4.29.2016

486. Capri | Punta Tragara Hotel

Punta Tragara view
I stayed a couple nights at the Punta Tragara Hotel when in Capri. This was definitely the best hotel I've ever stayed at in my life!! I stayed at four different hotels during my time in Italy. I truly LOVED all of them (for different reasons) but my favourite overall, especially in terms of my suite/view/pool/the hotel itself, was Punta Tragara.

Punta Tragara Hotel is perched atop the cliffs of Capri, overlooking the Faraglioni Rocks. It has a long history. It was built and designed by Le Corbusier in 1920. During WWII, it was home to the American command and welcomed notable guests such as General Eisenhower and Sir Winston Churchill. In 1968 it was bought by Count Goffredo Manfredi as a holiday home before it turned into a hotel in 1973.

Visiting a place like Capri was amazing on its own, but staying at this hotel really added to the experience. It really is one of the best hotels in Capri because of its location, panoramic views and general ambiance. Punta Tragara is a 5 Star Hotel, but seems to be on a class of its own. They are part of Small Luxury Hotels. With only 44 rooms/suites, they were able to offer really personalized services. All the staff greeted me by name when they saw me and made me feel like a highly valued guest.

I took 80+ photos of the hotel, in preparation for this review (and just because everywhere you looked was so beautiful). I have to say, it was extremely difficult for me to narrow down the best photos but I managed to keep it down to 35. I will share my experience as best I can but this is one of those places you actually have to visit to fully appreciate, as photos do not do justice. I will also warn you this is going to be quite a lengthy post.

I had a Junior Suite. It was bright and airy, with the window and balcony doors spanning 2 floors. The photo above was the view from my balcony, overlooking the famous Faraglioni Rocks.

map of Capri
Welcome Service: Upon my arrival at Marina Grande (the main port of Capri), a hotel representative was there to greet me and take my luggage. I had arranged this service prior to my arrival. Most parts of Capri is not accessible by car, so they have a service where they bring your luggage up on something similar to a golf cart. The main parts of Capri is high above the cliffs, so you'd have to take a funicular up and down to the port. They had a ticket ready for me, handed me this map and I was on my way. As you can see, Punta Tragara Hotel is pretty much at the very end of the island however the walk there from La Piazzetta (the main square) was only 15-20min. & it was a very scenic walk!

Punta Tragara Capri
Via V. Emanuele has a lot of restaurants. Via Camarelle has a lot of designer fashion boutiques. & Via Tragara is very peaceful and quiet..lined with a lot of high end hotels and villas, with the best views of the sea. At the very end of Via Tragara is the Punta Tragara Hotel! (Fun fact: As you approach the hotel, you will hear a woman singing loudly in Italian. She has a small juice stand right beside the hotel with freshly squeezed fruit juices) Right in front of the hotel is also the lookout point for the Faraglioni Rocks, so often there will be some people around there.

Punta Tragara Hotel Capri
Punta Tragara lobby
Check In: They were already expecting my arrival when I got there. A few members of the staff were there to greet me and offered me a glass of champagne during check-in (which I declined in place of water since I was pretty thirsty from the walk). The check-in process was quick and seamless. I was personally shown around the hotel, then brought to my suite and introduced to all the amenities. My luggage then arrived a few minutes after. As they led me up, I admired all the beautiful art and designs throughout the hotel:

Punta Tragara Hotel
Torta Caprese
They had this Torta Caprese prepared for me. It was delicious!! It is a chocolate and almond cake originating from Capri. (I think I need to find a place to get this in Toronto...) The next evening at turn down service they had some salted nuts waiting for me.

Punta Tragara Capri View
Another photo of my beautiful view, gazing out to the endless horizon. My balcony had a small table and 2 lounge chairs.

Punta Tragara Junior Suite
The Suite: Here is a partial view of my suite. To the side of the entrance is a large walk-in closet. Then there is an area with a desk, a sitting area, and upstairs is the bedroom and bathroom.

Punta Tragara Suite
Punta Tragara Junior Suite
Punta Tragara closet
Punta Tragara hotel minibar
Very well-stocked mini-bar!

Punta Tragara Junior Suite
Punta Tragara Capri bed
One thing I really loved was that they change all my bed sheets entirely each day. On the first night I had a different set/different coloured bedsheets and pillows. The bed was also super comfy.

Punta Tragara Junior Suite
Punta Tragara bathroom
Bathroom: The bathroom was huge! It had Etro toiletries and a small trunk of everything you could possibly need: slippers, hairdryer, sleep mask, sewing kit, mouth wash, shaving kit, etc.

Punta Tragara washroom
Punta Tragara bathroom
Punta Tragara washroom toiletries
Punta Tragara pool
Pool Bar: I loved the pool bar area so much. If I had more time I could probably spend an entire day there just lounging around. There are two pools here; a heated and non-heated one. The staff here were very attentive and non-intrusive. When I was there, there were only a few other guests and most of the time I was there by myself. It was so relaxing and peaceful to just lay there watching the sea and the sunset. The whole area is very large. It contains the restaurant (with indoor and outdoor seating) then another area for the outdoor bar.

