Capri’s Best Kept Secret: La Minerva Hotel

Capri’s Best Kept Secret: La Minerva Hotel

Nestled in the heart of the magical isle of Capri, La Minerva Hotel is a charming and intimate boutique that epitomizes the ultimate romantic escape. This multi-generational family-run gem is one of the most beloved hotels on the Italian island–a luxurious blend of whitewashed walls, classic nineteenth-century architecture, and contemporary Mediterranean-influenced design, lined with secret lemon-scented paths and bougainvillea-laced gardens. Each of the 19 rooms and suites are elegantly appointed and locally-sourced, featuring plush beds clothed in silken Italian linens, custom majolica-tiled floors, colorful punctuations of artisan-crafted ceramics, spacious walk-in closets, and luxe bathrooms with jetted-tubs generously stocked with Capri’s famous Carthusia fragrances and bath products. Warm hospitality begins the moment guests arrive on the island–the Esposito family and their amazing team cater to guests’ every whim, providing unparalleled over-attentive service and an array of first-rate amenities. For a hotel this size, it has everything you could possibly dream of and expect from a honeymoon getaway: a hedonistic spa, a serene pool reminiscent of the garden of Eden, and private terraces beholding the most captivating views of the stunning coastline and sea.

Snuggled between the winding paths of posh boutiques and cafés of Via Camarelle and the picturesque views of Via Tragara, La Minerva–unlike its luxury rivals–is quietly perched high on the cliffside away from the bustling historic town center and pulsating nightlife, with only breathtaking views of Capri’s scenic beauty to take in. Here, guests will find it easy to spend most of their day canoodling in their little love nest, but are encouraged to wander out and enjoy everything the enchanted islet has to offer. For a taste of the island’s glamourous night scene, guests can easily slip out to La Piazzetta, where celebs, socialites, and the fashionable flock to cocktail-sip and mix and mingle under the glimmering Mediterranean sky. Famous coves and private beach clubs are also in the immediate proximity of the hotel. But, if haute couture and upscale shopping is more of your thing, high-end fashion houses like Gucci, Hermes, and Prada (to name a few) are only a few stylish footsteps–or catwalk–away for your dose of retail therapy. As for unforgettable views (though, the most incredible seascapes can be seen from just about every angle of the hotel), guests should be forbidden to leave the island without taking the little stroll up to Via Tragara, where only mind-blowing vistas of the turquoise waters crashing against the famous Faragoloni rocks can be seen, the perfect backdrop for those ready to pop the question. 

High-class service is the heartbeat of La Minerva experience. Voted Travellers’ Choice 2019 #1 Best Small Hotel in Italy, this family-run boutique sets the bar for superlative and hyper-personalized service. Pampering begins the moment you set-foot on the island, the three Esposito brothers (Luigi, Antonino, and Marco), their mother Giovanna, as well as their devoted staff, will go far beyond than just providing directions to the hotel and delivering your luggage. At La Minerva, even the smallest gestures and details are not forgotten, guests are treated to the utmost and spoiled with all its luxe amenities. Greeted by name upon arrival and welcomed with the lobby bar’s best aperitifs–your choice of a handcrafted cocktail or minted lemonade refreshment naturally squeezed from the citrus fruits of their garden trees, coupled with lightly salted snacks and olives. His and hers bathrobes and slippers are delicately folded in your room and patiently anticipate your long-awaited embrace. Fresh garden flowers are picked and delivered to your room daily along with a menu of the hotel’s signature drinks and a thoughtful itinerary of Capri’s outdoor secrets. If your sheets hug you tight in the morning (because of how snuggly they are), breakfast can be enjoyed in the comfort of your own room. And to unwind, therapeutic massages and facials can be experienced at the hotel’s decadent spa. There are few reasons to leave this dreamy place, but if you’re feeling a bit more energized rather than in complete zen, a well-equipped gym is only a short five-minute walk from the hotel. And for those looking for something more lovey-dovey, the Espositos will arrange for private boat trips or candlelit dinner reservations (as the hotel does not have an in-house restaurant) at your very request. Whatever it is that your heart desires, the Espositos will make you feel as if you have entered a family member’s home, genuinely pandering to your every need and ensuring that your only concern is to fully succumb to all the indulgences and luxuries that this valentine destination has to offer.

