I spent a weekend at the Hilton Sorrento Palace while working in Rome. This review is part three of a five part Italy trip report:
1)Alitalia JFK-FCO A330 Magnifica Business Class
2)Westin Excelsior, Rome x4
3)Hilton Sorrento Palace – Sorrento, Italy
4)Hotel Marina Riviera, Amalfi, Italy
5)Hotel Cala di Volpe, Costa Smeralda – An SPG Luxury Collection Hotel
Hilton Sorrento Palace Hotel- HHonors Reward Category 7 (50,000 points per night)
As I’ve mentioned a few times, I tend to stay at SPG and Hyatt properties, with only a few select Hilton stays per year. We booked our weekend away from Rome last minute and instead of using a 50,000 per night award, I secured a last minute non-refundable HHonors points eligible weekend rate of 140€ that was inclusive of breakfast on Hilton’s website.
Check-In – The front desk was extremely courteous and as a HHonors Gold member I was informed that I had been upgraded to a king room on the Executive Floor.
Despite some reviews I had read on TripAdvisor, I found the room to be clean and modern. Everything was controlled via a panel on the desk and another located by the bed – lights, do not disturb notification, curtains, etc. The bed was very comfortable and had the new Hilton bedding products. The bathroom had a tub and a great separate shower with three separate shower heads.
Waiting in the room was a welcome gift of prosecco as well as two bottles of water (one sparking and one still). Even better, the waters were replaced daily by housekeeping and tagged with complimentary signs. My favorite part of the room was the amazing balcony overlooking the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius. The balcony was enormous and included a table and two chairs, it was accessible via a sliding door off my room.
Hilton Executive lounges outside the US tend to be excellent and this one was no exception. It was located on the 7th floor and served breakfast, snacks, all day wine, cappuccino, prosecco, freshly squeezed juices and waters, and starting at 6pm great appetizers, complimentary local beers, additional red wines, and hard liquor. The evening appetizers were excellent and we had to control ourselves in order to keep room for dinner. Dishes included olive tapanade, meatballs, mini pizzas, stuffed mushrooms, small dishes of chicken & olive oil, and assorted soups. They have a great outdoor terrace and the executive lounge staff continuously refilled our water and wine glasses and brought any dirty plates inside. The lounge also has its own private pool, though it’s not as nice as the main outdoor pool.
We used the Hilton Sorrento as a base to explore Capri and the greater Amalfi Coast so there wasn’t much pool time, however the pool is quite nice and also has great views overlooking the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius.
Overall the service throughout the hotel was caring and attentive without any of the surliness that you may find in Rome or other parts of Italy. The hotel is within walking distance of town (10-15 on the way into town downhill and 15-20 on the way back up). You may want to consider a taxi from the Sorrento train station if you have large bags upon arriving (20-30 Euro). Breakfast is also served on the second floor in addition to the executive lounge. The main breakfast room includes yogurt, meats, pancakes, cheeses, breads, fresh juices, etc. The property also includes a large lobby, tennis courts, gym, and indoor pools. The actual town of Sorrento was quite nice and we had dinner within town both nights.
One of my favorite experiences of this weekend actually took place in Capri. After renting our own boat for the day on Saturday and sailing around Capri (or doing our best), we decided to sign-up for a full day boat tour with a real captain etc. The tour was to hold up to 20 people but as it was fall we lucked out and there was no one else on our now private boat. We ended up skipping the Blue Grotto both days as you can wait up to 2 hours for your turn to transfer from your own boat to a smaller rowboat manned by singing oarsmen and taken inside the cave for under 10 minutes. The whole thing seemed very cheesy and not worth our time. However, I hate missing out on things and so I went back after the rowboats were done for the day (around 5pm in the fall). From Anacapri you can take a bus right down to the entrance of the Blue Grotto and then walk down a staircase to the actual cave. Once there you can jump into the water and swim directly into the cave sans-boat. It was an amazing experience and I took my time in the cave (just keep an eye on the entrance as the cave fills up with water as high-tide comes in). Floating around in the blue light of the cave, at times by myself, was just incredible and truly one of those amazing experiences. The trip back to the Blue Grotto was unplanned so I made due with what I had, however you probably want to remember to bring your bathing suit along…