L’Albergo della Regina Isabella Storybook
When I walked into the dreamy, awe-inspiring Albergo della Regina Isabella Hotel and Resort, nestled on the peaceful and romantic Island of Ischia (on the Bay of Naples Italy), I felt as though I had just crossed into the third chapter of a romance novel. I actually, had to pinch myself to establish that the spectacular beauty before me wasn’t merely a dream. The expression, “I feel like I died and went to heaven”, most definately applies here! However, I was very much alive and this stunning hotel with its gorgeous panoramic views gave me an energy boost just by being a part of it. Everything about this enchanting 5 star hotel took my breath away. It could very well be one of the most amazing hotels I have ever had the good fortune to be a guest of. I feel even finding this hotel is like I had discovered a rare jewel. The Regina Isabella is graceful, posh, sophisticated, serene, opulent, chic and luxurious all set in an ambiance of comfortable elegance. This is without a doubt the most surreptitiously discrete, hush-hush hotel in the world. I feel as if I broke some code to even reveal it and be here.
L’albergo della Regina Isabella’s” delivers all their guests personalized hospitality. The staff goes above and beyond anything I have ever seen to ensure that each and every guest enjoys a once in a life time experience. I found the individual attention to all their guests needs quiet remarkable. Whatever it is that I required or asked for was taken care of with a smile and a graceful finesse. It appeared that the staff was on top of every task. It is impossible not to notice the exceptionally high level of service throughout the hotel. Their manner is unassuming and discreet as the staff members move around the hotel, with their only concern being the guest’s happiness.
The award winning hotel and its awesome grounds would have inspired me to paint, if only I were an artist. It is truly that spectacular and it seems the best kept secret from Americans, which I would love to change. I don’t think I have ever felt more spoiled, pampered, indulged or babied to this degree by any other hotel in the world (And I loved it)! The attention to every detail on every inch of the hotel is notable. The décor distinctively recalls the classic fifties luxury. Its lavish furnishings, beautiful hand painted Maiolica floor tiles, and a touch of the classic Mediterranean charisma, all complemented by the works of contemporary artists and modern design features.
The hotel’s architecture and interior decorating clearly shows confirmation of a culture founded on appreciation of beauty and good taste. The bright and soothing Mediterranean fashion interiors are decorated with hand painted Neapolitan tiled floors, derived from the old tradition of the school of Capodimonte, hand painted tiles, antique pieces in the typical style of Patrician Neapolitan villas decorated with Murano chandeliers, paintings and tapestries of the finest craftsmanship.
An incredible member of the staff Annalisa, took me on a complete tour throughout the entire hotel and its rooms. I was astounded by every aspect of the lavish yet comfortable décor and ambiance of each individual room. I know nothing can be this good to be true, however, this hotel is and without a doubt extraordinary. So much so, that Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton stayed here while they were filming ‘Cleopatra’. I rest my case! Speaking of a magical, fairytale, real life understanding (as corny as it sounds), that is the only way to put into words the character of this special establishment.
When I left the picturesque grounds of the Hotel (which I must admit was very rare), it was quite lovely to stroll about the charming seaside fishing village of Lacco Ameno located by the hotel. The city is surrounded by rocks reflecting 2,700 years of tradition and history and the green canopy of the regions pine woods.
This whole island is eye candy. Walking around the scenic island, the little square called SoSanta Restituta, the little local shops, antique shops, clothing stores, cafes and the many seaside restaurants made for such a delightful afternoon. Ischia Island, famous for relaxation, sunbathing, thermal waters and volcanic mud is the largest island on the Gulf of Naples. Its unspoiled, natural surroundings and ideal climate promote a low-keyed environment that helps its visitors to slow down and unwind from the fast paced world we live in.
