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“Awesome views, location, value--expect very motherly management.”
Review of Hotel California

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Hotel California
Ranked #16 of 38 Hotels in Positano
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 31 May 2009

Hubby and I went with another couple for four nights in late May and were very pleasantly surprised. Trovami anche in italiano al fondo del messaggio.
MARIA. Maria isn't as described in the bad reviews here--if you know a mother who is Italian, Indian, Jewish, African American, or Southern, or any other culture with super-moms, you know what to expect. She wants you to eat, enjoy yourself, and get the best deals, and is determined to tell you what she thinks is best. She saved us 40Euros (10 each) by us going through her for our transfer to Capri (we spent two nights there at Hotel Weber) rather than booking thru the boat kiosks on the beach. (We compared prices before agreeing to it.) Maria didn't pester us about it, she'd mention it each morning at breakfast to make sure we didn't forget (the mom-thing again). And it seemed like everyone in Positano wanted us to go up to that restaurant on the mountain, not just her--but we didn't go. We just thanked her for the suggestion and said we'd think about it. No problem.
HOTEL. As for the hotel itself, we had rooms 501 and 504, which are on the entry level--one level above the street. There's only one street in Positano that allows cars, and this hotel is on that street. But it's not noisy at night, surprisingly. Our rooms had balconies slightly elevated from the breakfast terrace (which also serves as the corridor for leaving/entering the hotel) so we had the same great view of the town and sea. There are flowers in containers everywhere--so pretty! We made good use of the communal terrace, buying cheap wine from Maria (3Euros), and she provided free glasses even when the wine wasn't hers. The rooms are tiled and cool, and the wooden/glass shutters block out all light and all noise. The rooms were huge, even by US hotel standards. Bathroom big, but the lack of a shower curtain is as annoying as previous reviewers mentioned (I'll admit, I thought those reviewers were just being difficult, but the water from the shower goes EVERYWHERE. The same in the other room--their toilet paper got soaked. It gets rather slippery!) Everything very clean and plenty of furniture.
LOCATION. As I said, only one car street in Positano makes for a very walking-friendly town. I'm so glad we stayed here rather than Amalfi (super touristy!) or Sorrento (a city). Very pleasant, lots of beautiful scenery/houses/terrace gardens. A very short walk (5 mins) to the bus for Sorrento or Amalfi, and an even shorter walk (2 mins) to the internal bus stop (goes around Positano in half-hour loops--very convenient!) All the shops and restaurants were within a ten minute walk, even the beach, and the uphill back to the hotel wasn't bad at all. We never took the steep steps mentioned in other reviews--the cobblestone inclined streets were nice and gentle.
Positano makes a great base for the entire Amalfi Coast--we took the ferry as much as possible, though the schedules are very limiting, so we ended up taking the bus as well (not good for motion sickness, obviously!) The water is calm for boats. I highly recommend the ferries--faster than the buses, and much better views of the cliffs.
FOOD. The breakfast is fine--why stuff yourself when there's pasta and pizza to be eaten later??!! There's yogurt, fresh toast, cereals, pastries, and individually wrapped cookies and crackers that we took for snacking later. Juices, coffee (cappuccino, mmm) . . . plenty good, with room for lunch. :)
For dinner, we ate at restaurants with outdoor seating: Brunos (ok), Bucco di Bacco (good) and Da Vincenzo-- twice (AMAZING! Mama, pappa, and son are so nice, and there are free appetizers and limoncello, delicious pasta, nightly specials--such good food!! Highly recommend. Prices the same as other moderate places. Get dessert--fabulous). For lunch we ate in other towns: Ravello at Cumpa Cosimo (sampler plate with 5 different pastas is perfect!) Amalfi at La Perla (real a-holes working there, pasta sucked, but pizza was great). Don't be afraid to ask for "acqua da rubinetto" (tap water). If a place is touristy, they won't serve tap water (Amalfi, Sorrento, Capri) but if not touristy, they'll serve it (Ravello, Positano). (Da Vincenzo gave us a big pitcher!)
VALUE. For the views, location, and size of rooms, I think this was a great value. We paid E130 per room, booking thru the hotel. The hotel diagonally across the street was three times the price (I'm sure it was more luxurious, but this hotel more than adequately met our needs.) We felt very safe and comfortable. Our room was right under the family apartment! No noise, except in the morning when Maria would come down the stairs . . . but then silence again. I highly recommend this hotel!! You'll love it, and love Positano, and feel like your mom is there with you (at least at breakfast).
In Italiano: questo posto e bellissima, si sente come si sta con famiglia. Maria e una Mamma brava, e lei vuole assicurare che tutto e a posto. Le camere sono grande e ben puliti, ma la doccia mett'acqua dapertutto nel bagno. Le camere non sono rumorose, e la vista del terrazzo (mare e villaggio) e incredibile. Lo raccomando a tutti.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled with family
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Thank nancyandashesh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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409 - 415 of 572 reviews

