Via Santa Chiara 26, Ravello, Italy, 84010
- Recommended for:
- Couples, Culture vultures, Foodies, Honeymooners, Mature travellers, Design and architecture, Great views / scenery, Nature / wildlife, Romance, Special occasions
Best for Luxury - Expert review of Villa Cimbrone
The long history of the villa stretches back to the 12th century but in 1910 the estate was bought by the 2nd Lord Grimthorpe (whose uncle, the 1st Lord Grimthorpe, is probably most famous for designing the clock mechanism for Big Ben), who oversaw the villa's restoration and the re-design of the gardens. Seized by the state and then abandoned during the Second World War, the villa had to be, once more, restored to its former glory. The impossibly romantic villa has hosted Greta Garbo, Virgina Woolf and Churchill (but not all at the same time).
This place got a rave review from Gore Vidal, who once described the view from Villa Cimbrone as "the most beautiful sight that I have ever seen in the world… when the sky and the sea are so vividly blue that it is not possible to distinguish them from one another". But he wasn't kidding; the villa is set within six acres of grounds high on a hill in Ravello with views that sweep out over the sea. It really couldn't be more beautiful. The walk from the centre of Ravello is uphill but there is a little jeep service that can be booked for carrying cases and those with walking difficulties.
There are only 19 rooms and all are wonderfully elegant, featuring Vietri tiled floors, antiques and, in some cases, incredible frescoed ceilings. The most popular room, particularly for those holding their weddings here, is the Camellia suite: apart from its size (enormous, so plenty of room for all the comings and goings), it has its own terrace.
The gardens are obviously the greatest feature of the hotel and, once the visitors have left, they're the gardens of the guests. The rest of the property is an historical treasure trove: you'll find part of Lord Grimthorpe's library collection in the lounges, along with rich antiques and paintings and plenty of well polished furniture.
Breakfast is included in the room price and, especially when served on the terrace, is unbeatable. Il Flauto di Pan (Pan's Flute) is an excellent restaurant in its own right.
The pool is unheated so, while gorgeous, is only used on sunny days and by the hardier guests.
One of the best things about the hotel is the staff. Service is professional in a 'can't do enough to make your stay fabulous' way.
Honeymooners, wedding guests, couples, garden-lovers and helicopter-owners (there's a helipad too).
Not cheap, and if you're arranging a wedding here you may be frustrated by some of the restrictions imposed regarding who you can bring in to perform certain services.
More information on Villa Cimbrone:
- Via Santa Chiara 26, Ravello, Italy, 84010