Francesco Sersale launches luxury hiking retreat at his family’s famous Le Sirenuse hotel in Positano
The son gets up too. In this case, Francesco Sersale, the scion of a beloved Italian hotelier family who runs one of the world’s most iconic hotels, Le Sirenuse in Positano. From its beginnings in 1951, when four Italian brothers transformed a private cliff-top home into an elegant resort, Le Sirenuse has become one of the most photographed and adored properties on the Amalfi Coast.
And now Francesco, 28, takes the reins of the new Dolce Vitality retreat while his father Antonio and mother Carla run the hotel with his older brother Aldo. A former talent agent managing endorsement deals for high-profile celebrities, Francesco brings his vast experience in entertainment marketing, brand partnerships, wellness and hospitality to the family business while focusing on the international expansion of the brand.
For one week in the fall (Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 2022) and one week in the spring (Mar. 19-Mar. 25, 2023), Le Sirenuse opens its doors to just 24 guests who come to push themselves to the peak of fitness while enjoying the healthy cuisine and stunning scenery of the Amalfi Coast. The strenuous hiking retreat was inspired by the 4,000-foot high cliffs that surround the hotel’s iconic property.
Hikes are often brisk, including long vertical climbs on endless flights of steps. There are ancient hiking trails and mule tracks that follow the Path of the Gods range through lemon groves and olive groves, past ancient chapels while traversing winding stone stairways through small villages.
I recently sat with Francesco on the terrace of Sirenuse on a particularly hot summer afternoon as he explained the idea behind Dolce Vitality and what to expect in upcoming retreats.
What inspired the idea of Dolce Vitality?
Francesco Sersale “It was a program my father started after going to a retreat he attended. He loved the experience and wanted to open the hotel a week before and a week after the official hotel season. It made perfect sense geographically because we are blessed with mountains, with old mule tracks and trails going everywhere.”
How is your retirement different from others?
FS: “I’m changing the retreat drastically. This retreat shouldn’t be in the same bucket as others you do in the US. If you want to do a strict detox retreat for weight loss, where do they take your phone and you suffer, there are a million places you can go. This should not be another one of those places. In our first retreat, there was no coffee or alcohol, and that changes because you don’t shouldn’t wake up with a headache when you give up coffee. Nor are other retreats known for their beautiful rooms, great service, and luxury. They’re only known for their results. That’s a place where you have fun, where you can enjoy the beauty. You should have time to experience and explore Positano. Everything is optional.”
Tell me about retirement dining options.
FS: “We are going to show the wonderful and abundant supply of the Mediterranean Sea right in front of us. It will always be very healthy and it will be delicious. If you like a glass of wine with dinner, you can have one, and there will be also coffee for breakfast. For dinner, we have a long communal table, which is my dad’s style. He’s known for entertaining and entertaining guests, and that should be like our fitness program.”
Working closely with leading health coach Valentina Dolci, their chef Gennaro Russo created an organic, plant-based menu with the addition of local omega-3 rich fish and seafood. Based on the Mediterranean diet, Gennaro’s menu is designed to provide a personalized, results-oriented, reduced-calorie diet with optimal nutritional benefits. The energy needed to climb those hills is supplemented with snacks – including Gennaro’s homemade granola bars – which are tailored to each participant’s individual body mass assessment.
What is your ultimate goal with Dolce Vitality?
FS: “We want you to discover our mountains, our land. We want you to have an amazing, luxurious and pampered time at our hotel. We hoped you would meet an amazing curated community of like-minded people who come from all over the world to experience this unique initiative. And we want you to come away with new ideas for how to live your life that aren’t radical. And above all, we want you to really, really enjoy it.
A limited number of places are available for each six-night retreat (Sunday to Saturday) at the price of 6,000 euros per person, excluding tourist tax and VAT. The all-inclusive price covers the full program, with transfers to and from Naples, spa treatments, meals and accommodation in a room facing the sea.