The Blue Island still captures La Dolce Vita…
There was a time, when travel was very much about style, and the stylish were living the good life. Summers on the island of Capri made it the destination to be and be seen in. Today with mass tourism, Capri is much more about a quick day trip from the mainland or a massive cruise ship stop, with a quick pass through the the major points of interest and less regard to striking a pose on the famed Piazzetta for drinks. But La Dolce Vita can still be found on Capri if you take the time to, well, live life like an Italian for one thing, and also, stop and stay for a couple of nights. Capri is best enjoyed in the mornings before the tour boats arrive or in the evenings when the day trippers have left and the city returns to the Caprese.
Speaking of the Caprese… the locals are very chic. Island living on Capri is quite fashionable, a bit upscale, but relaxed none the less. The Caprese do not wear beach clothes along the streets. They epitomize La Bella Figura right down to their shades. Sitting on the Piazzetta at night after dinner you will see the towns people come through either on their evening passeggiata or to meet friends at the cafes. All smartly dressed even in the heat. They know how to be cool by dressing cool. And they know how to live right.
So stop and stay a while. The first thing you will need is a hotel and here are some top choices…
Grand Hotel Quisisana The Grand Dame and the original Dolce Vita meeting place. From its famed pool to the terrace bar it was all about being seen and it still is. It is grand and classically styled. Not old fashion yet not trying to be trendy, it retains its glamour and its cache and is still the premier luxury hotel of the island. It also boasts one of the most central locations, close to the Piazzetta, many choice restaurants and on the famed shopping street of Via Camerelle.
Hotel Punta Tragara boasts some of the best hotel views of the Faraglioni rocks and is a sumptuous hotel that feels more like private villa then upscale hotel with its eclectic collection of antiques in the public spaces which give an air of formality. The rooms are unfussy plush contemporary grand. Quiet and removed from the hustle and bustle of Capri this is either a pro or a con depending on your preferences. Its a good 15-20 minute walk from the hotel to the Piazzetta, but it is a lovely walk with endless views. If you want to be closer to the action and activities then perhaps this might not be the place for you, though the hotel does have plenty luxury amenities to entice you to stay.
Hotel Scalinatella For something a little more boutique, halfway between the Punta Tragara and the Piazzetta is quintessentially southern Italian coastal style at its best. Blue and white, majolica floors, fluid baroque touches make for a charming setting with sea views and grown up ambiance.
Capri Palace Hotel Probably the most fashionable hotel is atop the island in Anacapri. Elegant artful touches throughout the lobby and public spaces it all looks straight out of a design book. The pool has glass on one side and those arriving to the hotel can watch swimmers submerge themselves or see the odd pairs of legs dangling from the side up above. Trendsetters and celebrities come here but the atmosphere remains accessible if slightly cautious.
Other hotels to consider are: The Hotel Ceasar Augustus a famed Relais&Chateux hotel has old world European splendour and some astonishing views of the Bay of Naples. The Capri Tiberio Palace with a modern boutique feel, is also a charming option not too far from the Piazzetta. For those in search of a trendier yet removed stay, the design forward JK Place is airy and quite fashionable.
La Capannina This family run trattoria embodies everything one imagines in an Italian restaurant. The traditional menu reliably serves classic local dishes along with typical Italian fare. Everything is friendly, easy going and is good for any occasion. You will be well looked after and leave full and happy.
Da Paolino What could be more Capri than a restaurant in a lemon grove! Paolino is magical! Candle lined pathway into the restaurant which is in the middle of dozens of lemon trees. Green and yellow tablecloths, outdoor tables under the sea breeze, it all captures Capri perfectly. The menu is of course all typically Caprese dishes with great fish and seafood but also outstanding pasta dishes as well. Definitely partake in a Limoncello Spritz before tucking into a wonderful plate of fresh caught calmari and a very regional dish of creamy lemon pasta. Just leave room for dessert as they have a whole buffet of Neapolitan sweets!
Al Faraglioni Given its excellent location along the Via Camerelle, this place might come off a bit touristy given its location and easy to pass over. With a slightly predictable, albeit charming nautical theme, it is also very pretty with cascading flowers outside and romantic candlelight in the evening. The food is reliably good and an easy way to have a bite to eat with out a lot of fuss. The menu of course has a lot of fish and seafood but with very good traditional dishes as well. Outside there are tables overlooking the local gardens, the service is friendly and helpful.
Il Geranio Along the floral lined path towards the Gardens of Augustus is a perfectly perched restaurant with lovely views of the Faraglioni and elegant atmosphere to see the sea. Friendly staff and a upscale classic menu make this a restaurant that ticks all the boxes for a sophisticated -but not too stuffy- night out. The desserts were particularly good, especially the Baba, so save some room!
Bar Tiberio – All the bars and cafes on Capri’s famed Piazzetta are worth checking out, but Bar Tiberio has pride of place.
The Caesar Augustus – For a glamorous sunset cocktail then the terrace at the Hotel Caesar Augustus is a popular choice. Breathtaking views over the sea in chic settings.
Il Riccio Beach Club – For that ultra cool club vibe with sunset views.
Quisi Bar – The terrace of the Quisisana is the place to see and be seen. 100% Dolce Vita…