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Independent Minds: Domenico De Simone, Casa Angelina

Translating as the home of the founder’s grandmother, Casa Angelina more than lives up to its name for welcoming guests into a warm Italian embrace. Capturing the romance of the Amalfi Coast, Domenico De Simone and his team passionately ensure the essence of the surrounding natural beauty is savoured in every stay.

An Aperol Spritz dedicated bar menu to match the orange umbrellas which line an exclusive beach. The scent of citrus fruit and sandalwood lingers in the air, thanks to homemade fragrances using locally sourced ingredients which can be found in the dazzlingly-white bedrooms designed to frame the Tyrrhenian Sea views. These are just a few examples of the sorts of thoughtful touches you’ll find at every tranquil turn of this cliff-top romantic retreat, which oozes authentic Italian charm and keeps the culture of Campania at its core.

What does being ‘Independently Minded’ mean to you?

Being independently minded is a nod to our individuality as a hotel. Casa Angelina doesn’t have to adapt to the guidelines of a larger conglomerate because we’re not part of a chain. Guests can feel our uniqueness throughout their stay with us — there is a pulsating passion found throughout the property. It’s found in our top-line accommodations, contemporary décor with eclectic artwork, specially curated menu at Un Piano Nel Cielo, as well as in the veins of our staff who are dedicated to making each guest feel special.

What was the inspiration behind the hotel, and where do you continue to find sources of inspiration?

When leading architects, Gennaro Fusco and Marco De Luca, renovated the hotel, they framed it so the breathtaking views champion everything else; the vision was to let the outside in. As casa means ‘home’ in English, the inspiration behind our name comes from recreating a contemporary home and transporting the guest to feel as if they’re in a friend’s million-dollar home on the Amalfi Coast – a diverse hospitality concept we introduced to our region – and Angelina was the name of our founder’s mother. Casa Angelina to us is more than just a name, it’s a nod to family and warm hospitality.

The hotel’s inspiration draws from the locale — dramatic angles, floor-to-ceiling windows, and stark white walls amplify the beauty of the water, the sky, and the dramatic cliffs along the coast. Subtle, minimalist furnishings and lighting allow those stunning sea views to take centre stage, while hardwood floors bring warmth and balance. The surrounding landscape continues to inspire us — it’s the core of Casa Angelina; its rigid beauty, coupled with warm Campania culture, is everlasting and impactful, not just for our guests, but for all of us at the hotel.

How do you think your hotel stands apart from other boutique hotels?

Our hotel stands apart from other boutique hotels in many ways. Firstly, in regard to other boutique properties in the area, we are the only contemporary hotel striving for perfection that exhibits 15 different shades of white – perfectly complimenting the blue water of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Once guests arrive at the hotel, they are instantly transported to a state of calm and relaxation and many say it’s like “walking on cloud nine.”

Our hotel is designed for lovers — 35% of our guests get engaged on property — which has led us to provide a wealth of related offerings. This ranges from a proposal concierge — your personal assistant to make you and your partner’s dreams come true when ‘popping the question’ — and a Honeymoon Escape Portrait, where couples can capture one of the most memorable trips of their life through the lens of one of Casa Angelina’s professional partner photographers.

Perfectly situated on the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast in a small, yet charming and authentic village, Praiano allows travellers to escape the hustle and bustle to find their paradise, yet still within close proximity to the beloved towns such as Positano and just a short boat ride away from Capri. In Praiano, guests can expect nature at its finest with stunning views of the entire coastline coupled beautiful beaches, creating the perfect setting for a romantic escape.

If you only had 24 hours to get a taste for your hotel experience, what would you recommend a guest must do?

24 hours is not enough! That said, we will make sure you have the most relaxing day of your life. Your day starts with waking up in one of our Eaudesea Suites, four old fishermen’s cabins built into a grotto, right beside La Gavitella Beach. Breakfast is served on our rooftop, which was made for enjoying meals with an unrivalled view of the azure sea.

Following that, take our complimentary hourly shuttle to nearby Positano, where you can peruse boutiques and gift shops that serve as an ode to Campania. Walking the interweaving pathways, you will definitely be ready for lunch — so, sit down at one of the town’s restaurants and enjoy a pizza (with a view of the sea and Positano’s cascading cliffside residences, for which it’s so famous).

Then, come back to our tantalising hotel, where a lounge chair awaits you; after all, this is your time to relax. Picture this – lying poolside, under one of our quintessential lemon trees, overlooking the sea — nothing else matters. Around 4pm, head over to our spa for our rejuvenating ‘Amalfi Sea Salt Scrub.’ After this refreshing experience — it will be golden hour, which is best enjoyed while sipping a libation from our ‘Aperol Spritz Variation Menu’ at Seascape Cocktail Bar, the ultimate place to enjoy one of the area’s hallmark sunsets. End your day with dinner at our signature rooftop restaurant, Un Piano Nel Cielo, which offers an ever-changing menu and sommelier-curated wine list, all accompanied by the rhythmic crashing of the waves and starlit sky.

How would you describe your own perfect luxury experience?

Working in hospitality, I am keen on 24-hour service. When we book a luxury experience, we are looking to let go; we are looking for a respite from our 9-to-5 daily routines. To have someone accommodate you at any hour of the day — whatever the request may be — is something I value.

Do you have a vision for the future of the hotel?

Regenerative travel is something we’re looking into for future seasons — leaving a place better than when you found it. We are looking to hinge guests to the locale, offering them a symbiotic relationship with Praiano and the local eco-system. As for the property itself, the future will continue to see Casa Angelina more and more like a home, creating a ‘happy place’ for each and every guest. We have already started to think of ways we can ensure this remains our motto and hope to reduce the number of accommodations and create new and more spacious guest rooms.