Punta Tragara pool
Punta Tragara pool bar
Punta Tragara pool
Punta Tragara pool bar
Punta Tragara Capri apple martini
I ordered this apple mojito which tasted as good as it looks. They also brought me a lot of complimentary snacks from the restaurant like the bruschetta in the photo above, and some other things like slider burgers and seafood hors d'oeuvres. Everything was delicious.

Capri sunset pool
Punta Tragara Monzu restaurant
Breakfast: A quality buffet breakfast always makes my stay all the more enjoyable. Along with an array of fresh fruits (which tasted really fresh), pastries, cakes, cold meats, cheeses, smoked salmon, etc..there was also a menu you could order from which had things like omelettes, waffles, crepes, pancakes, porridge and more. Everything together with the perfect view!

Breakfast Monzu RestaurantAfter I was seated, they promptly brought me my freshly squeezed orange juice and green tea along with a panna cotta.

Punta Tragara Capri breakfast
Punta Tragara breakfast
Punta Tragara Capri breakfast
Belgian Waffle
I had a crepe one morning and a Belgian waffle the next..sooooo good.

Givenchy Antigona light blue
Capri sunset
The perfect bag stand for my bag & a final sunset.

Check Out: The evening before I was to check out, the front desk helped me arrange my luggage transport again. They set a time for the porter to come up to get my bags. For my last nights in Capri I switched to a different hotel (which I will review as well soon!). On the morning of, my check out was very quick and seamless as well. They kindly called the other hotel for me to check if everything was ready for my arrival (as it was pretty early and hours before normal check in time). My room was ready so I went off on my own, then the two hotels arranged the luggage transport for me separately.

Overall my experience at the Punta Tragara was amazing. The service and everything there exceeded my expectations. I definitely will return to Capri at some point again in my life and would love to stay here again!!

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4.27.2016

485. Day 8 - Rome

Aroma Restaurant breakfast Rome
I almost made it to the end of my trip by daily posting, but on the last day I just wasn't able to. I had to wake up at 6am for my flight the next morning so I didn't have time that evening..so now I am posting this from back home in Toronto (unfortunately)! I really wish I was still there, especially in Rome as I didn't have nearly enough time there. Actually when I booked the trip, I didn't even think about visiting Rome. If I had planned it better, I think a week in Rome would be ideal. The architecture, Piazzas, and everything in the city are so beautiful. I love art and photography so I had a lot of fun just walking around and taking photos of everything. I really have to return one day. I've visited once before when I was 17 and don't remember much at all..but that was a very different experience as I went with my mom on a tour.

So on my final day in Rome, I started with breakfast at my hotel's restaurant - Aroma. Aroma is on the rooftop of the building with the PERFECT view of the Colosseum. They are a Michelin-Starred restaurant and book up months in advance for dinner especially. As I only sorted out my stay there maybe a week before I arrived, I unfortunately couldn't get a table for dinner but they reserved me a nice table for lunch. I will do a full review on it in a future post. Their breakfast was very good. The atmosphere was nice and relaxing, with my favourite lounge music (some of Hotel Costes songs) playing in the background.

After my breakfast, I walked out to realize it was extremely windy and quite cold that day. I very impulsively decided to buy a Louis Vuitton scarf. I don't know if it was impulsive actually, since I had wanted it for a few years now lol. But I never had a good enough reason to buy it until that day. I really love it, especially in this colour (as you probably know, I love navy blue/all shades of blue). I also realized that Louis Vuitton, and most designer items, are a lot less expensive to purchase in Europe than here in Toronto. For example this scarf I got for about ~$300 LESS than I would have paid here..after taking into account the currency conversion & VAT refund!

Louis Vuitton Monogram Shawl
Outfit Leftbanked
Colosseum Line Up
My first stop of the day was the Colosseum. My hotel had kindly arranged tickets for me so I didn't have to purchase them on my own, and technically my tickets should have allowed me to bypass the line. In the photo above, you can see how crazy long the line was. I couldn't even get the whole line up in the photo lol. I can't even imagine how much worse this would be if it was during the peak tourist season. To get an idea of how packed it was...my "line bypass" tickets had its own line up!! It was just for the security check but luckily went pretty quickly and I only waited about 10 minutes.

Colosseum interior
Many people recommend going in here to get an idea of how large it is but to be honest I wasn't too impressed..I think a lot of other sites in Rome are more interesting. It was nice to go in but if I had to, I would not spend more than 30min lining up to go in. I really loved the Roman Forum though so if you are tight on timing, I recommend lining up to go in there instead. I also waited about 10min only with my line bypass tickets and the actual line there was a lot shorter than the Colosseum.

