LA NUOVA DOLCE VITA ‘LE SIRENUSE’ IN POSITANO RE-OPENS FOR THE 2023 SEASON
Le Sirenuse opened in 1951 when the Sersale family turned their Amalfi Coast summer house in Positano into a stylish small hotel. Today the 58-suite hotel offers all the comforts of a five-star luxury hotel while still retaining the intimate, cultured atmosphere of a private home. Much of the credit for its current appearance and tasteful mix of European antiques, Neapolitan paintings and quality artisanship should go to the late Franco Sersale, an avid globetrotter and keen amateur photographer who returned to his family’s Positano base in 1990 to commence a major refurbishment project. He redesigned the pool terrace and the hotel’s panoramic La Sponda restaurant before moving onto a room-by-room upgrade of the guest suites, creating the Le Sirenuse one sees today.
Franco’s aesthetic vision for the hotel has been extended by his son Antonio Sersale and daughter- in-law Carla into the field of contemporary art via the Artists at Le Sirenuse programme, launched in 2015 with British curator Silka Rittson-Thomas. To date, seven major installations by artists of the calibre of Martin Creed, Stanley Whitney and Caragh Thuring have found a place in the hotel’s design palimpsest, in fertile dialogue with each other and the art and décor of centuries past.
The resort has won innumerable awards and is internationally renowned for the quality of its services. The year 2000 saw the introduction of the Le Sirenuse Spa, designed by celebrated Italian architect Gae Aulenti. In 2001, the hotel’s romantic La Sponda restaurant, dedicated to exalting the region’s deep-rooted culinary traditions, was joined by the more informal Champagne & Oyster Bar. In 2019, this relaxed summer spot became Aldo’s, a cocktail bar and seafood grill that showcases the abundant fresh produce and classic sharing dishes of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Housed in what was once part of the living room of the Sersale family villa, the hotel’s historic third-floor bar was refurbished by Rome-based architect and designer Annalisa Bellettati in time for the start of the 2021 season and rechristened the Don’t Worry Bar in homage to Martin Creed’s neon installation that hangs nearby. It’s a discreet, old-school, drinks-only hotel bar for true lovers of the genre.
Franco himself bid his final ciao to Positano in January 2015. Today he is commemorated in Franco’s Bar, a street-level evening cocktail bar that channels the generous, expansive spirit and joie de vivre of this Dolce Vita gentleman. Though closely connected to Le Sirenuse, Franco’s has forged an identity of its own as the place in town for an aperitivo or nightcap with a view.
In 2019 Le Sirenuse launched a twice-yearly fitness and detox retreat called Dolce Vitality, held in the March week just before the hotel opens and again in November immediately after it closes. Dedicating the whole resort to no more than twenty participants, the retreat takes advantage of the ancient network of footpaths above Positano and combines these natural workouts with yoga classes, fitness sessions, massages, cultural experiences and a low-calorie Vegan menu prepared with gourmet flair by the hotel’s executive chef, Gennaro Russo. For the 2023 edition, the retreat is set for the spring edition, from March 19 – 25, and the fall edition, from October 29 – November 4.
Today Le Sirenuse is directed by Antonio Sersale, who has been at the helm of the iconic Amalfi Coast hotel since 1992. Antonio’s wife Carla looks after Emporio Sirenuse, the resortwear and lifestyle brand sold via the two Emporio Sirenuse boutiques in Positano, emporiosirenuse.com, leading stores worldwide including matchesfashion.com, Net-a-Porter.com and more. The couple’s two children, Aldo and Francesco, joined the family business in 2021, the hotel’s 70th anniversary year.