Tell me about the location: Technicolour star of the Amalfi coast, Positano has been a darling of the jet set since the Sixties, with contemporary A-list fans including Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez and Bella Hadid. A simple fishing village until the 1950s, the town’s glittering rise to fame was abetted by a nod from John Steinbeck, who wrote of this “dream place” in a 1953 essay for Harper’s Bazaar, ‘Positano bites deep’. A five-minute walk from the port and enjoying unrivalled views of the majolica-tiled dome of Catholic church Santa Maria Assunta, Le Sirenuse is a sight for sore eyes for guests arriving into Positano by boat, perched amid a dazzle of stacked houses tumbling down rugged cliffs to the sea.
Who’s behind it? Family summer house-turned legendary hotel, Le Sirenuse was opened in 1951 by Neapolitan siblings Aldo, Paolo, Anna and Franco Sersale, and has been run by the Sersale family ever since. Following a comprehensive refurb led by Franco in the 1990s, the establishment today remains a bastion of understated, jasmine-scented Italian elegance, with Antonio Sersale along with his wife Carla responsible for the property’s impressive art collection and artist-residency programme. Franco’s treasured antiques and artworks still grace the pale interiors which, along with pops of emerald-green foliage and a service offering regarded as second to none, help to create the hotel’s legendary home-from-home ambience.
The rooms: Le Sirenuse’s 58 white rooms, their floors finished with hand-painted ceramic tiles, all have a private balcony or patio, making the flatscreen TV redundant: million-dollar views take in the town’s colourful houses, lemon groves and hypnotically blue bay. Carrara marble bathrooms come stocked with Eau d’Italie products, the Sersale signature scent.
Food and drink: Join the beautiful people on the al fresco candelit terrace at Aldo's Bar; visit La Sponda for dishes crafted by chef Gennaro Russo; or pop into the little slice of paradise that is the Pool Bar for a caprese salad. Don’t leave without trying house cocktail Le Sirenuse. Invented by head barman Roberto Pane, gin, lemon juice and champagne are joined by a vivid splash of Campari to evoke the hotel’s ‘Pompei red’ exterior, putting a Positano spin on a classic French 75.
What should I see locally? From June to October, guests are invited to set sail on a romantic sunset cruise aboard the Sant'Antonio – a vintage wooden fishing boat built by the present owners’ uncle Aldo. Positano also makes a good base from which to explore Pompeii, Ravello and Capri.