More times than I care to admit, I've watched Giada's travel specials -- the Italian vacation, the adventure in Capri -- to enjoy a virtual break. Now with Meg Nolan's beautiful book, Italian Hideaways, I have another method of escape.
Priced at an affordable $45, the small edition focuses on 30 intimate, lesser-known Italian hotels and private villas. Diverse spots that Nolan, who acknowledges a longstanding love affair with the country, deems to be the best of the best. A few hideaways (the Ferragamo family's Hotel Lungarno, for one) do have worldwide reputations but Nolan includes them because they still have rooms with a sanctuary feel.
Many properties have that sumptuous Old World beauty we associate with the Mediterranean. All can boast strong design, and Nolan takes special care describing the rooms.
But I think Style Court readers will be especially drawn to the crisp, tailored, fashionable decor of the boutique-style J K Capri and the Florence property, Hotel Lungarno. The interior design of both seems to draw inspiration from their proximity to water. "Movie-set cool" is how Nolan describes J K Capri, shown here directly above and below, and at the top of this post.
Nolan says J K Capri is thoughtfully laid out like a supremely chic home. Inviting beds have David Hicks-style canopies. Nautical navy-and-white dominate, but be sure to visit the hotel's site to see bedrooms enveloped in soft color.
Like "a little boy's sailor suit" is how Nolan interprets the look of Hotel Lungarno. She thinks the clean design offers a nice respite from the city grit of Florence. Here again, navy-and-white are emphasized.
What strikes me about both hideaways is how timeless and universally appealing the design is. Sort of like Audrey Hepburn's simple black turtlenecks, Capri pants, or little shift dresses. Many of the elements -- white cotton upholstery, navy grosgrain trim -- can also be found at all price points. Just a side note: I think the design of Miami's Casa Tua has similar appeal.
Whether you are planning your own Italian adventure or simply want to be a mental traveler, Nolan's book is a great resource. Look for it to hit book shops soon.
Images © David Cicconi, from Italian Hideaways by Meg Nolan, Rizzoli New York, 2008.