In two short months, Oetker Collection will open the doors to Hotel La Palma in Capri. As the 11th hotel to join the prestigious collection, the 50-key hotel in vibrant Capri Village will be a complete transformation and contemporary design interpretation of the oldest hotel on the island – formerly known as Locanda Pagano – that dates back to 1822.
Envisioned to revisit the glamour of the island’s golden era, Hotel La Palma is Oetker Collection’s first Masterpiece Hotel in Italy, joining a portfolio of iconic hotels including Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Le Bristol Paris and Eden Rock-St Barths, amongst others.
A Step Back In Time
Hotel La Palma’s original owner, notary Giuseppe Pagano, hosted travellers in his villa for the pleasure of long conversations and his guests were often artists, poets, writers, architects, painters, and musicians, who expressed their gratitude by painting the walls, writing poems, singing, and playing in what was dubbed the ‘Artists’ Hotel.’
The property was even famed as a place where artists stayed and left artworks behind them in lieu of paying their bill. A collective of creatives began to gather from all over the world who were inspirited by the genius loci, charmed by the smooth, familiar atmosphere of this eccentric hotel…
“Capri is an island of romanticism and has a history of great aesthetes; the place is imbued with a sense of beauty and great inspiration for creativity, in all its forms. I felt an instant connection with the hotel and had a very clear vision of what visitors to the island would love. I wanted Hotel La Palma to become a home from home; somewhere people feel instantly relaxed, somewhere they will want to return to again and again. I travel a lot and so I have a very good idea of what one needs from a hotel, to be chic and sophisticated, and a place in which to be utterly at ease,” said Francis Sultana.
…Back to the Future, and the Renaissance of the Fresco
Known for his work with internationally renowned artists, paying homage the hotel’s rich heritage, Sultana has transformed the arrival foyer at Hotel La Palma into an artistic statement rooted in the location’s history.
He commissioned Italian artist, Roberto Ruspoli to create a series of stunning ceiling frescos that honour Italy’s classical past, that sets the tone for the rest of the hotel. Born in Lugano to a Swiss mother and Italian father, and raised in Rome, Ruspoli has been dubbed ‘the artist who reinvented the fresco.’ He cites in particular, the influence of his teacher, Michael Goldberg – one of the US’s most well-known abstract expressionists – along with Jackson Pollock and William de Kooning. Ruspoli is further inspired by Cocteau, as well as by Picasso and Rothko for his use of colour and abstraction. His aesthetic, with its figures drawn in profile, is undoubtedly influenced by his childhood in Rome and his studies in Classics.
Bespoke furniture and fabric designs, marble, antique mirroring, and bronze accents complete the look. Another Italian artist, Luisa Lambri – represented by Thomas Dane Gallery – was commissioned to create artworks for all the guestrooms and suites. Hailing from Como and based in Milan, Lambri captures the spaces of iconic male architects with a deconstructing, female gaze.
She typically works in series, often spending several years researching just one building or one architect, and mostly concentrates on domestic architecture.
Bringing the Island In
Keeping the space open and light in both architecture and colour palette, the overall design of the hotel incorporates splashes of Mediterranean blue, green and turquoise, which dance around the interior’s calm and natural aesthetic, and allow textures to come to the fore. The curves of the vaulted ceiling in the foyer are mirrored in the scalloped edges of the reception and concierge desks, and there is impressive detailing in the planters, niches, and column capitals.
The lounge bar displays Sultana’s signature look, with bespoke upholstery on the rattan chairs and cushions, and rattan tables and large wall hung tapestries of Capri, specially commissioned by Sultana from Allegra Hicks.
The spa combines bespoke hessian finishes with marble, terrazzo, bronze, brass and wood to create a serene and calming atmosphere. Craftspeople Sultana worked with for indoor and outdoor furniture include Bonacina and JANUS et Cie. A family business founded by Giovanni Bonacina in 1889, Bonacina originates from Lurago d’Erba; a hilly, fertile part of the area north of Milan known as Brianza.
To this day, each piece of furniture is hand-crafted by specialized artisans who meticulously curve rattan canes, weave and bind rattan core and synthetic materials.
An Ode to the Palm
There is bespoke lighting and upholstered furniture exclusively designed by Sultana for Hotel La Palma.
Large palms in planters bring the outdoors in, nodding to both Capri and Francis’s love affair with the palm tree, which is also reflected in the hotel’s new logo. Since he was a young boy growing up on Gozo, the small island off Malta, the palm tree has entranced Francis Sultana. Known the world over as a symbol of tropical landscapes and exotic holidays in far-flung locations, the palm tree is a symbol of victory, peace and fertility, and is a design motif that has stuck with Sultana throughout his career.
The indoor bar & restaurant, pool terrace & bar, and rooftop lounge & restaurant, all carry the unmistakable Francis Sultana signature aesthetic, while always nodding to the creativity of the Italian artisans that have contributed to creating this new landmark hotel.
Bianca, the rooftop restaurant, features Sultana’s use of sage green and dusky purple across chairs, tables, and furnishings, all of which sit under a pergola featuring a Francis Sultana abstract palm-tree print to create a more decadent night-time feel for the roof. The space is abundant with planting while natural rattan appears in both planters and overhead lighting in the evening, giving the feel of an exotic rooftop hideaway.
Sultana ensured each of the 50 rooms and suites has been designed to be an inviting home away from home. Exquisite craftsmanship, luxurious materials and utmost attention to detail create rooms that are tranquil, tactile, and ultimately, welcoming. Perpetuating the neutral colour palette, Sultana allows the materials to speak for themselves. All rooms lead into marble and bronze-lined bathrooms in a style that has become synonymous with the Francis Sultana aesthetic.
Decorative attention to detail has been paid to everything right down to custom bathroom fittings by Stella, founded in 1882 and regarded as the top producer of Italian faucets. Every element has been designed to breathe a new identity into the historic hotel, that is all about quality and attention to detail, with bespoke furniture, lighting, and carpets all designed by Sultana. Rome-based Francesco Delogu of Delogu Architects oversaw architecture on the property.