12 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"We booked the Grand Hotel Royal in Sorrento because we fancied something other than a standard beach holiday and we werenât disappointed. This hotel is Grand; Art Deco in style, sedate, classy and truly lovely, worthy of its Four Star status. We had a lovely sea view room (302) which was both private and quiet. We rarely heard anyone else although the fireworks at 8am on a Sunday morning were a bit of a shock!
The pool area is lovely and relaxing, you can see Mt Vesuvius in the background whilst you relax and the view pans around to the Bay of Naples. There are not quite enough sun loungers around the pool as there are guests, I think, so if you like to lie in bed past lunch time youâll have to make do with a deck chair at the back by the time you get to the pool. The sun deck is really nice too, but again space is limited and some British guests (naughty, naughty) were putting their towels on the loungers to reserve them. The hotel holds a weekly Beach BBQ â which is actually on the sea terrace and a gala buffet dinner on the terrace. We went to both; one of which is free. We really enjoyed these evenings they are quite reomantic as you watch the sun setting in front of you whilst you dine. Prices for room service, lunch, mini bar and drinks at the hotel are, as you would expect, not cheap so be prepared. The hotel staff are extremely courteous, efficient and polite, which is exactly what Italian service is famous for. We found everyone we dealt with to be helpful, unimposing and interested in providing us with a great experience. Some reviews I have read imply staff are not interested in complaints (I canât imagine what they were complaining about); it is worth noting that in Italy there is no culture of âil cliente commandoâ â such as you would expect in the US â as this simply does not exist in Italian customer service. And to be honest, I doubt you will have much to complain about anyway. The food at the hotel is good, but not gourmet. The breakfast has a good selection: bread, cereals, cold meats, cheese, hot buffet and the cakes and pastries are to die for! The lunch menu around the pool is delicious and simple: pasta, steak, pizza and lovely salads but the evening menu is, quite frankly lacking, although the wine list is good. It is very English: roast beef, lamb chops, lots of risottos and lots of plan fish, which is a shame as we had paid half board. However, it meant we ate out in Sorrento every night and I am so glad we did.
Sorrento is a fabulous, lively town that comes to life in the evenings. There is something interesting to see and do every night. There are shops and restaurants within a 2 minute walk directly across from the hotel, with a great Dolce (dessert) shop nearby. People seem to dress up to walk about or have coffee and an ice cream with friends and family. If you walk a little further down the Corsa Italia, you come to the main square. I would thoroughly recommend the restaurants around the Piazza as the food is really good and service impeccable (again). Sorrento shopping is fantastic and the ice creams (try Dolce and Gelato) are amazing. We found some fab little shops, small restaurants where the locals eat, leather goods, performers, street artists, musicians down the little side streets.
Mt Vesuvius and Pompeii â if you plan to visit these or pop over to Capri, I would advise against booking with your holiday rep as there is a 100% mark up. We got the train from across the road to Pompeii and it cost us â¬3.40 return each. This was a 30 minute journey and the trains go every 20 minutes or so. From Pompeii station there is a coach trip that will take to you Mt Vesuvius National Park and bring you back for â¬20 each. We paid â¬83 each for our trip ... before we knew this ...
In summary you will love The Grand Hotel Royal and Sorrento if you want to go somewhere with old fashioned charm, beautiful scenery, good food, good shopping that is miles awaya from the usual package holiday. It isnât cheap, but it is definitely worth it. Enjoy!
- Travel date: Wed 22nd of August 2012
A very well located hotel (about 5 minut...
"A very well located hotel (about 5 minutes walk from the main square) with beautiful views. Furnished in traditional Italian style, it is a cool, well-maintained hotel with helpful and friendly staff.
It's worth paying the supplement for the sea-view rooms because the rooms at the back overlook a busy road, but they do have pleasant enough views of Sorrento and the mountains.
We would have chosen B&B if we'd had the option but Half Board was compulsory. The food was reasonable but nothing special.
There is a daily charge for sunbeds around the pool but no charge for sunbeds on the terrace.
Sorrento itself was lovely and a really good base for sightseeing. We went on trips to Capri, Pompeii and a tour of the Amalfi coast - all booked out in Sorrento - and each one a great day out. I'd definitely return and would be happy to stay in the Grand Hotel Royal again."
- Travel date: Wed 16th of August 2006
a hotel with attitude
"we were in Italy for two weeks, and found the hotel to be one of the nicest, but the staff was certainly the most unfriendy and apathetic, it is unfortunate for such a lovely setting to have a staff so cold and unresponsive to the smallest of requests!"
- Travel date: Tue 6th of June 2006
Honeymoon in Paradise
"Been a bit slow writing the review for this hotel - but it was great!
We went with Thompson for our honeymoon to Sorrento. A minibus was provided from the airport to take just us and our luggage to the hotel. We did arrive quite late at the hotel (about 10pm) and were provided a small plater in our room of cheeses and hams. Unfortunately my wife is vegetarian and I had to eat all the food!
