A lovely hotel with a lot going for it, especially the views over the Bay of Naples. Only one or two observations below which might be important to some people but nothing major and nothing that...
A lovely hotel with a lot going for it, especially the views over the Bay of Naples. Only one or two observations below which might be important to some people but nothing major and nothing that spoiled our stay. As usual I’ll try and review the hotel objectively to help others decide if it’s for them together with a few thoughts on the surrounding area and please note that all opinions are entirely our own.
Hotel- Check in/reception – Slick, efficient and quick check in if a little surly we thought. No welcoming glass of bubbly or anything though. Our room wasn’t ready so time to unwind a little in the bar before unpacking. All other interactions with reception were fine and friendly so no real issues there. Eventually taken to our room (405) and left to our own devices.
Room – A good size, neat, tidy and quite well equipped. Spotlessly clean, and quite comfortable with a bottle of prosecco for our anniversary which was a nice touch. Decent amount of wardrobe space, decent sized TV right opposite the bed with a selection of Italian, German, BBC News and Sky cinema channels. The bed was actually two singles pushed together but was huge and perfectly comfortable . Spare pillows and blankets in the wardrobe if needed. Free safe which had plenty of room for valuables. USB slot for charging a phone and a couple of mains sockets. Decent air conditioning and French windows onto a small but adequate patio area. The shutters outside the French windows had opening slats to allow sunlight in when needed without opening them fully which was quite nice. Decent room then with no complaints
Bathroom – Perfectly adequate with usual toilet, bidet, decent sized sink with a good sized surround for toiletries. Decent shower over the bath, the usual complimentary toiletries with shower gel and shampoo attached to the wall above the bath in fixed containers. However, there were no complimentary robes and we felt some of the towels were a little on the thin side and could do with replacing. Note that the bath is quite narrow which might be an issue for some more ‘portly’ travellers.
Breakfast – Very good. The usual buffet style with scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon etc. A decent toaster available and a chef on hand to produce fried eggs, omelettes etc. A good selection of fruit, pastries and breads with juice and coffees available via self-service machines. Lovely view over the bay from the restaurant and sitting outside for breakfast as we did once or twice was lovely.
Dinner – This really is the jewel in the crown of the Hotel President. Every evening was a full three course al a carte menu with an extensive wine list. We got off to a sticky start when on the first night my wife was served undercooked chicken, but this was swiftly replaced without fuss and thereafter the food was superb every night we were there. A selection of four starters, four mains, four sweets every night and something for everyone. The fish dishes were particularly good and the waiting staff were exemplary. A special mention for the young girls clearly learning their trade amongst the more mature waiting staff – they’re doing a great job and just need the confidence which comes with experience. Dinner then superb!
Pool – Quite small and gets deep quite quickly so watch out for that. Quite a small pool area for sunbeds which is fine mostly but you can find yourself quite close to your neighbours at busy times and it’s not ideal when you have a pair of chain smoking Germans one side and some rather loud Americans on the other as we did one afternoon. The top floor of the hotel though has a solarium with plenty of tables and chairs and a few more sunbeds but we didn’t get the opportunity to try that out. Looked nice though. Pool towels available from the pool bar which, incidentally, has quite a nice seating area, or from reception when the pool bar is unmanned. Adequate for the purpose then but could be better.
Hotel grounds –Quite small and not much to explore but quite a nice, if small, grass area alongside the pool with views over Sorrento and the Bay. There is a small library on the bottom floor together with a small gym and games room with table tennis and pool tables, a spa on the fourth floor. Note that floors are numbered in reverse – the top floor is 0, the bottom floor is 5!
Pool Bar – Quick and efficient although the hotel was never busy whilst we were there so would expect swift service. Perfectly adequate for the purpose and that covered seating area is quite nice.
Entertainment – Very low key with a pianist or female singer a couple of nights a week. We thought the music was a little loud at times making conversation difficult and none of the acts stood out as particularly good. Being serenaded at your dining able was quite entertaining though.
Bar – Slick and efficient as a hotel bar should be. This is where the evening entertainment took place. Complimentary nuts and crisps with the drinks although sometimes they needed to be asked for. Tables and comfy chairs on a large outside balcony was quite nice but tended to be populated by the smokers. A nice bar for an after dinner drink with nice views over the Bay. I really wish though that hotels wound ban smoking from all public areas inside and out – it really does spoil it for the majority.
Cleanliness – Superb. The housekeeping staff do a great job of keeping the place spick and span so credit to them.
Staff – Very good. Bar staff, waiting staff all really good and a credit to the hotel.
WiFi – Very good. Free for guests and a good signal pretty much all over the hotel except for the outside bar area for some reason.
Out and about - The hotel is on a steep incline above Sorrento and a free shuttle bus is provided into the town. Note that there is a break between the morning and afternoon services which might catch some people out. Sorrento we thought was really nice with narrow streets, loads of shops selling decent quality items as souvenirs and plenty of bars and restaurants. We enjoyed strolling about and having a drink once or twice.
Beach – There really isn’t one! Well, there is but it’s tiny and at the bottom of a steep cliff reached by a lengthy zig-zag path or a lift costing €1.10 one-way. There is a sign stating that the beach is for locals use only and most of the sea front seems to be taken up by floating restaurants from the hotels above on the cliffs. Worth a visit but we only went there once as there’s not much to see or do.
Pompei & Herculaneum – these are both well worth a visit. We went on an organised which felt a bit rushed and we’d have liked to spend more time exploring each location in our own time with a guide book. The tour guide was good and knowledgeable though. Best advice would be to make your own way there by taxi or train and do your own thing. Note that on the first Sunday in every month, entry to Pompei is free of charge for locals and it gets very busy on that day.
Capri – Again we went on an organised tour with a brilliant guide. However, we felt the Island was a disappointment. There really is very little there apart from narrow streets, loads of traffic, thousands of tourists and shops selling the same items as the mainland but at twice the price! You can visit Anacapri at the top of the island to visit the cable car to the summit, we didn’t do that as the day we went was quite dismal and we felt there wouldn’t be much of a view from the top, then get a taxi back to Capri itself and fight your way through the crowds in the town itself. Again our advice would be to travel independently and do your own thing although Capri really isn’t worth too much effort we thought.
Overall though, we enjoyed our stay at The Grand President and given the opportunity we would definitely return which is always a good sign!
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