Imperial Tramontano Hotel

Sorrento, Italy


"Go on," said the waiter . "Have a little gelato, just to clean the palate." Of course, I did, and of course, it was delicious, the perfect end to a relaxed meal looking across the water to Capri and the bay of Naples.

Wedged into the cliffs as if it had developed naturally from its surroundings, if nothing else, the Tramontano hotel is worth a visit for the unparalleled views of the Sorrento coastline. A historic spot, the Tramontano was the birthplace of poet Torquato Tasso and erstwhile stomping ground of Keats, Byron and Ibsen.

No doubt all were inspired by the stunning vista and the sound of the waves crashing furiously into the rocks.

A grand, almost palatial building with wide palm trees surrounding it and an elaborate drawing room inside, the hotel stops short of being gaudy and, instead, offers a whisper of the region's glamorous past.

The rooms include everything that you would need, with a tiled floor that offers a blissful respite during the heat of the day.

Do your best to secure one with a sea view because the balcony as the sun sets is a magical spot.

Less than five minutes from the cafes, shops and restaurants in the centre of the old town, and perhaps 15 from the marina below, the Tramontano is well located.

The swimming pool and terraces - a major plus in a town where the beach is rocky rather than sandy - do face the main road rather than the beach.

But aside from the sounds of a few mopeds zooming by, it's still a peaceful place to soak up the sun.

There would be little for children to do, and for anyone who wanted constant email access the erratic wireless connection would be frustrating. Still, for pleasant rooms, sea views and friendly staff, you couldn't ask for more.

Rates: Doubles from £120, breakfast included

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