A close look at… Sorrento | Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria
Vedi Napoli e poi muori! – See Naples and Die…
Even in secure distance from the urban conundrum of Naples, the high cliffs of Sorrento deploy a vista so beautiful that they can only invoke in extremis proverbs or romantic-sentimental songs. Neither seem out-of-place in one of Italy’s last family owned historic Grand Hotels where the spirit of the 19th century Grand Tour and their sophisticated travelers – crowned and uncrowned – is (still) omnipresent.
But regardless of the hotel’s dignified elegance, its extensive grounds and private park grant a feeling of remoteness that is perhaps its most captivating, if not truly decadent luxury. Consequently, Splendid Isolation – deprived of the term’s original conception regarding British foreign policy back at the time – can easily be applied to the ‘Excelsior Vittoria’ nowadays: in an often crowded town where the combination of space, privacy and views is rather the exception than the rule, the hotel captures the essence of the turn of the century by means of a meticulously preserved and updated historical décor that could very well be the set for a James Ivory movie.
The Hotel Investigator has now incorporated some upgrades which are referenced under a respective tab in the main menu:
Galleries now complement my ‘close look’ posts whenever possible by 27 additional views and comments that convey each property through my eyes; Maps allow for a better geographical overview of my investigations and provide the exact location of each locale discussed in the blog.
A close look at… Lacco Ameno (Ischia) | Albergo della Regina Isabella
Even though the island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples had been famous for its thermal waters since the 18th century when the towns along its Northern coastline became fashionable spa resorts, it was a Milanese gentleman named Angelo Rizzoli who relaunched one of them: Lacco Ameno, largely fallen into disrepair after a devastating earthquake in 1883. Having become one of the most influential publishers and film producers of the young Italian Republic in the wake of WWII, it was Rizzoli who put Ischia on the map of the international jet-set circuit during the 1950s and 1960s.
In order to rightfully accommodate his illustrious entourage – Taylor, Burton & Co. to name a few – he revived the town’s renowned spa named after Queen Isabella of Naples who, long ago, sought relief in its healing radioactive waters. Adding on to the historical structure, he imagined a resort for ‘friends and family’ that was to become one of the most exclusive, small hotel complexes in the Mediterranean.
Soon after its opening in 1956, the hotel became a sensational novelty: a spa and beach resort in one of Italy’s most emblematic regions – La Dolce Vita* at its finest!