Luxury hotel, Villa Mediterranea’s true colours shine through in each and every room of the hotel – in fact they’re quite hard to miss. Bedrooms are bedecked with stripy mint-green wallpaper, hot-pink carpets, polka-dot headboards and violet curtains. Trot along Capri's rarefied cobbled avenues to seek adventures as vibrant as your new home.
Noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £624.38 (€733), including tax at 10 per cent.
Rates usually include an in-room Continental breakfast or a buffet at Terrazza Tiberio, in Capri Tiberio Palace hotel next door.
Keep an eye out for the floating mannequin heads dotted around the hotel, sporting stylish swim caps and glamorous goggles.
The hotel closes between 16 October and 12 April each year.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout the hotel and a laundry service. In rooms: TV with a DVD player, minibar with free soft drinks, and air-conditioning. Guests can also use the pool and spa at sister property Capri Tiberio Palace.
Our favourite rooms
Each room is individually decorated so choose your suite to suit your personal style: Superior Rooms are light and bright, Junior Suites are boldly coloured, and One-Bedroom Suites have whimsical artwork and striking patterns. At the top of our list, and the hotel, is the Chantecler Suite; we’re enamoured with all of it: the crystal chandeliers, the Aperol-hued bedroom, and especially the (full) whisky decanters in the living room. The sun-drenched private roof-terrace is the perfect place for draining a dram.
Grab your swimsuit and pop next door to Capri Tiberio Palace’s sizeable indoor-outdoor pool. Top up your tan in the outdoor pool, or escape Capri’s scorching midday sun with a few lazy laps in the shaded indoor section.
Relaxing massages, tension-relieving rituals and rejuvenating facials are just a few steps away at neighbouring hotel Capri Tiberio Palace’s spa. As well as the gym and relaxation area, guests have free access to the spa’s Water Zone with a hydrotherapy plunge pool, sauna, steam room, hammam and frigidarium. Choose between traditional treatments, such as facials, scrubs, manicures and more, or one of their more original therapies, such as a bamboo massage where a therapist pandas (chortle) to guests’ needs by rolling sticks across knotty backs.
Imagine Joseph brought his Technicolor dreamcoat to the stylish shores of Capri and pack accordingly: pump up the prints and keep your kaftans colourful.
Whichever patterned and brightly coloured couch you look the most ravishing on.
Your loudest silk pyjamas and robes.
The hotel doesn’t have its own restaurant but guests are welcome to dine at hotel Capri Tiberio Palace’s restaurants (another of Mr & Mrs Smith’s island idylls) and Jacky bar next door. Alternatively bring your market finds to your room for an imppromptu picnic.
Your minibar has a stash of bitters and tonics– you know what to do…
Located on Via Croce in Capri, the hotel is just a few minutes walk away from the popular restaurants, bustling bars and world-class shops of the island’s central Piazzetta.
Fly to Naples Capodichino airport and then get a taxi to the port of Naples to catch a boat – a journey of 50 to 80 minutes – to the island. Our helpful Smith24 team of travel experts can arrange flights from wherever you are in the world (call anytime on 03331 224 745).
There’s no need for a car in Capri as the itty-bitty island’s only 10 square-kilometres in size. Arrive from the airport in style in a chauffeured Mercedes E-Class (€240 a car, each way, including ferry tickets); the hotel is in a pedestrianised area, so guests will be dropped off at the piazzetta, less than a 10-minute walk from the hotel.
The hydrofoil ferry connects Capri with the Italian mainland. Smith24 are on hand around the clock to arrange your crossing and book tickets.
Worth getting out of bed for
The hotel is mere minutes from the hustle and bustle of the Piazzetta, but for a more tranquil time, follow the Via Tiberio east to what remains of Emperor Tiberius’ grand Villa Jovis and spend your day wandering the island’s dramatic coastline. Row, row, row your boat around Capri’s famous Blue Grotto in Anacapri; then get a taxi to Piazza della Vittoria (just a 15-minute walk away) and take the chairlift up Mount Solaro, for panoramic views over the island. While in Anacapri, be sure to pick up a pair of of the area’s stylish leather sandals. For big-name goods (and eye-popping price-tags) take a stroll down Via Vittorio Emanuele III and Via Camerelle: home to all of Italy’s fashion power-houses.
