Il Pellicano in Tuscany and La Posta Vecchia in Rome are two of Italy’s most fabled hotels and they were both imagined by the daughter of entrepreneur Roberto Sciò who owns the Pellicano Group, Marie-Louise Sciò.
Growing up, she would play hide and seek in the vast corridors of La Posta Vecchia, then her family home, and spend her summers at Il Pellicano.
As the years went by, she would study design and architecture and ultimately transform both properties into places that combine rare natural beauty and artful elegance.
In this exclusive interview, we talk to her about her work and what makes for a hotel with a true dolce vita spirit.
Meet Marie-Louise Sciò
GLH: Hello Marie-Louise. It’s an absolute pleasure to have you answer a few of our questions. First of all, do you remember the first job you did for the Il Pellicano, and what was it?
Marie-Louise Sciò: Sure! I absolutely had no intention of working in the hotels. I was happy working as an architect and interior designer. I was a few years out of school and my father asked me to redesign a bathroom, and then the whole hotel, and then I got stuck into every little aspect of it.
GLH: How do you manage to preserve the soul of a place with such rare beauty?
Marie-Louise Sciò: I think, being true to my values and vision. The approach is to create a dialogue between the past and today. Through the years, we have improved the hotel and made it more contemporary while also trying to maintain its old school allure, respecting its history and DNA, and, at the same time, embracing contemporary culture.
I’m proud of having evolved the hotel and made it grow yet kept its spirit and soul. Curating every single little detail, from the book and film library to the graphics of the signature scent, the towels… Pretty much everything is chosen and selected with the utmost care. The objective is to give emotions.
GLH: Historically, we understand Il Pellicano used to attract a lot of celebrities and artists, and when they would meet, they would create this atmosphere of exclusivity. Is that still the case today?
Marie-Louise Sciò: Il Pellicano was built in 1965. It was born as a kind of club, so that has stayed in the DNA of the place. Although it’s not a members’ club, it still very much has that feeling of being a home and a kind of club for people who like to travel in a certain way.
It’s laid back, relaxed and elegant. When a hotel has a genuine culture, you have to capitalize on its history. For me, it was really important to go down the rabbit hole and find out what it looked like historically, and how people lived there, how they vacationed, and keep that while also creating a dialogue with more contemporary ways and service, bringing in more contemporary culture.
GLH: As the Creative Director, how do you work on the design of the rooms, suites and restaurants?
Marie-Louise Sciò: Having grown up in both hotels certainly make my creative approach like that of a home, taking care of every detail as if it were a home. Also being around clients and seeing it through their eyes gave me another set of eyes. Studying architecture and design was fundamental to translate those into design details.
GLH: And what style did you want to go for?
Marie-Louise Sciò: I always want to preserve the soul of a place and express its history and DNA. For the Il Pellicano, it was that of a summer home, chic but not pretentious. That’s how I remembered it and that’s what dictated the design approach. I did want to make it contemporary without losing its past, so the mission was to create a dialogue between past and present, making it contemporary without stepping all over the past.
GLH: Do you partner with other designers?
Marie-Louise Sciò: Yes, we do, from big brands to small brands that share the same Pellicano values and vision.
GLH: What’s your vision for 2021 and the years to come for the Il Pellicano?
Marie-Louise Sciò: We keep improving the hotels and renovating both hotels and amenities. It’s all about the micro details, which we question year after year. My father’s motto is “to be happily unsatisfied”.
GLH: Our clients are passionate about luxury hotels and beautiful places. What are your usual recommendations for people staying at the Il Pellicano? What are some of the best places around?
Marie-Louise Sciò: Swim in the sea. Sounds obvious, but there are many people who just use the pool. Have “pasta alle vongole”, a Biologique Recherche facial and shop in our little shop full of treasures!
Or maybe take a boat and visit the Tuscan archipelago islands like Giglio and Giannutri, unspoiled gems of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
GLH: And finally, what are some of your favorite hotels around the world?
Marie-Louise Sciò: I think there are a lot of hotels in the world that are incredible, that move me, and that I personally really like that are generally not five-star hotels. Like Deetjen’s Inn in Big Sur – which is now unfortunately closed – or the Rose Hotel in Venice Beach in L.A. I love the Sunset Tower in Los Angeles, but that’s a five-star hotel, and I love The Greenwich in New York. It’s about emotions and what those places make you feel. Places are like people, you vibrate with them or not.
For more exclusive interviews, stay tuned!