Tucked into a cliff among towering pines and aromatic lemon-trees, Capo la Gala Hotel & Spa is a secluded love nest with sea views at nearly every turn, five miles from Sorrento. Playfully nautical art - a painting of a green seahorse here, a model boat there - bring whimsy to the airy bedrooms, mosaic-lined pool and sea-like spa.
Get this when you book through us:
Two jars of marmalade or jam and a glass of prosecco each; guests in the Infinity Room or higher get fruit, a bottle of prosecco and a massage
Double rooms from $317.72 (€286), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €3.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include a Mediterranean buffet breakfast.
Guests can book the hotel's own boats for two-day trips to Capri or Ischia.
The hotel is closed from late October until the middle of April each year.
At the hotel
Spa, beach club, gym, gardens, DVD library, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, minibar.
Our favourite rooms
We loved Room 205 for the terrific tiles in its bathroom: white but with bright blue splatterings only an angry person with a brush could produce. Its terrace isn’t bad, either – vast, with a spectacular view out to sea. The nautically styled classic rooms are smaller but their sea views just as impressive.
The tree encircled pool is at the heart of the hotel, with wooden decking and rocky path down to the sea. As well as a hot tub, there’s an assortment of terraces, both sun-drenched and shady. A heated pool awaits inside, too.
Aquarium – the marine-themed spa – has ocean-green tiles, an emerald heated pool and coral sculptures, along with white treatment rooms containing paintings of green seahorses – it’s like being under the sea. Treatments include thalassotherapy and hydromassage.
Deck shoes, striped things and an oversized straw hat.
If the waves are over 1.7 metres high, the Beach Club will be closed in the interest of safety.
Baby cots are free for under-twos; extra beds are €80 a night for three to 12 year olds and €100 a night for kids aged 13 and older. Ask three days in advance and a nanny can babysit for €15 an hour.
Beside the windows in the main restaurant to stare out to sea.
Pucci and Prada, worn with a tan.
Nautically decked out in navy blue tablecloths and white Panton chairs, Michelin-starred Maxi sits above the pool, with various dining areas inside and out. Open for dinner only, this restaurant dishes up fine flavour combinations, such as tuna steak in herb pastry with caponata and candied tomatoes, and ravioli with caciotta cheese and marjoram. Down by the beach, Taverna del Mare Nerea offers a relaxed osteria-style lunch and evening menu of Neapolitan classics.
Stone-walled, wide-windowed and dressed in navy, the beach-house-style bar above the restaurant wears the sea on its sleeve: model boats, conch shells and wooden decking are everywhere. The long wooden bar is stocked with spirits and the wine list draws heavily from the vineyards of Campania.
Breakfast is on offer from 7.30am until 10.30am; lunch kicks off at 12.30pm and lasts until 3.30pm; dinner is served between 7.30pm and 10.30pm.
Breakfast in bed from 7.30am to 10.30 am. Lunch, drinks, dinner and evening snacks can be ordered from 11am to midnight.
Capo la Gala Hotel & Spa is in Vico Equense on the Amalfi Coast, halfway between Sorrento and Pompei and less than an hour’s drive from Naples.
The airport in Naples is 30 kilometres away from the hotel. From the UK, British Airways (www.ba.com) and Thomas Cook (www.flythomascook.com) fly from London Gatwick. EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) connects Europe, with regular flights from the UK, Geneva, Milan, Madrid and Berlin.
The two closest stations are Scrajo (open June to September) and Vico Equense. Circumvesuviana (www.vesuviana.it) trains go to Pompei, Naples and Sorrento from both stations. The hotel puts on a free shuttle bus to and from Vico Equense at fixed times.
Capo la Gala Hotel & Spa is a 40-minute drive from Naples, and 20 minutes by car from both Pompei and Sorrento. There’s free parking.
If you're coming from Capri, take the 30-minute hydrofoil ride.
Worth getting out of bed for
Hop in the hotel’s boat and take a trip out to Ischia or Capri for the day. The ancient Roman ruins at Pompei are within a 10-kilometre reach, though be wary of slow-moving traffic in the sticky summer months. Drive along the coast, stopping off at Positano, Amalfi, Sorrento and Ravello.
Osteria Nonna Rosa in Vico Equense is Michelin-starred, mixing traditional decor and flavours with modern cooking. Torre del Saracino serves inventive twists on classic spag bol – it comes with octopus here. Pizza fans shouldn’t miss out on a trip to Pizza a Metro. You’ll be in good hands at Don Alfonso on Corso Sant’Agata in Naples – it’s got a library of cookbooks and a 25,000-bottle cellar. Nearby is Lo Stuzzichino, not flashy or frilly, but the food speaks volumes; try the sea bream, or carb-heavy pasta with potatoes.
What’s the Italian expression for love nest, darling?’ I murmur into Signora Smith’s ear as we stand arm in arm on the beach, watching the sun slowly descend into the Bay of Naples. ‘Because this is one, veramente.’
Behind us is the object of my newfound infatuation, the Capo la Gala Hotel & Spa, five miles outside Sorrento. The five-star hotel’s 22 rooms and one private suite are beguilingly tucked down a cliff – in and around terraces and rocky outcrops, among lemon trees and soaring pines. We’ve only just arrived but, having seen that the sunset promises to be splendid, we put off check-in and scamper down through the grounds to take in the finale on the strand.
