When it comes to splash-out stays, Italy comes up trumps, whether you’re after medieval palazzos or designer apart-hotels. The range of luxury accommodation is breathtaking, and the quality world-class, so if indulgent spas, rooftop pools and atmospheric bars appeal, Italy has a luxury hotel to fit the bill.
Grand Hotel Imperiale & Resort, Lombardy
4.2/5 (768 Reviews)
Grand Hotel Imperiale & Resort, Lombardy | Courtesy of Grand Hotel Imperiale & Resort / Expedia
Channel “locals” George and Amal Clooney at this opulent Lake Como pile, all white marble floors, gourmet fish feasts and million-dollar views. Cream-hued rooms with herringbone floors come, in some cases, with balconies for sunny brunches, while the spa is a serene retreat, with a detoxifying salt room. Snag a lounger at the garden-fringed pool and watch the Como glitterati zip across the lake on private boats or water-skis.
Prefer your Lake Como glamour with a modern edge? This collection of swish one- and two-bedroom apartments might have been lifted straight from the pages of a glossy magazine: designer sofas, minimalist whitewashed walls and floor-to-ceiling windows leading onto a lake-facing terrace. Slick kitchens allow you to do all the cooking, but with black truffle risotto on offer at nearby restaurant La Locanda del Cantiere, why would you bother doing anything yourself?
A slice of old Sicily, this Palermo pad oozes throw-back indulgence, from gold-painted wall detailing to a warm, polished wooden bar and chandelier-festooned lobby. The hotel is named after celebrated German composer Richard Wagner, who lived on the same street in the late 19th century. You can almost imagine him gliding under these frescoed ceilings, running his hands over the wrought-iron banisters and loitering awhile, admiring the stained-glass windows.
The ceilings at this 19th-century palazzo may be atmospherically wood-beamed, but the nods to the past pretty much stop there. This five-room pad in Pisa is dressed in cool contemporary whites with splashes of colourful artwork and moody lighting. Attentive service brings warmth, with staff who deliver breakfast to your room or point you happily towards the best local restaurants – and, of course, that world-famous leaning tower, just 20 minutes’ walk away.
Pratello Country Resort, Tuscany | Courtesy of Pratello Country Resort / Expedia
It’s the full Tuscan fantasy: a grand, historic villa with a terracotta roof, set among olive groves, slender cypresses and verdant rolling landscapes. Tables spill out romantically from restaurant to greenery-cloaked terrace in summer, but at all times of year you can bet on bowlfuls of ribbony pasta and cheek-reddening pours of superstar local wines such as Tiganello. Join a cookery class and learn to make classic pastas, or just veg out by the sprawling, sun-trap pool.
Le Dune’s rooftop pool is every Instagram-obsessive’s dream – it’s an infinity-edge slab of brilliant turquoise that, from the right angle, seems to blend into the sea beyond. This laid-back coastal resort in Sardinia’s south is all about the beachy lifestyle, with water’s-edge cabanas, surf-facing restaurants and fruit plates brought to your loungers. When you do want privacy, simply retreat to a cosy suite that comes with its own garden.
The blend of nature – rambling expanses of pine forest – and powder-sand beach is what makes Is Arenas the perfect choice for anyone who likes their chilled-out sunny holiday with an active twist. Tick off the hiking trails that weave through the area, visit the ancient stony Tower of St Christophorus, snorkel in the off-shore blue, then return to this luxurious outpost of style, with stone-floor rooms and floor-to-ceiling windows, for a massage that’ll leave your limbs like noodles.
Sister hotel to Le Dune, discreet Il Castello balances privacy and homely Sardinian design with the relaxed appeal of a seaside break. It’s a no-brainer for loved-up couples, who will jump at the access to Forte Village resort’s extensive amenities: there are plenty of restaurants, a fabulous sandy beach, waterskiing and yoga classes at the spa. And when you want intimacy, take sunset dips in the serene pool facing out to sea.