The trailblazer behind Casa Angelina has created quite a stir on his rise to the top of the Amalfi hotel scene.
From a bellboy working in an elevator to the innovative owner of Casa Angelina, Antonino Cappiello has pushed limits on his journey to the top — injecting a dose of laid-back luxury into the Amalfi Coast hotel scene.
The Sorrento-born businessman has come on quite a journey since his days carrying luggage, working his way up through the ranks through a mix of hard work and determination, but he wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for his roots. After a lucrative spell in the toy and gadget retail industry, Cappiello leapt at the chance to throw himself back into the hotel industry in 2007 and bought a 1970s-era bed-and-breakfast in the sleepy village of Praiano, just around the bend from the better known town of Positano.
His plan? To transform the heritage building into a cutting-edge boutique property and offer a refreshing alternative to the area’s traditional accommodation. Blazing a trail across this beautiful pocket of Italy’s southwest coast, Cappiello introduced the notion of “barefoot luxury” through his ahead-of-the-curve hotel — all the high style, none of the stuffiness. It all started with a desire to create a new type of high-end but down-to-earth accommodation; a luxurious home-away-from-home, with the perks of five-star amenities — chic furnishings by Marco De Luca, Bang & Olufsen electronics, and L’Occitane and Jo Malone toiletries.
“I became manic about making people feel comfortable because when you are comfortable, you are more relaxed,” Cappiello explains. But he proved comfort doesn’t have to mean old-world, formal opulence or in-your-face bling. “I wanted a hotel that had some of the feel of Las Ventanas in Cabo San Lucas as well as the minimalism of Philippe Starck’s Sanderson Hotel,” he adds. Determined to get it right, the man behind the hotel refused to cut corners; Cappiello took architects Gennaro Fusco and Francesco Savarese on many trips to different properties to give them an insight into his vision.
And the diligence paid off: sleek architecture and clever design seamlessly blur interior and exterior — think soul-quenching views of the Gulf of Salerno through floor-to-ceiling windows, and crisp white walls throwing the cerulean-blue of the sea and sky into stark relief. Cappiello’s affinity for Mediterranean minimalism and contemporary art sees the all-white colour scheme brought to life by a smattering of artworks; Murano glass sculptures sit among Sergio Bustamante’s ceramics and paintings by Patricia Valencia Carstens.
Not one for resting on his laurels, Cappiello welcomed two new business partners on board last year: German entrepreneur Kjeld Schiotz and his wife Dine. Playing a big part in Cappiello’s early success in the toy industry, Kjeld has remained a good friend and inspiration ever since — now the ambitious trio are keen to build on the hotel’s former success. Named after Cappiello’s beloved mother, Casa Angelina is a project of love and creativity by a visionary who rose through the ranks to take the Amalfi hotel scene to new heights — and looks set to continue raising the bar in the future.