If you are looking for the best Positano hotels and villas to stay to have the ultimate Amalfi food experience and to embrace the local way of life, then our curated lineup is especially for you.[last update 1 July ’22]
Lucky for us, not much has changed over the years in Italy’s enchanting gelato-coloured town that clings to the backbone of the Amalfi Coast, the Lattari mountains. In this coastal paradise where lemon terraces and vineyards are chiselled into the mountainsides, it is simply too steep to build much of anything new.
Positano is far too intimate to allow commercial corporate culture a foothold, and many of the fabulous stays have an old-school charm and are some of the most beautiful and sensuous in Italy.
Set in splendid villas or medieval convents, the best Positano hotels are often owned by the same families that hosted the first Grand Tourists nearly two centuries ago.
We can all thank Positano’s mayor for his hand in preserving the allure – he was one of the first to sign the Slow City charter, pledging to minimise noise and junk and promote the worthwhile things in life, such as honest-to-goodness local food and time-honoured traditions in agriculture.
From Michelin-starred restaurants to Nonna-run taverns to rooftop terraces for the ultimate aperitivo, read on for our handpicked list of the best Positano hotels and villas to stay in Positano to embrace the good life.
If you are after the ultimate stylish stay in Positano the Le Sirenuse is hard to beat. Once the summer villa of the Marchesi Sersale, the grand old house, steeped in history, was turned into a hotel in 1951 by his four Neopolitan children.
Today this veritable postcard of old-world charm has a firm reputation as one of the best Positano hotels. It is splendidly run by Antonio Sersale, grandson of one of those siblings, together with beautiful wife Carla.
Named after the islands of the Sirens, which it overlooks, the Le Sirenuse hotel is filled with the family’s heirlooms and pictures, and all of the 59 bedrooms have handmade Vietri-tiled floors, vaulted ceilings and balconies overlooking the magnificent bay.
It exudes a feeling of comfortable lived-in grace, intimacy and a wonderful peacefulness. If you stay here you have already arrived at Positano’s prime aperitivo spot, the fabulous Champagne & Oyster Bar and the best spot to indulge in elevated classic Italian cuisine, the romantic Michelin-starred restaurant La Sponda.
The beautiful former home of Franco Zeffirelli, Italian director and producer of operas, films and television is very secluded and has a star-studded guest list. Pretty much everyone in the film world has stayed at Villa Treville from Sophia Loren to Steven Spielberg.
Turned into a relatively small boutique hotel with less than 20 rooms, each bedroom is uniquely decorated but all of them really chic. The Villa offers a private beach for all guests as well as a private boat that will take you to and from Positano. The cook makes whatever you want, whenever you want it.
Villa San Giacomo
The Villa San Giacomo is the kind of place that captures the imagination. This grandiose 18th-century villa clinging to the highest point of Positano was originally built in 1741 by wealthy merchants.
At some point, it was owned by an aristocrat who had a scandalous affair with the maid and ended up kicking out his family and shacking up with the maid to live out his days. After he passed away the house was left to crumble away and it was only in 2011 that it was purchased by the current owners who started a restoration project that lasted until 2013.
The beautiful villa with its pink façade, intricately tiled floors, patterned furniture, frescoed walls and sweeping terrace views is now restored to its former glory and can be exclusively rented private resident chef included.
This is a place where your every need is catered for. Breakfast on the terrace? No problem. A private long-table feast featuring local specialities? Of course. Private cooking classes in the massive majolica-tiled kitchen? Di sicuro.
Il San Pietro di Positano
A mere two kilometres outside Positano the indulgent Il San Pietro di Positano is chiselled into a cliff with multi-storey terraces tumbling down the hillside. The postcard views from almost all the rooms look out over a full vista of the village of Positano.
The rooms are vast, the hibiscus-strewn gardens spectacular and the onsite Michelin-starred restaurant, Zass wows with the best of local seafood and fresh produce from the hotel’s fertile kitchen garden. Don’t miss their famous terrace for a spectacular sunset aperitivo.
Don Alfonso 1890
Don Alfonso might not be in the heart of Positano but it is situated no more than 12 km away and is enveloped in a serenity that can only be found in the countryside.
This family-run hotel is well worth the detour, not just for the bright and colourful décor, but specifically for the hotel’s restaurant renowned for its off-site organic farm and flavour-packed dishes. The meal is an ultimate farm-to-table sensory experience with some recipes grounded in tradition, dating back generations, whilst others are innovative new creations.
Hotel Palazzo Murat
If it was good enough for the King of Naples who are we to argue, right? The Hotel Palazzo Murat is situated in an elegant 18th-century mansion that once was the summer residence of Gioacchino Murat, King of Naples, so it is not only grandiose but also one of the best Positano hotels.
The Deluxe rooms in the original palazzo are spacious and full of character, whilst the rest of the rooms, a later extension, have an ascetic simplicity with lots of white décor, tiled floors and private terraces or balconies. You can enjoy the restful summer shade in the flopping garden that surrounds the dreamy courtyard.
