The former home of the famed Italian opera and film director Franco Zeffirelli, Villa Treville gives you a glimpse into the world of the rich and famous. Every detail at the Amalfi Coast hotel, from the decor to the meals, has been carefully considered and exceeds any expectation. With only 16 rooms, the property is the epitome of luxurious, featuring hand painted tiled floors, one-of-a-kind art, stunning views of Positano and extravagant amenities.
Traveller: Lindsay Ridenour
Room: The Diaghilev Suite, a Deluxe Superior Suite
Address: 30 Via Arienzo, 84017 Positano Italy
Date: September 2016
Best for: Villa Treville is ideal for the traveller looking for ultra-luxe accommodations and a romantic atmosphere on the Amalfi Coast.
The Signature factor
Villa Treville is a stunning boutique hotel. Beyond the beautiful setting, it’s the service that really stands out. The staff make you feel like your experience is what’s most important to them. While the property has only 16 rooms, dozens of staff discreetly buzz about, ready to help you with any need. If there is a food item you’re craving that is not on the menu, just ask and they’ll have the chef make it.
If you need any reservation or plan made, they’ve almost made it before you even asked. The hotel’s water taxi will zip you over to the city centre of Positano, just around the corner, at any time you want. The focus at Villa Treville is to make you feel completely welcomed.
Russian writer Mikhail Semenov first purchased the property in 1920. Years later, Franco Zeffirelli bought it and took great care to update and refurbish everything. With the help of talented friends, he added beautiful gardens, pools and terraces to completely transform the space. The beautiful villas then frequently served as the gathering place to famous artists and actors from all around the world.
We’re told that about 10 years ago, when an aged Mr Zeffirelli, who is now 93 years old, became dependent on a wheelchair, he decided to sell his home. The new owners meticulously enhanced the property even more, taking care to maintain the original character and beauty of it, and turned it into a boutique hotel.
Arriving at Villa Treville by car is no easy feat. The roads along the Amalfi Coast are narrow and set right on the cliff. A driver picked us up in Sorrento and navigated the treacherous roads with ease. Only one car can use the hotel’s driveway at a time, and the space is so narrow that a revolving platform at the end of the driveway is used to turn the car around. Stepping out of the car, you’re greeted with stunning views of the coast as the hotel provides perfect framing for the gorgeous vertical city of Positano in the background.
The property itself, much like the entire city of Positano, is built into the side of the cliff and the sweet scent of lemons hits you immediately. In the lobby, awash in white with huge windows looking out onto the water, the staff eagerly assists with checking in and promptly gives you a tour around the property.
Located on the first floor of Villa Azzurra, the Diaghilev Suite is named after the founder of the Russian Ballet, Sergei Diaghilev. Drenched in white with splashes of blue, the room reflects the theme of the ocean just beyond the window. Spacious and beautiful, the room feels like an oasis. A claw-foot soaking tub serves as the focus of the huge bathroom, which also features twin sinks and a gigantic waterfall-style shower. Even the view from the bathroom is breathtaking.
The Maestro Zeffirelli Suite, located in Villa Bianca, is the most opulent of the accommodations and is in fact the space Mr Zeffirelli lived and worked in. The suite consists of three bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, a living room and a dining room. Additionally, the suite has a private plunge pool and several private terraces. The main bedroom of this suite still has some of the furniture belonging to Mr Zeffirelli, including items made in Syrian mother-of-pearl and Carrara marble.
On my plate
Dining at Villa Treville, no matter what the meal, is a special experience. Breakfast is served at the Club Lounge and is included in the cost of your stay. Take a look at the daily offerings on the island bench next to the kitchen and help yourself to whatever you like. From pastries to fresh fruit, a lovely breakfast can be found. However, if you’d prefer eggs, cured meats or cheese, simply order from your waiter and your perfect breakfast will quickly arrive.
After breakfast, the offerings on the island at the Club Lounge are changed over to more lunch-related foods and snacks and are available all day long. You’re invited to help yourself whenever you are hungry. Downstairs, at Salone Bianca, you’ll find a beautiful and well-stocked bar and you’re invited to help yourself ‘at any moment’ of the day. Wine, prosecco, liqueurs and mixers, as well as fresh juice and water, are all set out for guests to help themselves; everything is complimentary.
Dinner is served each evening at Maestro’s restaurant, where guests will dine al fresco, watching the sun sink into the Mediterranean Sea. Fresh seafood is served along side vegetable and herbs, grown in the hotel’s garden, which you walk past each day on your way to the sea.
Highlights from the mini-bar
The ensuite mini-bar is well stocked with literally anything you could want and is also complimentary. Each day, anything you take from the bar is restocked and replenished. From juice in the morning to a digestif of limoncello, everything you could need is right inside your room.
I wish I could take home…
If only our apartment had space to install the Salone Bianca! The room is stunning, to say the least. Decorated all in an all-white Moroccan theme with a subtle pop of colour here and there, the space is gorgeous and comfortable. Sipping white wine while lounging on the couch there is one of my best memories.
Any spa or beauty treatment you would like can be arranged and scheduled. If you’d like a massage, a masseuse can come to your room, or else you can enjoy the relaxing treatment outside, listening to the waves crash against the rocky coast below.
Literally anything you can imagine is available at Villa Treville. Wi-Fi is complimentary and available around the entire property. Additionally, scattered about the hotel are charging stations to fit any device you may need to charge. Relax on the daybeds by the pool or snag a lounger set atop the rocky terrace on the waters edge; the days at Villa Treville are meant to be spent relaxing. From spa treatments to in-room dining, all you have to do is ask.
Less than a five-minute boat ride from Positano, the house water taxi is available all day long to take you to town. There, you’ll find a myriad of shopping and dining options. The hotel even includes a list of favourite restaurants on its website and will gladly help arrange transport and reservations. Lunch at Da Adolfo, a beachfront open-air local hangout is a must. Waiters are barefoot and the menu is written on a chalkboard near the bar. A reservation is required and the restaurant is accessible by boat, only a two-minute ride from Villa Treville. Donna Rosa, a restaurant perched high above the city of Positano and about a 20-minute taxi ride from the hotel, was one of the most memorable meals I had. Family-owned and -operated, you’ll likely see mother and daughter cooking side by side in the kitchen. The ravioli tasted like little pillow clouds. Under the glittering lights of hundreds of candles, a romantic meal at La Sponda is a must. A Michelin star and a view of the city, the space is as memorable as the meal.
It seems that this property may, in fact, be perfect. The experience was amazing; delicious meals, luxe accommodations and incredibly attentive service. My only lament is that a stay at Villa Treville is quite expensive, making it ideal for a special occasion like an anniversary trip or honeymoon.
…I could move in and never leave. This was by far the nicest, most luxurious and gorgeous hotel I’ve ever stayed at and I can’t wait to go back.
Where to find it
Ville Treville is located in Positano, Italy, about a five-minute taxi ride from the town centre. Nestled into the side of the rocky Amalfi Coast, the property should be seen from the water, if only to take in the pure elegance and beauty of the villas, terraces and gardens.
Sarah Driggs and Lindsay Ridenour are the storytellers behind the NYC-based luxury travel blog, Compass + Twine. Follow along on Instagram @compassandtwine as they unearth some of the best hotels and travel experiences around the globe. From scenic landscapes to local cafés, they reveal the true character of a destination, always highlighting the best place to stay!