Niche travel

Luxury Italian hotels


What to do when one wins the lottery? Easy: book a round-the-world trip staying only in Orient Express hotels. It really would be the only way to travel.

In the meantime, you can have a taster of life as a squillionaire with the company’s Grand Tour of Italy. Only a week long, it knocks many a longer – and further flung – trip into a cocked hat.

The Orient Express has six hotels in Italy, including the famous Cipriani on Giudecca Island, looking across the laguna at Venice, and the Splendido, which is actually two hotels, one overlooking the town and one down by the sea, in glamorous Portofino. It also has two properties in Taormina, Sicily, including the Hotel Sant Andrea, with lush gardens and its own private beach.

If you include either the Villa San Michele in Florence or the Hotel Caruso in Ravello in your tour, the company will comp you the airport transfers, which is great, because these are the two you really don’t want to miss.

The Caruso is an 11th-century palace perched high up along the stunning Amalfi coast, with an infinity pool that genuinely lives up to its name. Located at the highest point in the town, you risk brushing the clouds with your backstroke.

The Villa San Michele (pictured) is a former monastery in Fiseole, overlooking Florence, whose terraced gardens were tended by 15th-century monks and where, today, you can enjoy the views out over the Arno Valley from the comfort of the massage gazebo. The seven-night tour costs from €3,780 per couple. Lucky couple.