The view from villa franca stretches out over Positano, the Amalfi Coast and the Mediterranean.
We’re just back from Italy’s Amalfi Coast, where we stayed in a memorable hotel in the seaside village of Positano.
Villa Franca, with just 40 rooms in two distinct buildings, gives every guest a personalized experience. The hotel sits on top of a steep hill that overlooks Positano, providing world-class views of the Mediterranean or the town (or both) right outside its windows. Want to stroll along the beach or explore the sights and sites in the old-fashioned town? No need to grab a pair of sneakers—the hotel provides a shuttle service that whisks guests right down the hill, and back up again when they’re ready to sit on top of the world.
The first place guests will want to visit at the hotel is the rooftop swimming pool, which has some of the best views of the coastline. Bonus: In addition to a pool, the rooftop has a pool bar where visitors can enjoy drinks and snacks while they get some sun.
If the sea breezes are a bit too brisk, head downstairs for Restaurant Li Galli, which uses local ingredients to create an authentic Italian menu. As can be expected from a seaside hotel, fish and shellfish are in the spotlight here, and we say the Paccheri di Gragnano with lobster, spicy pepper, peas and arugula looks amazing. (Any dish that includes the lobster is a must-try for any seafood fan.) For dessert, consider the wild strawberry tiramisù.
At the downstairs Lounge Bar Li Galli, an appetizer buffet is available every evening at 6 p.m., and guests can play cards or chess and listen to music from the grand piano while they unwind with a cocktail. (We hear the Soul Cocktail is the specialty of the house.) Top Tip: Get a seat facing the bar to look out the picture window over the gulf and the Li Galli Islands.
Serious foodies will want to try the cooking or cocktail classes to brush up on their culinary (or behind-the-bar) skills. The two-hour cooking lessons teach guests how to create an appetizer, first course or main course (and include a meal when the hard work is done), while the cocktail classes come with a complimentary drink at the bar.
The intimate spa has two treatments and massage rooms as well as a Turkish bath. (We hear the deep massage is the most popular treatment.) Fitness fans will want to book time with the personal trainers. For therapies at the spa, consider the 80-minute Activ Aromatique Minceur, which uses essential oils and Dead Sea salts, or the four-in-one slim-line cellulite reducing, firming and draining treatment. Tip: Since the spa is on the smaller side, be sure to book treatments at least a week in advance.
Pictured: Restaurant Li Galli uses locally sourced ingredients for new interpretations of classic Italian fare.
The hotel has brand-new Junior Suites with two bedrooms (or one bedroom and a living room) that offer panoramic views from the terraces. (These rooms are top choices for families; connecting rooms would also work for a bit more privacy.) Couples will want the Deluxe Rooms, which overlook the ocean, or the Deluxe Special Rooms, which have a Jacuzzi (and share the same view). The Superior Rooms and Junior Suites look out over the town, and some include a partial sea view.
There are several ways of getting to Villa Franca, by land, sea and air. Napoli Centrale train station is a 70-minute drive away from the hotel, while Naples Capodichino international airport is an hour and 15 minutes away by car. Sorrento port, meanwhile, is just a half-hour’s drive from the hotel.
Good to know: High season is from the middle of May to the middle of October, so advisors will want to book at least two months in advance for those dates. There is also a three-night minimum for staying at the hotel—but after our stay there, we don’t think anyone will want to leave soon once they’ve arrived.
Luxury travel advisors can reach out to owner and General Manager Rosa Taddeo or Giovanni Crispo at [email protected] with any special requests.
Pictured: Deluxe Rooms have huge windows for maximum light and balconies for relaxing alfresco.
Villa Franca can be booked in the U.S. through JDB Fine Hotels and Resorts. We spoke with Regional Sales Manager Paula Dempsey about the hotel and why she recommends it for Italy-bound clients.
“What makes this hotel so unusual and desirable is its unique position on the Amalfi Coast,” Dempsey says. “From the hotel’s rooftop terrace where the swimming pool is located, guests have a 360-degree view overlooking the town of Positano as well as the coast.”
The hotel started out in the 1940s as a bar for the Allied forces that occupied the area, Dempsey noted, and then became beach apartments for wealthy Neapolitans. A couple, Giuseppe and Angela Russo, bought the property and turned the apartments into the hotel it is now, and the building remains in the Russo family to this day.
“The rooms, while not large, are beautifully appointed down to the last detail, always with the guest’s comfort in mind. Its impeccable service and well-trained staff, including the owner/manager who oversees every aspect of its operation, make it a favorite and a much sought-after hotel.”
“It has two restaurants: Li Galli Open, on the rooftop and serving only lunch [talk about a lunch with a view. This is it!], and the second one, Restaurant Li Galli, is open for dinner. Its young head chef, Vincenzo Esposito, is a maestro when it comes to preparing fish. The Cellar is used for demonstration and degustation of oil and wines by the hotel sommelier.”
“The hotel’s state-of-the-art spa offers a variety of facials, body massages and more…A free shuttle to downtown Positano and return for guests of the hotel is available.”