Five Boutique Hotels in Italy We Love

If we had to choose only one place to visit again, the answer would be easy - Italy. From North to South, Tyrrhenian to Adriatic, we've done it all and we still want more. Fall around Lake Como, winter in Venice, springtime at Milan's design fair Salone del Mobile, and of course summer anywhere with a beach, a boat, and a bottle. We love to pack light, rent a car, and book beautiful boutique hotels that are big on style and personality - like Italy itself. Below we share five of our favorite spots.

Puglia
1. Palazzo Daniele

Palazzo Daniele's tagline of "questa casa non è un albergo" (translation: this is a house not a hotel) is true, if, of course, your house is a 19th century palazzo on the tip Southern Italy. And as a guest of Palazzo Daniele, it can be. Located in Gagliano del Capo, the heel of Italy's boot where the Adriatic and Ionian seas meet puts it in close proximity to the best Pugliese beaches. This nine-room oasis is as luxurious as it is simple, and frescoed ceilings seamlessly mix with contemporary art making the vibe (and clientele) more hipster and fashionista than than count and countessa. Meals from the in-house chefs, featuring freshly-made pasta and countless catches of the day, are not to be missed.

Palazzo Daniele: Corso Umberto I, 60, 73034, Gagliano del Capo (LE), Italy, info@palazzodaniele.com, Instagram

Sicily
2. Dimora delle Balze

Thanks in part to The White Lotus effect, Sicily seems to be at the top of everyone's wishlist, and for good reason. It feels tranquil and ancient, yet is not short on fabulous food and design. Dimora delle Balze, originally constructed in 1886 by the nobleman Don Salvatore Zocco as a summertime retreat, was given a faceflift by designers Stefano Guidotti and Draga Obradovic (the later of lustworthy brand Draga + Aurel) who bring a sense of place to the fortified compound and masseria. Each of the eleven rooms are unique and appointed with local crafts and tasteful minimal furnishings (not to mention some of the softest sheets we've ever slept in). A divine pool overlooking the valley and open-air farm-totable style restaurant complete the property.

Dimora delle Balze: SS287, km 6/3 – 96017, Noto (SR), Italy, reception@dimoradellebalze.com, Instagram

Lake Como
3. Grand Hotel Tremezzo

There is no bad view at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. Beholding the 110-year-old facade of this Art Nouveau palazzo defines the notion a Grande Dame property. Turn around to gaze over the iconic WOW (water in water) pool, across the cerulean waters of Lake Como, on to to the charming town of Bellagio, and finally up to the voluptuous Grigne mountains. The Grand Hotel Tremezzo, which has been welcoming guests since the Belle Époque, is still winning both industry awards and the hearts of even the most seasoned jet-setters. The traditionally appointed rooms are excellently maintained and do not disappoint, and the dining options are five-star. Pour us at Aperol, call us a water limousine, and pass us our sunglasses - we are in residence.

Grand Hotel Tremezzo: Via Regina, 8, 22016, Tremezzina, Lago di Como, Italy, info@grandhoteltremezzo.com, Instagram

Ischia
4. Mezzatorre Hotel

Surely you've seen the scalloped umbrellas, the patterned plates, and the majestic coral tower of the Mezzatorre Hotel on your feed by now. Located in the Bay of Naples, Ischia is Capri's less crowded cousin for those truly in the know. This property from the Pellicano Hotel Group channels the picture-perfect Slim Aarons lifestyle to a tee - think old school aperitivo, simple yet decadent rooms, and a full-service pool overlooking a private bay. It's no surprise the hotel retains its magic considering its provenance - the original structure was first built by an Aragonese family in the 16th to 17th century, and the tower (or half-tower we should say as it was never completed) was later expanded in the 18th century by the dukes of Rancidello. By the 1950s it was owned by legendary film director Luchino Visconti and since 2019 proprietress Marie-Louise Sciò been working up the cool quotient. We recommend a boat around the island's perimeter to visit the thermal baths, a trip to the delightfully quirky Giardini La Mortella, and a perfect night in at the hotel's divine restaurant.

Mezzatorre Hotel: Via Mezzatorre, 2380075, Forio d'Ischia (N), Italy, reservations@pellicanohotels.com, Instagram

Pantelleria
5. Sikelia

If you make it to Pantelleria, congratulations, you have entered insider Italy. This volcanic island off the coast of Sicily is actually closer to Africa than anywhere else and is famous for its dammusi (North African–inspired white-domed stone structures). Most visitors rent a dammuso and decamp in the summer, a la A Bigger Splash (side note, Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes in this Luca Guadagnino title should be your style inspo regardless of where you stay), but an alternative is offered at Sikelia, a small and stylish property whose organically shaped pool offers a gentle respite from the island's rocky shoreline is the perfect place to watch Pantelleria's famous sunsets, cocktail in hand. Founded by Giulia Pazienza Gelmetti, a former professional basketball player, this place, with its sleek design and luxury linens, stands out in Pantelleria's sun-soaked and wind-swept (so much so its Arabic name is Bent el Rion or 'daughter of the winds') environs.

Sikelia: Via Monastero snc, 91017, Pantelleria (TP), Italy, reservation@sikeliapantelleria.com, Instagram

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