San Montano Ischia: Hot Hotels
The island of Ischia is one of the hottest summer 2022 destinations, much to the chagrin of its fiercely loyal cohort of long-time visitors (this writer included) – but it was still inevitable that word would spread about this marvelous 30- kilometer paradise in the glistening Gulf of Naples. Capri’s lesser-known (but much cooler) sibling, Ischia offers exquisite food and drink, unbeatable natural scenery, balmy crystal-clear waters, and a laid-back southern Italian lifestyle mixed with an intoxicating rise of volcanic energy. And the best place to stay to experience it all in an authentic way? It must be San Montano.
Perched high in the hills on the north side of the island, near the characteristic Lacco Ameno and surrounded by lemon trees, San Montano enjoys one of the most enviable (and fragrant) viewpoints in Ischia, overlooking a picturesque bay and the Gulf of Naples beyond. Naturally, therefore, the hotel is designed to soak up the view from every angle: restaurants, bar, rooms and suites all face the sparkling sea, while the spa sprawls above them with a 360 degree panorama. First-time visitors and those with a bent for adventure are also perfectly placed to explore all the island has to offer, from boat trips, sunrise hikes and snorkeling to specially organized fishing trips. The famous La Mortella Botanical Gardens are a short drive away, as are the hot springs of Negombo, the charming town of Forio and all the bustling nightlife of the port.
Do as the locals do by clinging to the glorious concept of it dolce idleness, the sweet art of doing nothing. Days in San Montano are best spent between the lounge chairs, the spa, and the beach below, which the hotel shuttle will take you to whenever you want. The only deviation from this hugely indulgent itinerary would have to be more pampering: Ischia has a long wellness history, so the locally inspired treatments of San Montano are a must. Deep-tissue, Ayurvedic and Tibetan massages will do wonders for weary travellers, while couples should opt for the supremely romantic Lemontano Ritual, consisting of bespoke massages in a hidden corner of the lemon groves, followed by a thermal hydromassage overlooking the sea with a home-grown lemonade.
San Montano’s décor is both classic Mediterranean and modern, a chic combination of patterned tiled floors, whitewashed walls, local art and blue and white furnishings set against the endless azure of the sea and the sky beyond floor-to-ceiling windows, which turns a deep, alluring red in the evening. With such beauty in natural abundance, you don’t really need much else, but for an even more unforgettable experience and exclusive front row seats to the Ischia sunset spectacle, dive into one of the suites with its own infinity pool and make sure you have a bottle of champagne on ice.
food and drink
When we say you never have to leave the resort, we’re not kidding: there are a grand total of three restaurants in San Montano serving the finest regional cuisine. Renowned island-wide for their authentic yet elegant offering, they buzz all summer long with guests, locals and regulars, who come early for an aperitif in the Sunset Lounge and stay late to fully savor each course. The Veranda is the smartest of the three and particularly atmospheric on a windy night: its floor-to-ceiling glass frame clinks with every gust and guests remain comfortably cocooned inside feasting on raw truffled red prawns. black and buffalo mozzarella, rabbit ravioli, “Scialatielli” pasta with seafood and beautifully grilled fish of the day, typical Ischian dishes that have been taken to the highest peaks. But it wouldn’t be Naples without pizza, and the poolside Acropoli Pizza Bar does its best, using local produce and the resort’s own lemon to add a real sense of place and some truly epic flavors. . Wait a bit before your next dip in the pool…