The highly rated Al Palazzo restaurant creates modern versions of local specialities such as homemade ravioli stuffed with broad beans and pecorino cheese in a cherry tomato, spring onion and chicory sauce.
Covo dei Saraceni
The Covo dei Saraceni lies right next to the Positano jetty, on the threshold of where sea meets land. This is where boats dock to take you to Capri, Sorrento and Amalfi, whenever the ocean is not too rough.
This vantage point ensures amazing views over the inky blue waters of the Amalfi coast as well as the main beach of this pastel-hued town. The Covo main restaurant and the brasserie both share these magnificent views and are ideal spots to welcome sunset. The brasserie is well-loved for its pizzas and gelato and whilst the main restaurant serves refined versions of local classics.
The interior of the hotel is dotted with decorative statues depicting the hotel’s namesake Saracen warriors who landed via the sea in Positano in 1558. Tones of white, gold and green dominate throughout the interior, reflecting the colours of the famous Duomo that life in Positano revolves around.
Hotel Buca di Bacco
Just above Positano’s Marina Grande, you will find the hotel and restaurant Buca de Bacco. Perfectly situated to make the most of your beach days both the hotel and restaurant are close to the water’s edge and have beautiful sea views.
The Ristorante Buca di Bacco has been famous for its impeccable service since the early 1900s with a menu celebrating local specialities such as Scialatielli con Vongole e Limone and fresh and summery lemon mousse.
The 12-room four-star Villa Gabrisa, a former seaside residence of the local Rispoli family, has arching views of the legendary ocean and still exudes the character of a patrician villa.
It is one of the best Positano hotels with year-round opening making it the ideal spot for a winter break when the tourist madness of the high season subsides into a distant lull. But don’t worry, even in high season this is a fairly peaceful spot apart from the occasional passing car.
The rooms are light and bright with white-lacquered furniture and glossy floor tiles. If you have a choice ask for the piano nobile, kitted out with Baroque furniture and Murano chandeliers. The standard rooms are simple and Bohemian but the views all round are fit for a king.
The seasonally open Da Gabrisa restaurant delights with various food and wine classes making it easy to explore local culinary traditions. The restaurant has a proud Slow Food tradition where you can feast on seafood and uninterrupted sea views. On the menu are Neapolitan favourites such as Bottone (pasta buttons) and Polpette della nonna (granny’s meatballs).
La Taverna del Leone
Above the delightful Taverna del Leone are two spacious rooms with grand-scale patios. This is not gilded-mirror palatial grandeur, but rather very conveniently situated simplicity.
The beauty is that you can literally roll out of bed into one of the greatest restaurants in Positano. With a newly renovated kitchen, La Taverna Del Leone has Michelin guide mentions and is serving the most delicious local Italian food and wine. You will be blown away by the service.
The motto of Colle dell’Ara, ‘Great things are done when man and nature meet’ already sets the tone of what you can expect of this accommodation cum experience set high above Positano in Montepertuso. Here you can look forward to a blissful state of mind surrounded by nature, organic produce in the garden and staying in a stone-built sanctuary.
You will be welcomed in the family home of Giacomo, Marco and Paquale who, with the help our their father Michele, had developed a gastronomic experience connected with the land and enthused with seasonality. You can look forward to farming excursions, cooking classes and delicious feasts based on availability from the gardens. Not to forget the delicious breads and cakes baked fresh daily.
Stay up the coast and make day visits to Positano
Lo Scoglio da Tommaso
What a difference a couple of kilometres make on the Amalfi Coast. Once you arrive at Lo Scoglio da Tommaso the rest of the world falls away. Nestled in the Marina del Cantone it is situated directly on the beach, a little haven of peace and tranquillity that feels miles away from bustling Positano and the town of Amalfi.
The spacious rooms have a quiet simplicity letting the spectacular view take the limelight. It is a family-run hotel and service is accomplished with very friendly, caring staff creating the feeling that you are visiting family.
The pebbled beach is specially for hotel guests with sunbeds and umbrellas provided free of charge. You can take boat trips to nearby Positano, Amalfi or Capri directly from the hotel’s own pier, or just stay right there lounging and unwinding on the beach drinking in the atmosphere.
One thing is for sure – you won’t go hungry. Lo Scoglio’s modest seaside restaurant specialises in typical local dishes with everything homemade on site and totally delicious.
It is well known to insiders and yachts anchor in the bay and guests (sometimes celebrities such as the likes of Jennifer Lopez) arrive on dingies, especially on weekends, just to have lunch and dinner here.
The vibe is defiantly unpretentious, the kind of spot where it feels only natural to kick off your sandals and gaze out at the azure of the sea, with the Li Galli islands in the distance, Aperol spritz in hand.
Our curated list of best Positano hotels is updated on an ongoing basis, so be sure to check in from time to time.
Best Positano hotels, Photography: Le Sirenuse, Villa Treville, Villa San Giacomo, Il San Pietro di Positano, Don Alfonso, Hotel Palazzo Murat, Covo dei Saraceni, Hotel Buca di Bacco, Villa Gabrisa, Taverna del Leone, Colle del’Ara, Lo Scoglio da Tommaso.