The best Italian hotels and their culinary temptations

The most beautiful hotels in Italy

Italy is Europe’s most beautiful country and the most atmospheric area of the Mediterranean. Beloved by tourists around the world, the country is a center of gastronomy, fashion, preserves the cultural heritage of European civilization and has an ideal climate for vacations of all formats. Especially for all Italian fans ELLE has chosen the most beautiful hotels of the country.

1. Florence, Four Seasons.

Even for the world’s major luxury hotel chain Four Seasons Firenze is a landmark – it conveys the atmosphere of Florence, a medieval museum city like no other. Two historical buildings of the XV and XVI centuries – Palazzo della Gerardesca and the former monastery Il Conventino – are separated by a magnificent garden: the luxurious view from almost all hotel rooms.

Here everything is not just up to the highest standards, as it is customary only in the best “five”, but also surprisingly corresponds to the Florentine spirit: the hotel itself is a landmark of the city. The frescos are real, centuries old. Spa – two floors. The restaurant is Michelin-starred. The location is next to the Giardino della Gerardesca botanical garden. The garden spreads over 4.5 hectares! The interior of the rooms does not just copy the style of the Renaissance: it includes original objects of the glorious era. In short, one of the most beautiful hotels in Italy is considered a real gem and an example of proper luxury.

The accommodation options are also impressive: for example, the Renaissance Suites are decorated with frescoes or wooden ceiling beams, and the Duomo Suite has two floors and a fantastic view of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral.

2. Rome, Hotel De Russie

The name of the most beautiful hotel in the eternal city of Rome is translated as “Russian Hotel”: the legend says that Russian ballet dancers, artists, stars like Diaghilev and Stravinsky, after whom the hotel’s main bar is named, and even the Russian tsar stayed here. Today, one of the Rocco Forte chain’s top hotels welcomes the stars of its era – Monica Bellucci, Al Pacino, and Bruce Springsteen. Hotel De Russie is a rare case where the choice of the hotel reconciles socialites and artists, lovers of luxury and connoisseurs of elegance.

The main thing to know about this chic hotel is not even the location or the service, not even the design or the cuisine (although, of course, everything is great here): the calling card of Hotel De Russie is the incredible luxurious garden, a miracle of landscape design, which is a real oasis in the center of Rome. It is called Secret Garden. And it is not just an entourage element: it can become the main impression of the visit. At first sight it seems a real miracle that stepping away from the bustling street (the hotel is located 50 meters from Piazza del Popolo and a three minute walk from the Spanish Steps) you get into this fantastic quiet and comfortable world of elegant luxury. Cascade of gardens and terraces leaves no choice for romantics around the world: marriage proposals, weddings and the most beautiful events are held here. Breakfasts for the hotel guests are served in the garden buried in verdure, high society people gather in Stravinskij Bar and for serious events people choose the elegant restaurant Le Jardin de Russie. There is a traditional buffet in the afternoon, tea parties in the afternoon and an open-air bar in the evening.

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The other features of the five-star hotel are also on par – classic spa, concierge service working like clockwork, and precise room design, a sample of laconic elegant luxury.

3. Venice, Belmond Cipriani

In the city of love every hotel is an ode to romance and beauty, but only one has become a true legend. Located on the island of Giudecca Belmond Cipriani combines the luxury of classic grand hotels and the intimate romanticism of typical Venetian hotels. It offers stunning views of the Venetian Lagoon and the Doge’s Palace – Cipriani has many outdoor areas with stunning views, including an outdoor pool and a tennis court.

Within the walls of Belmond Cipriani are the city’s best restaurants. For haute cuisine, go to Oro; the Cip’s Club with its wooden terrace overlooks St. Mark’s Cathedral; and the Porticciolo restaurant is suitable for secular lunches. The spacious rooms overlook the lagoon or the vineyard garden. The center of Venice, Piazza San Marco, can be reached in four minutes by boat shuttle.

