Le Sirenuse, Positano, Italy

Clinging to the cliffside about a hundred steps from Positano's heaving seafront, legendary Le Sirenuse offers a beguiling escape from the holidaymaker humdrum that is the Amalfi Coast during summer months.

We're not sure this one needs an introduction, but humour us anyway. One of the most esteemed hotels in the Mediterranean, if not the world, ruby-red Le Sirenuse seduces guests with a flirtatious combination of swoon-worthy views and dolce-vita drama served up by smart staff in an unrivalled location.

It's a hotel where you just know that countless people have fallen in love - and surely had their hearts broken too, when the clock hits 11am on check-out day or perhaps when they receive their bill (€20 birra, we're looking at you).

The drive here is adrenaline-fuelled, but the course of true love never did run smooth. Those who prevail over hairpin bends and fend off madcap drivers to pull up at Le Sirenuse's blushing exterior will know it was well worth the clammy hands and somersaulting stomach.

Once you've thrown open the doors of your balcony to see the glittering Mediterranean before you; smelled the citrus trees on the balmy air as you lounge by the pool; heard the tinkle of ice as a perfectly mixed negroni wings its way in your direction; and felt cool marble underfoot after a day in the hot sun, all is instantly forgotten as you succumb to Sirenuse's charm.


Miraculously, nearly all of the 58 rooms here have sea views - and we're talking serious sea views. These are the kind where you accidentally while away hours on your balcony and forget to get out and "experience the destination". But Le Sirenuse is a destination in itself, so you'll let it slide.

Individually decorated rooms are all white walls, high ceilings, traditional hand-painted tiles in blue and yellow juxtaposed with dark-wood antiques and ornate gilt mirrors. Beds are big enough for three and have the comfort level that you only find in the hotel greats, while bathrooms are marble temples (complete with a jacuzzi bathtub, if you're lucky).

What's for breakfast?

Whatever you like. Our only guidance would be to order it to your room and eat it at a leisurely pace on the aforementioned balcony, feeling shamelessly smug as you watch the day-trippers arrive in droves on the shore below. Dressing gown attire mandatory, along with breakfast burrata.

How about lunch and dinner?

La Sponda restaurant attracts the movers and shakers of the Amalfi Coast. For lunch, you'll order a club sandwich that is as extortionately priced as it is generously sized and worth every cent. "A club sandwich? But this is Italy!" we hear you wail. Yes, but does anything shout "holiday" louder than a poolside sarnie with a side of almost too-salty chips washed down with something cold and alcoholic? We think not.

Evening is the time for an Italian stravaganza. Hair brushed and skin moisturised, make your first port of call Aldo's cocktail bar for a glass of sparkling (we're going prosecco over champagne in this part of the world) and oysters.

Then take a seat at Michelin-starred La Sponda where produce plucked from the sea and surrounding hinterland has been crafted into exquisite plates by chefs who've gathered from some of the top kitchens around the world (cough, Osteria Francescana, cough). Dinner is illuminated by the flames of hundreds of flickering candles and serenaded by a trio of sexagenarians - any future iterations of romance will pale in comparison.

Is there a bar?

Various, depending on the time of day. Aldo's and Franco's Bar are perfect vine-strung patios for early evening cocktails and rooftop views, while the poolside bar will keep you lubricated during the day. A well-stocked minibar (which is anything but mini) in your room is completed by luxuriously heavy glassware.


The contemporary spa features a sauna, steam bath and ice room, and is supplied by Aveda products, while the gym has everything you need for a holiday workout - though walking Positano's inclines will be exercise enough for most.

Things I should know…

If you don't want this to remain a special-occasion hotel, you'd better start moonlighting in a job that pays the big bucks ASAP.

What about their green creds?

They're working on them. Hm.

Within a short walk, I can find…

It's about 100 steps down to the lively promenade, lined with packed bars and restaurants that spill out onto the street. From here, you can get a boat to Capri for the day. If it's not already on your itinerary, we highly recommend a trip to nearby Ravello for lunch and a walk around the pretty village - it's much quieter than the holiday hotspots and has more of a local feel.

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