Wednesday, 16 October 2013

A little slice of paradise, anyone?

A little while ago, the lovely people behind the Charming Small Hotels company sent me Charming Small Hotels Italy (Duncan Petersen Publishing Ltd) ;a nifty little independent guidebook full of wonderful, off-the beaten track hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses and all sorts of other stylish accommodation. Check out my review of the guidebook here.

I also had the pleasure of checking out one of the hotels included in the guidebook this weekend. The place is question was Il Cannito, located in Cappacio Paestum in beautiful Cilento.

Let me just begin by saying that the Il Cannito experience left me feeling revived, energized and (perhaps?) most importantly, full of delicious cake. Right from the moment we arrived at Il Cannito, which is nestled in the lush, green Capaccio Paestum countryside, the very hospitable and well-spoken Nicola made sure that we were comfortable and happy, engaging us in fascinating conversation about this historic, yet fully refurbished property, which is surrounded by oak and elm trees. Enjoying a slice of his sister's chocolate and nut cake whilst sat outside on the terrace lifted my mood even higher and left me curious (and impatient) to see what goodies we would be served for dinner.

But before you think that this review is going to be soley food based (sorry, you know what I'm like...), I must draw your attention to the comfort and positive energy of this incredible location. Our room (one of only four) was at the base of the property, down a set of steps and slopes. (Climbing back up for our breakfast and dinner left us a little short of breath but this is more of an indication of our...ahem...'fitness' levels than a fault with Il Cannito). The room was spacious, with a gorgeous mix of modern and traditional; handmade wood furniture, a plush sofa (if it weren't for the comfy bed I would have been more than happy to sleep there) and a jacuzzi bath. The large bed was also home to what can only be described as an 'angel cushion'. And by this, dear readers, I mean a cushion that is so comfortable, that it makes you feel like you are actually being held in the arms of an angel. I belive the only sound one can make, whilst reclining into its unbelievably soft plumpness, is: ahhhhh (or possibly oooo...)

Anyway, several hours later, after soaking, lounging, and enjoying the beautiful view from our shared patio outside (and what a view it was), we were ready for a spot of dinner. Apart from the beforementioned fitness issue, we also had a little trouble finding our way as the lights didn't give off much...well, light. However, as we got the the dining area, we were well and truly distracted by the delicous smells coming from the kitchen. Yes, here's another food bit...

Pumpkin risotto, chicken, vegetables and pizza rustica, followed by some amazing pasticciotti alla crema (to translate: delectable little creamy cake creation things) and topped off with a splash of homemade limoncello? This Brit and her Italian man were well and truly content (and full). There was nothing fussy about the food that we ate there; fresh, simple dishes made with a touch of flair and, undoubtedly, a lot of love. This was definitely a (fantastic) family kitchen. Another selection of gastronomical delights were served to us the following morning for breakfast. While my man commented on the 'spongyness' of the sponge cake, I was thoroughly taken in by the creamy cappuccino. It turns out that they just use 'normal' milk to make it, but I reckon there was a bt of magic dust sprinkled in or something, as it was one of the best I have ever tasted.

Aside from the fact that the food and location were nothing short of amazing, perhaps the most wonerful thing about this place is the family who run it. Three super-smiley siblings and their beautiful mum ensure that you are 110% comfortable, and love nothing more than catering to your needs, without ever being overbearing. They want to make sure that you get the most out of your stay at Il Cannito, and have clearly put their hearts and souls into creating an unforgettable experience. As we gazed up at the enormous oak tree that looms majestically above the property, and felt the warm, early autumn sunshine on our faces, we felt that we really didn't want to go home. 'You should see it in summer...' they said. I think I'd just die and go to heaven if I did- Did I mention there's a swimming pool? No? Well there is; complete with a breathtaking view of Capri. In this charming location, all you hear is birds chirping, insects...insecting, and the odd tractor in a nearby field. All together now: ahhhhh.....

This wonderful family will take care of you.
Staying at Il Cannito is not exactly cheap. At around €250 per room per night it's definitely not a budget hotel. However, if just for the stunning location and sense of tranquility that washes over you from the moment you arrive, the price seems justified. It's even surprising that the price isn't higher, when you add in the brilliant breakfast (including magic cappuccino), chic rooms, flawless service and a family that makes you feel like you're an old friend.

If that isn't a little slice of paradise, I don't know what is.

You'll find Il Cannito tucked away on the Via Cannito, 84047, Capaccio Paestum (SA). Visit their stylish website here and don't forget to check out their facebook page too, where you'll find a beautiful short video. Disclaimer: said video may make you want to call and book a room immediately. 
You'll find this, and all sorts of other wondeful places to stay in the Charming Small Hotels Italy guide. You can order one here.

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