New York, New York – Reported by Mary Gostelow for Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine
Bianca Sharma always has Elite Traveler with her in her Falcon-900EX, which is spending more and more time shuttling supplies and people to Europe’s most extraordinary hotel to open this century, Monastero Santa Rosa, 1,000 feet up a near-sheer incline above the Amalfi Coast. She had been working on the hotel since 2001, and it opened, as a 20-room super-luxury retreat, this May. The first guests were HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and his wife Princess Charlene, who, as a former Olympic swimmer for her native South Africa, inaugurated the hotel’s stunning infinity pool.
Bianca was on a boat trip off the Amalfi Coast in 2000, when she looked up, saw an imposing ruin and bought it. She then spent untold millions making it a paradise. Each room is a highly stylish conversion of up to three former cells; in addition to stunning views down to the blue Tyrrhenian Sea, you have priceless antiques paired with modern art, and local staff who are some of the nicest in the industry.
Spend time in the gorgeous spa, where the products are Santa Maria Novella, just like at Four Seasons Firenze. The goal, says Bianca, is to enable high fliers in today’s achievement-oriented world to spend a few days totally relaxed. She, meanwhile, jets off to one of the many hotels she herself loves, say an Aman Resort or Christoph Henkel’s Dunton Hot Springs in Dolores, Colorado. Bianca owns 270 acres in southwest Colorado—will she create another retreat there?
Big American names are on the Amalfi Coast with gusto at the moment. If you want to follow Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan to their honeymoon hideaway, head to Hotel Caruso Belvedere by Orient-Express in Ravello. Arrange a helicopter transfer to avoid what can be a painfully slow and winding road up from the coast, and try to reserve one of the sensational new private villas, 51 through 53, with barrel-vault roofs, lovely terraces and views far down to the sea. All the top hotels in the area provide privacy for elite travelers, although Jennifer Aniston did not seem to realize this when she dropped into Capri recently, with now fiancé Justin Theroux. She was said to be so terrified of paparazzi she sheltered behind bodyguards and dark glasses the whole time.