It is no surprise that the Hotel Regina Isabella has been a well kept secret amongst the cognoscenti for the past 25 years, becoming a regular hangout for the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, and Sophia Loren. Nowadays the hotel is mainly frequented by the beautiful and well-off Italians.
Set on the island of Ischia, the hotel nestles in a peaceful and romantic bay on the outskirts of the delightful fishing village of Lacco Ameno, renowned for its thermal springs. Not only is it a fabulous place to unwind throughout the year, but also the perfect destination for families during the summer months when full use can be made of the hotel’s three swimming pools and private beach.
The décor unsurprisingly recalls typical fifties luxury, with lavish furnishings, beautiful hand painted Maiolica floor tiles, and a touch of the classic Mediterranean charm, all complemented by the works of contemporary artists and modern design features. Our favourite rooms are in the recently finished ‘Royal Sporting’ wing, which come complete with hydro massage plunge pools on each private terrace, bubbling over with hot thermal waters.
The spa is one of the main features of the Regina Isabella, due to the unique therapeutic mineral waters the volcanic island possesses. Despite being a little clinical, it is certainly impressive and has a relaxed, professional, and no-nonsense attitude which assures guests that they are in expert hands. On offer is an extensive menu of both medical 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 hotel’s two sumptuous restaurants also have an excellent reputation, and deservedly so. For lunch there is the casual poolside Sporting Restaurant which has a yacht club feel to it and looks out onto the sea. The display of food is remarkable, and a series of tables groan under a vast buffet of amazing salads, pasta, and freshly caught fish that are cooked to order. The main restaurant for breakfast and dinner is in the lavishly decorated dining room, framed by huge panoramic windows looking out across the bay, and flooded with sunshine (remember to bring your sunglasses to breakfast!).
It is hard not to notice the exceptionally high level of service throughout the hotel, and we were overwhelmed by the charm and grace of the staff. Their manner is unobtrusive and discreet whilst they quietly shuffle around the hotel, with their only concern being your welfare. The moment you walk into the marbled foyer you sense the overall feeling of calmness, and we just can’t wait to go back.