Orient Express Hotels: Hotel Caruso Reopens

LONDON, June 22/PRNewswire/ —

- An Exceptional Location With a Distinguished History for Orient-Express Hotels’ Newest Addition

Orient-Express Hotels is delighted to announce the reopening of Hotel Caruso in Ravello, on Italy’s Amalfi coast, following a US$30m restoration programme instigated in 1999 when Orient-Express acquired the property and its land. The hotel joins the company’s stable of chic, upmarket hotels in Italy’s most elegant destinations, which include Hotel Splendido in Portofino, the Villa San Michele in Florence and Hotel Cipriani in Venice.

Hotel Caruso is reopening with 54 guest rooms (most with sea views and eight of them suites), two restaurants, one of which is alfresco in the gardens, an outdoor heated infinity pool and event facilities for up to 200. Its hilltop position, 365m above sea level, ensures long hours of sunshine, breathtaking views and a high level of peace and quiet.

The hotel comes with a colourful and sensual history. It was originally built as a palace in the 11th century by the patrician D’Afflitto family from Rome, who settled in Ravello after their ship, bound for Constantinople, was wrecked off the coast. Over the centuries the original palazzo was destroyed, rebuilt and neglected in turn; its 17th century colonnade and other architectural details survive.

In 1893, a hotelier named Pantaleone Caruso and his wife rented five rooms and opened them as a guesthouse, the Pensione Belvedere, named in honour of the stunning views of hanging gardens, cliffs and the deep blue Gulf of Salerno.

In time, their operation stretched to 24 rooms and the name changed to Hotel Caruso Belvedere; during the Edwardian era they started to welcome many social and cultural luminaries from Britain and the US. Later visitors included Greta Garbo, Gina Lollobrigida, Jackie Kennedy, Margot Fonteyn and Humphrey Bogart.

The location of Ravello appeals both to those who need a touring base as well as to those who seek a cultural retreat. One of the most picturesque towns on this coastline, it has an 11th century duomo and clusters of medieval, flower-filled alleyways to explore, and hosts an annual Wagner festival in July as well as a summer season of concerts at the 11th century Villa Rufolo. It is well positioned for day trips to the ancient ruins at Pompeii and Paestum, as well as to the neighbouring towns of Amalfi and Positano and the island of Capri.

Ravello is an 80-minute drive from Naples International Airport and also has good rail links to Venice, Rome and Milan.

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