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Stunning C19th hotel in Sorrento Italy - Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria

The Romans, lovers of great beauty, valued the spectacular scenery and temperate climate of Surrentum, hovering over the cliffs of the Sorrento Peninsula. Romantic Sorren­to stands on the grey rock on the south­ern side of the Gulf of Naples. In time, the nobility and the artists of all media arrived, to enjoy the Mediterranean climate and amazing scen­ery, and to find renewed inspiration for their work.

Sala Vittoria/Breakfast Restaurant 
frescoed ceilings

But Sorrento was also a place of history and culture, commen­cing from the Greek-Roman town plan that is still preserved. There are archaeological relics in local mus­eums or along the roads of the town centre, as well as beautiful churches and aristocratic palaces. Note, for example, the C14th Cloister of St Francis with Arab travertine inter­lacing arcades. Fam­ous visitors of the past were very learned eg Ibsen and Goethe.

Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria is located in the town centre and sitting on a high cliff overlooking the Bay of Naples and Mount Ves­uvius, it is the very same place where the Roman Emperor Aug­ustus’ own attractive villa had been. You can still see the C18th columns, frescoed ceilings and antiques displayed throughout. Easily recognisable from the sea, the hotel's three classic C19th build­ings are just above the town harbour, on a cliff top location, and surr­ounded by the lush greenery of a Mediterranean garden.

 Terraced gardens, statues and bay views

The hotel occupies the site where Roman Emp­eror Augus­t­us once had a beautiful villa. Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria has been owned by the Fiorentino family since its opening in 1834, and had their three independent build­ings built from 1834 on, in fin-de-siècle style. Note that 1834 was a time when Italy was not yet a unified country! And note also that the family's 5th gener­at­ion is still running the hotel today, maintaining a long tradition of warm Italian hospitality.

A quick elevator ride moves visitors up from the port, directly to the hotel. From the main terrace, the lift descends directly down to the pier in the harbour below. Visitors go to the pier if they want to hire a motor boat to travel along the beautiful peninsula coastline, or take a trip to Capri, Naples and the Ischia islands.

The sumptuous interiors still contain a great number of the orig­inal pieces of antique furniture first used to decorate the hotel, including beautiful pieces of the inlaid wooden furniture from local cabinet makers. The great majority of the 92 suites lead out on to a balcony or terrace where to enjoy views of the Bay of Naples or the sweet scented orange grove which surrounds the hotel.

The luxurious suites retell the story of the many famous visitors. Over the years, the hotel was part of the Grand Tour and has welcomed monarchs, politicians, artists, celeb­rities. Some royals were regulars eg Queen Victoria of Sweden (for whom the hotel was named), King Louis of Bavaria, Prince of Wales, Catherine Grand Duchess of Russia and King Rama VII of Siam.

Caruso Suite

Aranci Suite overlooks the hotel's orange and lemon groves. The Enrico Caruso Suite retains the same décor and furn­ishings as when the famous Italian tenor stayed there for more sev­eral months, in 1921. Pompeii Suite is decorated with frescoes inspired by Pompeii’s attractive villas.

Other suites were named after Richard Strauss, Richard Wagner, Oscar Wilde, Luciano Pavar­otti, Andrea Bocelli, Jack Lemmon, Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe.The Sala Vittoria/Breakfast Restaurant sits inside the hotel's most beautiful rooms, with lovely frescoed ceilings, large wind­ows, late C19th decorations, early 20th furnishings and a baby grand piano. The tradition of frescoed ceilings and walls has been constantly up­dated by the resident artist. The ex­cellent orange marmalade is pre­pared with citrus fruits from the hotel's garden. The food is en­rich­ed with excel­lent local ingredients (tomat­o­es, virgin olive oil, citrus fruits, walnuts, cheeses, shrimps and loc­al Gulf fish). This food was designed for ME!

Sorrento, south of Rome

Occupying a once el­eg­ant green-house among the green ol­ive, lemon and orange trees, the hotel also established the Bout­ique Spa la Serra; it has citruses in their luxury spa treat­ments. Sorrento’s jagged cliffs are dominated by watch­towers, caves and enchanted bays, set against the clear Mediterranean Sea. It's a place that invites walk­ing-trails, water sports and places to bathe and relax in the Mediterranean sun.

World of Wanderlust has beautiful photos.


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