. Bustling with life, the small beach to the right was lined with sun-seekers and those in search of that perfect photo. We were excited to immerse ourselves in the magic of this much-loved magical destination, and find out what the fuss was all about.
First though, we were in for steep climb. To reach the main town of Positano, be prepared to scale a few hundred steps! Thankfully, there are porters on hand to take your luggage to the top, but visitors to Positano have to walk. Once there, you can take a taxi to your hotel, where your luggage will meet you. A short yet treacherous journey, and not one for those with mobility issues – but one that is more than worth it once complete.
After a brief journey along the winding cliffside roads by taxi, we arrived at the pretty five-star boutique hotel, Villa Franca – our base for our stay in this spectacularly picturesque town. Surrounded by craggy clifftops and colourful homes and hotels, and looking out onto the sparkling, azure waters of the Mediterranean ocean, we instantly knew that we were in for a treat – and we certainly weren’t wrong.
A departure from many of the more traditional Italian hotels found in Positano, and in the surrounding areas along the Amalfi Coast, Hotel Villa Franca is about as modern they come – yet still, it manages to exude authentic Italian elegance in every area throughout. Its foyer and downstairs dining area is in cool and sophisticated monochrome, and rooms follow suit. Once a private residence, it has been artfully restyled to create this pretty hillside bolthole, which is set a little further away from the town centre than some, but enjoys breath-taking views as a result.
There is a rooftop pool, spa and wellness centre and shopping boutique on site, along with two restaurants and bars, so if you find yourself a little tired of climbing all the steps required to make it up from the port to the town, then Hotel Villa Franca is the perfect spot for a day of rest and relaxation. There’s also a free shuttle bus to and from the town every 30 minutes to save your tired legs, making it a convenient and well-located place to stay.
Guest rooms at the Hotel Villa Franca are spread across two elegant villas, with each room offering a unique experience, yet in-keeping the luxurious and contemporary signature décor that is featured throughout the hotel. Furniture is carefully chosen, and of the highest in quality, and all rooms feature a comfortable king-size bed covered with pure Italian linen bedsheets, Loewe satellite LED TV, and iPad docking station and of course, WiFi and air conditioning. Bathrooms are in stylish marble to give an ultra-luxurious feel.
Our room was small – as you’d expect from a boutique hotel – but what it lacked in size, it more than made up for in views. From our balcony – where we gratefully enjoyed the chilled bottle of prosecco the hotel had left for us as the sun began to dip in the sky – we were treated to privileged views over the hillside, and the blue of the ocean where it lapped gently against the shore below.
You can’t quite begin to appreciate the true beauty of Positano until you sit a while and quietly take it all in. The towering rocky crags of the mountains reach high into the sky, and often, whispy clouds appear to float almost on top of them. It’s only when you see the landscape in real life that you can understand just how steep and high those hilltops really are, and we looked on in awe for some while before we were ready to leave our seats.
Food and drink
But sunset called, and where better to enjoy it than on the hotel’s rooftop terrace? Invited up for an aperitif, we took the lift up to the top floor and were delighted with what we found. In the middle sat a swimming pool, surrounded by stylishly monochrome sunbeds and chairs. The gentle hum of electronic music in the background set the tone for the evening, creating a chic and relaxed atmosphere that was reminiscent of the sky bars found in Monaco, or even Ibiza.
We were shown to a table where we each opted for one of Le Galli’s signature cocktails, and were spoilt with a mouth-watering array of canapés that were served up to us as we took in yet more awe-inspiring views. From up here, you get panoramic vistas of Positano that are arguably the very best in Positano, and whether you’re relaxing on a lounger, cooling off in the pool or enjoying lunch or a cocktail, you’re surrounded by magical hilltops that are visible from wherever you are, and the shimmering ocean below.
Owing to its privileged location, the hotel has access to some of the finest and freshest local ingredients in the Mediterranean, and from juicy, sun-ripened oranges and tart, zesty lemons picked straight from the tree, to the freshest of high-quality seafood, the menu at Li Galli Bar and Grill reflects this.
Invited back up to the rooftop for lunch here the following day, suffice it to say that the culinary experience we were treated you certainly did not disappoint, and we dined on a selection of dishes – from Amalfi Coast favourite, melanzana parmaggiana (aubergine gratin) and fresh octopus, to homemade ravioli and a decadent clam pasta – all rounded off with a cappuccino and a limoncello, of course.
After a long, hot morning around the pool, sitting for a while to admire those all-important views while cooling off in the shade was welcome – and the mouth-watering food and excellent service we received ensured that the entire experience was a memorable one.
If you’re staying a little longer, be sure to book in at the highly coveted Li Galli restaurant, located a few floors below – which offers a delectable dining experience which embodies the sophistication of the Amalfi Coast.
In a nutshell
A stylish and elegant boutique hotel offering some of the best views in Positano, if you’re looking for a chic and sophisticated stay in the town, then make this your top pick. With an impressive selection of food and drink to choose from, along with impeccable service, it’s perfect for those who enjoy a smaller and more intimate experience that is set slightly away from the crowds.
Address: Viale Pasitea, 318, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
Phone: +39 089 875655