The room was facing the Parco Lauro and Piazza, rather than the more pricey volcano viewing rooms! The room was double glazed and the noise from the road and kitchens wasn't noticed. To be honest we hardly spent any time in our room!
The hotel was very stylish, clean and well presented. The staff were very helpful and attempted to assist from the chabermaids and waiting staff to the concierge staff. All rooms were very impressive with a reasonably sized pool. We hardly spent time by the pool during the day, however the terrace fronting Naples Bays and the shoreline platform were superb.
The views from the room were the lemon groves and well maintained piazza, with the Neopolitan Bay including Vesuvius at the rear. The grounds to the hotel were extremely well maintained with palms and citrus fruit trees.
Food was fantastic with an excellant breakfast and evening meal provided. We didn't try lunch as we were full after breakfast and didn't stay at the hotel during the day.
The hotel is excellantly located for trips to the local sights. We originally booked with Thompson for every tour they offered, then realised the ease of seeing these sights at a considerably lower price and at our convienience. The train station is 5 minutes walk up the adjacent piazza and Parco Lauro, and a return ticket to Naples can be bought for a few euros! In the UK this distance would cost the earth - and you don't need to pre-book to get the best price.
We went with the Monte Casino/Caserta Palace day trip, Amalfi/Ruffello day trip, Capri day trip and Rome weekend with Thompson, but did Pompeii, Herculaneum, Vesuvius and Naples museum.
The trips were excellent and well worth the time and money!! The hotel in Rome was however very grotty - can't remember the name unfortunately - very seedy!
To get to Herculaneum you need to go to the Ercolano station and head straight down the main street towards the sea! My wife was asked to be in a Discovery Channel documentary - pretending to be a fleeing Roman woman because of her painted toe nails!!! But we saw an area of Herculaneum not open to the public!
The Naples Museum is well worth a visit and contains all the treasures from Pompeii!! Also check to see if the forbiden/secret room iss open on the day of your visit! This is the risque side of roman life that well worth a look!
To see the volcano, a minibus can be got from a cafe along the station road at Ercolano. This bus will take you to a station close to summit, and you have to walk the last few 100m 's. There are plenty of rock sellers on the top!! The view from the summit is fantastic and definately worth the effort. Make sure you go here early as the return trips aren't that reliable and you may spend longer than you thought climbing and looking on the summit! Don't be put off by all the burnt out cars that have fallen off the narrow mountain road!
The weather is very hot during the summer (I burnt on the last day after sitting outside for half an hour - and suffered heat stroke onthe way home and for 3 days after!!!).
Sorrento only has a few places of interest such as the Sorrento Museum (small and interesting), Roman Walls and gate way + harbour, however compared to the main sights are not quite as good.
Things to try in Sorrento are the Lemoncello straight from the lemon groves and a few self made trips to the main sights!!
You will see lots of feral dogs on the platforms of stations such as Pompeii. The dogs were friendly and we even ended up taking loads of cans of dog food from the supermarket in Sorrento to feed the dogs!
The shopping in Sorrento was OK, with lots of stalls and evening markets worth browsing, with lots of local cafes and restarants in the tangle of back streets within the centre heading south.
Plenty of weddings were going on when we were honeymooning here - most allow you to stand at the back and watch - brilliant for people watching.
As you've probably gathered, we had a fantastic time and definately plan to return! You don't need to have a sea view to enjoy this hotel! We make the most of our holidays and therefore consider seeing the sights and spending as little time as possible out of the room."
- Travel date: Tue 25th of April 2006
Enjoyed the Grand Hotel
"Thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Sorrento. One of our better family trips (we have two children ages 8 and 10). They loved the views, climbing Mt. Vesuvius, touring the coast (with a taxi driver), hunting for lizards, playing at the pool and eating gelato. I just reread all the previous reviews on this site and agree with all of them. The only thing we noticed that was not mentioned is that the rooms are noisy due to the tile flooring. You could hear people in other rooms dragging their desk chairs along the floor and the running of bathroom water was very evident from neighboring rooms beside and above. The hallways were also a bit noisy as they too are tile. Our solution was to make sure we shut the door between the entryway and bedroom each night. That helped but did not totally eliminate the situation. Just don't count on sleeping in during the morning. With all the beautiful sites to see this is not a trip for getting your beauty sleep. All in all, we would recommend the hotel."
- Travel date: Sat 22nd of April 2006
Jolly decent hotel
"Spent four days in the Royal in March 2006. Marvellous views over the Bay of Naples. Modern, spotless rooms; friendly and efficient staff, especially the receptionists. Good breakfasts in beautiful dining room. Too early in the season to eat on the terrace. Hotel has easy walk to Circumvesuviana railway station and the centre of Sorrento. (If your luggage has wheels you can get from centre or station to the hotel without needing a taxi.) The hotel can arrange taxi transfers to and from Naples Airport, saving a lot of schlep and fuss.
