Hotel Caruso Belvedere Reopens

Orient-Express
Hotels announces the reopening of Hotel Caruso Belvedere in Ravello, on
Italy’s Amalfi coast, following a US$30m investment programme instigated in
1999 when Orient-Express acquired the property and its land. The hotel joins
the company’s stable of hotels in Italy’s most elegant destinations, which
include Hotel Splendido and Splendido Mare in Portofino, the Villa San
Michele in Florence and Hotel Cipriani and Palazzo Vendramin in Venice.Of the hotels 54 guest rooms at the Caruso, 36 are either suites or
junior suites. “We expect the Hotel Caruso Belvedere to attract the same
wealthy customers that already enjoy our other Italian hotels” said Maurizio
Saccani, regional manager, at the opening. “This is a very natural addition
to the portfolio as so many of our guests travel down to the Amalfi coast and
there are very few luxury options in the area so we are confident the hotel
will do well.” 45 guest rooms are open and the additional guest rooms will be
added in stages during winter closing periods.
  The hotel comes with a colourful history. It was originally built as a
palace in the 11th century by the patrician D’Afflitto family from Rome, who
settled in Ravello after their ship, bound for Constantinople, was wrecked
off the coast. Over the centuries the original palazzo was destroyed, rebuilt
and neglected in turn; its 17th century colonnade and other architectural
details survive. In 1893, a hotelier named Pantaleone Caruso and his wife
rented five rooms and opened them as a guesthouse, the Pensione Belvedere,
named in honour of the stunning views of hanging gardens, cliffs and the deep
blue Gulf of Salerno.
  In time, the name changed to Hotel Caruso Belvedere; during the Edwardian
era they started to welcome many social and cultural luminaries from Britain
and the US. Later visitors included Greta Garbo, Gina Lollobrigida, Jackie
Kennedy, Margot Fonteyn and Humphrey Bogart.
  Simon Sherwood, President of Orient-Express Hotels said “We are delighted
to have the hotel Caruso Belvedere reopen. This has been a major investment
for the company over the last few years and we look forward to getting a
meaningful return on it. In view of the financial success of our other
Italian hotels, I have no doubts that the future is very bright for the
Caruso.”
  The location of Ravello appeals both to those who need a touring base as
well as to those who seek a cultural retreat. One of the most picturesque
towns on this coastline, it has an 11th century duomo and clusters of
medieval, flower-filled alleyways to explore, and hosts an annual Wagner
festival in July as well as a summer season of concerts at the 11th century
Villa Rufolo. It is well positioned for day trips to the ancient ruins at
Pompeii and Paestum, as well as to the neighbouring towns of Amalfi and
Positano and the island of Capri. Ravello is famous for its lemons,
considered the finest in the world and used to make the popular Limoncello
drink.
  Ravello is an 80-minute drive from Naples International Airport and also
has good rail links to Venice, Rome and Milan.
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