Hotel Regina Isabella, the thermal complex hotel was built on the site of the ancient Greco-Roman ruins during the 1950s, by distinguished publisher and film producer, Angelo Rizzoli. He was captivated (who wouldn’t be?) by the gorgeous setting and tradition of the natural springs. The hotel quickly became the ‘IT’ resort, a haven for the jet set and the center of fashionable culture. It was and still is in my opinion, acknowledged as one of the world’s most glamorous and sought-after destinations. Such legends as: Matt Damon, Rosario Dawson, Laura Dern, Matt Dillon, Ralph Fiennes, Peter Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola, Jacqueline Bisset, Andrea Bocelli, Sting, Oliver Stone, Hilary Swank, Elizabeth Taylor, Sheryl Crowe, Stanley Tucci, Sheryl Crow, Val Kilmer, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Naomi Watts, Harvey Weinstein, Richard Burton, Maria Callas, Charlie Chaplin, Edda Ciano Mussolini, Mariagrazia Cucinotta, Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Giancarlo Giannini, Terry Gilliam, Danny Glover, Peter Greenaway, Katherine Hepburn, Paul Haggis, Eva Herzigova, William Holden, Randy Ingerman, Val Kilmer, Diane Kruger, John Landis, Jason Lewis, Gina Lollobrigida, Elsa Martinelli, Indro Montanelli, Laura Pausini, Michele Placido, Gianni Agnelli, Dario Argento, Serena Autieri, Burt Bacharach, Chistiaan Barnard, Harry Belafonte, Michel Platini, Vanessa Redgrave, Vincenzo Salemme, Stefania Sandrelli, Valentino, Alberto Sordi, Jean Claude Van Damme, Carlo Verdone, Christoph Waltz, Lina Wertmuller and Zucchero (to name just a few), have all stayed here. Show business, commerce, politics, and culture have discovered the hotel, drawn by the prestigious festivals and cultural events that take place on Ischia. However, most Americans have not even heard of Ischia. I suppose that is why the famous feel safe and comfortable to frequent the island in peace…
The resorts appearance is of cinematic, dramatic, grandeur. It is surrounded by magnificent culture and obviously devoted to beauty that exemplifies the light, life and charms of old world Italy. Its rich majestic environment that reveals panoramic views of the Gulf of Naples is nothing short of awesome.
The amazing spa:
The spa is one of the star features of the Regina Isabella, due to the unique therapeutic mineral waters the volcanic island is legendary for. There is a clinical feel and is extremely impressive with a tranquil, professional, no-nonsense approach that assured me that I was in expert hands at all times. There are both medical (a medical doctor has an office in the spa) and beauty treatments, ranging from traditional volcanic mud wraps straight from underground ‘holes’, to advanced massages and relaxation therapies from specialists in Thai, Indian and Ayurvedic massage.
The spa is gracefully run by the very skilled and experienced manager Costanza Popolano. She sat me down and spent time explaining the treatments as well as selecting with great knowledge, exactly what I needed for mental and physical well being. She also, discussed in detail the products that are exclusive and can only be purchased here on the premises. I took home a suitcase full, no joke.
The island of well-being has a wealth of treasures buried under the soil. In terms of density of sources, it is the most important in Europe.
The astonishing energy of the “Multi-Active Waters” of the springs comes from the contact with volcanic rocks. The beneficial qualities of the thermal mud, rich in minerals, vitamins and natural proteins are due to the close proximity to the sea. The mud from the Springs of Le Terme Della Regina Isabella is gathered in natural caves on the Island of Ischia. These qualities that they bring to the body are extensive and have been documented by medical studies and clinical trials. The thermal mud combined with the “multi-active waters” stimulates the metabolism and all the vital functions of the body, which in turn improve circulation and oxygenate the tissues. Because of these special properties in the waters, it is possible to treat metabolic ailments, rheumatic and respiratory system illnesses and diseases of the joints and infertility.
The Regina Isabella is embracing a new philosophical approach of well-being. The thermal springs began during the 8th century, when Greek settlers first started using the hot waters gushing from the slopes of Mount Epomeo. It was the Romans who first realized the potential of the springs and placing the waters of Lacco Ameno under the protection of the mythical hero Hercules, turned them into a health and recreation resort, which became one of the most popular in the Roman Empire.
Guests who are interested in body care; “L’Albergo della Regina Isabella” offers the opportunity to combine traditional thermal treatment with plastic dermatological treatment which regenerates natural harmony and beauty to the figure. Personalized course of treatments are designed to reactivate forgotten resources with the aid and guidance of expert post-traumatic therapists. This treatment aims to rehabilitate physical natural balance as both prevention and cure. Furthermore, this is one of the most incredible hotels to visit for their many legendary and cutting edge advanced treatments.
