What a beautifully strange place. The hotel drips in gaudy glamour with pink glass chandeliers and superfluously ornate mock Venetian furniture. Our room was decked in dusky pink wallpaper, with a lavish bed underneath a tacky bright pink Jesus on the cross. The swimming pool has dolphin statues smiling amid gushings of mini fountains. And there is a waterfall lashing down from a decorated corner. The reception area has a bright blue Venetian-style bar but primarily is decorated with old photographs of the owner posing with the likes of Sophia Loren and Maradona.
And these photographs perhaps reflect the nature of this place: Once, 20-odd years ago, this hotel was at the peak of luxury. Now, the décor seems dated and a little tired. Our bed was so old the mattress had sunk. The TV offered no English subtitles and the bathroom has no bath. The room furniture items are more like stage props than of any quality. It has a thin veneer of luxury but scratch the surface and it's clear the place needs an overhaul. Certainly not worth a five star rating.
Also, the cavernous place is more a wedding venue than a hotel. On one of the days we stayed there were no less than three weddings - two happening at the same time. We were sunbathing by the pool among wedding guests with photographers nearly walking over us with their cameras. The dining area also appeared to be a 'wedding room', with white everything and utterly devoid of atmosphere.
The location is great for Pompeii, but we spent an hour trying to get to Sorrento beach. It's not near any beaches itself.
On the plus side the staff are fantastic - in particular Antonio who gave us a complementary dessert on finding out we were on our honeymoon, and Daniel who had a smiling 'no problem' attitude to everything. Also after a time we got used to this overly ornate character of a hotel, it has a charm - just not a five-star one.
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Hotel La Sonrisa Italy/Province Of Naples