This section contains a select range of Italian Hotels that symbolize top-class hospitality. Have fun discovering the characteristics of the principal types and which of the profiles suits you the most, and best meets your requirements. Maybe in the place you have always dreamed of visiting...
This is a hospitality structure with at least 7 rooms, which, for a fee, offers accommodation for stays that are generally of a short duration.
This is a structure that is out of the ordinary, which has an exceptional past, so that it may be considered an authentic legend of international hospitality. Iconic examples include the Grand Hotel in Rimini and the Excelsior Hotel in Venice Lido.
Albergo diffuso (Multi-building or Integrated Hotel)
This is a kind of cross between a house and a hotel, ideal for those not particularly fond of staying in hotels; for those that prefer to think of themselves as temporary residents rather than simple tourists. The hotel is divided into parts located in different buildings all within the same area. There is more: by definition, its elements must not be more than 200 metres apart from each other. Patrons must be able to move easily from one building to the others under all weather conditions.
The adjective ‘diffuso’ (spread out) denotes a horizontal structure, not vertical like in traditional hotels, while the term ‘albergo’ indicates that guests may avail of all the services normally found in a hotel.
The ‘albergo diffuso’ is a typically Italian hospitality solution, and aims to have zero environmental impact: in fact, nothing new is built; rather, new life is brought to hamlets, conurbations and villages that have fallen into disuse by redesigning them as tourist destinations (in a context of ‘urbsturismo’ or urban tourism) that are off the beaten track and which are dedicated to contact with rural areas and small businesses. According to the statistics, 33% of these have between 1,000 and 5,000 inhabitants, while 30% have less than 500 housing units.
Today in Italy, there are around sixty multi-building hotels recognized by the “Associazione degli Alberghi diffusi” and it is predicted that another fifty or so will open in the next few years. In the month of June 2012, for example, 4 were opened – in Sardinia (Aquae Sinis in Cabras), Lazio (Borgo Vistalago in Trevignano Romano), Umbria (Borgo Badia in Castiglion del Lago) and Sicily (Albergo Diffuso in Scicli) – demonstrating the appreciation that has arisen for this modus hospitandi, in Italy and abroad.
The term ‘boutique hotel’ arose in the USA in the 80s and indicates luxury hotels of small dimensions – by definition, between 3 and 100 rooms, even if in large Anglo Saxon cities boutique hotels often have more than 100 rooms – which offer made-to-measure services. In Italy, however, the concept of the dimensions is different, and on average our boutique hotels have around fifty rooms.
They are little treasure chests of luxury which, by contrast, emerge in big cities more than in any other surroundings, almost as if they wish to be a counter-melody to them, and an idyllic haven from their frenetic pace. As such, they do not fit in with the logic of hotel chains, but instead tend to avoid them and stand, proudly, independent.
The creator of this new concept of hospitality is the guru Ian Schrager – the current owner of The Public in Chicago and co-founder of Edition Hotels together with Marriott – on the occasion of the opening of Morgans Hotel and The Royalton in New York. Other famous examples of boutique hotels include Blakes Hotel in London and the Bedford in San Francisco. Italy has the Bulgari in Milan.
Features of the structures that fall into this category include the rooms, which are all different, with top standards and 24-hour services, orientation towards a specific target market and frequent clients with a very precise profile: from 25 to 55 years of age, of high social standing, and with a sizable income.
This is a structure created to integrate and complete the facilities found in offices, hence the nerve centre of this type of accommodation is the convention centre, when it is present, or meeting rooms holding varying numbers of people. Everything in a business hotel rotates around the specific requirements of the typical patron: travelling businessmen.
The location is hence strategic, either in correspondence with the main traffic connections, or downtown, in the so-called business central district. This is so as to have everything necessary within easy reach, preferably within walking distance. In recent years, hotels within airports or in their immediate vicinity have become strategic; particularly for brief meetings with people arriving from other countries.
The motto of this type of hospitality can be summarized in the formula “Always at the top, always the best”. Differently from hotels dedicated to leisure clients, the average stay in a business-oriented structure is 1-2 nights, which means that the hotel has very little time to create an excellent impression and ensure that patrons will choose it again the next time they are in town.
All eyes are therefore on the highest standards of service, especially from the perspective – and the trend is increasingly present – of high profile events, combined with culinary excellence and top-level relaxation.
The country resort chooses the most convenient settings for a stay immersed in nature, and this is its charm. It is no coincidence that country resorts are also decidedly eco-friendly. For many of them, the dual definition of country & eco resort is valid.
The design hotel is a close relative of the boutique hotel, and in certain senses can be considered its evolution. In Anglo Saxon environments in the ’90s, the term was used to define a “minimalist” version of a boutique hotel. A space designed to be inhabited every day, not by the super-rich, but by sophisticated middle-to-high class patrons of discriminating tastes.
