Il San Pietro
Favorite part of the hotel
It’s a toss-up between the private beach and the restaurant on the terrace.
We found ISP to be a near-perfect blend of beauty, comfort and warmth. Much like the fantastic estate your ancestors should have left you, it feels like home immediately – if home had an elevator drilled through a cliff that took you straight to your private beach. There are newer hotels, but I think few do it better.
Food: Of the two restaurants, the eponymous terrace restaurant offers stellar food to match the postcard-perfect views; it’s an ideal place to enjoy a Negroni at sunset. Carlino, the more casual restaurant, is situated on the private beach (and open only to hotel guests, and only for lunch). The food at both restaurants is unbelievably fresh – we ate almost all of our meals in the hotel.
Rooms and grounds: The hotel’s cliff-top location means you’re almost always right over the sea. The rooms are spacious, especially by European standards; we stayed in three, and each of them offered a fantastic balcony and coastal view. The aroma of flowers and the sea is everywhere -- every vantage point seems to offer some combination of stunning sights and smells. The hotel’s shuttle makes it easy to get to and from Positano in a few minutes.
The private beach at the base of the cliffs is a place par excellence to relax, gazing across the water at the Faraglioni in the distance. It’s accessible by elevator or, for the brave/reckless at heart, by a winding set of stairs cut into the cliff face and long enough to make me very glad I didn’t bring my trainer.
Other wistful thoughts: Beyond the stunning scenery and pitch-perfect amenities, the place just feels right somehow – the service is warm but not overbearing, and any request we had was met immediately and graciously. The hotel is decades old, but is well-maintained in all aspects and shines in a very comfortable way. The owners are always there and the attention to detail shows.
It’s the kind of atmosphere that pulls you into a warm, soft embrace -- and makes leaving a true test of will (although the prospect of your looming credit card bill helps). We only managed to leave by making ourselves a few simple promises: Return to the ISP soon, and in the meantime do a little shopping – specifically, for some Campanian wine, and maybe a private beach and a drill big enough to make our own elevator shaft.