Speaking of pampering, the Thermal Baths & Spa offers a sophisticated and complete range of Ischia spa treatments for health and beauty that guests can create a personal journey towards healing and relaxation. For example, there are Ozone-therapy, Tibetan exercises, anti-age, moisturizing, Thermal P Dermatology, sebo balancing and bio-peeling, firming and sculpting, energy through a personalized program body re-balancing, personalized body building and Interferential therapy including: ionoforesis, ultrasound and laser. The spa has developed its own complete line of “Terme della Regina Isabella Bio-cosmetic products from natural resources of the island and they are unique and rare because of the miraculous properties of the multi-active waters of volcanic origin, marine Thermal clays, and healing Mediterranean plants. Thermal clays take advantage of the absorbing properties of thermal mud providing a complete purifying and exfoliating treatment. These include: skin purifying products, moisturizing products, nutritional products, skin protection products, men’s Skin-care products as well as sunscreens and many other rare products.
I enjoyed the once in a life time amazing Ischia mud bath, a brilliant massage by the Marco Torrre and an Ischia mud facial. I will never forget these treatments. Kudos to all involved in this incredible spa. My time here will forever be remembered fondly.
Regina Isabella Restaurants
The hotel’s two sumptuous restaurants have an outstanding reputation which is well deserved. The Sporting Restaurant has a yacht club feel and looks out onto the beautiful sea vista. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The display of foods on the daily breakfast and lunch buffets are extraordinary and boast the grandest level of variety I have ever been honored to enjoy. There is a series of tables that show off endless amazing appetizers, salads, pastas and sweets. The dishes included in the buffet are nothing short of food poetry with out of-this-world presentations. Everything I ate was mouthwatering, cooked and prepared on the premises by master chefs. In addition, each day there are freshly caught fish that are cooked to order.
Regina Isabella restaurant, with its overwhelming beauty is lavishly decorated. It is an elegantly appointed dining room, framed by huge panoramic windows looking out across the bay. The restaurant offers incredibly delicious traditional and original dishes, featuring fish, with a splendid Italian international wine list. Dining here was among the most memorable highlights of my stay.
Regina Isabella Gourmet Dining
Dining at the gourmet restaurant is more than a memory; it is an opulent, exclusive, celebrated food event of the uppermost culinary arts and services. It is kept small with only a few tables to keep the intimate atmosphere and service perfection. The menu is created by the innovative genius, Chef Pasquale Palamaro. Together with his chefs to pay tribute to seafood in the Mediterranean, they deliver imaginative and exquisite dishes that I have never before encountered. His foods are a celebration of taste, texture and creativity put together with stunning presentations. His combinations of flavors were spectacular and inventive. This is a place to experience the most refined dining, from exceptional ingredients combined with the talented, groundbreaking and inventive chefs that eat, sleep and breathe food creations. Chef Pasquale Palamaro, harvests the produce in the restaurant’s private vegetable garden.
This is truly a place that would astound food connoisseurs … I want to thank the more than charming and handsome Luigi Papa for taking care of my every dining need with style and the highest standard of excellence. Bravo to chef Palamaro for his artistic delectable stunning dishes and Luigi for his guidance and service. I ordered the Acorn Flour’s home-made ravioli with scampi with cherry tomatoes and ricotta mousse, Acquerello risotto with lobster and the Islands Turbot with lemon-thyme.
Everything was luscious and succulent with a melt- in-your -mouth tenderness, brilliantly superb combinations of flavor and all around divine creativity … For dessert, I ordered everything, seriously almost… The lemon meringue and almond milk ice cream and all the little pastries were sinful. This whole gourmet service was unforgettable and I can still recall the flavors and see the artistry today.
The hotel has a fully equipped fitness center, Sauna, Steam bath, Tennis, Wind surfing, Child care services, Island excursions by private motorboat, jogging or hiking along the island’s many forests trail, private boat transfer to Castel Volturno, the Volturno Golf Club with 18holes, Gym course, private yacht and three different pools. In addition, there is the Regina Bar, Sporting Bar and Wine Cell. Ischia Island, with its rich history and natural beauty offers enormous opportunities for lovers of the outdoors and sports, like paragliding, windsurfing, horseback trekking in the hills, to sailing, canoeing and diving.
