Punta Tragara sits high on the rocky cliffs of Capri across from the Faraglioni Sea Stacks, about a 10-minute walk from Capri Town. The splashy 44-room villa-cum-boutique hotel has hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra, Eisenhower, Churchill, and, more recently, Jonathan Adler and Trina Turk. I checked in a few weeks ago and am happy to report that our few nights here were a highlight of our Amalfi trip.The salmon-hued manse, designed by Le Corbusier in 1920 with interiors dreamed up by current owner Manfredi Properties (its lovely sister property, Palazzo Manfredi, is located near the colosseum in Rome), cleaves to the mountainside, just beside the Punta Tragara lookout point. The views are spectacular, the public spaces are rich with geometric rugs, fireplaces, tapestries, objet dart, and artworks. The garden terrace comes with two saltwater pools one is heated with jets and several sun areas with loungers and umbrellas. The poolside service is ideal for daytime cocktails and snacks, while after dark the idyllic perch becomes an alfresco dining area for Monzù Restaurant. None of the 44 rooms are alike; the 10 recently renovated suites are worth the splurge. Ours was a loft-like, two-story junior suite with marble floors, sky-high glass doors (one set opened onto a private balcony overlooking Faraglioni), a living area, and lofted bedroom with a large bathroom (by European standards). If you tire of lounging by the pools at the hotel, you can voyage down the winding, cliff-hugging path that leads to two beaches (actually rocky coves where two restaurants maintain the shoreline and charge 60 for two chairs (or sun beds) and an umbrella for the day, plus buying lunch at the onsite restaurant is required).
Our one disappointment stemmed from the concierges recommendation to see the Blue Grotto via a private (and pricey, at 265) 2-hour boat tour. Only, we didnt see the Blue Grotto on our tour because when we arrived at the spot at 4:30pm (a time which the concierge recommended to avoid crowds), the tide was so high we could only see a crevice where a cave would have been a few hours prior. Our boat driver barely spoke English but since were paying for the tour through the hotel at checkout, we assumed they would help us secure a discount since the Blue Grotto tour they recommended skipped the main attraction. Whether you want to chalk it up to a communication breakdown or a misunderstanding, when explaining our situation to the front desk clerk the next day, we did not receive an apology nor a refund. Instead, we were reprimanded and told we were mistaken. Linda (the lady on staff the day before) would never say that the tour was for the Blue Grotto because its not, its a tour around the island. Um, scusi. The customer is definitely not always right in Italy. Lesson learned!
Head to Capri this October and get your third night free when you book two at Punta Tragara. Deal also includes a 15 percent discount at UNICA Beauty Spa and a 15 percent discount at Monzù Restaurant. Rates start from 320 per night. www.manfrediproperties.it; 011-39-081-8370844