La Villa Bella – is the perfect way to describe the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria an incredible hotel and a destination unto itself!
Sorrento, being one of my go to places in Italy, with its narrow-cobbled alleyways full to the brim of artisan shops and restaurants. It is a delightful base from which to explore Italy’s Amalfi coastline and the location of the Vittoria as summed up by them “breath-taking views of the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius is the essence of La Dolce Vita”.
This iconic hotel founded in 1834 by the Fiorentino family and amazing to say this tradition is still being kept alive today by the fifth generation of this family showcasing their expertise in Italian hospitality.
Built on the site of ancient Roman remains which legend suggests was the site where the Roman Emperor Augustus villa stood. Surrounded by its own secluded tranquil Mediterranean citrus gardens, a step away from the hustle and bustle of the main square, you would not believe you were in the middle of Sorrento.
The hotel comprises of three classic style 19th century buildings and situated just above the town with it’s own private lift to the harbour below and concierge can arrange a boat to Capri, Positano or a car to visit the ruins of Pompeii.
I arranged ahead of my visit a car to collect me from Naples airport as I wanted to experience the Amalfi Drive although they can arrange a boat which follows the amazing coastline. Upon arrival I was greeted and directed to check in then given a tour of the property before being taken to my room.
The main hotel building is elegantly furnished with parquet and tiled floorings leading up to my room which is one of 84 rooms. I opted for a deluxe room which lucky enough came with a balcony and throwing open the door – wow – spectacular views of the Bay of Naples and the island of Capri which is still ingrained in my memory. It came with free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and flat-screen TV with satellite channels and the usual toiletries. Breakfast was included and was a delightful selection of sweet and savoury pastries.
I was intrigued as to the grandeur of the other rooms and suites and was very kindly taken on a show round and the history of the hotel. Over the years the Vittoria has welcomed monarchs, politicians, artists, and celebrities. Many rooms having been named after them or even the hotel itself which is named after Queen Victoria of Sweden.
The one-of-a-kind suites are each named after several guests welcomed at the property throughout the years, Enrico Caruso being one of the most famous visitors who stayed for one month in 1921 has a suite dedicated to him and also so does the great Luciano Pavarotti.
The “Avanti” is named after the film with Jack Lemmon and Juliet Mills. The family decided this name because “it evokes the timeless romanticism seen in the film and the essence behind the La Dolce Vita”
Another being a beautiful Victoria styled suite which I was reliably told Princess Margaret was rather partial too and the Royal Suite dedicated to the then Prince of Wales (Edward VII). Unfortunately I was unable to view as it was occupied but decorated with opulent Louis XVI style furniture and grand furnishings and its own terrace.
Other amenities include bars, gym, spa, outdoor swimming pool with hydromassage area, sun terrace, sunbed, deck chairs and parasols. There are several top restaurants and even a pianist playing in the evening whilst I was there.
The Spa is in a converted greenhouse adjoining the hotel’s swimming pool and features three cabins, and a private suite for couples with its own Jacuzzi bathtub, dressing room and large private garden for relaxation. The gym is fully equipped and the key is collected from reception.
I should mention that it has its own One Michelin star restaurant with an elegant dining room and terrace which not only showcases the food of Sorrento born chef, Antonino Montefusco but also the view. With his knowledge of local producers, his regional roots and organic produce from the hotel’s gardens the food is incredible as you would expect.
It exceeded all expectations from start to finish. The hotel is magnificent and maintained superbly. The warmth and attentive of the staff make you feel very special.
I would mention this hotel is not for the budget sensitive but if you are looking for an incredible experience, look no further because this is very high on the list.