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Help us pick a town to stay in on the Amalfi Coast

Help us pick a town to stay in on the Amalfi Coast

Aug 20th, 2007, 01:57 PM
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Help us pick a town to stay in on the Amalfi Coast

Hi all-

My husband and I are planning an Italy trip in early May 08 for our anniversary. The AC will be our last stop, flying out of Naples. However, we're having a hard time deciding where to stay. We would like it to be central - we'll probably do Pompeii on our way down from Rome, would like to see Capri and the seaside towns, and possibly Herculaneum/Pasteum. As of right now we'll do either 3 or 4 nights.

My leading choice was the grand hotel excelsior and vittoria in Sorrento, but husband thinks that Positano might be a better choice. We'd like a high-end hotel (and we're pretty picky) for under US$800 a night. (Which would seem to rule out the Palazzo Sasso, etc.)

So, which town would you pick as a convenient launching point and the best-value 4 or 5 star hotel? Since the hydrofoil to Capri seems to run regularly, what about staying there and daytripping via hydrofoil?

Very interested to hear your thoughts! Thanks as always.
abcdc is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 05:02 PM
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The problem with day tripping to Capri is that it's just that - you can;t stay in Capri in the evening - since the last ferry back leaves around 6pm. And Capri is really best enjoyed at night - when it's not packed to the gills with day trippers - although May won;t be as crowded as midsummer.

I think I might spend 2 nights on Capri and 2 in Sorrento - so you can experience Capri in the evening - and still take a ferry to any of the towns you want to see. (By the way the views of Positano and Amalfi from the sea are fantastic - much better than from the land IMHO.)

By the way, we like the Excelsior (in a garden but also right in the center of the town) - have stayed their twice in May and got great bargains both times. Just realize that it tends to have a lot of British tourists - so it's not really where you want to eat except breakfast.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 05:09 PM
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For years I've heard and seen report after report of how disappointed people were in Capri. I think about 99% of those came from people who did daytrips there. Rarely do I hear such a report from anyone who spent at least a night on that magical island.

While Positano is spectacular and the perfect place to relax and absorb the fantastic views or bask in a top resort hotel for a couple of days, frankly I think it makes a poor choice to use as a base to hop around to places like Capri, Sorrento, Naples, and Hercualneum/Pasteum. Sorrento actually makes a better base if you're planning on doing a lot of exploring.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Aug 20th, 2007, 05:13 PM
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There are 4 high end hotels in the area, two of which are in Positano and the 4th is the Hotel Santa Caterina, which is where we stayed. We saw the others on our visit. We would return to Santa Caterina. It is just west of the town of Amalfi (walking distance), it is on the coast and you want a room that overlooks the mediterranean. We had a suite that included a sitting area and also an outdoor terrace with seating on the terrace. Their restaurants were good. We had dinner there one evening and lunch at the lower restaurant after lounging by the pool one day. You can dive into the Med. Take a hydrofoil to Capri for a day trip and go early in the morning and go into the Blue Grotto as soon as you get there. We did the reverse of what you described. We went to Pompeii on the way to Rome. Make sure to hire a guide at Pompeii!

You can do day trips to Positano or Ravello. It really is a well located hotel.


hals is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 02:00 AM
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Hi AB - I agree with your husband.

Positano might be slightly less convenient - but Sorrento just cannot compare. Positano wins hands down IMO ...

Steve_James is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 04:25 AM
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Another recommendation for Positano. It really isn't that hard to get to the places you'll want to visit by bus or boat or private driver. And the town is much prettier with more dramatic views than Sorrento.
Weadles is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 04:32 AM
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Sorrento is not on the Amalfi Coast and IMO it's not very attractive,
but it is a good base for visiting the other places you mention.

If you actually want to stay on the Amalfi Coast but somewhere which is a good base for visiting other places, Amalfi is the best for bus & sea links. It's also a nice place in its own right - not quite as jaw dropping as Positano but I like it better as it's more of a real town. I also love the Santa Caterina.

