IT IS the oldest hotel on the A-list Italian isle of Capri, with a rich artistic heritage stretching all the way back to the year 1822.
And now the iconic Hotel La Palma, the first ever built on the island, is being transformed fit for 21st century travellers.
The Oetker Collection has added it to its portfolio of Masterpiece Hotels, and plans to open in April 2022 with a new, yet familiar, look.
When first built, the villa was known as Locanda Pagano, where notary Giuseppe Pagano hosted artists, poets, writers, architects, painters and musicians.
His guests showed their appreciation by painting the walls, writing poems, singing and playing in what was dubbed the ‘Artists’ Hotel.’
A collective of creatives began to gather from around the world, all inspired by the hotel’s location and air of friendly eccentricity. Painters, in particular, loved the era’s seaside scenes.
When Hotel La Palma re-opens next year, Oetker pledges that guests will once again receive the same warm Italian welcome and dolce vita lifestyle.
The plan is for the elegant Mediterranean retreat to once more become THE chic address on the island for people who want to see and be seen.
The number of rooms will be cut from 80 to 50, including 18 suites, each complete with its own private balcony or terrace.
The property’s interiors are currently being transformed by interior design guru Francis Sultana in collaboration with acclaimed architect Francesco Delogu, from Rome.
“Capri is an island that I love,” says Sultana. “Hotel La Palma is an iconic hotel that everyone will adore in its new lease of life.
“I wanted my design to reflect the very special relationship I have with Capri – it was love at first sight from my first visit in my early 20s – an island of romanticism and great aesthetes with a beauty and great inspiration for creativity, in all its forms.”
Sultana’s signature design flows through the indoor bar and restaurant, pool terrace & bar, and the rooftop bar, which all bear the inspiration of Capri, always honouring the creativity of the Italian artisans helping to create the new landmark hotel.
Double Michelin star chef Gennaro Esposito will direct the restaurant which will bear his name and is being touted as “a stylish step back in time to the Capri of the 1950s”.
As well as Gennaro’s, he will also run new rooftop restaurant Bianca , which will open late with spectacular views over the sea and Capri Village.
Meanwhile, a brand-new pool deck, complete with an elegant pool bar, will pay homage to the ‘classic Capri’ of the golden age.
Located in heart of Capri, just around the corner from the famous Piazza Umberto I – known to locals as the ‘Piazzetta’ – Hotel La Palma is well positioned for visiting the sights.
It is handy for the Gardens of Augustus, the Charterhouse of St James, the iconic Faraglioni rock stacks and famous Blue Grotto.
And, after a short drive to Capri’s southern coast, guests will find the hotel’s La Palma Beach Club in the Marina Piccola, home to the island’s most famous beaches and restaurants.
Oetker chief executive Timo Gruenert says: “I simply cannot think of anything more exciting than the outlook of opening a true masterpiece hotel in one of the most beautiful and glamorous destinations in the world.
“It will be an homage to La Dolce Vita and the legacy of this legendary location – the first hotel in Capri – while reinventing Hotel La Palma to once again be at the epicentre of the island’s vibrant social scene.”
You can reach Capri by air or by sea. The closest airport is Naples International Airport, although other available airports include Ravello and Rome.
The island can be reached by ferry or hydrofoil in 25 minutes from Sorrento or Positano, in 50 minutes from Naples, and in an hour from Amalfi.
For information on Oetker Collection hotels, see www.oetkercollection.com.
* Destination photography by Romain Reglade.