We love whenever we can get a peek into the lives of the rich and famous, and we find it particularly thrilling to visit the haunts of timeless Hollywood stars and hallowed, storied authors (excuse the pun) of yore. After all, there's something about the celebs of the past that's just so much more elegant and refined -- even in their infamous debauchery -- than those of today's tabloids. Fortunately, luxurious, historic hotels make it possible to revisit the good ole days, and we find ourselves especially interested in the Mediterranean spots they'd jet off to. So here we bring you five iconic jetsetter getaways in the Mediterranean.
-- Jane Reynolds, Oyster.com
While most of the Amalfi hotels can claim excellent views across the coast, the 66 room-and-suite Santa Caterina Hotel has got five-star features, harmonious antique style, and fragrant gardens. Built against Amalfi's seaside cliffs in 1880 as a home residence and turned into a hotel in 1904, this luxury property was once a favorite getaway of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and in more recent days, has welcomed celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. The Santa Caterina's four generations of ownership have treated her well, preserving historic elements while successively and successfully adding modern comfort and style. Guests can take advantage of the wellness center, exclusive swimming pool access, and gym. Dining options range from the elegant Restaurant Santa Caterina to the more casual Al Mare eatery, along with an expansive wine cellar. This property is brand new on Oyster!
This Beaux Arts property has occupied prime space on the celebrated Via Veneto since 1906, and was made famous by Federico Fellini's 1960 movie "La Dolce Vita." It also hosted the cast of "Ben-Hur," starring the likes of Charlton Heston and Haya Harareet, in 1959. The elegant hotel, rebranded by Westin several years ago, has hosted celebrities and statesmen, and also has the distinction of having the largest suite in Europe, the nearly 12,000-square-foot Villa La Cupola.
Originally built in 1882, the luxe, history-laden 160-room Grand Hotel Vesuvio is Naples' only seafront five-star hotel. Its classic elegance and old-school attention to detail make it easy for visitors to sense they are walking the same halls that Humphrey Bogart, Grace Kelly, Rita Hayworth, and Enrico Caruso once did. Breathtaking views of Mount Vesuvius and the Isle of Capri, and neighboring Castel dell'Ovo, give guests a sense of the real Italy, with the ancient past and modern civilization existing side by side. This property is brand new on Oyster!
With a fairly removed location in the hills that ring the city, the 70-room Gran Hotel La Florida has a history as a luxurious, star-studded getaway far from the frenzy of Barcelona's crowds. Built in 1924, it has drawn celebrities from writer Ernest Hemingway to actors Rock Hudson and Jimmy Stewart through the years. Relaxation is the focus here -- from the beautiful indoor/outdoor pool to the tranquil Zen Zone Spa. Guest rooms feature contemporary furnishings in soothing neutral tones, great views of either the city or the Pyrenees Mountains, and spacious marble bathrooms.
The St. Regis Rome is a grand five-pearl hotel of the Belle Epoque era, with modern amenities. Most guests rave about the helpful concierge and butler service, and the property features include an Asian-themed spa, a fine dining restaurant offering wine cellar tastings, and formal afternoon tea service. Elegant rooms blend several historic decor styles and are adorned with lovely antiques. The hotel is within walking distance of Termini Station, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps, and is the sister property to The Westin Excelsior. It's another historic hotel that Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton frequented.