Having grown up on the bougainvillea-flowing grounds of one of Italy’s most fabled hotels, Marie Louise Scio is spoiled for life elsewhere. “I swear I never go out of my golden prison,” the CEO and Creative Director of the five star Hotel Il Pellicano says of her four month seaside station and action-packed summer routine. Starting in mid-April each year, Scio officially moves her home base from her apartment in Rome to her family’s hotel nestled into a lush cliff above Tuscany’s Tyrrhenian Sea. And really, why would you go anywhere else when the whole world is coming to you?
With her charming 14 year old son Umberto standing in a collared shirt by her side, and her sprightly father Roberto skipping around the grounds in red linen pants and Venetian slippers, Scio welcomes a steady stream of sun-worshipping international travelers seeking a slice of her very-good-life. Some step off of private jets, some drive over from Rome, some cruise in on shiny Riva boats attached to vacation homes in Capalbio or mega yachts down the coast. But no matter where they come from, they’re all united in their love for the Pellicano’s simple kind of luxury: a cozy, unpretentious hotel with warm service, magnificent food, a garden exploding with colored blooms, and the best sea perch in all of Tuscany.
“It’s always such an interesting mix of people from all walks of life,” Scio says. “We get honeymooners, art people, fashion people. Last week we had four different illustrators here. Last night I was with a plus-sized model whose dog had 400,000 Instagram followers. It was nuts.”
Most of the guests – like the Missoni family, photographer Juergen Teller (who shot the “Eating at Il Pellicano” cook book), T Magazine Editor Deborah Needleman, and Uomo Vogue fashion editor Robert Rabensteiner—are long time regulars who are drawn to the old-world manners and family-style ambience. As for the rest, they’re probably people that Marie Louise wants to get to know.
“That’s the best aspect of the job,”she says. “It’s always interesting—and fun—meeting and spending time with these people.”
Though she floats through the property every night like a busy, beautiful butterfly that never sleeps, Scio is just as much a business-minded, rigorous Lady of the Manor as she is glittering party hostess. “I wake up every morning at 6am which is a magnificent thing I recommend to everyone who stays here,” she says. After a brisk Pilates session, she jumps into a daily morning meeting with her staff to review new arrivals, performance, and any issues. Then it’s off to lunch, perhaps a drive to her other property down the coast, La Posta Vecchia, and back to host friends over cocktails at the Pellicano’s pool bar.
The Pellicano has always been chic, but has kicked into high gear in the last decade as Scio’s imprint as Creative Director has materialized. She has overseen every miniscule detail of the hotel’s revamp from its Fornasetti bird wallpaper (to die for!) and the Patricia Urquiola-designed outdoor cocktail chairs, to the inclusion of quinoa on the menu, and every DVD in the movie library (“which are all movies that you must see in your lifetime,” she explains.”). A stickler for perfection and a magnet for the world’s creative class, she is now outsourcing her insider knowledge to other hotels in need of consulting advice. “I’m the nitpicker. I tell everyone what to do, what’s wrong,” she says with a laugh. “Growing up in a hotel trained me for life. It’s my job to imagine an elegance that no longer exists.”
For an inside look at Marie-Louise’s Rules for Living the Good Life at the Hotel Pellicano, as well as her favorite places to scoop, stoop, scope, and stretch out her long, bronzed limbs when she’s not fluttering around her hotel like a busy beautiful butterfly, CLICK HERE.