In these new five-star European hotels, history is paramount

To understand the philosophy of La Palma, a new hotel opening this summer in Capri, it is useful to familiarize yourself with the plot of the 1961 film Come September: A wealthy American (Rock Hudson) owns a villa on the Italian coast, which he visits every September with his mistress (Gina Lollobrigida). palace into a hotel and filled it with nubile ingenues. That’s the vibe he’s looking for, explains La Palma interior designer Francis Sultana: “I want clients to feel surrounded by glamour. It’s about romance, it’s about fun.

Sultana is far from alone with Old-Hollywood visions of European summers. For much of the past two years, The good life felt relatively inaccessible to those paralyzed by fears of a pandemic. But a recent survey found that 68% of Americans plan to take an international trip this year, and just in time as a new batch of hotels open or revive properties rich in history. La Palma is itself a reimagining of the oldest hotel on the island, founded in 1822, once a gathering place for artists who painted the walls with their works. Today, a Roman-style fresco by Italian artist Roberto Ruspoli decorates the lobby.

A terrace at the Maybourne Riviera.

Richard Haughton