Ischia Hotel Excelsior Belvedere is truly a dream hotel and spa, but there’s so much more. Add 5 star dining, thermal waters, a private beach and unparalleled views in a phenomenal location, and you have the perfect Italian island relaxation getaway.
Due to circumstances beyond my control, I ended up on the island of Ischia this past September.
Disclosure: I was hosted at Hotel Excelsior for one night in order to write about my stay. No conditions or stipulations were made, (or money paid) requiring a positive review for any aspect of the hotel, spa or restaurant. As always, all opinions are my own. As a Priority Pass affiliate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
If it sounds as if I didn’t want to be there, you are sorely mistaken. Not only did I want to be there, the tiny Italian isle has been on my bucket list for years. Now, I’m just kicking myself for not making a greater effort to visit sooner!
Given that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, I hope this provides a little inspiration for a relaxing and romantic Italian getaway later this year!
Let me back up a little bit to give you a little more information on why I was even in Italy in the first place this past autumn (given the crazy travel situation this past year and a half). You may remember that I joined the Greatest Tomatoes from Europe and I Love San Marzano DOP campaigns two years ago, and part of this venture included a press trip to Italy if I was chosen, and I was! More to come on that marvelous part of the trip including a tomato factory tour, pizza-making lesson, and a stay at my favorite hotel in Naples!
Since I was going to be in my beloved Italy, I tacked on an extra 10 days after the press trip to see family and go somewhere new. I tend to “wing it” when I travel, and not make a hard and fast itinerary. While there are pros and cons to this type of travel, I like the flexibility of keeping an open schedule, and it has almost always worked out splendidly for me. In my head, I had a rough idea of going to see my family after leaving the tour group in Rome, then continuing south to Puglia, a region I have yet to visit in Italy.
The spanner in the works was the car rental. Due to the current worldwide situation, there were fewer cars available, and the ones I could rent were obscenely priced. So I went with Plan B–somewhere a car isn’t needed: the islands off the coast of Naples–Capri, Ischia and Procida.
Well, I never did make it to Capri, or even Procida, for that matter, because I fell hook, line, and sinker in love with Ischia! I will be sharing more about the island itself, but in the meantime, I think the Ischia Hotel and Spa Excelsior Belvedere will entice you to visit on its own merit. I cannot tell you how excited I am to share this hotel and spa with you! It’s simply dreamy and has been featured in Travel and Leisure magazine.
I love my Priority Pass membership!
Where Should I Stay on Ischia?
This is a question I will answer for you in great detail, but the short answer is: the Ischia Hotel and Spa Excelsior Belvedere. However, I have also stayed at the Grand Hotel Il Moresco which is another fabulous sister resort hotel and spa directly across from the Excelsior (which I will tell you about later). So if you are planning to stay at one hotel and it is fully booked, please remember to check availability at the other.
Ischia Hotel Excelsior Belvedere
This luxurious hotel is a five minute drive (1 mile/1.6 km) from the main port of Ischia, where the ferries dock from the mainland, and other islands.
There are several ports on the island, but this is the one where most tourists will arrive. Let the hotel staff know the ferry upon which you will arrive and a driver will be there to meet you. The Excelsior Belvedere Hotel and Spa staff can even arrange transportation from the mainland, if you desire.
The Grounds and Gardens
Lush and verdant are only the beginning of how I’d describe the gardens and grounds at the Excelsior Hotel on Ischia. The photo below is taken from the terrace. The view beyond is of the sea, the island of Procida and the Italian mainland. As an aside, a reader just asked if this is the hotel where the movie Avanti! with Jack Lemmon was filmed, and it is!
I took a walk around the gardens when I first arrived at the hotel, but couldn’t resist doing it again later and the next day.
This is a view of part of the gardens from my suite. The hotel opposite is Il Moresco.
This is on a quieter part of the island, on the beach, but also very close to shops and restaurants.
The Excelsior Ischia Hotel Common Areas
One of the things that really surprised me about the Excelsior Hotel is that it was built by a Scotsman! If you know my background, I am Italian by blood, but was born in Scotland. So this fact was truly intriguing to me.
