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Hotels in Sorrento in general (Italy)

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      12.09.2005 11:26
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      Hotel in Sorrento

      While I wait the statutory eight months to get a new category assigned to Dooyoo this review of the Hotel Grand Parco del Sole will have to sit in the Hotels in Sorrento in General section as I would hate for anyone planning on a visit to the area missing out on the chance to stay in this excellent 4 star hotel. Located in the commune of Sant Agnello the hotel is a 20 minute walk (or a 30 minute drive) to the centre of Sorrento along the congested and narrow paved Corsa Di Italia. It is not the most pleasant walk as the pervading smell is one of exhaust fumes and similar to most Italian locations attempting to cross the road is to take ones own life into ones hands. However the hotel do provide a courtesy transfer bus to Sorrento during the morning and again in the evening however this bus also services two other hotels in the chain and as Parco del Sole is the last pick up on a couple of occasions it was full. Alternatively the regular buses do stop near the hotel and cost 1 euro to reach town. There is also a taxi rank however other guests said these were expensive mainly due to the congestion allowing the meter to roll inexorably on and on. First Impressions Solid iron gates open out to a sweeping drive flanked by well maintained gardens and the occasional statue. At the top of the drive is an ornate water fountain. Immediately ankle biter number one and two are well impressed proclaiming it to be the most luxurious hotel they have visited. This rather presumptive declaration is not challenged by anything we see in the reception which is open and well set out with a large glass dome at one end allowing the light to enter. Check in is quick and efficient with bags quickly identified for delivery to the room. This hotel caters for the English tourist who to my reckoning made up at least 95% of the clientele with all of the staff speaking excellent English. I often found them translating my poor attempt at Italian with the English version ended with a question mark just to check that I did actually want a vodka and tonic before dinner. The Room My standard experience of a triple room is for a double room with a fold out bed jammed into the room however this was not the case here with three single beds well spaced out in a L shaped room which was large beyond my expectations. A double wardrobe provided ample hanging space and there were more than enough hangers provided. There was plenty of additional storage space throughout the room. The ground floor room had a sheltered patio are with additional seating however a low wall did not provide any privacy from the adjoining rooms. Upon entering the bathroom ankle biter number two claimed sole use of the “bottom shower” something she was not challenged over. The bath had an overhead shower and all the facilities were spotless. Hair drying facilities, a TV and phone were all provided as well as a key pad controlled safe however this was not secured to any fixture in the room and therefore could be carried out by a burglar and thus providing limited security. Facilities With most holiday locations the pool and the bar are two of the most important facilities. The pool was of an adequate rectangular shape and was bitingly cold when first jumping in. The water was clean however it was quite deep with a very small shallow area which soon progressed to a 10ft deep end and was not suitable for small children who are not strong swimmers. There was a very small paddling pool that could hold about 5 children at a time and a separate whirl pool bath which was more suitable for children to play in. There were a huge number of sun loungers around the pool each fitted with an overhead sun shade however there was a distinct lack of parasols to provide shade for those of the pale persuasion. In addition there was an alternative mode of seating in the form of a cross between a deck chair and a bucket seat. Towels were provided by the hotel for use by the pool. Adjacent to the pool was a patio bar area which was also the location for the evening entertainment as well as drinks, snacks and ice-cream could be purchased here. Service was fast and efficient and very friendly. Food The hotel restaurant was on a split level with a separate team of waiters serving each level. The food was of a very good quality and there was plenty of choice with something to satisfy even the most fussy of eaters (ankle biter number two). Breakfast was a buffet affair with hot and cold options as well as a good supply of sweet pastries and fresh fruit. The attempt at an English style breakfast was probably the most unappetizing option of the lot however the fresh bread with cheese and ham was extremely tasty and filling. In the evenings where the dress code was smart casual there were generally five or six options for each course and the food was of a very high standard. Most importantly the hotel boasted a good selection of wines however the prices reflected the general cost of the hotel. Two evenings of the week played host to special events, the first a buffet evening where the tables positively groaned under the selection of food with a particular emphasis on seafood dishes. The second was a gala dinner where the chef really pushed the boat out with the finale a parade to music and dimmed lights by all the waiters holding aloft an ice-cream cake in the shape of a volcano with flames coming from the centre. Service was excellent and very tolerant of children which I liked also the hotel staff in general and particularly in the restaurant were quick to pounce on any anti social behaviour such as children running around un-supervised. Entertainment This was a little limited however friend warned me that this was the case with Italian hotels in general. There was no children’s club provided and to be honest for a one week break this did not matter as we were out on day trips most every day. If we had been there for two weeks then one may have been useful. In the evening a singer was present in the pool side bar however he looked like one of the waiters and certainly would not be advised to give up the day job. Local Facilities The hotel is well located with the nearest beach 400m away however at the end of the walk there is a rather steep climb down a number of steps before you reach the sand. There are numerous local shops from which you can purchase bus tickets and food items as well as bars and restaurants. One of the reasons I chose this hotel was because of the stories I had heard about traffic noise affecting hotels in the centre of Sorrento. Despite being on a busy road it is set back far enough that it is not possible to hear (or smell) any of the traffic. Review I would certainly not hesitate to recommend this hotel as a great destination for either families or couples as the mix of residents were roughly even and it provides a great base to explore the Amalfi Coast and surrounding attractions. The hotel is quiet and the service is very good. A couple of slight niggles with the depth of the pool and the fact that the courtesy bus gets full at times but otherwise no complaints. The hotel has 150 rooms in total and you pay a supplement if you want one with a balcony. We booked as part of a package so I’m not sure of the exact room rate we paid but prices posted in our room varied from £100 - £170 euro per night dependant upon time of stay. For more information check out the hotels website on http://www.gigliohotels.it/parcodelsolegiglio/

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