Reviewed 1 March 2009

We found this hotel in Rick Steves' Italy book, and the description was accurate. It was clean and had that European feel. Our room for our family of 5 was nice and big. We saved money with the family suite they offered instead of getting two rooms. The ceiling above our bed was a painted fresco that looked ancient. Very cool. The floors were pink tile and the bathroom was big and clean. Our very small balcony overlooked the sea and we could see the Majolica-tiled church dome to our right.

The breakfast room was good and the staff was very nice.

Maria the owner set us up with a boat to the isle of Capri, which was nice of her to do. However, we were hijacked by another boat company saying that they were the ones our hotel had reserved for us. We didn't realize this until we got back from Capri that evening and Maria asked why we didn't take the boat she reserved for us. Beware!

We loved Positano and was a nice relaxing way to end our hurry-up-and-go trip to Italy.

Stay at Albergo California! You won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled with family
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1  Thank daisyonthego
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2009

Before booking the hotel we weighed up the pros and cons of the past reviews and went with Hotel California and we are glad we did.
The location was superb. A short walk to everywhere, with no great distance to travel uphill. The room was enormous by any standards. It was a corner room on the first floor looking towards the town centre. The view from our balconies was breathtaking day or night. And the service - let's say it was quirky and fun in the true Italiano family style.
We were there for 4 nights and had a great time. Being October, the main tourist season was winding up, so the cafe/balcony action was quieter than it would have been earlier, but friends who stayed at Villa Rosa (next door) 6 weeks earlier said they spent most evenings at Hotel California's terrace instead, because of the views and the ambience. For us it was just starting to get too cool in the evening.
Maria the owner, Giovanni her son and Alex who also worked there were all very attentive to any request we made.
I can see how Maria's homely manner might grate with some people, but possibly they may not have unwound yet and weren't ready to go with the flow. We found her to be quite funny and went along with some of her suggestions and chose not to go along with others. I have to say we went with a group of other guests on the mini-van trip to dinner at the next village high above Positano, because we were sick of dining alone on our travels. The food was great. My wife said the whole fish was probably the best she has had. The company was great and the price was very reasonable. Did the hotel get a kick-back? I hope so. Don't they usually? I think however, the main intention is to make sure the guests have a good time there and will want to refer others.
We also took up Maria's offer to join a smaller private boat to go to Capri, rather than the ferry. That turned out to be a great decision, as we got to have more time there and a more fun trip there and back. The cost worked out to be fairly similar anyway.
Just speak plainly to Maria about what type of holiday you want and she'll either mother if you need it or leave you to it. Anyway, I am not intending to defend the owner, but I do think the big bear hug we got upon our departure said it all. She's great.
Now for a couple of practical things:
Parking - we'd been promised free parking in a garage under the hotel but that has since changed and it was going to be 11 Euro per day. We pointed out that it was to be free and so it remained free for us. They also assisted us in getting the car into and out of the garage as the street is very narrow and the locals drive like crazy Italians...
The road from Naples - Yes it is scary and I'd agree that it is best to put the car away when you arrive, except we later drove up to Ravello (a must) and also to Pompeii and while the road was still the same, I think we were getting used to driving the manual car on the wrong side of the road. I guess we could have caught the bus or ferries, but we didn't want to admit defeat.
Dining out - there are fun cheaper places and also a great many impossibly expensive hotel restaurants and a good range in between. Overall Positano is not a cheap place to visit, but that's why its not totally over-run with people all through the year.
Payment - Yes we had to pay one night in advance when we booked. Yes, we had to settle up in cash the night before our departure, but we asked to do so because we were leaving early next morning anyway.
Would I recommend Hotel California to others - yes, absolutely. Its great value for money.

