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An Immersive Italian Experience

Vicky Bell is a retail consultant at our Norwich travel agents in-store at Jarrolds. She spent four nights on the Amalfi Coast and the Italian island of Ischia…

Destination: Amalfi & Ischia
Operator/Host:
Classic Collection
Accommodation (Hotel names/Ship name): 
Hotel Ambasciatori, Convento di Amalfi, Hotel Manzi, Moresco
Airline:
Easyjet
Duration:
4 Nights

Flights

Our flight was typical EasyJet; quite a long queue at check-in which went rather quick and a departure that left exactly on time. As it was only a quick flight to Naples, I didn’t sample any food or buy any drinks.

Accommodation

Hotel Ambasciatori, Sorrento

This hotel is situated right on the street, as most are in Sorrento. This is one of the more grand hotels in the area and has a very welcoming entrance hall with a small reception desk. The staff were extremely accommodating to us all and were very happy to show us around the hotel and point out all of its best bits.

The main foyer/reception area of the Hotel Ambasciatori opens up out into the pool/garden with some of the best views over the stunning bay of Naples that you’ll ever see. Our room was very tastefully decorated with a balcony that overlooked the bay and the beautiful grounds. However, not all rooms in this category overlook the main road, so it’s always best to request a sea-view if that’s what you’re looking for.

Breakfast was buffet style and served in the beautiful restaurant which again overlooks the bay and leads out into the gardens. Sadly, I did feel the breakfast was a little bit basic as there was not much choice on offer. I think the standard was a little low and let down this stunning hotel, although it won’t ever stop me wanting to stay here again. The whole inside of the ground floor was cleverly laid out to lead to the hotel's gardens; you really feel like you are outdoors when you are inside.

Convento di Amalfi

The Convento di Amalfi was an old monastery which dates back to the 12th century. It is built within the cliff walls and still has its original Arab-Norman cloister which is now used for weddings. The hotel has been cleverly restored and has a beautiful restaurant and grounds. Due to its position on a very busy main road, the check-in procedure is very strange as you have to get out of your car/bus on the wrong side of the road and take your life in your own hands to reach the main doors to check into the hotel. However, there are always a couple of doormen on hand to help people across the road and stop the traffic!

Once inside the hotel, I feel guests are slightly let down. With it being a very old building, it has no welcoming warm features to it, the corridors are very stark with no colour and no atmosphere and the staff (except for one) at check-in were verging on rude and not very welcoming.

Our room must’ve been one of the worst one’s in the hotel with a teeny-tiny window which you could barely see out of, with just a bed and a very strange chair! There was a certain coldness to this hotel and one that, unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend.

Hotel Manzi and Spa – Ischia

The Hotel Manzi was my favourite out of all the hotels we visited and was only about a 20-minute transfer from the ferry port. It has the typical outside facade of an Italian hotel; situated on a busy street, but once inside, you are welcomed into a splendid reception area, very grand and quite Arabian looking with fantastic staff. Our rooms are quaint with balconies overlooking the lovely, but quite small, grounds. The hotel has a very luxurious spa which is free for all guests to use and includes an indoor thermal pool. The evening meal here was seven courses; each course better than the last. However, breakfast in the morning wasn’t as sumptuous as the evening meal. In fact, overall during my time in Italy, breakfasts weren’t as lavish as you would expect; even in a 5-star hotel.

Hotel Moresco

The Hotel Moresco is a lovely old fashioned style 5-star hotel with a wonderful pool area. I can only describe it as having very old school Italian charm. The rooms are quite small and old fashioned, but very comfortable with quaint balconies and lovely views over the grounds. The main restaurant again has a very old-fashioned theme to it with old-fashioned waiter service. For it to deserve its 5-star rating, I do feel it needs a complete re-fit. However, position wise, you couldn’t get better. It’s on a very quiet street with a short stroll into the main town for the shops, cafes and markets.

 Ischia Vineyards

Excursions

  • Bus trip around the Amalfi Coast
  • A trip to Positano
  • Lunch at the Casa Angelina (a stunning boutique style hotel)
  • Island tour of Ischia
  • Vineyard tour in Ischia
  • Negombo Thermal Gardens
  • 10 hotel visits!

Trip Highlights

The best part of the trip was the entire stay in Ischia. It is a beautiful, quaint Island with so much charm; a wonderful place to relax and unwind. My favourite was the visit to the Pietratorcia vineyard where we had a typically Italian lunch outside and got to sample some of the best wine I think I’ve ever had. It was a real Italian experience and one that can be booked through Classic Collection for about £30.

Possible Improvements

I don’t think much could’ve been improved upon; we were well and truly spoilt on this trip.  However, we did have 10 different hotel visits and each night was spent in a different hotel, so that was pretty tough going. But it was a great way to experience everything.

Recommendations

I would 100% recommend this trip. Ischia is certainly for the more discerning traveller who likes something different and who would like to experience Italian Island life. It is very easy to get around and each town is quite different with its own charm. The towns are very quaint and quirky, but I can imagine they get quite busy during peak season.

Additional Comments

Classic Collection were fantastic hosts on this trip, particularly Karen Rondon who escorted us. We were extremely well looked after and were treated to a wonderful trip. Thank you to all involved in getting me a place on this amazing trip.

Must see?  Ischia
Must do?  Visit to the Pietratorcia vineyard
Must try? Ischian local wine; the best ever

If you would like to immerse yourself in a true Italian experience then we can help you plan a trip just like Vicky’s. The Amalfi Coast and Ischia are both beautiful destinations and would be perfect for a family holiday or romantic couples break. Call us today or drop in at one of our travel agents in East Anglia.