Alfonso Imperato is the General Manager of Italy’s top boutique hotel, the Furore Inn Resort & Spa. A delightful property set on the Amalfi Coast, the resort combines five-star facilities with an intimate ambiance to create the ultimate in fine Italian living. BTN finds out more…
BTN: You have just become a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. What was involved in the selection procedure?
AI: After considering many brands, we opted for SLH as the ideal connection for the Furore Inn Resort. The key criteria were maintaining our independence, being part of a well-established worldwide brand, and gaining marketing support. Following our decision the hotel was inspected and membership was subsequently approved.
BTN: What was the original brief to create the Furore Inn?
AI: The original idea of the Furore Inn Resort comes from the requirements of the Furore Town Hall - the need to develop an abandoned area and renovate the existing buildings, some of which were very old. This was made possible thanks to a joint venture with private investors. The project began in 1995 and hotel opened in 2001 with 22 rooms, a large spa and wellness centre, a restaurant, and other facilities.
BTN: What aspects of the hotel are you most proud of?
AI: Space, tranquillity, spa facilities and gastronomy are our key selling points. The resort occupies one of the most spectacular and panoramic hillsides on the Amalfi Coast, between Amalfi and Positano. This unique space is for 44 privileged guests only. The spa is one of the largest and best equipped in the area. The gastronomy - with two restaurants, a wine cellar (more than 800 labels), and a cookery school - offers choices for everyone wishing to experience either local or fine-dining cuisine. It’s a comprehensive gastronomic experience.
BTN: You were voted “Italy’s Leading Boutique Hotel” at the 2008 World Travel Awards. Why do you think you won?
AI: I believe we won as the Furore Inn Resort is not a hotel, but a Mediterranean house where every guest is welcomed and catered for as being the only one on the premises. Its ambience, variety of facilities, unique location and guest’s personalised welcome are the Furore Inn Resort “Specials”.
BTN: How would you describe the hamlet of Furore?
AI: Furore could be defined as a hamlet of extraordinary beauty. Unlike other towns with a typical piazza and church, Furore is made up of homes spread on the slopes of the Lattari Mountains range, from the sea level up to 550 meters. Furore is also famous for its fiord - a deep crack in the mountain range, a natural port, where mills for making paper and flour were located in its ‘industrial’ past. It has also been known from the time of the Grand Tour as a port-of-call, for those visitors en-route to Amalfi from Sorrento or Capri.
BTN: What is your vision/definition of the ultimate boutique hotel?
AI: I think the Furore Inn Resort is the perfect boutique hotel, with its 22 rooms, an incredible number of facilities, and above all privacy. I equate a boutique hotel to a theatre, where the hotel is the stage, the guests are the director and the staff are the actors. Here in Furore every guest can act in his own play, and we will be more than happy to make it a successful and unique experience. It is not just a holiday but a memorable escape.
BTN: One of major aspects of the Furore is local cuisine - not just restaurants but learning to cook. Can you tell us about what cooking courses your run?
AI: Since I began managing the Furore Inn Resort in 2003, I had the idea of starting a cookery school. The aim of “Cooking with Fury” is for guests to experience the local cuisine and prepare recipes themselves, with the help of the chef, enjoying what they have prepared and at the same time learning about local tradition. Our classes are hands-on - the guests go into the kitchen to cook, not to watch. Recipes incorporate the concepts of wellbeing stemming from our tradition, and are complemented with visits to local shops like a bakery, winery, dairy and fishmongers.
BTN: And the local wine?
AI: Furore wine is one of the best of the Amalfi Coast, the Fiord’Uva is top of the range of the DOC production. A wine made purely from local and ancient grapes, impossible to find everywhere else, that gives a true taste and flavour of the place. The production is limited but has also been awarded international prizes for one of the best 10 Italian white wines.
BTN: Were you involved in the hospitality industry before you took up your role at the Furore?
AI: I have been in the hospitality industry for 35 years now and I would define myself as a “Genius Loci”.
BTN: How would you describe your management style?
AI: I am a hands-on manager, taking care of all the aspects of the hotel, ready to deal with the guests from the booking to the departure - in other words, offering an “experience” as opposed to a usual hotel stay.
BTN: What excites and motivates you most?
AI: The feedback from the guests is my driving force, good or bad. I like to communicate with guests, understand their needs, and try to put in place their suggestions or requests, to improve our standards and to meet guests expectations.