It’s not easy to bridge the gap between family home and chic hotel, but ever since the 1950s, Positano’s Le Sirenuse has been doing just that. Step over the threshold of this colourful villa, perched high above the Amalfi coast, and time slows to a gentle southern Italian pace. The air is scented by lemon trees and wood polish; antique furniture is topped with curios, books and rare orchids collected on the family’s travels, and from every window and terrace panoramic views of the ocean beckon.
‘We went to the Sirenuse, an old family house converted into a first class hotel, spotless and cool, with grape arbors over its outside dining rooms. Every room has its little balcony and looks out over the blue sea to the islands of the sirens ‘
John Steinbeck, Harper’s Bazaar, May 1953
Named for the nearby island of the sirens – a beguiling dot in the distance – the hotel is owned by the Neapolitan Sersale family. It was siblings Aldo, Paolo, Franco and Anna who, in 1951, decided to turn their summer home into a hotel comprising just eight rooms. Nearly seventy years on and a further fifty rooms later, its tranquil spirit and elegant interiors remain intact and the hotel is still firmly in the same family’s hands. A lunch table by the pool under the shade of a vine-laden pergola is an ideal vantage point to watch Italian life go by – and the industrious fishing boats come in.
Le Sirenuse, Via Cristoforo Colombo 30, Positano, sirenuse.it.