Ischia, Italy

Faro Punta Imperatore

Price per night from$486.01

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR454.04), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Light-bulb moments

Setting

Sunset-facing Forio cliffside

Maybe it’s all that swooning over the sea or soul-soothing solitude, but there’s something irresistibly romantic about a lighthouse. And, radiant stay Faro Punta Imperatore, set hundreds of metres above the Gulf of Naples on a soaring Ischia cliffside, amps up this feeling by beaming out its love of la bella vita. It’s an alluring speck of white secluded away on view-blessed terraces (some couple-sized), with almost-all-round views of blue and showstopper sunsets, till-late tasting feasts served by the light of the main lamp, and just four artfully weathered rooms. A beacon of joy, indeed.

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Facilities

Photos Faro Punta Imperatore facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Four suites.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £421.48 (€499), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.00 per person per night on check-in.

More details

Rates include a breakfast basket curated by the chef, and eggs any-way can be ordered to your taste. You also get a welcome drink and minibus transfers to and from a local meeting point; guests staying three nights or more get a free dinner.

Also

Unfortunately, due to the historic building’s layout, the stepped path leading down to it, and spiral staircase to the rooms, this stay is unsuitable for guests with mobility issues.

At the hotel

Rooftop and expansive terrace, secluded garden spaces, lounge with fireplace, library, donkey stable, washing and ironing service (on request), and free WiFi. In rooms: smart TV, sound-system, minibar with free bottled water, coffee- and tea-making kit, and bath products made in Ischia.

Our favourite rooms

Each of the four rooms are all the same in size and style (laid out symmetrically), with a smattering of mid-century modern furnishings and white walls and wood shutters for a maritime feel. ​​Scirocco stands out for being the former lighthouse keeper’s bedroom, but really, it all comes down to the view, and Maestrale‘s is probably the most spectacular, with both windows facing the sea in prime position for sunset (you might even spot the rare ‘green flash’ phenomenon before the sun dips below the horizon).

Spa

This may surprise you, but the saltier dogs who used to man the lighthouse didn’t build a spa here; but if you need some pummelling and pampering, staff can call therapists in, and yoga classes can be arranged on request.

Packing tips

You’re unlikely to need a hardy sack coat, clay pipe and haunted look in your eyes – this is Italy, not the moody sodden shores of Maine. This lighthouse feels better suited to breezy sundresses, open-toed flats (sturdy ones) and heart eyes.

Also

With just four rooms and eager-to-please staff, guests pretty much rule the roost around here, so if there’s anything you’re hankering after (a private dinner, wine-tasting, custom itinerary), just ask.

Children

Winding staircases cut into the cliffside, steep drops into the Gulf: what could possibly go wrong if you bring the kids? The property is mostly adults only, but older children can stay on request, and babysitting is available from €15 an hour.

Sustainability efforts

The lighthouse has been beautifully restored and sympathetically modernised (pictures of its former state hang on the walls). And the hotel’s food is all locally sourced.

Food and Drink

Photos Faro Punta Imperatore food and drink

Top Table

When you’re gazing out over the Gulf of Naples, 172 metres above the Tyrrhenian, every perch is a love seat. But the verdant ‘honeymoon terrace’, secluded away on its own ledge, brings romance crashing in like the waves below.

Dress Code

Nautical but nuanced, tipping towards breezy riviera chic rather than Popeye or Captain Haddock.

Hotel restaurant

The Secret Lighthouse Restaurant Luci (named after the lighthouse keeper’s wife Lucia) is set in the former staff dining quarters, given a smart mid-century-style makeover; but you’ll only want to sit in there if it gets very blustery, because otherwise, dinner is served on the lower terrace, with spectacular sea views every which way. Or you could head there after an apéritif on the roof terrace, at tables illuminated by the saving glow of the lighthouse lamp itself, which will steer you in like a ship that’s lost its bearings. Weekly-changing dinners are long and fantastical – befitting their setting – edible poems of the likes of cod with kombucha, rosehip and fermented-lemon curd; spaghetti with chamomile and vermouth (from chef Antonio Monti’s mother’s recipe); and aubergine steak ‘with the memory of parmigiana’. At the more experimental end, ‘There is always hope’ is a black-lettuce- and seaweed-based dish referencing climate change. Or there’s a simpler menu just for guests with pomodoro-y pastas and rabbit stew. Each morning you’ll be thrilled to uncover your breakfast basket, filled with chef’s picks, such as homemade marmalade, comb honey, cheese and cold cuts, fresh tomatoes and bufala mozzarella, muesli, OJ, Italian coffee and maybe some surprises.

