Casa Angelina: Perfect Praiano.

In a toe-curling cliffside location (complete with a one of a kind driveway), just past Positano on the Amalfi Coast, Casa Angelina is a bastion of urban style done in chic, reflective white.  Service is highly attentive and begins prior to guests ever stepping foot inside the property via a welcoming e-mail.  Given the slightly isolated location, this Design Hotel is a welcome retreat from the crowds – a place to relax, unwind, and reconnect.

Compared to nearby Positano (with its restaurants, shops, and bustling beach scene), Praiano is a bit of a sleepy village.  Adventurous travelers in search of a convenient base to explore the region will find it here, but night owls and activity-seekers are in for a bit of a disappointment.  This hotel is a good fit for individuals and romantics in their 30s and 40s seeking a vacation wherein reading a thick novel, writing postcards (or emails), tweeting and noshing on gin-soaked martini olives are the top priorities.

Clinging to the rocky coastline, the hotel’s alum-white exterior looks like the work of an imaginative child, with staggered blocks piled in precarious arrangements.  Like the road that leads here and the elevators located within, the hotel is the product of some serious engineering.  The only splashes of color are the gorgeous stained plank floors and colorful art that provide vibrant accents throughout the hotel.  The use of art glass, much of it from Murano, murals and whimsical sculpture create an upbeat yet sophisticated air.  Large windows bring the beautiful coast into public areas, which are plentiful, including lounges (both indoors and out); most enjoy views of the sea far below.

The fair-sized accommodations follow the same white-on-white styling as the common areas.  Duvets, lacquered dressers, walls, and baths are all covered in white.  The rooms’ conspicuous lack of art puts the chrome side chairs and pewter-framed plasma-screen TV on center stage.

Amenities are among the best on the coast, with DVD and CD players, iPod docks, flat-screen Bang and Olufsen TVs, minibars, safes, phones with data ports, and complimentary Wi-Fi creating some very tech-friendly abodes.  Toiletries are provided by either L’Occtaine or Jo Malone (based on guest preference). Super soft Etro towels are present in both the rooms and by the pool.  For the nominal uptick in the rate, it is better to book one of the sea-view superior rooms (and pay for a breakfast option, as the buffet is on the pricey side).  Attention to detail across the property is plentiful – from the arrival drink and small pastries awaiting in the room, to chocolates on guests’ pillows at night, the ‘most delicious olives ever’ and delicious snacks at the pool, to the homemade caramels in the lobby, there are small moments throughout a guest’s stay that make this a memorable property.  (Yes, I primarily listed a bunch of free food, a fact I’m completely okay with).

For the ultimate castaway experience, the hotel also has a quartet of restored fishermen’s houses located below the hotel (categorized as the EaudeSea experience), midway between the pool and the beach.  Note: Because of the LARGE number of (steep!) stairs required to access the units, only the heartiest of travelers should book one of these fully equipped suites.  These same stairs lead down to the Gavitella beachside area where guests can enjoy the rocky shoreline in a sun lounger (along with a bottle of prosecco).  As an additional suggestion, I would highly recommend chartering a boat to the nearby island of Capri (rather than taking the ferry from Positano).  We were able to meet our private charter directly in the waters off the hotel (never mind a slightly harrowing dinghy experience).  Overall, the boat was a real highlight of our visit.

In which the author is obsessed with the lifts – they change color and go through rock!

Would I go back?  You bet!  And this time I would definitely bring my husband.  Having visited Positano, I think the best version of the Amalfi Coast is to visit for its shops and restaurants, but then to simply relax in Praiano.  Let the fantastic (and sometimes too attentive) staff at Casa Angelina look after you for a few days.  Honestly, this is one of my favorite properties in the world — I had a wonderful visit and would look forward to a repeat visit.

Highly recommended.

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Author. Expat. Saberer of champagne. You might also know me as Courtney Brandt.

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