I’ve just completed a jaunt along Mexico’s Mayan Riviera (more on that soon), and although I still have another month or so on the road, word of new openings in my adopted country, Italy, has been tempting me home. If you are heading that way this year, here are some places that you, too, should keep on the radar.
In Naples, one of the most underrated cities in the country as far as I am concerned, the Romeo Hotel has just been unveiled near Piazza Municipio, and the cruise ship docks on a promenade that’s the centerpiece of a bigger effort to beautify this part of town. Among the draws of the 85-room boutique property is its terrace-top outdoor pool, a huge fitness and spa area overlooking the Bay of Naples, and views of Capri and Mount Vesuvius from many of the rooms. (I also like the sound of the Italian modern artists’ work the hotel has put together.)
In Sicily, Taormina is one of Italy’s most beloved resort towns. In high season, though, the number of tourists there can be seriously off-putting, which is just why the soon-to-open La Plage sounds so appealing. The resort is on Isola Bella, a small island off the coast that’s also a nature reserve. With boats for getaways nearby, the new property sounds close to the action but still secluded. Also opening in Sicily later this summer is über hotelier Rocco Forte’s most ambitious property yet. Close to the Valley of the Temples and Agrigento, Verdura will add a significantly more upscale option for lodging on the southwest part of the island: It will include a destination spa, an 18-hole Kyle Phillips-designed golf course, and six restaurants, and for guests who become particularly enamored of the property, there are 55 private villas for sale.
And on the Amalfi Coast, another of Italy’s preferred summer playgrounds, the Ragosta group will open a resort in March just outside the town of Vietri sul Mare. The Relais Paradiso will have terraces with views of the Bay of Salerno, laptops with complimentary WiFi access, iPods in all the rooms, and complimentary yoga and Pilates sessions daily. Come spring, sounds like there will be plenty of coastal distractions to keep me wandering.
Recession Special: The stylish Tides group’s Mexican properties, the Tides Riviera Maya and the Tides Zihuatanejo (both on this year’s Condé Nast Traveler Gold List) are offering airfare credits to tempt guests south of the border. If you book a $570 suite for four nights (that is the minimum stay), you get up to a $500 credit when you show your ticket purchase receipt. For a room costing $780, you get up to $700. Bookings need to be made by April 30 for stays that need to be taken by December 18.
Further reading:
* Not Your Godfather’s Sicily: Ondine discovers an old place with a new lease on life
* Sun and Fitness in the Mayan Riviera
* Word of Mouth: The buzz worldwide