(Apologies in advance for a somewhat overdue review – we holidayed here in September 2012)
On the SS145 coastal road on the Western edge of Sorrento. There's a few pros and cons here though so my advice is to reckon up carefully as to what your priorities are. Because of its position, the hotel has sublime views sideways across the bay of Sorrento. The downside is that the hotel is located right on the busy SS145 coastal road. Our room was on one of the upper floors and the traffic noise was clearly audible while sat out on the balcony. More importantly though, we were not disturbed by traffic noise when the balcony door was closed, and the outer shutter was dropped. The latter is a floor to ceiling window shutter which is electrically operated. When closed, we found it quietened the traffic noise to a point where it was not disturbing at all – and I'm a light sleeper. A short walk (probably 500m) has you in the centre of Sorrento.
Immaculate. There was no obvious wear on any of the soft furnishings. And nothing needed redecoration inside or outside of the hotel. Ditto all around the roof terrace area too, which has comfortable seating (with shade), the pool area and the cafe. In short – a superbly kept and maintained property.
Sunbeds and shader umbrellas:
There were plenty of sunbeds available but amazingly, no shader umbrellas. Given the knowledge and awareness these days concerning skin cancer we found the lack of shader umbrellas an unforgivable omission – there is simply no excuse for this. For this alone I am deducting one “tripadvisor award blob”. There is an area of the roof terrace which comes into shade part way through the day due to a wall shadow, but this is a very limited area and is not good enough. It is unacceptable. And I would not accept a defence plea of "it can get breezy on the roof" because there are few places breezier than Fuerteventura and yet the hotels there are littered with sunbed shaders. This really should be addressed - the hotel has a duty of care to its guests to do so. It is a silly weakness in an otherwise excellent hotel.
Very efficient and warm and friendly service indeed. Nothing was any trouble for the staff. And the charm of the waiters during dinner service was superb – a perfect balance of humour and helpful advice (e.g. concerning wine choices, especially their superb local wines).
As per the service staff, we found the hotel management to be professional, helpful and charming too. Why can't all hotels be like this? Maybe this partly (with the views, roof terrace, good food) explains the unusually high number of returning guests that we came across.
Our room was located on the third floor (ground, 1, 2, 3). The room was a touch compact, but very clean and with a nice bathroom – no black/mouldy shower/bath sealant or tile grouting. The bed was perfectly comfortable too. (Ref earlier comments about traffic noise, we both thought that the lower rooms would expose guests to a lot more traffic noise, and we would advise guests to specifically request (insist) upon high floors at the time of booking.)
There are some rooms off of the roof terrace area which had large patio balconies, large enough for loungers and tables etc. These rooms have the same majestic views and traffic noise will be totally inaudible. I think some day we'll go back to the Bristol, to enjoy the sightseeing we missed due to a freakishly hot mid September heat wave, and when we do, we'll book one of those rooms.
Quite a compact lobby, but very nicely laid out and decorated and perfectly fine for the process of checking in and checking out. In some hotels, the lobby doubles as a lounge but not in this case – there is a separate indoor lounge on an upper floor (two lounges if you count the bar lounge) and also there is a lovely, shaded roof terrace seating area.
The hotel bar and lounge was located one floor below the roof terrace. There was a nicely furnished and arranged indoor area and also a long outside balcony which ran the full length of the lounge. Every night we enjoyed listening to very good entertainment while sat out in beautiful warmth on the outside balcony. A waiter drinks service operated inside the lounge and also out on the balcony too. Sitting out after dinner in short sleeves, perched up high on the bar/lounge balcony, enjoying panoramic views over a darkened, twinkling Sorrento with an after-dinner drink to hand was one of the highlights of our holiday – superb.
The hotel cafe was located on the roof terrace and was a great place to enjoy a drink any time of day, beit tea/coffee or something more alcoholic. It was well shaded too. We loved having mid morning and mid-afternoon coffee there, taking in the lovely view of the bay of Sorrento.
Breakfast was a mix of self service, for continental breakfast fare, and waiter service, which operated for the various cooked breakfast options which involved eggs. There was a good selection of juices, fruit, cereals, cold cuts, plus the usual assortment of cooked options too. Breakfast was served in the main restaurant – the one used for evening dinner. Without exception, we always enjoyed breakfast.
All through our holiday, we took lunch from the hotel bistro located at the opposite end of the roof terrace to the cafe. The bistro itself was a nicely shaded al fresco layout – perfect. As per breakfast and dinner, we never tired for one second of the majestic views over Sorrento and across out to Naples and Vesuvius – it helped to make our lunchtimes superbly enjoyable. We were staying half board but opted to eat lunch every single day up on the hotel roof for the combination of good food, good service and that majestic view. Also, being on the top floor of the hotel – the rooftop terrace, the bistro enjoyed a nice cooling breeze each day, which was most welcome. Lunch times, without exception, were a highlight of the holiday.
Half board guests, such as ourselves, dined in the same restaurant used for breakfast. For dinner, the dining room looked resplendent, as did the maître d' and the waiters. On arriving to take dinner, guests waited momentarily by the entrance door to be seated by the maître d'. It must be said that the maître d' service was exquisite – it made us feel special. As you might expect, early diners were automatically shown to the tables with the best views. These tables were all next to the floor-to-ceiling windows which ran the full length of the dining room. From these tables (especially) guests enjoy fabulous sunset views over Sorrento bay. Our initial impression of the dinner menu (on our very first night only) was that it seemed a bit limited, but we shouldn't have worried because it changed nightly and we found the evening dinner food to be very good indeed, more so when washed down with some of the superb Italian wines on offer. In fact, it was of the best dining experiences I can remember.
Activities and Entertainment:
Lovely high quality singing or instrumental entertainment every night – even more enjoyable to listen to it when sat out in short sleeves on the bar/lounge balcony, enjoying an elevated and panoramic view of Sorrento at dusk/dark. We loved this part of the day.
Alas (nobody's fault), we stayed in the middle of an unusually hot September heat wave and we felt it was just too uncomfortable for the usual sightseeing day trips. That said, we very much enjoyed strolling around the many interesting nooks and crannies that Sorrento has to offer. On the plus side, not doing the trips to Capri/Pompeii/Herculaneum gives us the perfect excuse to go back at some time in the future. ;-) One of our favourites hang-outs after exploring old parts of Sorrento was a cafe located right on the Sorrento waterfront cliff, with shaded open-air seating, which looked directly out at Naples and Vesuvius. Sublime view.
A superb holiday in every respect and good value for money too. Our advice would be just to appreciate that the centre of Sorrento itself is busy, as is the coastal road. As long as you are aware of that and you're ok with it (and book a high room) – then we would say “highly recommended”.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Hotel Bristol nestles into the cliff side, in one of the most enchanting corners of the coast, offering its guests stunning panoramic views, stretching from the picturesque fishing village of Marina Grande below to the Punta Scutolo in the distance and directly across the bay to the majestic Vesuvius with Pompei and Naples at its feet. For generations the highly professional Acampora Family have been offering a warm welcome to its international clientele, many of whom return year after year and consider the Hotel their second home. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Bristol Sorrento
- Bristol Hotel Sorrento