Glass explores northern Italy with Small Luxury Hotels of the World

ON A trip to Northern Italy, I visit three esteemed properties affiliated to Small Luxury Hotels of the World group—each offering their own unique interpretation of luxury.

The SLH is a carefully curated collection of 560 boutique hotels in more than 90 countries. Each SLH hotel is vetted based on strict criteria and stamped with a symbol of excellence, ensuring that SLH guests, including myself, can support independent hotels while traveling with peace of mind.

Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amista Lounge

My journey commences at Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistà, a 5-star hotel that also functions as a museum, showcasing over 100 pieces of contemporary art. I enjoy aperitifs and local wines amidst famous works by Damien Hirst and Cindy Sherman.

The hotel features two restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Amistà, serving dishes crafted from produce grown on-site. The property is a sight to behold, playfully blending the historic nature of the villa with colorful and unique modern decorative details.

Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amista Signature Suite

My next destination is the Cape of Senses Hotel, situated in the picturesque Lake Garda region, only a short drive away from Byblos. The Cape of Senses excels in a different type of luxury—quiet luxury, where relaxation, stillness, and space are prioritized.

Despite being fully booked during my visit, the hotel is designed in such a way that it never feels crowded.

Cape of Senses Exterior

A rare calmness permeates the Cape of Senses. Its minimalist and elegant decor lets nature take center stage, with furniture strategically arranged to enhance breathtaking views from every angle. From the soft bed linens to the couches, an earthy muted color palette highlights the richly textured fabrics.

During my visit I make the most of the world-class spa, spending my afternoons floating in the half-indoor and half-outdoor infinity pool that overlooks Lake Garda.

Following my “Californian” massage, which is created in California for the psychophysical care of military veterans, I experience each of the three sauna and steam rooms. There’s a never-ending list of traditional and personalised spa treatments available.

Cape of Senses Junior Suite

This hotel is consciously integrated with its environmental surroundings, both aesthetically and sustainably. Local cuisine, wine, and produce are celebrated at the property’s bars and restaurants, which also offer breathtaking views of the lake.

I enjoy a special birthday lunch on the hotel’s rooftop terrace, basking in the golden Italian sun and surreal view while sipping on an Aperol Spritz and savouring delectable Pomodoro. The staff even prepare a surprise birthday dessert complete with candles.

Vista Palazzo Verona Lobby

My holiday continues at the Vista Palazzo Verona. Located in the middle of the buzzing literary destination, Vista Palazzo Verona’s sexy and sophisticated maximalist approach to luxury is a nice change of pace from Cape of Senses.

Vista Palazzo Verona Rooftop Bar

The hotel is home to the only spa in the city, and each guest is offered a complimentary facial, setting the tone for the impeccable level of hospitality I experience. There are only 15 rooms in total on the property, and my suite is decadent and spacious, decorated with whimsical patterns and opulent colors which makes me feel like royalty for the duration of my stay.

Vista Palazzo Verona Prestige Suite

There’s never a moment where I don’t feel taken care of. The meticulous attention to detail persists at the on-site bar and restaurant. The cuisine served here is both unique and traditional—my favorite meal I have in Verona, and perhaps ever, is an Amarone risotto with 40-month-aged Monte Veronese cheese and fig red wine purée—an ode to local cuisine.

Each dish is presented beautifully and reminds me exactly why people come from all over the world to eat here in northern Italy.

by Jamison Kent

Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amistá – prices start from £301 GBP per night, including breakfast. To book, please visit

Cape of Senses – prices start from £363 GBP per night, including breakfast. To book, please visit

Vista Palazzo Verona – prices start from £710 GBP per night, including breakfast. To book, please visit

All images credited: Small Luxury Hotels of the World