Mrs Smith turns towards me with a look that begs a lingering kiss; I’m seconds from touchdown when an elderly fisherman, who’s gathering his nets just down the beach, calls out: ‘Do you know the legend of Caterina and Antonio?’ Ahem. ‘Where’s the language barrier when you need it?’ I huff, but Mrs Smith pulls back reprovingly and says: ‘Darling, don’t be rude.’ With that, she engages the man, whose name is Gennaro. ‘No, but please do tell us.’ Pointing to a pair of stone stacks, he says, ‘You see those two seagulls that never stop flying from one stack to another? Those are the postmen.’
I stifle a dig at the Italian mail system because Mrs Smith is already rapt. Gennaro continues in his Neapolitan lilt. ‘Caterina was a young noblewoman who fell in love with a fisherman, but her parents forbade this love and locked her in the castle tower. The two lovers wrote messages that were delivered by seagulls, and in the end, decided to choose the most beautiful place they knew of and live there forever in the form of stone.’ He waits a beat and then concludes, ‘They hoped to spread their feelings to travellers…’ A light flush has come over Mrs Smith, who thanks Gennaro profusely, takes my hand, and sets off back towards the hotel. By now it is well into dusk, so I can’t be sure about this, but when I last glimpse Gennaro, I am pretty sure he is giving me the thumbs-up sign.
Capo la Gala has been here since 1962. In 2006, Enzo and Marite Acampora took over the property and renovated it in a style that you might venture to call ‘preppie Italian yachtsman’. The interiors are crisp and clean, a coastal dream of blues and whites, interspersed with daring design touches such as the rectangular navy and burnt orange floor tiles in the Marite Suite, laid down in a rick-rack pattern.
Giant, straight-from-a-cartoon cacti split up the terraces of each bedroom, while palms and pines give you the feeling that you can see out, but the world can’t see in. Capo la Gala Hotel & Spa feels like an exclusive seafarers’ club; here, it’s easy to pretend that you own a yacht and are on shore leave.
The hotel lies just outside the tiny village of Vico Equense, which is laced with narrow streets that smell of clean laundry, orange blossom, lemon and the geraniums that overflow the balconies. Behind the hotel rise the Lattari mountains, named for the gallons of goat’s milk produced by the herders living up there. If you could drive over the Lattari from the hotel, as the crow flies, you would come down in Positano, on the Amalfi Coast.
We are impressed that such a small hotel has a well-equipped wellness centre. The next day, I ask for an appointment, and even though it is the staff’s day off, Signor Acampora opens the Aquarium spa and persuades his masseuse to come in specially. Afterwards, Mrs Smith and I loll about in the sauna and Turkish bath, and then go down to the seawater swimming pool, which is right on the bay. The feeling of being spoiled continues with our visit that evening to the hotel restaurant, Maxi. It has one Michelin star and the young chef has cooked up a menu of rich Mediterranean flavours, with a tangy twist: seven different olive oils, all from the region, are accompanied by just-baked bread.
It’s too bad that we are here in April because from June onwards, the hotel organises daily trips on its own private boats to the nearby islands of Capri and Ischia and down the Amalfi Coast – but it’s a good reason to come back. The following morning is spent in Sorrento, where we sample some of the 100 or more flavours of ice-cream at Gelateria David. Then we drive to Forcella, outside Naples, to lunch on the best pizza in the world (in our humble opinion). It’s served at La Antica Pizzeria da Michele, and it’s a wondrously large creation: thin, crispy, fragrant, and stringy with mozzarella. Although we pass it on the return, we give ancient Pompeii a miss, drawn by the gravitational pull of the Capo la Gala.
After a good interval by the pool, we head back to our terrace, where we kick back, glasses of Campari and soda in hand. As the sea swallows the sun, gradually turning the two stone stacks red, I turn to Mrs Smith and say, ‘Do you know the legend of Caterina and Antonio?’ And with that, she takes up where she had left off the first evening. Thumbs up to you, Gennaro.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Capo la Gala Hotel & Spa’s Guestbook below.
This is an amazing hotel – perfect for getting away from the world, but also located really well for the coast, Pompeii and Naples. Beautiful decor, amazing staff, amazing views and sunsets. The gym is fantastic as is the spa. You could do two holidayshere, one staying in the hotel and relaxing and the other visiting the local area. The best hotel we have ever stayed in!
Nightlife and entertainment.
Stayed on 10 Jun 2019
Beautiful location on the Amalfi Coast with stunning sunsets and an incredible room with a jacuzzi, Michelin-quality food and everything was beautifully blue and white.
You will want for nothing.
Stayed on 3 Jun 2019
The views, well appointed rooms, great local food and drink and an amazing team of people looking after you. Nothing was too much trouble and we were truly spoiled. Take a private guided tour of Pompéi; our guide was a part time archaeologist and it was fascinating.
Amazing WiFi...but we were so relaxed we didnt really miss it.
Stayed on 26 May 2018
The Jacuzzi/plunge pool on the terrace and the incredible views.
Stayed on 12 Oct 2017
The quirky design of the hotel leaves a lasting impression. We loved being able to jump straight into the sea – morning swims are a must in order to be able to fully indulge in the breakfast (and accompanying prosecco of course!). The service at the beach club is brilliant and we wish we had had time for lunch there as well as it looked amazing and locals often remarked on how good it is. The hotel's Michelin starred restaurant, Maxi, was the culinary highlight of our Amalfi holiday and we enjoyed it a lot more than some of the grande dame Michelin restaurants in other parts of this region. We also loved our Jacuzzi on our terrace. We had a wonderful wine tasting experience at Tenuta San Francesco in Tramonti. Aside from the stunning scenery and absolutely delicious wines, the opportunity to spend a few hours with the owners and have lunch with them was such a memorable treat.
The hotel is slightly removed from the centre of the town (a good thing in our opinion), so you do really need a car to properly enjoy and explore the area.