Few can claim their Mammá’s cooking has earnt a Michelin-star, except that is, this Caprese restaurant’s head chef Gennaro Esposito. His elegant eatery has clean white walls, tables and chairs, contrasted with bright bursts of aquamarine blue echoing the sea view. Esposito and his sous-chef spend each morning scouring the local fish stalls, and bartering with Anacapri farmers for the freshest fruit and veg. For those that appreciate an early night, request the bedside table (yes, really) at quirkily outfitted È Divino. Aside from its incongruous sleeping spot, there are flowery frescoes and intriguing artwork. Pair their meatballs and eggplant paccheri pasta with their wine of the month.
Buonocore Gelateria on Via Vittorio Emanuele is a one-stop shop for takeaway treats. Pop in for pizza or a stuffed-to-the-crust panini, then fill your picnic basket with their traditional Italian cakes and get a gelato to-go. For classic Caprese cuisine in an easygoing environment, dine alfresco at Lo Sfizio. The food here is deliciously simple; dine on crispy pizzas, cooked in a traditional wood-oven, or a home-made pasta dish with grilled fresh fish or mussels. Scialapopolo has been a local favourite since it opened in 1952. Take a table on the terrace and you can watch local fishermen hook the catch of the day while you sip on a apéritif.
Escape the crowds in the Piazzetta at the elevated Pulalli Wine Bar (+39 (0)81 837 410), next to the top of the bell tower. Pick a bottle off the wall, or ask the sommelier for his recommendation, then watch the world go by below you as you sit and sip on the balcony. The Grand Hotel Quisisana has three bars to choose from depending on how much cash you want to splash. Call into Caffè Morgano for a leisurely afternoon apéritif; celebrity-spot at Quisi Bar while listening to live piano music and drinking one of their signature Oyster Martinis; or for the best bubbles in Capri, head to the Krug Lounge on the hotel terrace.
It started in Naples…well, my love affair with Capri did. Watching a young Sophia Loren and Clark Cable flirt their way around the island together in the 1960 film of the same name made the island a bucket-list destination years ago. So, naturally, when the opportunity arose to head there with my own heart-throb I was there quicker than you could say ‘that’s amore’. Long before Mr Smith was officially my Mr, we had visited Capri together, but that was in the early days when our budget stretched to a room in a small guest house on Anacapri, the locals’ side of the island, and mostly involved eating tomato sandwiches on public benches while taking in the beautiful views.
It was romantic in the low-key way you can appreciate in your twenties, but this time around, things promised to be decidedly more dolce vita than day-tripper. Our boutique hotel Villa Mediterranea would indulge us in the side of Capri that was out of reach before and, needless to say, I had already dug out my silk pyjamas and cat’s-eye sunglasses, and bought Mr Smith a new pair of Rivieras espadrilles for the occasion. The fantasy was a little different from the reality and I was not the picture of A-list serenity on arrival. A 15-minute uphill walk from the top of the funicular (which yo-yos between the port and the hilltop centre of Capri several times an hour) left me dripping in beads of sweat (not jewels á la Loren).
Admittedly, this was a self-inflicted hardship, as the hotel concierge had offered to meet and escort us from the port (they had actually offered to pick us up from Naples airport and arrange a private boat for €1,500), but we opted to make our own way as I was actually quite excited about taking the hydrofoil and old-school clangouring cable-car for experience’s sake. Having said that, dear reader, hindsight is a great thing: take the transfer from the port and if your budget allows, blow it. The freshly-pressed lemonade at reception, however, quenched mine and Mr Smith’s thirst and got us back on track. Our rooms weren’t ready, so we were shown up to the poolside private changing rooms where we could leave our things, have a shower and slip into something more befitting of our new surroundings.
The hotel is actually attached – annex-style – to the larger luxury stay Capri Tiberio Palace, and is reached via a series of elegantly decorated corridors filled with artwork, books and general Fornasetti-style looks. We clinked two quick proseccos and headed out. We made a beeline for the Piazzetta – that’s the square full of bars and cafés where the glitterati have hung out for decades; you’ll know it from countless movies made in the Golden Age of Italian cinema. It has to be said, old town Capri is everything you think it will be: a glossy microcosm of a luxury lifestyle that money can buy – although just walking around, looking at the shop fronts and stopping to people-watch is gloriously free. We meandered our way up to the Augustus Gardens, from where the most spectacular postcard views of the famous Faraglioni rock formation can be seen, as the sweet smell of jasmine immersed us into a late-summer Mediterranean reverie.