Legendary and authentic hospitality is not just one of La Minerva’s greatest offerings—it flows through this hotelier’s veins. Inherited as a wedding gift from their parents in the early twentieth-century, La Minerva hotel was once the humble home of Luigi and Laura Esposito. Originally made to warmly welcome tourists and visitors in two dedicated rooms in the newlyweds’ home, the Esposito’s little token of love quickly became an exclusive place for the who’s who of the world–accommodating royal guests including the Duke of Windsor, Edward the VIII, formerly the King of the United Kingdom. Today, with the same gracious, warmhearted, and world-class service that their great-grandparents established this majestic hotel on, the Esposito brothers and their mother continue to host regal guests, celebrities, and jetsetters alike, as well as the hopeless romantics who desire to feel like kings and queens even just for a weekend. 

A timeless capsule the moment you enter its opulent sugarcoated glassed doors and tranquil airy lobby, La Minerva evokes period glamour and chic contemporary design at every turn and in every detail. Recently renovated and designed by Giovanna Esposito (the hotel’s third-generational owner and current proprietor), the hotel’s newest makeover features a clean palette of pearly white and rich royal blues, modern furnishings and sophisticated décor. The property’s architectural heritage is preserved in its century-old vaulted ceilings and dramatic arches, and island tradition is honored in the old-fashioned touches and custom Italian upgrades: Sorrento-imported handcrafted ceramics and antiques that are mindfully sprinkled all throughout the hotel, and hand-painted majolica tiles that are immaculately spread across the floor with its vibrant colors echoing the azure of the sea. The hotel’s unique family past is also recorded in the vintage monochromatic photography that adorns the layered-white walls, but the deluxe sofas, swank glass tables, and glam coffee table books in the lobby give this nineteenth-century old jewel a snazzy modernized flair. 

Other major renovations include the installation of a pool–a whisper-quiet oasis built on the grounds where the fruits of Mr. Luigi Esposito’s adored garden used to grow. Though the majority of Mr. Esposito’s precious nursery was replaced, the wooden-deck pool is in perfect harmony with nature, surrounded by a row of pillowed sunbathing beds shaded by a grove of lemon trees and violet bougainvillea blossoms. An amazing unobstructed view of the sea can be witnessed here (with a fizzy mimosa in hand, of course), all the while hearing the melodies of tropical birds, tree leaves rustling against the wind, and feeling the balmy island breeze softly brushing against ones skin.

The garden pool, however, is just one kaleidoscopic peek at the many astonishing scenic displays La Minerva has to offer. Inside this treasure chest, is an atmospheric and convivial lobby area featuring a cozy living room space, cocktail bar, and glass doors that open up to two intimate balconies with a jaw-dropping panorama of Capri’s natural wonders. A quick lift up (or flight of stairs) from the lobby, is an open-air terrace with a bird’s eye view of the rocky coastline and sea where guests can enjoy a luscious buffet breakfast under the radiant Capri sun or, by evening, lovers can stargaze and profess their adoration for one another over a candlelit glass of wine. Whatever you choose, the snapshots taken at the terrace will replay in your mind for a lifetime. And, of course, who could forget the views from the suites, as most capture the same eternal portrait of Capri. All of the superior rooms and deluxe suites are charismatic with jacuzzi tubs, walk-in closets, comfy beds, and private canopied balconies with sea views.

But, the shining star here, is the ultra-exclusive cottage-like suite that is gently sequestered in the back of the hotel. To find this hidden gem, you’ll need to walk down a sweet discreet pathway paved with colorful marine-inspired ceramic tiles bordered by a pebbled wall with climbing flowering vines. Covered by fringing plants and multi-hued florets and caged by a garden gate that intimately separates it from the pool, is where you’ll finally see the beautiful Casa di Emma sparkling like a jewel box. The premier suite inherits its name from one of the hotel’s most cherished generational owners–Emma Esposito–as she once occupied this iconic guest space. Casa Di Emma currently reigns as the largest suite at La Minerva and sets the tone for sheer luxury and intimacy. Key features include: a separate cozy living room area, a dazzling bathroom with a walk-in rainfall shower complete with flower and lemon-perfumed Carthusia bath soaps and beauty kit, a grandiose closet space with a minibar curated with your preferred alcoholic beverages and cocktail mixers, a king-sized bed topped with extra-fluffy jumbo pillows, and two sets of sliding glass doors veiled by cream-colored curtains that allow for the glittering sunlight to illuminate the entire suite. The best feature about this suite is what is behind the curtains and glass doors: a private terrace overlooking the infinite horizon shadowed by a fairytale-esque bougainvillea wrapped pergola. Though the suite includes two large screen TVs, you will forget that they even exist as most of your time will be spent with your other half on the terrace marveling at the most gorgeous sunsets.