No-one does old-style glamour like the Italians, and it's particularly true in Naples, the very essence of old-style, baroque, schmaltzy Italy. So it's no surprise to find a wealth of recession-defying silk, marble and silver at the Grand Hotel Vesuvio overlooking Vesuvius, Sorrento and other heart-stopping delights of Naples Bay.
The hotel was built in 1882 by a Belgian financier who saw the potential for glamour when this once-deprived area was revamped into the chic promenading area it has remained. Oscar Wilde and Errol Flynn were among the first celebrity guests before wartime bombing destroyed part of it; Armani, Grace Kelly and Gina Lollobrigida followed, post-War.
You'd never know you were in a rebuild in the traditional, high-ceilinged guest accommodations dripping with expensive fixtures. Sheets are pure linen and marble bathrooms have a Jacuzzi and the hotel's own gorgeous toiletries. It was no surprise to find walls in gold striped silk and curtains, upholstery and headboards in toning print. Mod cons include wi-fi, satellite TV and fax machines.
The breakfast buffet, with a vast 18th-century silver fruitiere as its centrepiece, has good Italian cheeses, fresh fruit and well-made hot dishes, all served in a pretty room overlooking the harbour and worth shelling out for.
The Via Partenope, where the hotel sits facing the Castell d'Ovo, is perfect for a stroll to the stunning Piazza del Plebiscito, passing lots of charming trattorie with outside tables.
RATES: from £160
BOOK: www.lhw.com; 00800 1010 111