“L’Albergo Della Regina Isabella offers 128 elegant guestrooms with their luxurious décor diverse in antique furniture and modern amenities. There are 27 luxury units, equipped with every possible comfort. The architecture and internal furnishings of these Ischia accommodations reflect a culture dedicated to the pursuit of beauty. The rooms are bright with majestic spaces in a Mediterranean style, floors in genuine Capodimonte ceramic and hand-painted majolica. The furniture is in the style of the patrician villas of Naples, Murano glass lighting fixtures, paintings, pictures, and tapestries of the finest craftsmanship. The characteristically 1950’s decor is complemented by works of contemporary artists and modern design features. The bed and bedding are extremely plush and inviting. I felt so cozy and elegant in my suite. Everything in my room was the finest in luxury, the most chic and exquisitely regal. I felt like a princess and very privileged.
All of the stunning rooms that I saw were enormously spacious, offering the highest levels of comfort and are equipped with air conditioning, satellite, safe deposit box, mini-bar, direct international dialing telephones and Wi-Fi (in public areas) and terraces with magnificent sea views. Rooms also, have television and radio, Bang & Olufsen video systems, in-room ADSL cable connection, robes, adorable slippers, whirlpool or Cascade showers. The amenities in each room come in the most outrageously wonderful basket and are simply divine. I admit that I did take them home with me. Being offered this kind of treat in a hotel is quite rare.
The Imperial Suite has: two or three bedrooms, a sitting room and up to five bathrooms, private swimming pool on the terrace and a private self-service bar and butler service.
Royal Suites have: picturesque balconies, one bedroom, sitting room and two bathrooms with private pool with whirlpool on the terrace.
Double Deluxe Royal are: Spacious rooms elegantly decorated with antique pieces of furniture and hand painted tiles with a balcony or terrace overlooking the sea. Private pool, whirlpool or cascade shower.
Suite Regina Isabella: This suite is located in the main wing of the hotel. There is a spacious and comfortable living room, two bathrooms and scenic balconies overlooking the hotel’s private bay and Gulf of Naples.
Junior Suites: The junior suites have a separate sitting room, balconies or terraces facing the sea and are decorated in relaxing pastel colors.
Double Superior rooms with sea view: Beautiful sea view, large balconies and modern furnishings.
Double Standard rooms with sea view: Comfortable, elegant and characterized by a combination of different styles.
Double Superior rooms with garden view: Furnished in Classic Mediterranean style, these rooms have a view of the hotel’s lovely park and the town’s square.
Single Superior rooms with sea view: Refined and elegant rooms in a warm atmosphere. Spectacular sea views from their spacious balconies.
Single Standard rooms with sea view: Recently renovated, spacious, elegant and decorated in different styles.
Small pets allowed except for the Spa, restaurants/bars and common areas.
There are four separate swimming pools on the grounds. One with purified sea water, one hypothermal, one for thalassotherapy, and the sensual revival pool for music therapy, color therapy, and aromatherapy.
My visit at the magical “L’Albergo della Regina Isabella felt so glamorous. The hotel is very prestigious and instilled a superior sense of class and style. I was at all times happy due to the cheerful and friendly kindness of the staff.
This cozy, warm, serene yet sophisticated hotel with its strikingly rich architectural setting is the destination to enjoy moments of great pleasure and the best that life has to offer. It is a fabulous place to unwind throughout the year for both pleasure, business, family fun or a romantic hideaway. I just can’t wait to go back to this piece of heavenly bliss…
I rate the “L’Albergo della Regina Isabella an A+ on every level possible of the highest hotel standards.
I would like to thank the ever so chaming and charismatic Annalisa and PierangeloTondina for all their help, guidance and support in writing this article.
Piazza Restituta 1, Lacco Ameno D’Ischia
Ischia Island, Bay of Naples, 80076
00800 7123 1030 Hotel Website
Watch Video Tour – (Italian)