4. Maratea, Santavenere

The boutique Hotel Santavenere, on the Maratea coast, is a hotel for true foodies, hedonists and lovers of proper luxury. Its main attraction is its location in a large private park with age-old trees on the beach of Punta Santavenere. It can be reached from Naples by plane, boat, train or private transport. For helicopter owners a special platform is provided. A fantastic view of the azure bay, to which the yachts are moored, opens up from almost every point of the luxurious terrace. Picturesque park and mountain views are available from every room – so that all guests can experience the scent of herbs, citrus fruits and flowers in the air – and all suites are equipped with a double balcony or terrace. The historic hotel is a surprisingly organic part of the Italian resort town of Maratea: called the pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the city of 44 churches, it is a UNESCO-protected nature reserve.

Already in the 50s the hotel became surprisingly popular: the founder of the Fiat automobile concern Giovanni Agnelli, movie star Anita Ekberg, actor Omar Sharif and many others stayed here. Today Santavenere and its fantastic views are not only chosen by celebrities, but also by family lovers and lovers: beautiful wedding ceremonies and romance are held here under the highest standards.

In the 34 rooms of the Hotel Santavenere there is a cozy atmosphere: people come here for relaxation, privacy and Mediterranean luxury. At first glance, everything is very simple, but in every detail you feel class. Uncomplicated but exquisite cuisine – homemade pasta, bread, yoghurt, seafood and grilled fish. Separate low-calorie menu and a separate menu for vegans and vegetarians. Spa rituals, therapeutic and aesthetic treatments by certified professionals. And, of course, therapy by the beauty of local nature: walks along the paths of Cilento Park and trekking in the mountains in Pollino National Park among armored pines and ancient beech trees will fill the body with energy and health.

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5. Florence, Portrait Firenze

According to the vast majority of users of hotel booking sites, Portrait Firenze is considered the best hotel with panoramic views of Florence and the Arno River. The view and the ideal location (it is just 30 metres from the Ponte Vecchio bridge and close to the Uffizi Gallery) are not the only virtues: unlike other Florentine hotels, Portrait Firenze does not employ the spirit of the Middle Ages in its decoration, but its rooms are very stylish (especially proud of the black and white photos), luxurious in the smallest details and equipped with all the latest technology. The hotel is part of the Lungarno Collection belonging to the Ferragamo family and upon arrival guests are offered a free visit to the museum of the same name and a discount card to buy goods by the same brand.

The atmosphere here is homely, cozy and without the pathos and swagger of classical grand hotels. More often than not, the hotel is described as elegant, charming, with a warm welcome and an aesthetic design. Downstairs there is a club lounge where socialites gather for cocktails.

There’s simply no better accommodation for anyone going to Florence for walking around the historic part of town, exploring the cultural heritage and shopping.

6. Milan, Bulgari Hotel Milano

The most fashionable hotel in Italy’s most fashionable city is the Bulgari Boutique Hotel – exquisite to the point where the now defunct word “exclusive” best describes it. From the lighting and the soft nap of the towels to the legendary breakfasts, which are considered to be the best in Milan, it’s perfect in every detail and luxurious in every way. Delicate oatmeal with wild berries, canonical eggs Benedict, homemade pastries, fragrant coffee – all in a graceful, non-self-service arrangement.

As befits a hotel with such a name, the design of rooms and lobby is a matter of special pride. It’s not just beautiful: the Bulgari Hotel Milano is rightly considered a true interior masterpiece. Another of its signature features is the luxurious view of the hotel’s park and botanical gardens. This oasis of calm and quiet, though, is right in the center, around the corner from La Scala. Add to that the chic emerald mosaic spa, the unbelievable service, and such nice little things as daily bedtime compliments for guests – handmade cookies and organic tea. Isn’t this the hotel of your dreams?

7. Rome, Hassler Roma

To say that the Hassler is the most famous hotel in Rome would not be an exaggeration. To begin with, it is located at the very top of the Spanish Steps, the main attraction of the eternal city. Of course, Booking.com users have dubbed it the hotel with the best view of the city – not only Spain Square, but the whole of Rome can be seen like in the palm of your hand from its luxurious terraces.

The location determines another advantage of the hotel: it is as close as possible to all the major boutiques of Via del Condotti, and therefore for fans of shopping you will not find a better hotel. By the way, the closets in the rooms resemble mini dressing rooms – to the delight of shopaholics. Romantics choose Hassler for its panoramic view, luxury lovers for its service and elegant design, and gourmets for its famous Michelin-starred Imàgo restaurant.