But if you just wanted to stay in one place, relax and enjoy the beauty, I'd say Capri.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 04:59 AM
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Thanks, all! I'll have to check out the recommended hotels. I appreciate everyone's opinion & help (both thus far and any others which might be still to come)!
abcdc is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 10:00 AM
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It is possible to negotiate a driver to Pompeii who will wait for you as part of the deal, and then take you wherever you want to go. Ask some of the drivers around P. Tasso.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 10:28 AM
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Thanks, SeaUrchin. That's actually what we're planning on doing. As of right now, we'll take an am flight from Venice to Naples, then have the driver meet us and take us to Pompeii, and drop us off in Sorrento for the last hydrofoil to Capri. (Not sure where - JK Place looks fab, but the location seems odd?) We're thinking two nights in Capri, and then to Positano at Il San Pietro.
abcdc is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 10:33 AM
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Myself, ABC, I would opt no question for the Grand Excelsior in Sorrento-that's a fab hotel in a spectacular location-and you can jump on a ferry right there in a few minutes to Positano, Capri, Amalfi, plus you have the pretty little city center in Sorrento-Piazza Tasso, with its shops, the great cliff-side restaurants, if you want to take the Circumvesuviana to Pompeii, it's right there in the middle of the town-everything is very convenient there-plus the grounds of that hotel are fabulous. I'd do that rather than stay in Positano.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 11:05 AM
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I totally disagree that Positano doesn't make a good base. I was in the Amalfi coast at the end of my Italy trip and we absolutely LOVED it. Sorrento is busier and not as pretty. Positano has a ferry that can take you to Capri, Amalfi, Ravello, etc. That's how we got around. We found a driver for our Pompeii day trip.
A fabulous high end hotel in Positano is La Sirenuse. We stayed across the street at Villa Rosa but went over to La Sirenuse for a FABULOUS dinner and walked around the hotel. I'm not sure how much the stay is, but there was a very nice Lamborghini parked out front the whole week
The views and feel of Positano and the accessible ferry made it a perfect base in our book.
AmyKW is offline  
Aug 30th, 2007, 12:15 PM
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we spent a week in the area split between positano - at le sirenuse, and on capri - at hotel punta tragara - it was heavenly - they were very high end and special hotels, as we too were celebrating our anniversary. dinner at le sirenuse i will never forget - the restaurant is lit only by votive candles - in chandeliers, sconces... hundreds of them - it was magical. even if you choose not to stay there you must eat there - we went over to san pietro, and we preferred le sirenuse- it is magnificent- filled with antiques, - you feel like you are in someones home (you are actually - lol) hotel punta tragara on capri has a view of the faraglioni. quite special. restaurant rec there include da paolina (situated outside in a lemon grove) and restaurant at the villa brunella, which is on the way to punta tragara. i agree you should stay over in capri - otherwise it becomes just a shopping expedition and a meal or two. its fun to hike around there, see the axel mundth museum etc etc. of course the blue grotto, which we didnt get to see, due to high waters.
WG is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 06:20 AM
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Thanks all. WG, you were a fan of the Punta Tragara? Reviews on tripadvisor were quite mixed.

(And we looked at Le Sireneuse, and the rate quoted for the seaview rooms was ~$1000/night, whereas San Pietro was a more manageable ~$750. We definitely want the seaview, so SP seems the better bet - but I am all ears if you have any leads on a better deal w/a view at Le Sireneuse!)
abcdc is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 06:28 AM
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I should probably change my answer. If you are the type who rely on public transportation, then Positano is not nearly as good a base (especially for places like Pompeii/Herculaneum) as Sorrento. But if you are the type who hire private car and driver for the day, then yes Positano, like anywhere, can be a good base.

Caroline, I think you're the first person I've heard from who thinks like I do that Amalfi is actually a nicer town to stay in than Positano -- and more "real". I totally agree with that. But I'll also agree if you want a top quality hotel with breathtaking view for sitting and relaxing Positano is hard to beat anywhere.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Aug 31st, 2007, 06:58 AM
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Patrick, you're right - Amalfi is only easier as regards public transport, not a private car. But although the views in Positano are (even) more beautiful than Amalfi, I'd still rather stay at the Santa Caterina than one of the top end hotels in or near Positano.

abcdc - in case you're not aware - the San Pietro is several kilometres outside town & while it has great views of the coast & sea, it doesn't have the views you get right in Positano.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 07:07 AM
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I did realize it was a bit outside of town, but one of the features which got raves on tripadvisor was a free, on-call driver to take you in to town ... so I was thinking it might be the best of both worlds. I'll have to look at the SC more closely as well.
abcdc is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 07:14 AM
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Isn't the SC also out of the town of Amalfi? How would the walk be from the hotel into Amalfi itself?
ekscrunchy is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 08:43 AM
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eks, you're right, it is just outside town, but only a 10 minute walk. They run a shuttle but I've never used it, as it seems easier to walk.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 08:50 AM
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Positano is super touristy. But I still think it's the best place to stay. Sorrento is much larger and to me has less of a vacation feel to it. (merely my opinion)
I agree that Capri should be done as an overnight, or two. With only 3 or 4 days, I wouldn't recommend a day trip to Capri. There's too much else to see. Capri an be done on a later trip.
JackOneill is offline  

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