[POSITANO, ITALY] — If you’ve never been to Le Sirenuse in Positano, put it on your list. Le Sirenuse is the best hotel on the Amalfi Coast and one of the best hotels in Italy. It’s also one of World’s 50 Best Hotels. Nothing compares to sitting in the grandstands (the pool) overlooking one of the prettiest views in the world. A cascade of villas, hotels and restaurants tumbling down to the sea.

Positano from Le Sirenuse
I can’t think of a better view of Positano. The church, so close you can almost touch its tiled cupola.

One of the most pristine, elegantly designed and not-over-the-top luxury hotels. Spotless and shiny Vietri tile all over in a mint-condition building that was a private summer house until it was turned into a hotel in 1951. Now stuffed with all the Sersale family’s antiques and artwork.

It’s an outside-indoors place, where the windows open to the breeze, the views look right out onto the water and vines grow freely all over the ceiling. Crisp calla lilly colored waiter jackets, but a service style that’s not dismissive, more friendly. It’s like they all smile, push something towards you — whether a perfect cappuccino, a crispy cocktail or the most perfect pasta pomodoro — and almost proudly saying “How about THIS !”

view of Positano church Hotel Miramare
Le Sirenuse stands out of all the chock-a-block hotels up the steep hills of Positano. Its proud brick red color set apart from the lemon yellows of all the other buildings.

All of Positano is built up the two main hills. Where your hotel is on the hotel makes all the difference. The higher, the better views and often cheaper. But also the more steps you have to climb after a big night. Le Sirenuse is the Goldilocks, the best of all worlds: right off the one main road, only a short walk up from the main drag below, and the best sea views in town.

view over positano

Nothing can beat the style of this hotel, or location, hanging on the edge of a cliff with all those pretty houses climbing up the hills.

I’ve stayed here four times and each time it got better.

It is on nearly every Top list, Gold List and Platinum list.  Read about it here in Vanity Fair, Conde Nast Traveler ,  Travel & Leisure, The Telegraph , and AFAR.  It is one of the most famous hotels in the world, in the prettiest place in the world. What could be better?  The perfect position up the hill. Easy to walk to town, right on the main road.

breakfast on terrace Le Sirenuse
I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention about the most perfect Room Service I’ve ever had. And that was before eating the food! Incredible rooms overlooking the bobbing boats and buoys below. (Say THAT fast five times…)

It’s also #1 on my World’s Best Pools List. The best I’ve ever seen. And why the hotel itself is at the of nearly every World’s Best list. If they shoot a movie in Amalfi, it’s usually on the terrace here. Pinch me. Although recently they had a famous Italian artist do a tile mural on the bottom of the pool, which, sorry, that killed it for me.

pool at Le Sirenuse

I started coming here before digital cameras, soon after the made the first major renovation in the 1990s, but I’m still enamored with the view from these old 35mm prints. This is the hotel you want to splash out on, splurge on one of the better and higher rooms with their own terrace. You cannot find a room that is more worth it. The prices will scare you, but just bite the bullet and spend it. You will remember that room every day for the rest of your life.

The restaurant is amazing, too. So good, you won’t want to explore other great restaurants in town. Plan on at least two meals here.

For some reason, I don’t have any pics of the amazing restaurant, La Sponda. It’s Michelin-starred and has the best seafood in town. Check out pics on all the links I’ve made. Here are two photos from their website to give you an idea:

plants on terrace Le Sirenuse
view of Positano from boat
Positano beach club chairs

Splurge on Le Sirenuse’s Beautiful Charter Boat

Boat leaving Positano

One thing a lot of people miss when they visit is This. The view from your hotel or the one meeellion steps up the hills is quite something and most people are content with that. But really the best views are from the water, looking back.

When you’re out on your own boat off the Amalfi Coast, bobbing and weaving to the sing-song of the gentle waves, you almost feel like you’re filming your own sequel to The Talented Mr. Ripley. You gotta boat. An animated, perfectly tanned Italian skipper. The babe in bikini and cute hat. Crisp vino. The views. Roll camera!

The hotel has their own cool wooden boat when I was there, but I think it has been upgraded to a slick vintage Riva since I was last there. Whichever, reserve it for a half day and just putt-putt up and down the rough and ragged coast.

Make sure you get on a boat and go up and down the coast, poking in to deserted rocky beaches that hide beneath the high cliffs. Schwimbobbing in the mellow waves, all in your own time. You can hire a cap’n or they have cool little wooden runabouts you can rent for cheap and drive yourself, which I like the best. Putt-putting along the shore, in awe of the azzurro sea and the sheer cliffs, with Moretti La Rossa in hand.

view of Il San Pietro Positano from water
View of Positano from water
View of Positano from water
Hard to think of a prettier place than Positano.

PRO-TIP: Don’t just skip over the hotel’s amazing clothing and accessories store, Emporio Sirenuse. It’s not your usual. Amazing finds by Italian craftsmen, personally selected by owner Carla Sersale.

PRO-TIP: Instead of always heading down the steps to the American-clogged main shopping street, put your tennies on and walk UP the mountain road, to the staggering Montepertusa. The views are amazing, there’s a big hole in the rock cliff and if you’re lucky you’ll run into a festa and parade in honor of it.

— Last visited in June 1996, June 2000, July 2004, May 2006; Updated Post June 2024 —

More Information on Le Sirenuse

Here’s a list of the best hotels on the Amalfi Coast from UK Conde Nast Traveller. And a review from The Tatler. And a great write-up from Harper’s Bazaar. Here’s a review from The Telegraph. And from the US Conde Nast Traveler.

More Information on Positano

Here’s the TripAdvisor page for Positano. Here is the official Positano tourism website. And Travel & Leisure’s Positano page. And the NY Times 36 Hours on the Amalfi Coast. This is a beautifully written piece from the wonderful Italy Segreta about celebrities and the Amalfi Coast. Here’s Conde Nast Traveller’s Guide to Positano. And the US CNT version of the story on the Amalfi Coast.


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