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One of the hotels that make up the image of Capri is accessed through an underpass. White stone, modern or vague contemporary-style sculptures. Some windows face the inside of the pool: the legs of swimmers can be seen, and blue sunlight filters through as if at the aquarium. Up a path and through two hairpin bends that prolong the walk amongst the greenery, and into the lobby. In its center, on a round table, are arranged local ceramic vases: the open pinecones of Caltagirone, or maybe lichens on coral reef rock.

The room overlooks the Mediterranean beyond the roofs of nearby Anacapri. Beyond a thatched roof there’s a density of cement, bulkheads and shingles. No trace of Caprese ceramics in the room. The furnishings do not reflect the island’s traditions. The Capri Palace room is white: tables and desks are white laminate wood, the same the architect might have chosen for a townhouse. The slats of modern and light wood are laid irregularly along the wall under the table, the crack on the edge is measured. Mirrored vanities and handles are reminiscent of a Milanese showroom design. The minibar is poorly equipped, there is no spoon to mix some medicine with a little water. The bathroom has no windows. Looking at the map reveals this room is not the basic category – and, upon inspection, we find rooms facing the back, onto the Spa’s wall. The Spa is connected to the main building through a glass corridor with plastic frames, but rain and salt stains cloud it. The wait for the elevator exceeds one minute – on foot it is. Suitcases are not delivered in a timely manner. The air conditioning is very strong in the room, but absent in the hallways – these brusque changes are not what the doctor ordered.

The hotel is connected to a lido di acqua alta – which means a viewpoint over the sea atop a rock cliff. Music plays loudly at the bar at four p.m., over the noise of a motorboat less than ten meters away. Despite it being a weekday afternoon in June, boats speed past the coastline, and children, fresh from trips to DisneyWorld, excitedly play at jumping off the rocks. The two cabins available are two wooden boxes reminiscent of the chemical toilets outside big events. The hostess treats a customer as if he was a supplier from the market, perhaps that’s how she speaks to the regulars – whilst the director tries to find if the lifeguard and the rest of the staff are available, and does all he can to accommodate customers – nevertheless, the shuttle to go back up doesn’t show up, despite it only being a seven-minute trip, and the wait for a taxi exceeds twenty minutes.

Capri Palace

Isola di Capri, via Capodimonte 14

80071 Anacapri