On our last trip to Italy, we enjoyed a two-night complimentary stay at the Grand Hotel President in Sorrento. After several days in Rome and two nights in gritty Naples, we were ready for a respite and the Grand Hotel President Sorrento proved to be just that.
Set a few miles high above Sorrento (the gateway to the Amalfi Coast), the hotel offers unparalleled views over the Bay of Naples from most rooms, the pool, the gardens, the dining area and the bar. On the night we arrived, we walked into our room and, looking from the french doors, were overwhelmed by the beauty of the sparkling city before our eyes.
The floor of our room was tiled in a style typical of the Sorrento area bringing a brightness and homey feeling to the generous sized, superior-double, sea-view room. A desk with coffee-making apparatus and a good-sized flat-screen television were just the right touch.
The next morning, after waking from our very comfortable king-sized bed, we showered in our spacious bathroom and went for breakfast.The breakfast is a generous buffet, with choice of juices, pastries, fruits and cereals as well as a chef serving up made-to-order egg dishes. It is a perfect beginning to your day.
After breakfast, we took the free hotel shuttle into Sorrento. The shuttle driver was friendly and offered maps and suggestions for a visit to the city.The shuttle lets you off in the center of town, from which you can walk anywhere in the small old-town or even take the elevator to the beach and the port below the town proper. The shuttle makes scheduled runs throughout the day, including in the evening which makes it as convenient as staying in town. But, if you stayed in town, you’d miss those spectacular views that are offered by the Grand Hotel President.
After touring the town and taking a boat to Capri, we took the shuttle back up the hill for a little rest before dinner. It would have been a perfect time for a spa treatment at the on-site spa, but I was ready to sit by the pool, read a book and bask in the sunshine of that beautiful day.
We decided to have a before dinner drink in the bar to watch the sunset and met a couple from London who were celebrating their anniversary. The clientele seems to be mainly Western Europeans with some Americans. We felt right at home. After dinner, we went back to the bar to listen to some live music. We were even entertained by fireworks set off at the beach in Sorrento. I was told that fireworks are a common sight in summer. How wonderful!
Dinner offerings each night include several entree choices and the wine list is more than adequate. We loved our meals each night and 30€ per person is a very reasonable price for the fresh and interesting three courses. You will always have a choice of a fish, vegetarian or meat- centered entree. The waiters were top-notch and you never felt neglected or rushed. We did not have lunch at the hotel, but the pool-bar offers sandwiches, salads and other light offerings all day.
One of the main criteria by which I judge hotels is cleanliness. The Grand Hotel President Sorrento was spotless. No mean feat when there are no carpets to hide a multitude of sins. We also appreciated the fact that the cleaning staff were unobtrusive. There were no carts sitting in the halls all day long (as we had just experienced in our hotel in Rome).
The hotel has 110 rooms and is open from March through November. It offers large meeting rooms and would be able to accomodate a good-sized conference. It would also be a perfect spot for a destination wedding. After all, who wouldn’t want to be married in the most romantic part of Italy?
I received a tour of the hotel from Andrea di Maio, the reservations manager. He could not have been more gracious and I noticed that he was most kind to staff members as we toured the hotel, a trait I find endearing in a hotel manager. Before we left, we had some transportation issues for which we sought his advice; and he helped us beyond our expectations. Without question, I can say that everything at this 4-star hotel exceeded our expectations. If you plan to visit Pompeii or the Amalfi Coast, stay here; you will be happy that you did.
The Grand Hotel President Sorrento is a member of Great Hotels of the World Premium Collection. Double rooms start from £80. For more information or to book, please visit Grand Hotel President Sorrento .
Written by Terri Fogarty and photos by Bill Fogarty for EuropeUpClose.com.