Hotel bar

Less shanties and rum, more spritzes, champagnes and fine Italian wines flow from the hotel’s rooftop bar, an extraordinary spot for aperitivi. Or spill out onto the lower terrace’s day-beds and the inner lounges on cooler days.

Last orders

The rooftop bar opens till just after sunset, otherwise the lower terrace closes when the restaurant shuts at around midnight.

Room service

You can dine in your quarters from breakfast until the restaurant closes.

Location

Photos Faro Punta Imperatore location
Address
Faro Punta Imperatore
Via Costa 135
Forio
80075
Italy

Converted boutique stay Faro Punta Imperatore Lighthouse is a bright white speck (with a still working lamp) spectacularly set on a soaring cliff along the Ischitani coast, 172 metres above the Gulf of Naples, a short trek from Forio.

Planes

You’ll need to first fly into Naples before making the journey to the island.

Trains

Napoli Centrale on the mainland has direct links with Italy’s major cities. Then you’ll need to hop in a taxi to the Molo Beverello port, which has hourly departures to Ischia. For €120 one-way, the hotel will arrange the main legs of the journey for you.

Automobiles

Ischia is large enough that you’d need a car to circumnavigate it – but we’re sure you’ll be happy flopping and dropping on your clifftop perch or wandering around Forio.

Other

The ferry or hydrofoil from Naples take around 90 minutes, and along the way you’ll sail by Vesuvius. You can disembark at Ischia, Casamicciola or Forio ports, but the latter is easiest, just a 10-minute taxi or transfer away from the hotel. Staff can arrange pick-ups from Forio’s port (€50 a guest), and when you reach the path leading down to the hotel, a donkey will be waiting to transport your luggage for you. Or, for €1,300 (one way), the hotel can whisk you there in style, on a private yacht from the mainland.

Worth getting out of bed for

You might just want to play lighthouse-keeper at Faro Punta Imperatore throughout your whole stay (after all, how often will you get the chance? And the 155 stairs leading down to it are a lot of exercise for a holiday). But Ischia is one of the lesser-known yet still beguiling Italian islands that begs exploring. So leave your eyrie to wallow in thermal pools and indulge in holistic spa healing at the Poseidon Gardens; wander picturesque Forio town, stopping into Soccorso Church, the Ravino Gardens to marvel at their many succulents, and the private Mortella Gardens, for their follies, fountains and waterfall; or head inland for leafy hiking trails (musical guided hikes can be arranged if you live your life mezza voce). Chitara Beach is a sandy spool running out from the cliff the lighthouse sits on (far below), or you could launch off into the Gulf for boating day trips to Procida, San Angelo or Capri islands. Hotel staff can help to arrange a dinky Piaggio Ape for you to zip about in.

Local restaurants

As an island, Ischia’s seafood game is strong, but it’s also known for rustic terra-firma fare – rabbit is something of a signature. In Forio, you can try the high-end version of this at Umberto e Mare, where paccheri with rabbit ragu, spinach spaghetti with lemon and basil, and fish in apricot cream with yoghurt gelato and toasted hazelnuts are served in a coastal setting. To the north is Il Mirto, which serves a vegetarian menu using what grows in its four-acre gardens. Try lentils tossed with turmeric, lemon and edible flowers; beetroot and chickpeas flavoured with licorice and blueberries; and barley with black olives, hibiscus and raspberry. 

Local bars

Monolocale Cocktail Bar is in a panoramic spot with a terrace, and the talented mixologists keep everyone happy with very rummy Cuba Libres and other classic concoctions.

Reviews

Photos Faro Punta Imperatore reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this luxurious lighthouse stay on a cliff along Ischia’s coast and unpacked their Virginia Woolf paperback and sworn themselves to the sea, a full account of their illuminating break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Faro Punta Imperatore…

Hotel lovers – if your other Smith promises you a ‘huge turn on’ of a getaway, maybe ask them to clarify what they mean… Not that you’d be disappointed at lighthouse turned hideaway Faro Punta Imperatore. It’s a ravishingly romantic place, set hundreds of metres above the Gulf of Naples on a towering cliffside in Ischia, with terraces cut in for sunset aperitivi and day-bed lazing, maritime charm in weathered doors and window frames and lingering meals served by the light of the original lamp. With just four rooms, it has an exclusive feel, and staff are happy to bend a few rules (within legal limits) to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. Take glasses of champagne to a terrace made for two, do a whole lot of looking into each other’s eyes, and lean into the fantasy of it all: that’s how the light gets in…

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Price per night from $486.01