Shipscook’s Italian Job – Welcome to our Sorrento Hideout

The Grand Hotel Capodimonte is built into the hillside just above Sorrento. It’s labyrinthine construction meant that to get to our room on the third floor, we had to get a lift up five floors from the entrance, then walk through the reception area to find the right set of lifts, travel two floors down, set off down a twisty corridor, go down a small flight of stairs, turn the corner, go up two bigger flights of stairs and there it was at the end of the corridor. Yes I did get lost on my way back to reception at least once and it was up to a friendly chambermaid to send me off on the right track.

Pool area at the Grand Hotel Capodimonte

Our room was a marvelous confection of fake Empire style furniture, with ceramic floral light fittings and a flat screen TV for the maid to watch quiz shows on while were out. The truly stunning gardens are landscaped in terraces down the side of the hill with the seven pools arranged one above the other, so that twice a day the water cascades  down from one pool to another.

View from Bougianvillea Restaurant

The terraces looked even more enchanting at night when the pools were illuminated.

Pool terraces by night

We were on half board. The breakfasts were epic thanks to the very excellent omelette chef, who cooked to order before our eyes. Otherwise it was a choice of lunch in the Bougainvillea Restaurant overlooking the pool terraces and the Bay of Naples or an evening meal in the main restaurant which also had an open air terrace. Lunch turned out to be the best option as the main restaurant service in the evening could be very slow, while the food, although nicely presented, had a touch of institutional cuisine about it despite it’s pretensions to grandeur. Having said that, the pastry chef was very good at creating myriad little temptations.

Lots of lovely cakes

And he was an imaginative sculptor with a sliced loaf to boot.

Bread Castle

After dinner there were drinks on the cocktail bar terrace with it’s gorgeous view.

Ships that Pass in the Night - View from bar terrace

Mind you we did have to share a room!

This is Squeak

Squeak the Gecko

He’s a room gecko and most of the time he could be found on our bathroom ceiling. His friend Bubble liked to hide behind the beading around the wardrobe in the bedroom. I had no problem sharing our room with the geckos as they ate some of the mosquitoes that had been eating me. On our last morning though, the daft creature got stuck in our bath, so I rescued him with a glass from the mini-bar and a piece of card.

So was it expensive? Er yes, a round of drinks for four people was €20 to €30, while a bottle of indifferent wine with dinner was €15. Internet connection was €4 for 30 minutes and a room safe cost €3.5 a day.  Our trip was booked through Thomson, more on them later.

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