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Unbelievable but true: the reputable travel critics from all over the world unanimously declare that the Hassler Roma is one of the highlights of the city and a hotel without faults. By all world standards it is not just an honest 5 stars, but a “five”, the atmosphere of which allows us to consider the hotel legendary.

8. Naples, Hotel Romeo

The most beautiful hotel in Naples is made in high-tech style, which is rare for Italy. However, the implementation of the design project surprised even skeptics. Architectural studio Kenzo Tange & Associates has created a masterpiece – cool minimalism with glass and mirrors is organically diluted by designer furniture, fabrics from Caprai company and leather goods by Tramontano brand. Add to that the best view of the city – the panorama of Naples harbor is fantastic.

Alongside the stylish rooms with great views, the Beluga Bar on the 10th floor is considered the hotel’s landmark: it is often used as a starting point for a programmed tour of Naples, so sumptuous is the view from its windows. Breakfast is served here in the mornings and in the evenings the city’s most fashionable crowd gathers for cocktails. The Michelin-starred Il Comandante gourmet restaurant and the best sushi bar on the ground floor are the hotel’s special pride.

A cigar lounge and games lounge in the lobby complete the picture of a perfect hotel for true hedonists.

The enormous Dogana del Sale spa of 1000 square meters with whirlpools, saunas and sensory showers, a playground for children, three swimming pools, one of which is on the roof, and concierge service and the best service are the main features of Hotel Romeo.

9. Sardinia, Forte Village Resort

Forte Village Resort – the legendary hotel of the Italian island of Sardinia, which is a unique project on a scale. In fact, this is not even a hotel, but a real town: there are dozens of restaurants, its own zoo, golf club, children’s club, tennis court, shopping centers and discos. It has its own transport: guests are taken from point A to point B by special buggies.

Families or lovers come here – it’s possible to stay inside the hotel for weeks. The peculiarity of this vast resort is that in spite of its gigantic scale Forte Village manages to remain a five-star hotel and offers its guests an atmosphere of seclusion and peace. Perhaps primarily due to the private villas: this accommodation option offers an almost Maldivian version of luxury seclusion.

Forte Village Resort is, without a doubt, a beautiful hotel: cascading pools and endless white-sand beaches, incredible nature of Sardinia with its coves, black cliffs and coral caves, strange birds in the garden and the scent of pines and sea breeze.

10. Sicily, Verdura Resort

All the most respected chief editors of the world glossy and stars have already been to the recovery in this Sicilian paradise for ascetics and adepts of a healthy lifestyle. Here they teach how to lose weight and purify oneself beautifully, fashionably, tastefully. The specialists of the local spa center make special programs of weight loss and anti-stress therapy, which are usually diluted with leisurely walks in the local countryside and reading books against the background of the unique nature of Sicily. The new global spa program of the Rocco Forte Hotels collection includes four ways to revitalize the body and mind: signature treatments, the company’s own Forte Organics skincare products, and Rocco Forte Fitness and Rocco Forte Nourish nutrition. United by one philosophy, these basic ingredients will be offered at every spa in the collection’s hotels starting in January 2016.

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However, there is also something for gourmands to do: the hotel’s restaurants and bars are also suitable for those who are not ready to abstain. Lovers of Italian nature will enjoy the views of the huge territory: to go around the Verdura Resort for a day is difficult, just one coastline of the resort stretches for two kilometers. By the way, the location of the hotel is also iconic: it is located next to the famous Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, a museum of ancient architecture under the open sky. The rooms overlook the sea or the golf courses planned by the most famous landscape gardener in the world. The services provided by the hotel are guaranteed by its membership of the Rocco Forte hotel chain, renowned for the excellence of its work.

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A culinary journey from the Lezar partners: delicious and healthy recipes from the best hotels in Italy and Switzerland

Health is a state of physical and mental well-being. To stay healthy you need to eat right, and for mental well-being, food should also be delicious. This is the lifestyle philosophy followed by the partners of “LESAR” from Switzerland and Italy. Despite the fact that resorts and hotels are closed, they continue to take care of their customers and are happy to share recipes from the best chefs in their restaurants. These dishes will keep you in good shape, eat tasty and healthy, and strengthen your immune system.

