At These New Five-Star European Hotels, History Is Everything

To understand the philosophy behind La Palma, a new hotel opening this summer in Capri, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the plot of the 1961 film Come September: A wealthy American (Rock Hudson) owns a villa on the Italian Coast, which he visits each September with his mistress (Gina Lollobrigida.) One year, he makes an impromptu visit in July instead—only to discover that his majordomo has turned his pink palazzo into a hotel and filled it with nubile ingénues. That, explains La Palma interior designer Francis Sultana, is the vibe he’s going for: “I want guests to feel surrounded by glamor. It’s about romance, it’s about fun.”

Sultana is far from the only one with Old-Hollywood visions of European summers. For much of the past two years, La Dolce Vita has felt relatively inaccessible to those hamstrung by pandemic fears. But a recent survey found that 68 percent of Americans are planning to take an international trip this year—and just in time, as a new batch of hotels are opening or reviving history-rich properties. La Palma is itself a reinvention of the oldest hotel on the island—founded in 1822—once a gathering place for artists who painted the walls with their works. Today a Roman-style fresco by Italian artist Roberto Ruspoli decorates the lobby.

A deck at the Maybourne Rivieria.

Richard Haughton

Source: Vogue

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