Tara and I love to travel. We love to experience new cultures and different foods and see how beautifully diverse our world really is. We both have this innate passion to find beauty in new ways and from different perspectives. But while we love the big picture of a new experience, our focus always comes back to the details. As an artist/designer, I'm always obsessing on the details. I want the color just right, the perfect paper weight, the texture exactly as desired, and the composition spot-on. Tara is much the same with fashion. She loves the feel of a fabric, the tiny stitching details, and perfect distressing or color or the way a garment falls just right when you put it on.
Last week we spent some time traveling around Italy, and we spent 3 days in Positano and stayed at Hotel Villa Franca. Positano itself is stunning- built into the mountains on the Amalfi Coast, it looks like something straight off of a postcard. The colorful town cascades down the mountain until it meets a colorful umbrella-adorned beach and turquoise waters. It's one of those places you don't really believe exists until you step foot on the shores and smell the lemon trees for yourself. I could talk for days about Positano. The jaw-dropping scenery, the food, the people... but we'll save that for another post!
Hotel Villa Franca is situated on the top of one of the hills overlooking Positano and the Mediterranean Sea. It's a short drive up the hill from the beach where our boat dropped us off (Villa Franca has a complimentary shuttle to and from the town center, and one of the local porters took our bags up for us). From our very first step inside the door, we were floored by the attention to detail. Every door is automatic or opened by a smiling steward. The art on the lobby walls is beautiful and elegant. The check-in feels more like a warm welcome to a friend's home than a hotel arrival. We were were served cold water with local lemons, and by the time we had a drink, our check in was complete and we were on our way! Luigi, the front office manager, brought us on a quick tour of the hotel before escorting us to our room. It's impossible to have a bad view from the hotel's hilltop location, but our balcony looked out over the sea with a vista that pictures don't do justice.
Every part of our experience at Villa Franca was marked by the details. HVF is a member of the exclusive Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and for good reason. Once a private home, the property has been transformed into a luxurious escape from reality. The family still runs the hotel, and the staff truly makes you feel like family in every way. The rooms are a beautiful combination of classic Positano style and modern luxury. Hand-painted tiles on the walls and floors, marble bathroom, the coziest locally-made linens on the bed, and of course fluffy bathrobes and slippers that make breakfast in bed an all-too-appealing choice.
Breakfast is included in the room and it's not to be missed. Apart from the breathtaking views, the spread is a never-ending assortment of breads, cheeses (fresh mozzarella knots for breakfast, yes please), fruits and vegetables, pastries, fresh juices, cereals, made-to-order eggs and coffees. Get there early to score a seat by the window! On Tara's birthday, the staff even brought us a small cake and champagne. Breakfast was a highlight for us every day!
Lunch can be enjoyed from the Gallis Grill- either poolside or at one of the rooftop tables overlooking Positano- both of which is worth a stay on their own! Stay and lounge at the pool for the afternoon, spend some time in the beautiful O'SPA (tara got a facial and hasn't stopped raving about it in over a week), or get out and explore Positano for a few hours. Just make sure you're back in time for a pre-dinner aperitivo at the Gallis Bar, best enjoyed on the small balcony just opposite the bar.
Every last ingredient is meticulously chosen and proudly presented during dinner at Li Galli restaurant (we recommend the chef's choice tasting menu- Executive Chef Vincenzo Esposito does not disappoint!). Alessandro, the Maitre D'Hotel looked after us throughout dinner and often stepped in to explain a dish or let us know who had designed a plate or bowl or recommend a wine pairing. He seemed to know every single detail of the restaurant, and it was one of the most enjoyable dinners we had in Italy because of it. He even knew where the paper came from that the menus were printed on! The man was a total legend.
If you're planning a visit to Positano, Villa Franca is a League Travels Non-Negotiable. It fit and far-exceeded all of our criteria for a great vacation getaway. Beautiful, spotlessly clean property, Warm professional service, excellent location for exploring Positano, world-class restaurants, great bar open late, internet and gym, spa, rooftop... and every single detail beautifully, tastefully, and luxuriously done.
Thank you Luigi, Antonio, Allesandro, and all of the amazing staff at HVF for making our experience so wonderful.
We can't wait to visit Villa Franca again!
-Zach + Tara