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Mixed feelings about our stay at the Grand President Hotel in Sorrento.
A good stay could have been excellent but for a couple of important details.
On the positive side the views from the hotel are absolutely stunning, can be enjoyed by everyone from the pool area, garden, bar area, dining room & solarium (roof top bar area).
There are plenty of seats & sun beds even when the hotel is full.
The staff are very helpful, cheerful & efficient.
The hotel is light & bright & very clean.
There is a shuttle bus which runs regularly to take you into the Centre which is free, you can enjoy the peace & quiet & the views but have access to Sorrento centre when you want to.
1. you should be aware that unless you book a sea view room you will likely be looking over a car park at the rear of the hotel or at a stone wall.
The room we had was a superior double, it was a nice room with a balcony but the outlook was very disappointing.
2.The hotel did not have air conditioning during our stay 3rd-10th May, I think it does not get turned on till later in the season. Coming from 4 degrees in England to 22 degrees is a shock to the system & meant that we were unable to sleep very well initially although later in the week we did seem to acclimatise somewhat. There are also no fans to borrow.
Because we slept with the windows open the noise from the car park was a problem. I am sure when the air conditioning is on this would not be the case.
3. The temperature of the pool is too cold, it was hardly used at all (only by a few brave souls & they commented on how cold it was).
Sorrento is lovely, we visited Herculaneum using the train which was very simple to do. I would definitely recommend it. We also did a boat trip to Amalfi, although the coastal views are lovely we were a little disappointed by Amalfi, perhaps Positano would have been a nicer stop off point.
We have saved Pompei & Capri for another visit.
We would definitely go back to Sorrento & would consider staying at the Grand President Hotel when the air conditioning is on & perhaps we could stretch our budget to a sea view room.
Transfer by Thomson's coach. If you are travelling in a group I would recommend sharing the cost of a private transfer if you can afford it (we were quoted 110 Euro one way). Apart from the picking up & dropping off Naples airport has time slots for the coaches & we spent approx. 45 mins. waiting on arrival. We arrived at Naples 10.10 & didn't get to our hotel till approx. 13.30
Sorrento and the whole Neopolitan Riviera is very attractive and there is lots to do.
We visited Pompeii , Herculaneum , Versuvius , Naples for the museum and the Amalfi Drive.
We used the local train service which was a bit rickety but reliable and very cheap.
Grand Hotel President where we stayed was excellent , especially the views from the restaurant and the bar.
The President has some lovely old world touches such as waiters in white jackets and bowties who serve you at your table rather than the usual self serve and little things like the linen face cloths in the bathrooms. The hotel is concrete and a bit boring but the views from our room balcony,the pool area, the resturant and bars is the best in Sorrento, all the staff are fantstic too.
The food is just about ok. Tinned fruit for breakfast but the freshly cooked ommlets were pretty good. I should add that breakfast is self serve including making your own cup of tea from a machine, cheap cereals and 'Italian' bacon and sausages - Yuk! Some pre-frozen meals in the evening but not bad overall. Good wine list.
The pool bar/cafe is great too and do lovely lunches. The pool water was absolutely freezing and although we tried we couldn't actually go for a swim (some brave souls did get in), a great dissapointment for us though. The pool loungers are a bit quirky and I would advise taking a blow up cushion if you like to sit and read your book rather than lie down and read.
Our room 248 was fine. Comfortable large bed, good pillows. A small balcony with a table and two chairs. Bathroom was old but had some olde world charm. The shower is in the bath with a screen. We had large white fluffy dressing gowns and slippers. The towels were changed daily. The pool towels were changed once. A small flat screen TV with a few English channels, tea/coffee making and a fridge made the room livable when we had heavy rain on one day and didn't venture out too far.
Sorrento is fantastic in the evening with loads of bars, resturants and shops to visit. The hotel has a bus which runs at infrequent and odd times but is essential given the alternative walk.
We paid for two excursions. One was the evening visit to Capri. Far too many tourists during the day and you can't move so go in the evening if you have to. However, this means foregoing a visit to the Blue Grotto. Really enjoyed the boat trip around the island.
We also paid for the 'Exclusive' tour to Pompei and Herculaneum. Pompei is a large town and we saw very little of it in the time allowed missing some important bits. It just felt too rushed. Our guide didn't speak good English and was hard to understand. The included lunch was disgraceful, the 'wine' undrinkable. We'll make our own way next time.
Will certainly stay at The President again. Good Reps too Tompsons, well done. Best advice - Book a Superior Sea View Room
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