Hotels

This Hotel Will Send an Orchestra to Wake You Up

At the Belmond Hotel Caruso, a wake up call won’t cut it.
IMAGE BELMOND
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When the orchestra walked on stage for the Ravello Festival’s annual Concert at Dawn, the mountains rising above the Amalfi Coast behind the stage were just perceptible against the night sky, and the light of the full moon was reflected in the rippling water far below. As the musicians of the Orchestra Filarmonica Saleritana worked their way through compositions by Wagner, Beethoven, and Rossini, the sun rose and revealed a breathtaking view of the Bay of Salerno and the ruins of the 13th century Villa Rufolo whose gardens the stage had been constructed in. By the time the concert ended, with an encore of Wagner, the sun was high in the sky.

The Concert at Dawn is the highlight of the Ravello Festival, a classical music festival founded in 1953 and dedicated to Richard Wagner. The festival takes place every year at Villa Rufolo, which Wagner visited himself and used as inspiration for the Klingsor’s garden in his opera Parsifal. Tickets to the highly anticipated concert are scarce and usually sell out immediately, but the Belmond Hotel Caruso was able to procure them for guests who didn’t mind waking up before sunrise to get to the concert in time. The hotel even provided trays of breakfast pastries and silver pitchers of coffee before the concert, knowing that none of the cafes and restaurants in the tiny town of Ravello would be open before sunrise.

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The gardens of the Belmont Hotel Caruso

The concert is such a celebrated event that the Belmond Hotel Caruso even offers to recreate the magical experience for guests throughout the season. While the hotel does not have access to the Villa Rufolo, it arranges private sunrise concerts in an even prettier location- its famous infinity pool, which boasts the same expansive views of the Amalfi Coast as the villa and is frequently named one of the most stunning pools in the world. The private concerts, featuring a Ravello-based orchestra directed by the orchestra master Giovanni Lucibello, commence before dawn and end with a post-concert champagne breakfast (which makes them, in truth, a much more festive option than the festival's concert).

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The hotel's infinity pool

While I didn’t have champagne with my breakfast after the Concert at Dawn, I did take advantage of the hotel’s endless breakfast buffet, which had every type of Italian pastry, meat, fruit, and cheese imaginable, all meticulously arranged on colorful local ceramics. The hotel, which is located at the highest point in the ancient town, was built around an 11th-century villa; its endless rooms are painted with original centuries-old frescoes and filled with antiques.

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A room at the hotel

After breakfast, I couldn’t say no to the hotel’s complimentary boat cruise along the Amalfi coast and a Vespa ride to visit the hillside wineries of the region. In the evening, dinner was served on the terrace of the hotel’s Belvedere Restaurant, which is run by Chef Mimmo di Raffaele and features elevated takes on Italian classics like pasta with clams and local black truffle. The sun set as I ate until the mountains were hidden against the night sky and only the full moon and the lights of the tiny seaside towns were visible. When the pianist at the nearby Piano Bar began singing mid-century Italian songs, I realized that my day was ending just as it had started.

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The patio of the Belvedere restaurant


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The hotel's bar

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com. 
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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