Pantheon opera singer
After the Colosseum, I just walked around aimlessly. This is my favourite thing to do when I travel on my own. Rome is perfect for this as there is so much to see and so many tourists to follow behind (so you don't need to plan out your route)..so wherever you walk to, you know you'll end up finding a good spot. Here is the Pantheon. There was this street performer there singing "Time to Say Goodbye". I guess that was a fitting song for my last day of the trip lol. He was so good! I love all the musical street performances there (there are a lot)..really adds to the atmosphere of the city. I took a quick video. I don't know how to upload it on here but it's on my Instagram if you want to take a look - CLICK HERE

Tucci Ristorante Rome
Another thing I love about Rome is all the Piazzas. One of my favourites is Piazza Navona. I went here and sat at the patio of Ristorante Tucci for awhile, enjoying some gelato, tea and free WiFi.

Piazza Navona
Trevi Fountain
Towards the evening it started to get really cold, so I started to head back to my hotel while stopping at (my favourite) Trevi Fountain one final time. If it wasn't so cold and if I didn't have to wake up so early the next morning, I would've walked around all night. This would be a great city for night photography.

Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio
This is inside the small church across Trevi Fountain.

Piazza Venezia

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4.24.2016

484. Day 7 - Rome

Palazzo Manfredi Rome
I am now in Rome!! Sitting in my beautiful hotel, Palazzo Manfredi. I've been very lucky this trip to have all my hotels at a very central location, and the best views of the city (or in the case of Capri - the sea). I am just steps away from the Colosseum here. Speaking of hotels, my Italy trip has been very hotel-focused. I know not everyone is like this but for me, the place I stay at is quite important when visiting a city. Sometimes it really adds to the whole experience and makes it all the more memorable. Like in Capri, I couldn't be happier with the service I received at both Punta Tragara and Casa Morgano. Both hotels offered really personalized services and went above and beyond. They made me feel like more than just one of the many guests at their hotel. Well I will go in more detail for each when I do my review posts.

I had been thinking about it (the hotel service) this morning after an issue arose...as Capri is an island, you always have to take a boat to and from Naples on the mainland. I had booked a train to Rome and needed to take a high speed boat to Naples this morning. I had booked everything already on my own but when I was going back to my room yesterday, I spoke with the front desk to arrange my luggage being brought down to the harbour for me and mentioned that I was taking the boat to Rome. So this morning before I woke up, I received a call from front desk to inform me that they found out all the high speed boats were cancelled for the rest of the day due to the rough waters. I started panicking but then they told me not to worry and they helped me arrange the next option which was to take the slower ferry over. They even made a schedule for me telling me how much time I had for breakfast, when I would have to start walking down to the harbour, etc. There was only one departing that morning (it was a bit earlier than my original boat) so I had to quickly pack up and leave. They even gave me a ticket for the funicular and told me everything I had to do to make sure I got there on time. Obviously if I wasn't informed of the boat cancellation, I would not have known and would have only found out when I went down to get on the boat..then I would've missed my train to Rome and it would've been a disaster. Anyway I prefer not to think of that lol. But I am very happy that it ended up working out, and I successfully made it to Rome.

My hotel in Rome is also pretty amazing. They provided me with tickets to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, & Palatine Hill today and apparently it should help me skip the lines..but today I didn't know how to enter without lining up. Well I managed to not line up for the ticket purchase line at least. Will try again tomorrow to bypass the entrance line (as it's huuuuuuge for the Colosseum). They said they could also get me tickets to Vatican City or wherever else I want to go but unfortunately I only have 2 days here which I now realize is nowhere close to enough!! I must come back to Rome/Italy again soon. I am really starting to love it here.

Angelino Ai Fori Dal 1947
I ate at a restaurant called Angelino Ai Fori Dal 1947 tonight. As it was right beside the Colosseum, I didn't expect the food to be that good as it's tourist central. But this Fettucine Alla Roma was amazing!! I was sitting on the patio though and it got so cold. The weather here in Italy is really annoying. During the day it's very hot but as soon as it hits 6pm or so, it becomes freezing. I thought it would be hot here all day so I didn't bring any warm clothes.

Piazza di Spagna
Here is the Piazza di Spagna. Rome is quite the opposite of Capri. Capri is quite small and quiet in terms of tourists during this time but Rome is huge (lots to see) and soooo many tourists everywhere! Places in Capri also close extremely early, but places in Rome seem to stay open late and people are still out very late. I knew it would be busy here but I didn't expect it to be this busy at every attraction and every street. I like it though. This way I can just follow the crowds and I won't get lost while looking for an attraction (like I usually do).

Trevi Fountain Rome
The Trevi Fountain - my favourite attraction in Rome. So beautiful.

Roman Forum
Roman Forum. I think I may go again tomorrow.

Capri Marina Grande
& my final moments in Capri :(

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