Slim Aarons, John Swope and Juergen Teller Depict the Hotel’s Decadent History
Set on Italy’s lush, unspoiled Monte Argentario peninsula, Il Pellicano is the embodiment of La dolce vita, as much a way of life as it is a five-star Relais & Châteaux hotel. Legendary photographers Slim Aarons, John Swope and Juergen Teller are among those to have made a pilgrimage to the secluded cliffside resort; their images document the charmed existence of the establishment’s residents in a new tome, Il Pellicano, which we preview today. Founded in 1965 by American socialites Patricia and Michael Graham, the 18-room property and its nine adjacent cottages were purchased in 1979 by one-time guest Roberto Sció, who guided the expansion of the Tuscan farmhouse–styled retreat. Over the years the cream of the European jetset has passed through its doors, including the Pucci, Missoni, Fendi, Niarcho and Casiraghi families. The photo book is the brainchild of hotel vice-president and daughter of the current owners, Marie-Louise Sció; we talked to her about the glitz and the guests.
How did this project come together and how did Juergen Teller get involved?
Slim Aarons would always come to the hotel when I was growing up, and I thought that there must be the most incredible archive of his work. I started collecting images and the wonderful [editor and publisher] Robert Violette helped me to produce the book. With the Slim Aarons and John Swope sections complete, I felt that there needed to be more recent photos showing the most current chapter in Il Pellicano’s history. A chance encounter with Juergen Teller’s gallerist led to Teller and his family coming to stay for a weekend.
What are your fondest memories of Il Pellicano?
I spent every summer at Il Pellicano and I have so many memories of the parties and suppers; women in turbans and men in penguin suits. Each Friday night my parents would host gala nights. I remember taking lobsters from the barbeque and putting them in the pool while everybody would be dancing around the seafront in dressing gowns. It was all so fabulous.
Who is the average hotel guest?
What is marvelous about Il Pellicano is that such diverse people come together—you can have a fashion designer, a make-up artist, bankers and artists all sat around the same table with stars above and Negronis in hand.
How has the hotel changed over the decades?
My father purchased his first chalet in the late 70s—it used to belong to Charlie Chaplin. The hotel was initially just 18 guest rooms and [nine chalets] for the drivers. It’s since been expanded, but has never lost its personality. There has always been a leading lady figure at the hotel. Initially it was Patricia Graham, then my mother, and now me.
Il Pellicano is out now from Rizzoli.