Capri Palace Jumeirah is elegant and serene beyond expectations, with fun surprises around every corner
Written by Ottocina Ryan
“Capri is magic,” the lifeguard nods, handing me a towel as I climb out of the Mediterranean. Winding stone steps lead me up to Il Riccio beach club, where I rejoin my friends at the hot spot’s Sea Lounge. Decked in blue and orange Toile de Jouy print for Dior’s summer pop-up, the lively terrace is filled with wicker seating, daybeds and people who are probably verified on Instagram.
We retreat to Il Riccio Ristorante, a floor below. The music softens and attention shifts to the dolphins jumping out of the sea and blue tables spread with fresh shellfish. I wind uni spaghetti, perfectly al dente, around my fork until my plate is empty. A formality really, as I’ve had my eyes set on The Temptation Room since we sat down, waiting to give in. Adjacent the dining area is a room filled with platters of every dessert you can imagine. Cream stuffed pastries, cakes, fruit, gelato…it’s the cherry on top of an idyllic afternoon.
As the sun fades, the Capri Palace Jumeirah hotel shuttle transports us back from the beach club (owned by the hotel), up impossibly narrow roads, squeezing beside Vespas. The property is as much an art gallery as a hotel. The entry portico has elegant white sculptures of fish bones and shells interspersed with windows to the pool, where you can watch people swim amongst the underwater mosaic. My walk from the lobby to my room is guided by intriguing, thought provoking, memorable art. Many of the rotating collections are more modern and playful than what you’d expect at a five star hotel. which makes the stay fun and exciting.
Entering my suite feels like a dream every time. Glossy white and blue tiles created by local artisans coat the floor. All of the furniture is white—from the airy canopy bed to the mirrored closets and a living room with pristine couches. It’s as authentic to Capri as it is beautiful.
Just off the lobby, we dine at L’Olivo the only two Michelin Star restaurant on the island. A fireplace quietly crackles beside our table and the space is filled with plush couches and earth tones. The atmosphere is comforting, not stuffy. The food follows suit, a feat considering how refined it is. We enjoy a selection of bread, delivered by the bread trolley, and an amuse bouche while surveying a wine list heavier than a textbook and the extensive water list. Chef Andrea Migliaccio’s lemon scented tagliolini topped with burrata and red prawns, the tuna belly, and The Milk dessert display flavor and texture combinations so exquisite I remember them long after our plates are cleared. As a display of candies is served I check my phone and it’s after midnight, a telltale sign of an enjoyable dinner.
Sunlight pours into the already bright space, acting as a wake up call and luring me to the balcony. I return to L’Olivo for breakfast and the staff joke that it’s a two Michelin Star breakfast because it's in the same restaurant. I wouldn’t disagree. I savor berry filled and cream filled croissants and order scrambled eggs with black truffle and asparagus.
We set off to explore the island. Steps from the hotel, the chairlift takes us to the highest point (early to beat the lines). My feet dangle above gardens bursting with grapes and citrus, the sweet smell of wildflowers fills the air as I float above the treetops. While touristy, it doesn’t feel contrived. The peak offers spectacular views of the cliffs and sparkling blue sea below. We descend and walk around Anacapri, one of the two municipalities on Capri. Streets are lined with gelatarias and boutiques offering to fulfill any desire you have for an exclusively blue and white linen wardrobe and custom sandals.
I return to Capri Palace and lounge poolside. The property is centrally located yet the red chaises and umbrellas popping against the garden landscape evoke the feeling of a secluded resort. Below the surface is another world with the sparkling mosaic and windows looking out to the entrance. The couple seated across from me dives in. The leather jacket nonchalantly draped on his chair reminds me I’m not cool enough for this pool.
I retreat back inside Capri Palace for my spa appointment. Capri Medical Spa’s greenhouse entrance foreshadows their holistic approach. I’m not here to doze off during a massage. I’m here for Leg School—a treatment that balances hormones, increases metabolism and lymphatic drainage, and reduces cellulite and swelling. It was created and patented by former pediatrician Dr. Francesco Canonaco to remedy the cellulite and poor circulation he saw in mothers.
To begin, Clara slathers my legs in a mask comprised of 26 natural ingredients and lets it sit for 20 minutes. I rest on a chaise in the sun as my legs get increasingly colder. She then rinses it off and wraps my legs in medicated gauze. Once that’s removed I walk through alternating hot and cold pools ten times. “No pain no gain,” Clara laughs as I shiver through my first lap. The freezing water is jarring at first, but Clara’s jokes keep me smiling, and after lap eight I could do this all day. Noticing the visibly diminished cellulite on my legs, I think I could come back and do it every year. Clara mentions many clients do. I’d argue that speaks partly to its effectiveness, mostly to the entire staff’s compassion and warmth. It’s as if “Are you funny?” is asked in their hiring process.
The doctor recommends pairing Leg School with a detox Mediterranean diet customized by the on-site dietician, starting at 800 calories per day. That’s not my path (see aforementioned cream filled croissants and pasta). Yet I can fully indulge and leave Capri with smoother legs, if that’s not magic I don’t know what is.