Lord Nimmo built a villa (Villa Belvedere) at the beginning of the past century and Count Micangeli enlarged it in order to transform the former aristocratic mansion into Hotel Excelsior Belvedere in the
1950s.Tastefully decorated throughout the interior, the welcoming atmosphere flows to the outside, onto the terrace lined with classic urns of white petunias. It’s a lovely spot for a cocktail as dusk falls.
There is beauty at every turn. Art, old and new, adorn the walls and rooms of the resort. From paintings, to sculptures and antique furniture, it’s a marvelous hotel to discover. Don’t miss having a drink at the American bar, although there are also two others: Bar Gli Oleandri near the pool, and Bar L’Onda by the beach.
Head bartender Enzo will create his unique twist on the Garibaldi cocktail. He made one for me and I loved it!
The Rooms and Suites
As you can see above, I was given a beautiful tray of house made pastries and sweets! It was clear that they were made with top quality chocolate and ingredients as they were just sublime.
My junior suite was large, full of light, and decorated in a beautifully bright sea blue color. I actually felt guilty having it all to myself!
The bed linens were so lovely that I actually made it a point to take a picture of the label of one of the light blankets. I asked my cousin Gianfranco about the brand, and he was such a sweetheart, he bought me one for my birthday, so it’s waiting for me in Italy!
There was a beautiful spa tub and all the quality toiletries I needed.
The terrace of my suite was absolutely enormous, with 240 degree views. From the Aragon Castle, to the hills of Ischia, overlooking the gardens and Moresco Hotel next door, to the sea and Procida, it was one of the most incredible views I’ve ever had; talk about a room with a view!
These pictures don’t even show the entire terrace area.
I didn’t see any of the other rooms, but you can see more on the Excelsior website (link below), which also look incredibly lovely.
Rooms range from standard, superior, and deluxe; there is the junior suite (these photos) and a grand suite.
Suffice it to say that the restaurant served some of the best food that I had in Italy on this trip, and maybe ever, that I will be following up with a post focusing solely on the restaurant. Chef Libera Iovine is the first Michelin star chef from Ischia, and is an incredible asset to the The Excelsior Hotel.
One of her specialties is a spaghetti dish with a sauce made with three types of tomatoes, and it is completely swoon-worthy. Sign up for my free subscription so you don’t miss this upcoming post.
The Excelsior has its own private beach which includes a sandy area as well as a deck with lounge chairs and a small area to eat. This means you don’t even have to leave the beach as Bar L’Onda serves drinks and snacks (remember, snacks in Italy are usually a lot more healthy and substantial than in the US).
Views of Procida, the mainland of Italy, Capri and the Aragon Castle are all included at no charge. 😊
The sand is soft and the water is clear and warm (during the summer months). Of course, if you’re not a “sand in your toes” type of person, then the pool is more likely a better option for you.
The Excelsior Belvedere’s sparkling blue water is heated to a lovely 82 ºF (28ºC) for your comfort. There are plenty of lounge chairs nearby to soak up the Ischitan sun.
An evening dip is also an experience to enjoy. However, don’t forget the thermal waters that await you inside the second pool at the spa.
I haven’t yet had the chance to tell that one of the attractions that Ischia is most famous for is its thermal waters, and healing spas. The island is dotted in hot springs. The pool you see here is filled with the healing water from these natural springs, so if you enjoy thermal baths, you will love Ischia.
As you can see, I enjoyed this spa all to myself for quite some time.
Just book ahead to be sure you can visit and enjoy the pool and spa.
Of course, you can also book a facial, massage (inside the spa or outside in the garden), physiotherapy, beauty treatments and more.
There’s also a gym area (when I visited, it was in a temporary location due to Covid).
Breakfast is Included with a Stay
Unfortunately, I received a call while enjoying my cappuccino and wasn’t able to have breakfast at the Excelsior, but if it’s anything like Il Moresco’s breakfast buffet and service, there is something for everyone. Fruit, pastries, bread, eggs made to order, cheese, meats, and more are all part of the breakfast repertoire.
Environs of this Ischia Hotel
Since Ischia is so small, everything is accessible within minutes or an hour, or two. I took a tour around the entire island which took 4 hours. However, take into consideration that we stopped for takeout (I took lots of photos of my food)!