A brain freeze of a stall-bought granita later, we walked up the back lanes (much better than following the single file of tourists along the main arteries) to the hotel where our suite was ready. There are 10 rooms (including nine suites) at the Villa Mediterranea and if they are all like ours then they’re subtle details all spell out yet fabulous yet unflashy luxury. There were Jeff Koons and Helmut Newton hardback books, Maison Margiela hand-towels in the bathroom and – to my particular delight – a big framed poster of Loren on the November 1960 cover of Life Magazine in the loo (such intimacy with my Capri idol was unexpected and glorious).
Our little terrace was lovely too, and stylishly sectioned off from adjoining terraces with lush greenery providing privacy. We clinked glasses once again and collapsed into our silky-soft Egyptian-cotton sheets for a late-afternoon siesta. A sleep, a stretch and a shower later and we headed out, me giddy at the prospect of ogling Loren’s contemporaries in their evening attire (Capri may be the place to be seen, but, hands up: I was there to see) and Mr Smith smacking his lips at the notion of a Caprese Negroni. We found Ai Faraglioni which, with its lovely little alfresco bamboo huts and killer cocktail menu, satisfied both our hankerings. It was so great we stayed for a couple of rounds with generous aperitivo plates and then spent the rest of the night strolling around past the buzz of music and merriment from restaurants with doors flung open, festooned lighting leading the way.
Day two dawned and breakfast beckoned. Some people judge a hotel by its welcome or bedlinen – my brownie points go to places that have brilliant breakfasts. We could have literally had anything we wanted, but our table played host to little lemon-meringue tartlets, baby pots of apricot yoghurt and fresh figs for me, and a mushroom and truffle omelette off the á la carte menu for Mr Smith. I’ll just leave that there. We washed our meals down with moreish macchiatos and fresh peach juice (it took serious willpower not to opt for the chilled prosecco and make them bellinis) taking in the hotel terrace’s breathtaking views.
That day we descended on the funicular and rented a moped to drive around the island (there’s a great rental place in the port to the right of the funicular entrance). We drove back to our old haunt Anacapri, which with its cute souvenir shops, little cafés and churches wound in wisteria, was a nice antidote to the indulgence of the main town. The warm September breeze hitting our faces, we headed down to the famous Blue Grotto with a soundtrack of Quando Quando Quando playing in my head. People were diving in and swimming in its luminous waters, and we would have too, had we the foresight to bring our swimwear; alas, we had to settle for selfies before buzzing back up the hill to the Villa San Michele museum. It’s the former home of the Swedish physician, Axel Munthe, who lived there for nearly 56 years, and is now a must-see for fans of charmingly faded glamour. Authentic and quiet, here time stood still and we found ourselves on a bench bathing in the 26-degree heat, ogling yet more of the many gorgeous views (old habits die hard it seems).
Bike dropped off and back up to the summit, our final night on the island went like this: an open-air afternoon swim and Aperol Spritzes while watching the sunset from the poolside bar, an early-evening snooze (that bed, those sheets, mamma mia…), rainforest shower, glad-rags on (a vintage kaftan for me, linen shirt and shorts for Mr Smith) and out the door. It was stormy but warm, and so what started as a mission to find a nice restaurant, ended up a meander around the town, stopping here and there for drinks and nibbles again. There are, of course, endless places to have a lip-smacking blow-the-budget meal, but there are also lovely little locals that felt less fussy and more fun. A great one, a stone’s throw from the hotel, was Pescheria Le Botteghe (near the Piazzetta). By day, it’s a fish shop, by night it serves the delicious leftovers of what hadn't been sold with prosecco for €8 a glass. We stayed for several of everything. Full and happy we made our way home, light raindrops landing on our heads. It didn’t matter; not for the first time it felt like we were in a film of our own.
The following morning, as we boarded the funicular one last time, I reminisced on my time flirting my way around Capri with my own Clark Gable – aka Mr Smith. The Villa Mediterranea and its chic comfort, our scoot around the island, and our final night hopping over puddles while holding hands, as what sounded distinctively like Tu Vuo’ Fa L’Americano played in the background: it was all as silver screen as it’s possible to get IRL – with a soundtrack to match.