Recipe “Quinoa Salad with Chimichurri Sauce” from the Hotel La Reserve 5*, Switzerland

For the chimichurri sauce, you will need:
  • Grape seed oil – 160 gr
  • Rice vinegar – 60g
  • Wine vinegar – 50 g
  • Parsley – 50 g
  • Cilantro – 20 g
  • Red pepper (chili) – 20 g
  • Fresh oregano – 15 g
  • Garlic – 15 g
  • Green onion (white part is used) – 9 g
  • Zira – 4 g
  • Tomato powder – 3 g
  • Salt, pepper (to taste)
For the quinoa salad you will need:
  • Quinoa – 80 g (for 1 person)
  • Pomegranate – 1 pc
  • Cucumber – 1 pc
  • Red onion – 1 pc
  • Avocado – ¼
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Salt
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Quinoa Salad with Chimichurri Sauce

Method of preparation:

Chimichurri Sauce:

Chop parsley, garlic, oregano and onion. Chop the chili peppers and combine everything in a salad bowl. Mix the rice vinegar, wine vinegar, grape seed oil, tomato powder, cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Stir everything together and leave to marinate.

Chef’s Tip: To preserve the flavor of each ingredient, use a knife to chop and stir. This way the greens will not lose their juiciness.

Quinoa Salad:

Boil quinoa in salted water for 20 minutes, then remove to a colander, rinse and drain excess water. Finely chop the cucumber and cherry tomatoes and chop the red onion. Peel the pomegranate and add the seeds to the quinoa, then dress with the chimichurri sauce. Cut ¼ of the avocado in half, set 1 half aside for decoration, and chop the other half along with the cherry tomatoes. Marinate sliced avocado and tomatoes in olive oil and salt.

Chef’s Tip: You can substitute pomegranate for any other sour fruit.

Decoration:

Using a cooking ring, place the quinoa salad and marinated avocados and tomatoes in the center of the plate. Place 4-5 avocado slices on top and drizzle with chimichurri sauce. Garnish with fresh herbs.

Beef Cheeks Braised with Dill” recipe from Hotel Fonteverde 5*, Italy

You will need the following ingredients:
  • Veal cheeks – 1,5 kg
  • Carrots – 100 g
  • Celery – 100 g
  • Leeks – 100 g
  • Thyme sprig – 1 pc.
  • Bay leaf – 1 pc
  • Tomato puree – 1 tbsp.
  • Garlic – 2 cloves
  • Black pepper – 5 peas
  • White pepper – 5 peas
  • Red wine – 750 ml
  • Vegetable broth – 2 liters
  • Fennel seeds (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste).

Beef Cheeks Stew with Dill

Method of preparation:

  1. Remove fat and tendons from veal cheeks. Season the meat with salt, pepper and dill. Fry lightly in olive oil. Add chopped vegetables, herbs and spices. Sauté for 10 minutes, then pour in the wine and simmer until evaporated.
  2. Add the tomato puree and let it evaporate. Then gradually pour in the vegetable broth. Cover the pan and slowly simmer for about 3 hours.
  3. Then take the meat out, remove any excess sauce and let the meat cool slightly.
  4. Serve with polenta or mashed potatoes.

Chocolate Chocolates Recipe from the Hotel Beau-Rivage Palace 5*, Switzerland.

You will need the following ingredients:
  • 75% dark chocolate – 400 gr
  • Oat cream – 380 g
  • Sugar syrup – 35 g
  • Chocolate (for frosting) – 100 g
  • Cocoa powder (for coating)

Chocolate Candy Recipe

Method of preparation:

  1. Heat the oat cream with the sugar syrup.
  2. Add hot cream to 350g of chocolate and mix well to obtain a ganache (creamy texture).
  3. Place the chocolate mixture in the refrigerator for several hours.
  4. Take the mixture out of the refrigerator and form it into small balls.
  5. Melt the rest of the chocolate in a water bath.
  6. Dip the balls in the melted chocolate, then coat in cocoa powder.

All of these recipes are a great way to try Michelin dishes and surprise your family and friends with them. They’re all easy and affordable to make at home, which means there’s no need to break your self-isolation regime for the sake of traditional European cuisine. Stay at home and take care of your health!

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