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank MI4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 November 2008

We love Positano it's one of my favorite places in Italy to visit. The food is good , the views of the Amalfi Coast are splendid, the people there are one of the nicest people I ever meet, but......the only problem I had there was staying at the Hotel California..

Let me just start saying the hotel is spacious , the view from the room by the terrance is wonderful . The bathroom was very clean and the bed was very comfortable and everything in the hotel was very equipped and breakfast was very good but the women behind the counter named Maria who runs the hotel with her son or sons was awful....

First of all we book are hotel room 6 months in advance so we would get a 1 bedroom for 150 euros a night , for 3 nights... in September .. Ok !!!!! What happen was after the second day being there Maria told us she was moving us to another room which had a jacuzze because she needed the room we were staying in for another couple so me and my husband did not think anything of it ... Well the day before we left she gave us the key to the other room and told my husband we needed to pay now before we departed because she was not going to be there the next morning . Well I thought that was really strange because her son was going to be there in the morning and also he run the hotel to.... again I let that slide off my shoulder. I went back to the hotel while my husband went to pay the bill... When he came back to the room she charge us 185 euros for the room she move us in.... I could not believe that you would have the nerve to charge us 35 euros more for a room we didnot ask for .... and on top of it the nerve to say you gave us a cheaper rate when I went on there website and found out we were paying the higher rate ... There never was a cheaper rate... She told my husband a bs story so that's why she charge us 35 euros more because it was a bigger room...

She never should of charge us a extra 35 euros for a a bigger room since she the one who made a mistake over booking or promising a room to another couple.. A professional person would of charge us the same rate 150 instead of 185 euros for the room ..... and on top of it she's pushy about booking you on trips .... I didnot like it at all... what a turn off. I was so upset I told my husband the next day when we left just to get the suitcases and I would meet him down the block since I was talking to some good friends of mine who live not to far from there...

If I knew what kind of person who was running this hotel before I book it I would of never went.... I donot recommend anyone to go to this hotel ... it's really a shame because it really is a wonderful hotel to stay in just beware of the women behind the counter ......
Good luck .... making your bookings.

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank amalfigirlNewYork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 October 2008

We stayed at this hotel for 3 nights and loved our experience. I requested a room on a higher floor from previous reviews and would suggest the same to anyone planning a trip here- the first floor deals with foot traffic. The room was huge and very clean, with large french doors opening onto the balcony. We kept our doors open all the time and although some noise from the street it wasn't anything to complain about...more part of the surroundings and experience in my opinion. I'm surprised by the harsh reviews of Maria!! Yes, she is a bit pushy and tries to get you to sign up for her "friends" trips. She was very accommodating with everything else, however, and it's not as if you must do everything she recommends. We did do the restaurant trip- were picked up in a van and taken to a remote place in the hills. The ambiance of the restaurant was somewhat disappointing so I wouldn't recommend it. Other than that, we had an amazing stay at this hotel. The caffe Americana that Maria makes is amazing! As are the cappuccinos. I loved the breakfast- they had cereal which was nice after so many rich dinners!! Just say no to Marias suggestions and you will have a great stay here...just remember to request a room with a balcony on a high floor! We had room 56 which I think was the best one!! Oh and I also disagree about the staff not being helpful- when we arrived our bags were carried upstairs for us and someone was always near the front desk and ready to assist us with anything we needed.

