Meet Marie-Louise Sciò, Creative Director of the Pellicano Group

Il Pellicano in Tuscany, La Posta Vecchia in Rome, and Mezzatorre Hotel & Thermal Spa in Ischia are three of Italy’s most fabled hotels and they have been imagined and curated 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 the three properties into places that combine rare natural beauty and artful elegance.

Marie-Louise’s Designer Beginnings at the Pellicano Group

Marie-Louise, do you remember the first job you did for the Il Pellicano?

Marie-Louise: 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 before I knew it, I got stuck into every little aspect of it.

How do you manage to preserve the soul of a place while also striving for such rare beauty?

Marie-Louise: I think, by 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.

How the luxury Il Pellicano Hotel Preserved its History and the Design Process

Back in the days, Il Pellicano was a sanctuary for the Hollywood stars and artists who sought rest but not at the expense of luxury. Which meant the hotel had this air of absolute exclusivity about it. Is that still the case?

Marie-Louise: 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.

Walk us through your process. How do you make it all happen?

Marie-Louise: 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.

And what style did you want to go for?

Marie-Louise: 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.

Do you ever partner with other designers?

Marie-Louise: Yes, we do, from big brands to small brands that share the same Pellicano values and vision.

Experiences and Amenities at the Il Pellicano Hotel

For your future guests reading, what are the absolute must-dos when they come to Il Pellicano?

Marie-Louise: 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.

As someone who works within the luxury hotel industry, what are some of your favourite hotels around the world?

Marie-Louise: 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 either vibrate with them or not.

For more exclusive interviews, stay tuned!

Follow us on Instagram