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This June will mark exactly 50 years since the late Carlino Cinque threw open the doors of his labour of love-turned-legendary hotel, Il San Pietro, in Positano. It’s one of those rare achievements in the hotel world, a feeling as much as a place, with views that imprint in the psyche and a singular location, cantilevered thrillingly out over the Tyrrhenian Sea.
To mark the occasion, its current owner-director (and Carlino’s grand-nephew), Vito Cinque, has quietly but industriously been bringing new refinement and fizz to every last room, with the help of Roman style arbiter Fausta Gaetani (she of the dazzling designs at Villa Tre Ville). There’s also a new jewel box of a bar and a stunning – and extremely environmentally friendly – showcase kitchen (price tag: €3.2m) for Zass, the hotel’s über-romantic Michelin-starred fine-dining venue. But the perennial favourite here is Carlino, the San Pietro’s lowfi open-air beach restaurant – historically only open for lunch (and one of the most coveted tables in Italy in the high season) but, starting this summer, serving dinner.
If, instead, you’re after what’s new under the Amalfi sun, look south to Borgo Santandrea. Perched just below the bijou town of Conca dei Marini, it’s the year’s buzz-generator – a 29-room, 16-suite temple to eccellenze amalfitane, from the dozens of handcrafted ceramic patterns on walls, floors and columns to the classic-cool drinks menu down at the hotel’s beach (a soft-sand, private one – rare as June frost in these parts; it’s worth considering Borgo Santandrea for its pleasures alone).
Il San Pietro: Via Laurito 2, Positano; from €490. ilsanpietro.it
Borgo Santandrea: Via Giovanni Augustariccio 33, Amalfi; from €500, taking reservations from 1 July onward. borgosantandrea.it
On the trail of Tolstoy in Moscow
Ampersand Travel has partnered with Alexandra Tolstoy — distant cousin of the venerable novelist — to host a select Tolstoy tour. Staying at the National Hotel (above) and Tolstoy’s country redoubt, guests will go behind the scenes at the House Museum in Khamovniki and have a private visit to the State Tretyakov Gallery. In between: exploring imperial corners and enjoying private dinners in restaurants that put Moscow on the world dining stage.
From £2,200, excluding flights, departing 23 Sept (spaces limited); ampersandtravel.com
Hudson gets even hipper
1stdibs — the online marketplace for vintage everything, founded in 2001 by Michael Bruno — is familiar to aesthetes the world over. Bruno left in 2015, but his desire to gather beautiful things has steered him into hospitality. The Valley Rock Inn & Mountain Club soft-opened last year in the Lower Hudson Valley. Things are now ready for prime time, with state-of-the-art fitness facilities, an organic market, farm-to-table restaurant and guest houses with 17 country-chic rooms between them.
From $495; valleyrockinn.com
A lakeside gem in Udaipur
Taj Hotels has long had the corner on palace romance in Rajasthan, from Jaipur’s Rambagh and Jodhpur’s Umaid Bhawan to Udaipur’s peerless Lake Palace Hotel, floating in splendid solitude on Pichola Lake. Now Taj has renovated the noble 19th-century Fateh Prakash Palace just across the water. Its 65 rooms and suites have museum-quality… everything, pretty much, including one of the subcontinent’s most extravagant durbar halls. The views aren’t half bad either.
From about £300; tajhotels.com