Talented photojournalist and Fathom contributor Rory Doyle captures the magic of Neapolitan hotel gem that is Atelier Inès.
My wife and I, traveling foodies, are not ashamed to admit we were willing to fly halfway across the globe to try the world’s best pizza. We’re a little crazy for good pizza, so a pilgrimage to Naples, Italy, seemed like a necessity for us. As quasi enthusiasts, we also booked the trip to take a weeklong course with a fourth-generation pizzaiolo.
On our first trip to Italy, years ago, we skipped out on Naples, thinking our time would be better spent in Rome, Florence, and Venice. And while those cities are undoubtably worth a visit, Italy’s third largest city has the culinary flair that has us dreaming of returning as soon as we can.
And to parallel the pizza, we found a friendliness exhibited by Neapolitans that was unmatched. Our entire journey was rounded out perfectly thanks to our stay at the unforgettable Atelier Inès Arts & Suites, located in the bustling heart of Naples.
Atelier Inès is in the historic Sanità district of Naples, which is considered an “open-air museum.” As you walk through the neighborhood, you will be inspired by historic architecture, lively streets, and — of course — pizza.
From 1900 to 1930, the property was an open-space cinema and theater; in the 1940s, it was transformed into a large home by the Oste family. Since 1980, the ground floor has hosted the art studio of Annibale Oste, a renowned artist, sculptor, and poet. Vincenzo Oste, Annibale’s son, has also used the studio for his own stunning creations since the early 2000s. And it should absolutely be mentioned that the entire vibe of the hotel is thanks to Inès Sellami, Vincenzo’s wife, who is also an artist. Her design expertise is paralleled by her hospitality, exhibited immediately when guests arrive. While operating as a bed-and-breakfast, it’s equal parts living, breathing gallery. Also on site is an impressive jewelry boutique featuring Vicenzo and Inès originals.
This Place Is Perfect For
Couples who appreciate, art, history, architecture and being ingrained in a true Neapolitan neighborhood will love this location. It’s only a five-minute walk to the metro station, so the entire city is at your fingertips. And if you just want to digital detox at the hotel, Atelier Inès has a beautiful courtyard surrounded by Annibale and Vincenzo’s art.
But Not So Perfect For
Rambunctious partiers. There’s too much exquisite artwork around...stuff you wouldn’t want to stumble into.
It’s the type of place where you’ll feel secluded within a city, when in reality, just outside the gate is thriving Neapolitan culture.
Food & Drink
Breakfast is provided with the stay (other food and drinks must be purchased outside the hotel). But they really put the breakfast in B&B, and my wife and I both think it’s outstanding. We enjoyed the variety of pastries, bread, yogurt, fruit, local meats and cheeses, eggs, and fresh coffee. Another nice detail is the wide range of homemade jams and jellies made from fruit grown in the rich soil at the base of nearby Mount Vesuvius. Manoj, the main staff member on site, is a joy to see each morning as he serves you in the courtyard.
There are six bespoke rooms and suites, each uniquely decorated with original work from Annibale and Vincenzo. Interior design pieces, furniture, mirrors, home accessories such as glass, silverware, and serving plates, and other unique artworks make each room captivating and charming. Currently, three additional rooms are being built upstairs, which will have their own distinct details.
It’s pretty hard to complain about the lodging at Atelier Inès. Who wouldn’t want to stay in a bed and breakfast that’s also an art gallery? There are no TVs in the rooms — enjoy the art and tranquility instead!
Just outside the hotel is a very visual mix of old and new. Visit engaging churches, palaces, underground catacombs, museums, and monuments to soak up historical knowledge. The Museum of Archaeology and the Contemporary Art Museum il Madre are just a stone’s throw from Atelier Inès. To gain some street smarts, simply take your time to people watch. The streets express modern life with always-changing pop-up vendors. Sometimes you’ll find fish and produce stands; other times you’ll find a hopping bar full of young folks drinking wine, beer, or spritzes. Regardless of which day of the week you take astroll, absorbing the buzz of the neighborhood is enough to keep you occupied.
What to Do Nearby
Eat — you’re in Italy! One of our favorite pizza joints in the entire city is just a couple block away: Pizzeria Concettina ai Tre Santi. Quite possibly the most memorable meal of my life was the tasting menu provided by Ciro Oliva, a young pizzaiolo who runs the community mainstay that’s been a part of the Sanità district for over 70 years. Just a block from Concettina, you must stop for dessert and at Pasticceria Poppella for fiocco di neve, a cream-filled Neapolitan pastry that melts in your mouth. Hands down, this is one of my favorite desserts in Italy.
When you’ve maxed out on pizza, one of the best things to do in Naples is walk through the historic center. It’s also a good way to burn off all the carbs. Exploring old Naples is fascinating, particularly because of the architecture. Hire a local guide for a walking tour so you can better understand the centuries of history behind the facades. Some must-visits are Piazza del Plebiscito, Piazza Dante, Gesù Nuovo, and the Royal Palace.
Plan Your Trip
How to Get There
Naples has an international airport, but most flights from the U.S. will require connections. We found it super easy to fly to Rome, take the train from the airport to Roma Termini, and quickly jump on a fast train that’s goes directly from Rome to Naples. It’s a short and smooth ride through the phenomenal Italian landscape.