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Francis Bown, Bown's Best

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See below for the latest July 2015 Reviews


Grand Hotel Quisisana, Capri, Italy | Bown's Best

ITALY
CAPRI
GRAND HOTEL QUISISANA

The Grand Hotel Quisisana never disappoints. That is why it is one of my favourite hotels in Europe. Indeed, I suspect that it has never disappointed in its entire history. And that history is a long one. It was in 1845 that a doctor from Scotland, George Sidney Clark, realised that his patients would benefit from Capri’s happy combination of sunshine, warmth and beauty. He built a clinic and called it ‘Quisisana’, which means ‘here one heals’. Twenty years later the clinic became an hotel. As time went by, the hotel became grander and grander. Persons of means and taste began to make the crossing from Naples to enjoy its luxurious hospitality. Here Jean Paul Sartre thought his existentialist thoughts and Ernest Hemingway day-dreamed about bullfights. In 1981 the property was purchased by a native Capri family, and since then members of the Morgano clan have lavished extravagant care and attention on their prize. Today there is no question: the Grand Hotel Quisisana is one of the loveliest hotels you will find.

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Palazzo Avino, Ravello, Italy | Bown's Best

ITALY
RAVELLO
PALAZZO AVINO

The Palazzo Avino is one of the undoubted stars of the Amalfi Coast. Part of its building dates back nine hundred years, and it is named after the family which now owns it. It is elegant, refined and luxurious. It occupies a position one thousand feet above the sea, and from its windows and terraces is a panorama which makes even an old curmudgeon like your correspondent feel glad to be alive. It is rightly one of the top destinations for the world’s most discerning travellers, who love the remarkable comfort, the good taste, the acclaimed gastronomic restaurant, the wonderful wine cellar and the impeccable service.

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Ristorante Il Buco, Sorrento, Italy | Bown's Best

ITALY
SORRENTO
RISTORANTE IL BUCO

If I were pressed as to which is the best restaurant in the city of Sorrento, I think I would have to reply: Il Buco. It has the important star from the Michelin inspectors, and – just as important – it provided me with a most delicious dinner on my last visit. It is down a sloping alley off the bustling piazza San Antonio. Its outside tables are on the right and its front door is on the left. Inside, you will soon find yourself in the presence of the Chef and Patron, Giuseppe Aversa (pictured, with your correspondent). He is renowned for the care and expertise with which he prepares the finest ingredients. And his reputation is well deserved.

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Francis Bown 2003
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