Nowadays, the category ‘design hotel’ indicates a structure that places the emphasis on attention to design, which is considered as important as the service.
These days, the panorama of design hotels is more diversified and transversal than ever: from four-star city hotels, the preferred destination of business clientele, to luxury hotels designed by so-called “archistars”, which, note, are no longer confined to big cities. Fine examples include the Byblos Art Hotel, Villa Amistà by Alessandro Mendini in Corrubbio di Negarine, T Hotel in Verona by Mario Bellini, Atelier sul Mare in Castel di Tusa, Messina – the first hotel in Italy to promote the combination of hospitality + art – or DuoMo Hotel in Rimini, designed by Ron Arad.
This type is aimed at individual clients and is specialized in family-format stays and tailor-made stays for children and teenagers.
Its trumps are comfort, flexibility in working hours and services created especially for children: from catering to kids’ clubs, in-room services and services dedicated to the different age ranges so as to give each member of the family – from the eldest to the youngest – the chance of experiencing a fun holiday constructed around their specific requirements. One that is all about freedom and relaxation for parents.
In the beginning it was Coco Chanel, then Krizia – in 1988 – with the K Club in Barbuda. They were the pioneers of the fashion hotel, also known as designer hotels.
In short, a house of hospitality expressing the creativity of the most famous stylists. So far, few have been able to resist the charm of hospitality; Chanel and Krizia have been joined by Armani, Bulgari, Camper, Diesel Fendi, Ferragamo, Givency, Lacroix, Missoni, Miss Sixty, Philip Treacy, Versace and Luis Vuitton.
Pomp, luxury and excess: these are some of their shared characteristics, together with certain essential and obviously exclusive assets. From attention to prize-winning haute cuisine to a vocation for beauty & wellness, up to the presence of a personal butler, available round-the-clock to satisfy your every whim.
These are properties that take on cultural, historical and anthropological interest, from the point of view of human dwellings. Not just villas, hence, but also castles, inns, and manor houses.
The definition of the historic inn can be found in Law no. 1089 dated 1 June 1939 for the Safeguarding of Properties of Artistic or Historic Interest, which states that restrictions are placed on all those “things, buildings and furniture that have artistic, historical, archaeological or ethnographical interest. Curiously, this definition does not cover the works of living authors or those less than 50 years old.
Historic Inns are protected with taxes lower than those to which dwellings are subject and are reviewed by the FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano – Italian Environment Fund).
These are luxury structures dedicated to hospitality. They are often stately homes adapted as hotels or which, maintaining their identity, are combined with other buildings that serve as bedrooms. Relais are normally located in areas in direct contact with nature, where patrons stay for a weekend or an entire week, but with a sole objective: to relax and enjoy superior service, excellent cuisine and all the facilities on offer. A Relais is usually managed by the family that owns it, and they take care of the guests personally, thus making the hospitality proposed all the more friendly. In Relais that are not run by a family, instead of a manager we find the Maitré de Maison.
A resort is a hotel with multi-purpose facilities, usually spread over a large area. Patrons here may avail of various services. Nowadays - apart from the hotel - bars, restaurants, swimming pools, convention and fitness centres, health spas and gathering places are all considered essential facilities in top-level addresses. There are resorts we may define as first generation, which grew up around areas with a consolidated vocation for tourism, and there are other, more recent ones, which are actually constructed in areas with little tourist appeal, so that they themselves become the jewel in the crown of the place in which they are inserted and bring the advantage of upgrading the area in which they are built. In this case, they are usually themed structures where every service and all the details are constructed around a specific leitmotiv, which is generally determined by the characteristics of the surrounding territory, with which this type of hospitality always has a special, and very strong bond.
Salus per Aquam. Wellness attained through water. This category comprises all the hotels and resorts that are located in the vicinity of thermal springs and which exploit the benefits of the properties of the water in their special treatments and for their swimming pools. Eminent examples of spa destinations have long been Abano, Montecatini Terme and Sirmione. In a Spa Resort, the accommodation and the service are tailored to allow the patron experience wellness in all its forms. Thus there are cutting-edge wellness centres that offer complete remise en forme programmes. From natural food to physical exercise to exclusive and unique therapies that are often patented and become registered trademarks. Very often, the term Spa Resort is incorrectly used to include hotels boasting Wellness Centres, large or small as they may be.
This is literally a resort in a city, often located right in the heart of the downtown area. The distinguishing feature of this type of hospitality – which is one of the hottest trends in the sector today – is its ability to combine the opulence and the services offered by a resort with the comforts and the efficiency of a city hotel. The complex is set in a garden or park. Perfect examples include the Murano Urban Resort in Paris, the Four Seasons in Florence and the brand new Gran Melià Rome Villa Agrippina in Rome or the Grand Visconti Palace in Milan.