Art and stylish design are two things synonymous with Italy and the beautiful hotels are no exception.
Due to our late flight time, we decided to do a one one night stop over in Naples…now I’ll be honest with you, there’s rather a dearth of luxury hotels in the city of Naples, so we turned to Hotel Romeo. The boutique design hotel is recommended by Mr & Mrs Smith and Small Luxury Hotels of the world, two websites that I often turn to when looking for hotel suggestions and was the perfect place for our one night stay in Naples.
Designed by famous Japanese architect Kenzo Tange & Associates, the hotel structure itself is a modern blend of glass and steel. As soon as you walk through the doors you are greeted with pieces from the owners own art and antique collection. The dancing waterfall with metal hands is the centre piece of the lobby and other eclectic art pieces fill the entrance.
On one side of the lobby is a games room, complete with pool, a glass football table and jukebox with modern art providing a back drop.
On the other side is one of the hotel’s two restaurants Bistrot 9850 (the number 9850 indicates the kilometres between Naples and Tokyo) is the more casual option serving Neapolitan traditional food with an Asian twist. The room is dominated by this gorgeous marble table, perfect for pulling up a chair for an evening bite and there are Japanese antiques from the Edo era around the room.
There are 83 rooms in this boutique hotel and we checked into a deluxe front room with view of the port. Honestly I wasn’t too impressed with the view as it was very industrial but you could see out to sea and Mount Vesuvius in the background.
Despite the less than perfect views, the floor to ceiling windows bought plenty of light into the room which made it feel even more spacious. Wooden fixtures and fitting were super stylish and complemented by luxury leather furniture from from B&B by designer Antonio Citterio.
The ‘Celestial’ bed is perfect for the most divine sleep and there’s even a pillow menu! Theres no lack of amenities either televisions, stereo systems and telephones are by Bang & Olufsen and Jacob Jensen and there’s an in-room Espresso machine.
The bathroom is small and located behind a glass screen so is possibly not everyone’s cup of tea but the amenities were lovely, created especially for the hotel.
Fresh fruit, prosecco and hand made chocolates marked our arrival and were lovely little touches.
Before getting ready for dinner we headed to the The Beluga Lounge Bar & Terrace on the 9th floor to get a cocktail and to check out the views.
The interiors of the bar follow the same wood, glass and leather look of the hotel and there’s a panoramic view of the dock.
But the best seat in the house is poolside on the Terrace.
The view from the top is rather more spectacular by night as the docks darken and you can see the glittering lights of town illuminating Vesuvius.
Cocktails-wise there’s plenty on the list but I went for one of my favourites, a Rossini beautifully made with fresh strawberries. There’s also an all day menu of light bites served up here if you fancy a sandwich or salad poolside.
Finishing our drinks we headed back to the room to get ready for our dinner at Il Comandante, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant.
With a 10th floor location, Il Comandante is located at the very pinnacle of the hotel. Meaning Captain in Italian, the title was given to shipowner Achille Lauro whose headquarters were once located where the hotel now stands. the restaurant itself was once his office and has the feeling of a ship’s bridge.
The menu created by Chef Salvatore Bianco is intended to be a voyage across the sea, highlighting the flavours of the gulf of Naples. Predominantly seafood you can choose a tasting menu of the chef’s choice or opt for a la carte, both of which include a few meat options too.
Starting with a selection of canapés we followed with four courses that explored flavours, textures and aromas of Naples and of the sea using the finest quality ingredients. Our starters were squid: inside and outside and prawns three ways. The first courses were Sea in Milan risotto and sea-flavoured spaghetti, the textures and preparation were perfect but I will say as the chef uses plankton in the dishes even the biggest seafood lover such as myself may find them a little too fishy.
My main course of lobstar and quinoa was perfectly prepared whilst Mr S’s mullet with scallops and plankton, sea fennel and murex shellfish was against slightly overwhelmed by a salty, fishy flavour.
Finishing on a gorgeous and refreshing dessert of aromatic fruit and vegetables with basil and mint ice cream, we followed with petit fours and were even given a tin of pic n’ mix baked goods to take back to the room with us.
Breakfast is served back on the 9th floor the Beluga Lounge Bar & Terrace where you can spot the cruise ships out of the window as you eat. Personally I’m a fan of a continental breakfast (cheese, ham, smoked salmon, fresh bread) and this was a little thin on the ground. Better was the à la carte menu of egg options over the large array of cakes and pastries on the buffet – oh and help-yourself-prosecco too.
Finally I think that the spa is an important element to mention, though we didn’t actually use it. Romeo Wellness – Dogana del Sale is Romeo hotel’s wellness centre and at 10,000 square foot it’s a large spa for a small hotel. It is intended as a space where history meets the future and land meets the sea (according to the website) with the name meaning ‘salt customs house’ referring to the original 16th building where the spa is located. The spa combines old with the new as the original brick façade and volcanic rock foundations have been preserved and combined with all the latest facilities. There’s everything that you could need; emotional shower with tropical rain, jacuzzis Finnish sauna, Frigidarium with snow cascade and even a salt room.
Massages, facials and beauty treatments are available and I love sound of the signature Dogana del Sale ritual where the body is scrubbed with salt crystals to remove any dry skin. The relaxation room pictured above is at the exact right temperature to encourage the mineral salt ionization process and has walls made of pink Himalayan salt from halotherapy to benefit the respiratory system. The two chromo cylinder beds are shaped to relax and protect the occupant like a hug. There is also a sizeable gym and the kids play garden found in this basement area.
In terms of location though it’s certainly not the prettiest, it’s an easy walk to the historical centre from Piazza del Plebiscito and Castel Nuovo to Spaccanapoli and Palazzo Reale. The waterfront location is ideal to catch the ferry to Capri or Ischia, drive to Pompeii or, as we did drive along to the Amalfi Coast. As one of Italy’s more gritty cities you may not want to devote a huge amount of time to staying here but if you’re looking for a stopover or a few nights stay, Hotel Romeo is an excellent choice.