Il Convento – a renovated antique hotel in Naples

Il Convento – a renovated antique hotel in Naples

Situated in the narrow streets of the Quartieri Spagnoli only a few meters away from the main shopping street, Il CONVENTO is a cute little hotel in the very heart of Naples. In a palace of 1600s skillfully restored to re-create its original look, it feels a bit like living in a castle but with a modern feel and taste. Mr Hudson speaks to Maria Chiara, one of the General Managers about the unique character of the hotel, the core values of the establishment, and some of her favourite places in Naples.

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Tell us a little bit about the history of Hotel Il Convento

Hotel Il Convento was born from the brave idea of Liliana who, despite being alone with three children at the end of the 90s, decided to venture and buy a dilapidated building in the heart of the Spanish neighbourhoods.  A very central district a stone’s throw from Via Toledo and Piazza del Plebiscito, but also an infamous neighbourhood and certainly not frequented by tourists. Liliana came from a family of entrepreneurs, also and above all, from the hotel sector. She was able, therefore, with determination and passion, to carry on her idea and in 2001 she opened the hotel: 14 rooms all furnished with antique furniture purchased in the sector markets and entrusted the rest of the furniture in the hands of expert cabinet-makers.

Over time Maria Chiara and Flavia, two of her daughters, took over the management and now Hotel Il Convento is a delightful boutique hotel in the centre of the Spanish district. The district has now totally changed from a place that no one recommended to a popular destination among tourists. Saw the birth of restaurants and taverns that have joined the simple shops that have always characterized the area. Staying in this area of the city changes the concept of the weekend out, and from simple tourists, we turn into travellers for a real Neapolitan experience.

“Even without ever distorting our essence, we try to meet modern needs, be they aesthetic or personal”

What are the core values of your establishment?

The strong points are definitely:

Centrality: right in a parallel street of Via Toledo, 5 minutes walk from Piazza del Plebiscito with the Royal Palace, the San Carlo Theater, the Umberto Gallery and the Castel Nuovo.

Truthfulness: it is a full immersion in the real and daily life of the Neapolitan people with the classic hanging clothes and the vibrant and colourful alleys.

Familiarity and smiles: the staff is like a family, practically the same since the first year in 2001. At each check-in it is as if we were welcoming the traveller to the family, endeavouring so that they can feel at home and always doing so that is not just a stay, but a beautiful experience, a memory to take with him over time.

What makes your accommodation so inspiring and unique?

Attention to detail has always been one of the strong points recognized by our customers. Even without ever distorting our essence, we try to meet modern needs, be they aesthetic or personal. Therefore, for example, we offer two solutions for breakfast. In one of the two rooms with common tables around which, sitting next to each other, travellers can interact by exchanging advice and making friends. Or in the room, always free of charge, served at your preferred time if you don’t feel like socializing, or for time reasons.

Il Convento - Napoles - 9

Il Convento - Napolesc - 2

How important is good design for hotels and for hospitality today?

The renovation of all the hotel rooms has recently started and will end at the end of February this year. The rooms, from simple ‘monastic cells’, have been revised making the setting warm and welcoming, a place to feel immediately at home, inserting marble in the bathrooms, relaxing waterfalls in the showers, wallpaper with an antique flavour, armchairs and design mirrors. Everything to make the structure in step with modern taste but always with an eye on our origins and maintaining the atmosphere of a historic building from the 1600s.

What makes Il Convento a great hotel?

All rooms have a private balcony overlooking the classic Neapolitan alleys with clothes hanging in the sun to dry. The two junior suites on the top floor of the hotel each have a private garden terrace where you can relax after a day spent walking around the city or enjoying breakfast to start your day.

Photo: Aliya Izumi

Photo: Aliya Izumi

“The beauty of Naples is the Neapolitans and their always friendly and helpful attitude”

What makes Naples such a great destination?

Naples is a unique city for its wealth of history and natural beauty, but it is also lively, colourful and vibrant. The ancient centre, the soul of the city, is not like in many other European cities, just reserved for the rich, but full of popular neighbourhoods. In each corner or alley, you will find the typical shops flanked by bars and restaurants that offer traditional dishes at all hours. Scooters, clothes hanging in the sun, the voices of street vendors will keep you company throughout your visit. No corner does not have its own story, and above all, each person you meet will be there to smile and tell you about it because the beauty of Naples is the Neapolitans and their always friendly and helpful attitude.

What are some of your favourite places in Naples that people need to know about?

Certainly, Naples is famous for its castles, the Archeological and Capodimonte museums, for the paintings by Caravaggio, the Sansevero chapel with the Veiled Christ, for Vesuvius and much more. But there are lesser-known but perhaps even more fascinating places: the Fontanelle Cemetery (the largest ossuary in Europe) and the Catacombs of San Gennaro and San Gaudioso. Book your guided tour online and a group of young people from the Sanità district will not only show you a historical place but will tell you legends, ancient stories that will conquer you.

Naples Underground

Naples Underground

Any recommendations for our readers?

Also not to be missed is a visit to the underground city. Naples is one of the oldest cities in Italy: the first building dates back to the time of the Greeks, which means that below the modern city there is a Roman city and then even further below there is a Greek city. The visit to subsoil allows you to discover a part of this history and how over the years the citizens still used these places until the early 80s.

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