Where to stay: ITALY
Italian Alps & South Tyrol
Amalfi & Sorrento Coasts
Florence - Firenze
Milan & Lombardy
Naples - Napoli & Campania
Turin & Piedmont
Puglia - Apulia
Rome & Lazio
Tuscany - Toscana
Turin Palace Hotel
The building dates back to 1872, although interiors are decidedly contemporary in feel, with modern art paintings by renowned Torinesi artists decorating the walls, and wooden slat floors, duck-green velvet armchairs and a light installation made with hand-blown glass in the lounge area. A handful of original features remain, including an early 20th-century door in the breakfast room and a beautiful wrought-iron staircase that leads up to the rooms.
25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino | Florence
Designed by Paola Navone, the first Italian outpost of the 25hours group features 171 rooms divided between two themes: Paradiso (ethereal blues and crisp white linen) and Inferno (darker tones and red finishes). There is also the usual mix of flea-market finds and vintage furniture, many sourced from the stalls in the surrounding Piazza Santa Maria Novella district.
Casa di Langa | Cerretto Langhe, Italy
This new sustainable luxury hotel is located in the heart of northern Italy's Piedmont region. Milan-based design firms GaS Studio and Parisotto + Formenton Architetti (P+F) are the architecture and interior design creatives behind the contemporary property and have worked together synergistically throughout the entire process. Overlooking 40+ hectares of working vineyards and rolling hills, the 39-room boutique property combines traditional Piedmontese design with sustainable practices.
Il Pellicano | Porto Ercole, Italy
This Mediterranean resort remains an Italian legend. Why? The position is stunning, on a cliff overlooking a rugged private cove. Opened in 1965, its owners have spent their lives maintaining its timeless dolce vita vibe. The small details, from beach bags to personalised toiletries, keep it ahead of the game.
Grand Universe Lucca | Italy
Recently renovated, this 55-room boutique hotel is set in the Renaissance Palazzo Paoli family. The site was originally transformed into a unique hotel in 1857, and became famous for hosting poets, philosophers and artists from around the world.
Hotel Plaza e de Russie | Viareggio, Italy
Built in 1871, Plaza e de Russie is the oldest hotel in Viareggio, its name a reference to the Russian aristocracy for whom this and the other Versilia beaches were once a favourite resort. Boutique but relaxed and welcoming, the hotel is entered beneath a wrought iron canopy, while inside it’s all elegant marble, vintage wooden furniture, Liberty-style textiles and murano glass chandeliers.
The Tribune Hotel | Rome
Situated just off the Via Veneto, made famous in Federico Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita, The Tribune Hotel offers contemporary features and colorful and eclectic rooms. The rooftop terrace – Terrazza Borghese – offers the finest artisanal Italian fare and delightful cocktails with spectacular views over Villa Borghese.
Grand Hotel Minerva | Florence
The building, once a hostel for pilgrims and part of the complex of Santa Maria Novella, has a long history as a hotel. Inside, there is a mix of traditional Florentine décor (paintings and mirrors in heavy gilt frames, lumbering antiques) and a mod-retro look with the owners' collection of modern paintings and lithographs and some wonderful original 1950s features. The standout feature is certainly the rooftop pool and terrace, with 360-degree views over the city to the hills beyond.
Hotel Excelsior | Venice Lido
The Excelsior – constructed in 1908 – is one of the lagoon’s renowned luxury hotels. The hotel is an intriguing blend of Belle Époque architecture and Moroccan design touches – a courtyard fountain, arched entryways, elaborate chandeliers, and jewel-toned fabrics. Private cabanas on the beach are shaped like Arab tents. Taken together, this mix creates a sumptuous feel that has 1950s-style glamour at its core. No surprise that it remains a popular destination for stars during the film festival.
L'Orologio | Venice
Very smart, very clubby, and with a stunning Grand Canal frontage, L'Orologio mixes contemporary chic with attention to the needs of travelers with families. Plus, it's all within shouting distance of the Rialto bridge. Canal-facing rooms offer the ultimate treat: the two-level Premium suite provides a bird's eye view of the canal from its living space beneath a pitched roof.
Al Ponte Mocenigo | Venice
A 3 star with comforts well above its category, Al Ponte Mocenigo is a rare phenomenon in Venice: stylish, spacious, and fairly priced. Expect a warm welcome from two owner-managers, Valter and Sandro, who will make you wonder whether you misheard the price. Al Ponte Mocenigo may be unique, which may explain why this little place by the San Stae vaporetto stop draws everyone from budget tourists and Venice habitués to families and single travelers, all of whom feel safe and at quite home.
Ca Maria Adele | Venice
Ca Maria Adele takes Venetian style to baroque extremes in five statement concept rooms. Additional Deluxe rooms and two top-floor suites are equally plush, and the air of warm, welcoming urbanity in this very grown-up hotel by the church of Santa Maria della Salute extends into the Palazzetto 113 annexe next door.
