Jumeirah bolsters European resorts

Capri Palace Jumeirah
Capri Palace Jumeirah

Jumeirah Group has been appointed to operate and manage the Capri Palace in Italy, with plans for a series of refurbishments.

The hotel, which includes a leading medical spa, takes Jumeirah Group to six sites in Europe. 

The property was acquired by London-based investment group Centricus last May for an undisclosed fee, after being sold by Doğuş Holding as part of a debt restructuring. 

Doğuş has sold a number of trophy assets over the past year, with Villa Dubrovnik, Madrid’s Hotel Villa Magna, Rome’s Aldrovandi Villa Borghese Hotel and the Grand Hyatt in Istanbul marketed alongside the Capri Palace. At one point Jumeirah Group owner Dubai Holding was thought to be considering buying the Capri Palace, before instead taking on the operations. 

The 68-room property hotel will reopen as Capri Palace, Jumeirah, in April next year. The hotel, founded by Tonino Cacace, overlooks the Gulf of Naples and is designed in the style of an eighteenth-century Neapolitan palazzo.

The hotel first opened in 1960 and has hosted celebrities including Jackie Onassis, Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, with a Paltrow Suite celebrating the actress’s stays at the property. 

Capri Palace, Jumeirah is home to three of the island’s Michelin stars. The hotel’s signature restaurant L’Olivo, which serves Mediterranean classics, has been awarded two stars, while Il Riccio – the hotel’s private beach club – has one, and is the only beach club in the world to do so.

Capri Palace, Jumeirah is also revered as a wellness destination, with the Capri Beauty Farm directed by Dr Francesco Canonaco, offering specialised signature treatments including the ‘Leg School’ and the ‘Metabolic Response’. 

The former treatment addresses varicose veins through a combination of applied clay mud and medicated cold bandages, worn while walking in Kneipp pools, where the water varies in temperature from 18C to 40C degrees. The latter treatment aims to encourage weight loss by accelerating body metabolism alongside a personalised physical activity programme.

José Silva, CEO, Jumeirah Group, said: “We are proud and excited to welcome Capri Palace, Jumeirah into our portfolio. It is one of Europe’s most recognised and well-respected hotels, with a global reputation and following. 

“Capri Palace, Jumeirah embodies our brand values of providing excellent service, unrivalled culinary experiences and inspiring design, and joins our existing collection of European properties in London, Mallorca and Frankfurt.”

Ermanno Zanini, GM Capri Palace, Jumeirah and RVP, Italy and Spain, said: “We are delighted that Jumeirah Group have embraced Capri Palace to be a part of its portfolio. With the warmth of our team, the big smiles and the even bigger hearts, we look forward to build on greatness and reach new frontiers as part of this renowned global luxury hospitality company.”

Insight: The past year or so has seen any number of investors pile into the luxury hotel sector. Those, like LVMH, which have experience in fancy bags (and, yes, some hotels) being joined by the likes of Centricus, whose other investments include, well, technology funds and debt fund managers.

There’s very little creative joy to be had speculating about why one would invest in a luxury hotel, particularly one at the pinnacle like the Capri Palace. It’s going to hold its value and if you own it you can hang out by the pool getting leg treatments all day long in the name of keeping a close eye on your previous asset. There is very little sell involved, more a matter of how to keep the bidders orderly.

Where the Capri Palace indicates that it’s part of a wider trend is looking at Centricus’s activity  immediately after it moved into exceptionally-fancy hotels. The group - created by former Deutsche Bank executive Nizar Al-Bassam, along with Dalinc Ariburnu, ex of Goldman Sachs - led a $50m Series C round of financing in luxury footwear brand Tamara Mellon the following month. Suddenly it’s all starting to look a lot more LVMH. 

In a call to analysts after the Belmond deal, LVMH CFO Jean-Jacques Guiony said: “The future of luxury will be not only in luxury goods, but also in luxury experiences”. And for Centricus, that’s from the foot up.