So why not five blobs? 1) It was pretty cold in Sorrento and if there was any way of raising the room temperature we did not find it. 2) Sorrento has gone a bit downmarket and the hotel restaurant catered largely for package tourists, at least early in the season. I was the only man with jacket and tie among some two hundred short-stay diners. The food was â intentionally â acceptable but not exciting. We ate at the Caruso Restaurant and its associated Pizzaria La Basilica, both recommended without reservation."
- Travel date: Fri 7th of April 2006
Grand Royal Hotel - pretty good choice
"We have just returned from a trip to Italy. We visited 2 regions, the Amalfi Coast and Rome. We had never been to the Amalfi Coast and it was simply wonderful. After looking at maps, we decided to base ourselves out of Sorrento. I think this was a marvelous idea. Its close to all the major sites; Capri, Pompeii, Ercolano (a must see), etc. You can reach all 3 by train or hydrofoil. Very economical. We did rent a car in Rome and drove down to Sorrento. In retrospect, we could have easily taken the train all the way to Sorrento and given up the cost of the car and diesel. We hired a driver to drive us along the Amalfi Coast - if you really want to see it, don't drive yourself - let someone else do it! Very windy roads and phenomenal vistas that you will want to see instead of concentrating on the road. Do not miss the little towns on the Amalfi Coast, Ravello, Positano, and Amalfi in particular. We stayed in the Grand Royal Hotel. Very good location for walking to the train station, catch hydrofoil to Capri, great pool with incedible views again. The breakfast was very,very good and wait staff were most attentive and professional. Excellent service and with an attention to detail and special little requests. Very good and helpful with children, ages 6 and 9. The front desk people were pretty attentive, fairly helpful. We had a mishap and mis-understanding upon arrival and the management was not cooperative in helping us change our accommodations. We ended up keeping what room we had, 2 adults and 2 children. It was tight, but okay. We were a little dismayed by this, however, very large bathrooms for European standards and fairly good sized rooms as well. We would like to return to this area in the future and certainly would consider staying here again, more for the location and wait staff! Was kept clean, room, lobby, front entrances, etc. Seemed very safe and we felt completely confident walking around at nights. Good choice!"
- Travel date: Fri 24th of March 2006
Sea view room, is a must
"We had a 3 week holiday in Italy, and we end it by staying at the Hotel Royal for 6 nights. It was the best hotel of the trip. It does help that Sorrento is a fantastic place anyway but this hotel just made it even better. When booking a room you must get a sea view whatever the cost, it makes such a difference. In clear weather you can see right across the bay of Naples. The only small con was that you had to pay to sit by the pool. But other that that it was perfect, the room, service, location and food all perfect."
- Travel date: Fri 6th of January 2006
Loved the Grand Hotel Royal
"We also stayed in a wonderful sea view room at the Grand Royal for several days the end of Oct. and first of Nov. We loved it there, especially the location,grounds, and close to town.The staff were helpful and gracious and the breakfast buffet quite nice.....
From there we took day trips into Naples and Herculanem by taxi."
- Travel date: Tue 8th of November 2005
very good stay
"excellent location, close ro the historic center, but in a quiet street
wide choice for breakfast ( excellent pancakes or omelets prepared by Rocco)
staff comptent and helpful
spacious rooms ,
- Travel date: Sun 6th of November 2005
"Just returned from a week at the Grand Royal on Oct 28th. Absolutely fabulous. Our sea view room was lovely, well worth the extra as at the front of the hotel overlook a busy road. All food was excellent, especially the wonderful omelettes cooked before your eyes in the breakfast room overlooking the fantastic gardens. Pool was beautiful the only improvement could be heating it. Superb location, not too far from the centre but far enough not to be disturbed by noise or traffic"
- Travel date: Tue 1st of November 2005
"We loved the Royal. We had a iffy experience in Rome before we arrived, and we were so relieved to enjoy the Royal.
Staff - courteous, prompt, good English.
Room - large, architecturally pleasing, clean, quiet. (only hitch was one night a fuse blew but minor problem)
Hotel - location excellent, very short walk to main square and shopping area, ferries, and train station. (Note: don't take a cab from train - they will rip you off to go 2 blocks = 15EURO. You just walk straight down from train station across a square and you are there.)
BEAUTIFUL VIEWS - pay for the balcony sea view if in doubt. So peaceful and lovely. Even some rooms that aren't sea view have an indirect view of the bay.
Grounds are gorgeous. We didn't get to the pool but it looked enticing.
Loved Sorrento! It was magical. Take the bus tour of the Amalfi coast if you have time.
Oh, and the Royal had a fantastic breakfast buffet with a great Omelet Chef. Service was excellent and food was great."
- Travel date: Tue 1st of November 2005