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With two days to spare between landing in Rome and heading to a wedding outside Florence, I had my heart set on finding a hotel that overlooked the water, where I could sip cappuccinos by morning, take a few dips in the sea, and end the day with a negroni or two. If you’ve ever made the drive between Rome and Florence, you know there is a long stretch of coastline, but not a ton of luxe beachside property to stay at. After a bit of research (er, Instagram stalking), I was delighted to discover what’s now one of my favorite hotels of all time: Hotel Il Pellicano.
It’s hard to put the magic of Hotel Il Pellicano into words, but let me try to paint a picture. You’re standing on a hill overlooking the sparkling blue of the Mediterranean sea, surrounded by the intoxicating scent of olive, lemon, clementine, and Italian cypress trees, all meticulously planted to create what feels like a luxurious hideaway. The property feels casually elegant, with simple, timeless decor that makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a Nancy Myers movie. The vibe is understated, yet stylish.
The Epitome of “Sprezzatura”
Sprezzatura, a uniquely Italian word, basically describes the idea of nonchalance – being cool without trying to be cool, of grace with a hint of rebellion. That’s exactly what you get at Il Pellicano. From the signature pop of yellow striped towels to the impossibly chic Michelin-starred restaurant to the boutique filled with lesser-known Italian brands (some offering special collabs with Il Pellicano’s lifestyle brand, ISSIMO) to the grass tennis court, there is a touch of whimsy everywhere you turn. No detail has been left unturned, and each one is a bit more special than the one before.
Take the gym, for example, with its emerald green wallpaper and brass detailing. Then of course there are the patios – three in total – where guests can linger all day from breakfast (it’s included and it’s incredible) through aperitivo hour and into dinner. Last but definitely not least are the bars: first, there’s Bar All’Aperto, “a terrace bar designed to lounge between sky and sea,” where famed Bar Manager Federico Morosi serves a full menu of custom tipples, as he calls them. We spent every evening here, often enjoying one too many cocktails before dinner. After a meal, head up to Bar Roberto, a cozy piano bar that’s full of late night patrons chatting and playing cards.
Most guests skip the pool for afternoon sunbathing in favor of this ocean front veranda, with refreshing open water swimming + full service staff at your beck and call. Pro tip: order the club sandwich. Credit: Jenni Stein
A Day Well Spent: Enjoying the Mediterranean Sea
Set down the hill below the guest rooms and restaurants is the heated seawater pool, and below that – down a custom-built elevator – is the private terraced beach. Here, you’re inches away from the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean and are free to jump in and out of the sea as you please. We split time each afternoon between the pool and the beach club, taking breaks only to paddle board off the private pier or head out on a boat for the day. The hotel itself offers stunning views of the Monte Argentario coast, but to truly experience the magic of this remote hideaway, you’ll need to get out on the water. The concierge can help you plan out your day, whether on a quick boat ride exploring coves around the promontory itself, or a full excursion out to Giglio Island, complete with snorkeling and a seaside lunch. Personally, I’m just as happy looking at the water as I am in it, and love that Hotel Il Pellicano offers something for everyone.
A Famed Hideout for International Celebrities and Socialites
According to history, a “charismatic American socialite and dashing British aviator” built Il Pellicano in the 1960s as a private romantic hideaway. Over the years, the property was home to some of the most epic parties of the century, with celebrities and socialites jet setting from all over the world to live “la dolce vita.” Photographer Slim Arons famously captured some of these moments in the hotel’s very own coffee table book, which is, as it turns out, a pretty rare find (and has already captured the top spot on my holiday wish list this year). Today of course, the hotel is open to the public, but the laid back, revelrous vibe is easily felt throughout the property, with nods to its rich history in every nook. Want to bring a bit of this exclusive lifestyle home with you? Look no further than the hotel’s very own boutique, personally curated by Pellicano Hotels CEO and Creative Director Marie-Louise Sciò. We love these chic flats, this custom candle, and this colorful swimsuit.
Hotel Il Pellicano is a legendary property, where every detail is absolute perfection. If you’re in the area, it is not to be missed. Book your stay here and if you find yourself further south, be sure to check out sister properties Mezzatorre and La Posta Vecchia.