Oltre Il Giardino | Venice
Once through the gate and into the garden, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d left Venice behind: this is more country hideaway than Venetian palazzo. The contrast is very engaging. The colours in the six stylish, pared-back rooms are neutral, with the occasional splash of something startling. The villa that houses the hotel was the home of Alma Mahler, widow of the composer Gustav Mahler, in the 1920s.
With sweeping views across the Venetian lagoon, the 96-room Cipriani, a Belmond Hotel, is the definition of luxurious perfection. Guests can count on stellar – and discreet – service at this five-star resort in addition to Michelin-starred dining, an Olympic-sized pool filtered with seawater and gorgeous grounds. One of the world's greatest hotels.
Al Ponte Antico | Venice
Once you recover from the surprise that all the super-friendly staff magically know your first name from the moment you arrive, you’ll be bowled over by Ponte Antico's décor: Venetian plush taken to its most playful extreme. Then you get to marvel at the location; after all, there are few more romantic places in the city for sipping an aperitivo than the Ponte Antico’s tiny terrace, which has views over the Rialto.
Palazzo Venart | Venice
Palazzo Venart boasts 18 extravagantly decorated rooms and suites that aim to challenge Venice’s accommodation grandes dames. Some rooms enjoy Grand Canal views; others have roof terraces. A canal-side garden and a leafy inner courtyard are great for relaxing after a day of culture.
Gritti Palace | Venice
A 15th-century Doge palazzo, it became a hotel in 1895. A multi-million revamp brought the building firmly into the 21st century, with state-of-the-art high water protection and heaps of technological gadgetry. You might never notice though, because the artworks, antiques and glorious Murano glass chandeliers set the tone, and the Rubelli fabrics on walls and furniture in bedrooms and intimate public areas are as ageless as they are beautiful. The vibe at the Gritti is elegant and grown-up.
Cima Rosa Boutique Bed & Breakfast | Venice
As you truck your luggage through the courtyard of this 15th-century palazzo in Santa Croce, you’ll understand the Cima Rosa spirit: Old roses scramble up brick walls and age-worn marble carvings peek out through fragrant faux-jasmine. Inside, an exquisite pastel palette mirrors the colors visible through the front windows, which overlook the Grand Canal. Five rooms and suites, personalized service, and great comfort complete the picture.
Casa Burano Experience by Venissa | Venice
For most visitors to the Venetian lagoon, brilliantly colored Burano is a quick day trip. Casa Burano is brought to you by the Bisol family of winemakers behind Venissa, the Michelin-starred restaurant and hotel on Mazzorbo (an island linked to Burano by a footbridge). Very pared-back, stylish rooms and suites are loft-style with an international feel, but pack a Venetian punch. A living room/kitchen in each room provides coffee machines and a place to consume a complimentary picnic breakfast.
JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa
Race across the lagoon in a water taxi and pull up at the dock on Isola delle Rose - the private island where JW Marriott Venice is located - and you may feel like you’re in a Bond film. With 266 rooms and suites, this resort casts a wide and varied net. There are contemporary options in the main hotel building, child-free quiet zones, beautifully sleek suites and villas with plunge pools and private gardens. If you’re seeking international style far from crowds, this may be the place for you.
The St. Regis Venice
The St. Regis, inaugurated in 2019, is a newly crowned queen among this stretch of the Canal Grande, boasting more water-facing balconies than any other luxury hotel here. A two-year renovation of the former Europa & Regina hotels removed traditional brocades and gloomy corners, by filling public spaces and suites with some excellent contemporary art, and a collection of pieces by top Venetian glass makers. Between the two canal-facing wings, a gorgeous garden is the perfect venue for aperitivi.
Hotel de Paris | Sanremo, Italy
Opened in 1897, and definitely old school, the Hotel de Paris is situated next to the Russian church, which "ruled" the Italian Riviera at the turn of the last century as their winter retreat. Much smaller than the other Art Nouveau palaces in town, it has a grand boutique feel to it.
Splendido | Portofino, Italy
Two are indisputably better than one with Belmond Hotels' dual offerings in pretty Portofino, the Belmond Hotel Splendido set high above the cove, and the Belmond Splendido Mare taking pride of place on the harborfront. The 70-room Splendido, on a steep, craggy hill overlooking the area’s fabled turquoise waters, was a 16th century monastery known for withstanding attacks from Saracen pirates. Meanwhile, the 16-room Mare sits on the Piazzetta, a respite from the lively Ligurian harbor.
Royal Hotel Sanremo | Italy
This unashamedly retro hotel evokes the Riviera in its belle époque heyday. Savour the old-school suites, the swaying palms and tinkling piano tunes. Dine under Murano chandeliers or drink in the poolside pergola and recall when the Russian Tsarina ruled this stretch of the Riviera.