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LUXURY HOTELS: Punta Tragara Hotel, Capri, Italy
Style: Corbusier meets chic
Scene: On the rocks
Seen in the lobby: Italian intelligensia and chic couples
 
The little island of Capri is so popular with tourists that sometimes in-season you think it is going to sink right down into the sea under the sheer weight of its own popularity. How do you get a taste of Capri's charm without the crowds? Why stay there of course. Day trippers come and go but when the last white ferry boat has left, riding the waves back to Naples you're left with your own personal rock.

entrance
entrance
lobby
suite
penthouse terrace
pool by night
restaurant

As we step off the ferry boat a porter from the Punta Tragara hotel is there to take our bags. He hands us tickets for the funicular railway and gives us a dubious set of directions for getting to the hotel. Our bags will meet us later. We are free to wander the winding streets of Capri. We could of course have taken a taxi or arranged a hotel car but wandering through the tiny streets unencumbered by bags is a much nicer way to arrive.

We take the rickety railway up to Capri town and walk past its cream coloured designer shops, glittering with stylish merchandise. The day trippers follow their tour guide's flags but we follow our instincts, dipping in and out of cobbled laneways until we have left the crowds behind and can meander quietly along the high walled Via Tragara, with its luxurious villas, cascading flowers and views of the azure sea.

The original villa that became Punta Tragara was designed by the architect Le Corbusier. Although it has to be said his trademark sleek lines are not immediately obvious in the sun-warmed peach coloured walls of the hotel. It is however a beautiful place to stay, perched on the very tip of island as if it has been wrapped around the rock.

I get the feeling that Corbusier would have like the eclectic mix of antique and ultra-modern furniture, the sculptured lamps and the myriad art works. A relatively new member of Small Luxury Hotels the 44 room property is not a cookie-cutter hotel, it has a style and charm all its own.
... winding steps lead to shady courtyards or unexpected balconies, terraces covered with vine leaves or beach umbrellas offer secret places to relax.

No two rooms are the same; winding steps lead to shady courtyards or unexpected balconies, terraces covered with vine leaves or beach umbrellas offer secret places to relax. Bougainvillea tumbles down the terraces, palms fronds are silhouetted against the blue sky and cactus in pots stand to attention.

The balcony of our room  at this luxury boutique hotel has arched columns which frame the views of the cobalt blue sea and the legendary Faraglioni rocks below. A little speed boat like a white insect darts through the arch at the base of the rocks and leaves a straight white trail of foam behind it as if someone had sliced through the silk of the sea with a knife.

The Monzù Restaurant has a wide terrace with nothing but the blue water beneath. There is also another side terrace where we eat breakfast while an early morning swimmer (rare in Italy where the natives tend to keep more civilised hours) exercises in the pool beside us. A second pool on a higher terrace, shaped like a tear drop with warm Jacuzzi jets and the La Pergola Pool Bar for Jacuzzi-side cocktails.

The Luxury Travel Bible readers will love the mad, futuristic penthouse with its white leather and Jetson-style lamps and terraces open to the blue Mediterranean sky and views of the rock, the little white town of Marina Piccola and the Castiglione hill. Although our favourite bathtub might be the one in the Art Suite, on a raised wooden dais, crowned by an arched window through which you can see nothing but blue and the rocks below.

One evening we wander out at dusk and Capri is ours; the streets practically deserted after the onslaught of the day. We eat in a restaurant with a view of the sea and have coffee in a tiny bar with chair that face out onto a cobbled street. They we wander back to Punta Tragara on Belvedere di Punta Tragara. Another day we hire a boat and circumnavigate the island, pass the Blue Grotto and the Green Grotto and other tiny grottos and secret inlets in the silvery cliffs. We drive under the arch in the Faraglioni Rocks that we have looked down on during our stay and there is Punta Tragara clinging to the rock high above us, a salmon pink paradise in an island full of white.

Check in: Punta Tragara Via Tragara 57, Capri, Italy
Ultimate Luxury:  The Penthouse (natch...)
Most Indulgent Moment: Hot Basalt Stone massage in the spa
Insider Secrets: Capri has the best bejewelled handmade leather sandals - indulge
The Little Things: Around every corner art, sculpture - design surprises
Junior Luxies: Welcomed as long as they don't run riot in the restaurant-side pool
Dress code:  Casual but stylish
Dent in the platinum:
Hilary Doling, 27/3/12
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