And I also walked around a few places where my wonderful driver, Giuseppe, took me. I booked Giuseppe through the front desk at Il Moresco, but you can ask for him from either hotel.
Don’t miss the Aragon Castle, which is a short distance (I walked) from the Ischia Hotel Excelsior. It was one of the highlights of my visit!
It’s worth visiting simply for the views of Ischia. However, this is just one attraction; there are so many others, including small towns dotted on the perimeter of the island. If you read (or watched) My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante, you’ll remember that the main character, Elena, visits Ischia one summer.
I truly hope that you are able to visit Ischia and the Excelsior Belvedere Hotel and Spa and enjoy it as much as I did. Even if you only enjoy it half as much as I did, you’ll still be delighted you went! Please watch my Instagram story for some clips of my experience at the hotel, restaurant, beach and spa. Stay tuned for the fabulous restaurant review coming soon, and sign up for my free subscription so you don’t miss it!
Visit Hotel & Spa Excelsior Belvedere, for more details,
and to book a room reservation, or a meal
at the restaurant of this phenomenal Ischia hotel.
My deepest gratitude to Alessandro for being so incredibly welcoming, and to Chef Libera for her generous information and time that she spent in describing her incredible dishes and creations. It was truly an honor and pleasure to be a guest at the Excelsior Belvedere, and I know that each and every guest is treated in the same manner. A true delight on so many levels; grazie mille.
Looking for hotels on Ischia in other locations? Don’t want beachfront, or nearer to the port? LEOHOTELS Isola d’Ischia have four sister hotels from which to choose.
Disclosure: I was hosted at Hotel Excelsior in order to write about my stay. No conditions or stipulations were made, (or money paid) requiring a positive review for any aspect of the hotel, spa or restaurant. As always, all opinions are my own.
We are trying to decide between Il Moresco & Excelsior? We are having a hard time deciding. Is Excelsior really that much better?
Appreciate any and all help!
Hi Janis, I’m so excited for you! Obviously, both are great hotels and each one has different features, and styles. I think it comes down to personal preference, to be honest and I don’t think one is better than the other. Il Moresco has a gorgeous setting, lovely pool and the thermal water grotto, while the Excelsior has lovely artwork, and a more refined style and gardens. Both beaches are adjacent so really no difference there. I hope that helps. Just know you’ll not be disappointed with either one! Buon viaggio!
WOW!!! Um that’s incredible! Next time, though, I would advise you to not go alone… because you definitely need to take me with you!
Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I enjoyed the photos and how you appreciated and included the people who helped enhance your experience. All the best to you on your travels!
Thank YOU, Lucretia! You are most kind.
That looks utterly idyllic, Christina. All these gorgeous views, photos and the spa – I’d love to go there! So many people I know have been to beautiful Ischia and so it’s time we did too! I can feel Italy coming on. Thanks for the online travel in the meantime.
Oh I do hope you go sometime, Jill. It is idyllic, truly! Thank you for your kind words.
So beautiful, hopefully one day I will be visiting>
I hope so too!
So beautiful that’s my wish to someday go to Italy
Make it a plan, Barbara. Just pretend you have dates and do a dream itinerary. When you can go, you’ll have a plan ready to go :)
Sounds fabulous! I’m jealous!
You just need to book a stay!
We are leaving for Rome, mid June, and a 7 night cruise Italy, Greece, Turkey on Royal Caribbean then we are staying in Italy for another week, no specific plans yet. So 2 weeks. We haven’t been to Italy so we have an idea we would like to go to Florence and Venice, traveling by train. Any other areas we should see? We will be in Rome 2 days before boat leaves. We are so excited.
Thank you for sharing your lovely travels. PS we chose an excursion to Capri, all day on our own, because we figured we wouldn’t get back there. Debbi
Sounds fantastic, Debbi! Good idea to tack on the 2 weeks, but honestly, you’ll be pleased any place you go in Italy. All the tourists flock to Florence and Venice, and I wouldn’t tell you NOT to go. However, there are places that are hidden gems that are more of the “authentic Italy”, so to speak. You will find a lot of tourist food in Venice, Florence and Rome. I wrote a post on how to avoid them, as well as tips on visiting Rome and more. You can find them all here. Enjoy your trip!