The lowdown If you’ve ever wondered what it is like to be taken into the bosom of an Italian family, the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento on the Amalfi coast does just that. Set into the cliffs overlooking the Gulf of Naples, this hotel (which has been owned by the same family since 1834) boasts charm, luxury and lashings of character, with a beautiful pool, sweeping terrace and gorgeous spa with treatments that are both relaxing and unique.
The rooms The 97 luxurious rooms located in three adjoining buildings (la Vittoria, La Favorita and La Rivale) are charmingly decorated with intricate paintings that hark back to the original art and décor of the hotel without appearing dated. The sea views from the balconies are beyond stunning, with the mystical Mount Vesuvius peppered with clouds in the distance and the stunning azure waters right below.
Eating and drinking Food is obviously key to any Italian getaway. The Orangerie poolside bar and restaurant boasts a menu of mouth-watering pizzas (made on site in their very own pizza oven), creamy mozzarella, ripe and flavoursome tomatoes, crisp calamari and lashings of gorgeous olive oil - a Neapolitan feast that cannot be missed! In the evening, Ristorante Vittoria is more formal and peaceful, with an a la carte menu that is simple yet delicious. And don’t miss out on canapés and prosecco on the sweeping Bosquet terrace before dinner.
Things to do…The bustling town of Sorrento is picturesque and vibrant. A wander around the square and a casual Campari in one of the bars make for perfect people-watching. The surrounding area and mountainous terrain are ideal for walks up in the hills with views to rival no other. The ‘Path of the Gods’ is a breathtaking three-hour walk high up in the hills above the pretty town of Positano, which is well worth a visit post walk for a stroll and much-needed glass of wine.
The sweet smell of citrus fruits that lingers in the air is a reminder of what the area is famous for, and a visit to an orange or lemon grove, and even a limoncello tasting, is a must. And do try the orange and lemon flavoured olive oils or marmalades that are produced in the area - the perfect way to finish off this mini Italian adventure.
Getting there 3 nights at Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, Sorrento costs from £938 per person through Classic Collection Holidays (0800 294 9318) (based on a July 2012 departure). Price based on 2 sharing a classic garden view room on a bed and breakfast basis and includes return flights from London and private transfers. Suite upgrades from £98 per person per night.
The details Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, Piazza Tasso, 34 80067 Sorrento, Italy, tel: +39 082 8777111. Visit exvitt.it.
By Jules Kosciuczyk