5. Maison la Minervetta, Sorrento, Italy
It's very hard to know where to begin with a review of Maison la Minervetta. Arriving by limousine transfer from Naples Airport helped set the tone for what came next. You're dropped off in a typically compact, for Sorrento, car park and shown to a very shiny lift, sitting atop a very precipitous cliff. The mirrored lift then takes you down to the main deck of the Hotel where you are greeted by a very friendly staff member who will, hopefully, check you into the finest room in the house.
Before this however, you will be encouraged to have a glass of Prosecco and some cake out on the main terrace to take in the views, replicated in your maritime inspired suite and those views are astonishing - Out across the Bay of Naples to Vesuvius, the Marina Piccolo below, Sorrento itself and the rolling hills beyond. The shifting light, sunsets and sunrises, the activity in the harbour and the wide array of boats out on the water make this one of the finest hotel rooms in the world..... Although strictly speaking, it's a very upmarket Bed and Breakfast.
The suite itself is brightly coloured, with deep blues and reds, wood finishes, sailing memorabilia and a bathroom suite so beautifully tiled that if it weren't for the view outside, you would bathe for hours. The fact that the room is spotlessly clean, well appointed and the bed comfortable are mere bonuses due to the vistas beyond and the decor within. I couldn't even imagine staying anywhere else in town.
The lavish, buffet style breakfast is also eaten out on the terrace but is prepared, again, from a sublimely colourful kitchen, where your personal choice of eggs etc, will be cooked to perfection. Everything here is a wonderful medley of colourful tiles, object d'art, beautiful books, floral decoration and striking furniture. It's a bombardment to the senses - It lifts your spirits no matter how tiring the journey here and sets you up perfectly for what lies in the town below.
There is access down to the Marina Piccolo directly from the hotel, via the lift and then down an incredible meandering staircase that also lets you explore the grounds and amenities hidden along its path. These include sundecks, a swimming pool, quiet reading spots and gardens. You may choose to climb down the steps to the Marina but make your way back via the town - An altogether much more gentle proposition. The town itself, should you choose the more direct route, is only a few minutes away on foot, and leads you along the main road into Sorrento old town. It's worth pointing out that you will pass a fabulous Pasticceria on the right hand side where you can grab an espresso, pastries, nougat and pizza etc before entering the throng. May I also recommend that you choose your timing to explore the town, when the Cruise ships are at their least - You will be able to see them from your room. The town is having trouble coping with day trippers and the gangs of tourists following the flag is becoming quite stifling. 40 members of an advanced party will soon change the atmosphere of any restaurant that was, only moments earlier, a picturesque and relaxing haven.
I cannot praise Maison la Minervetta enough. To be able to stay here is a privilege and a delight. Everything has been done with such considerable care and attention to detail that it carries you along on it's coattails. After insisting that this is the place to stay when visiting Sorrento, it only remains for me to implore you not to sleep with the blinds closed when you do. Being woken at dawn, here, in one of the most amazing B&B's in the world, is no chore at all, ....and trust me, you will want to be awake for as long as possible whilst here.