THE INSIDERS CAPRI, ITALY
STAY: I love Hotel La Scalinatella on Via Tragara. For me, it is like “coming home” each year to the island of Capri, off the Amalfi Coast. The staff know past guests by name and remember all the details to make a stay perfect. The charming maitre-d’ of the bar and restaurant, Gennaro, extends a welcome that makes the 16,000km journey worthwhile. La Scalinatella’s poolside lunch is superb — think fresh antipasto and seafood buffet; made-to-order pasta and fish; and the best white peaches and cherries (both in glass bowls on ice) or stracciatella (chocolate chip ice cream) with wafer; scalinatella.com.
GO: Capri is renowned for its stunning walks, essential to work off the wonderful pasta dishes. My favourite hike is to Villa Jovis, built by Roman Emperor Tiberius. It’s mostly uphill but the views across the Gulf of Naples are worth it; capri.net/en/index.
SHOP: For stylish menswear, I like Russo Uomo and The Original Car Shoe. For linen and tableware, 100% Capri is a favourite. I recently discovered a fabulous jewellery shop owned by very chic twin sisters. It’s called Grazia e Marica Vozza and is a few steps down a bougainvillea-shaded path from 100% Capri; russocapri.com; carshoe.com; 100capri.com; graziaemaricavozza.com.
EXPLORE: I always try to visit Villa Lysis, an eclectic art nouveau property with a touch of neoclassical decadence. It was built by a French industrialist who moved to Capri in self-chosen exile after a scandal.
EAT: Two of my favourite dinner haunts are Da Giorgio for fresh seafood and Aurora for its very Capri social scene. For lunch, enjoy a special day out at Conca del Sogno, a boat trip away at Nerano on the Amalfi Coast, and then take a swim at its Beach Club. ristorantedagiorgio.com; auroracapri.com; concadelsogno.it.
DRINK: Cocktails at the iconic Grand Hotel Quisisana are classic Capri; remember, the time for drinks here is 8pm; quisisana.com.
INDULGE: Book a lounge chair and umbrella at one of the popular beach clubs and enjoy a day relaxing, swimming, lunching and people-watching. La Fontelina is the most popular, set amid the dramatic Faraglioni rocks. I also love a day in the community of Anacapri at the Capri Palace Hotel’s beautiful Il Riccio Beach Club & Restaurant; fontelina-capri.com; capripalace.com/en.
Thomas Hamel is a Sydney-based interior designer and director of Thomas Hamel & Associates, which specialises in residential design. He has holidayed on Capri every July for the past 20 years. More: thomashamel.com.
Graham Erbacher Graham.Erbacher@news.com.au