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank kam9s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 October 2008

We stayed at Hotel California for 4 nights in September 2008. I booked the hotel based on the location, price and reviews. Let me start by saying what everyone else does - this is a great location and the views are amazing. We booked a room on a high floor with a sea view and really enjoyed sitting on the balcony with a bottle of prosecco in the evening. The breakfast is basic, no meats or cheese, but it was fine for us. The cappucinos were delicious. It was very nice to have breakfast on the beautiful terrace each morning.

Now for the not so good stuff. Maria, the owner, seemed to almost have two different personalities. One moment, she would be friendly & helpful, the next it seemed as though she was going to yell at me for asking a question. In fact, she did get angry when we asked her about the air conditioner remote missing from our room. She said, and I'm not making this up, "I'm sick and tired of people pushing all the buttons and breaking it (the air conditioner), so I took all the remotes. If you want the temperature changed, you come to me and I'll do it. Plus, you don't need air tonight anyway." I was shocked - this was our last night there and I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Our room was above the street, so if you left the doors open for the fresh air, you heard the sound of the motorcycles whizzing by the whole time. Also, I've never been to a hotel that told me I couldn't regulate the temperature of my room.

Another situation that left me with a bad impression of this hotel had to do with the ferries to Capri. We were staying in Capri after Positano and had planned to take the 8:50 ferry over. That morning it was raining on and off and we were told by the hotel staff that the ferries wouldn't be running all day. We would have to go to Sorrento to catch the ferry, and they could get us a driver for 50 Euro or we could take the bus. I was really bummed out but since there was nothing we could do, we decided to wait a little bit and then have the driver take us to Sorrento. While having breakfast, Maria came to us and said the Capri Jet was going to run and she would make us reservations. At that point, I was very happy to not have to go to Sorrento and gladly accepted her offer to make the reservations for the earliest jet - 10:55am. Since I had a few hours before needing to leave, I decided to go out and take some pictures. While out, I saw the 8:50 original ferry show up, then a 9:30 ferry. When I asked Maria if the ferry operators ever change their minds and decide to let the ferries run, she looked at me with an angry expression and all she said was, "I already made you reservations". Not even answering my question, I asked her again and she said, "I don't know, maybe". You'd think she would know that simple answer since she operates a hotel in Positano. I just felt like she wanted the kickback from getting us the reservation and wanted us to think she was doing us a big favor, knowing full well that the regular ferries were operating. At that point I was so frustrated I couldn't even talk to her anymore. I was ready to get out of there!

All in all, we had a great time in Positano. I just won't stay here again and I'd have a hard time recommending it for anything but the view. The room was clean and location was convenient, but Maria pushes away her customers.

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Sherry N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 October 2008

We chose the hotel for the great reviews. Being disabled I knew before I booked, Positano and its hotels would be a challenge and my complaints aren't fueled by my disability.
We arrived at the hotel my wife doing multiple trips bringing up our luggage as I cannot help, on the third and final trip Maria asks "do you need any help" well managed hotels don't ask that question they would have just helped.
We have all the same complaints as other guests, Maria has a great hotel that is spoiled by her want to profit off every bit of advise, information and service that she can supply, A real Shame.
Location-Good
Balcony-Lovely
Rooms -very clean and spacious.
Breakfast- limited menu, ok
Maria- ?

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
4  Thank Spec11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel California

Address: Via Cristoforo Colombo 141, 84017, Positano, Italy
Region: Italy > Campania > Amalfi Coast > Positano
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
#3 Best Value Hotel in Positano
#5 Family Hotel in Positano
#11 Romantic Hotel in Positano
Price Range: £84 - £170 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel California 3*
Number of rooms: 15
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hotel Albergo California Positano
Hotel California Positano

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