Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Italians are a Nation of "it's Possible"

It is not possible to find a hotel like the Sheraton or the Grand Hyatt along this stretch of coast, possibly because these are not Italian hotels or Italian innovations. But there is an absolute abundance of boutique hotels, ranging from three stars to five.

Star ratings have nothing to do with cleanliness, service or accessibility, which is good in Italy because these are all qualities that are part and parcel of the Italian culture. In other countries one may struggle to find either of those qualities - even in a large hotel chain, but here it is free.

Many of the hotels here are nothing to look at from the outside, but they are gems when one is inside them. Our hotels have ranged between three and four stars so far, however I would rate the service and friendliness as high as ten stars.

Accessibility to many of the hotels has been difficult. The roads are narrow and winding and many hotels - especially in the ver popular towns - have no parking at all. This means that one has to find ones hotel first then drive down the road - sometimes for miles - before one can find parking, then one has to carry ones luggage to ones hotel. The solution here is to travel light, very light.

Many boutique hotels have a Luggage solution. That may be a tiny elevator, only big enough for a medium size suitcase or the hotel owner will personally collect your luggage and carry it to your room. Some hotels have a basket with a pulley system attached to it where ones luggage is placed and then transported up or down to ones room, (from outside the building) this one is my personal favorite - that way I am not embarrassed by the weight of my suitecase and my "porter" doesn't break his back carrying my goods.

Hotel rooms are beautifully decorated with the individuality of the owner. The floors are tiled with volcanic tiles, hand painted using ceramic paints which have then been baked in large kilns. These tiles are super strong and are crack, stain and chip resistant. They provide a colorful individuality to the hotel rooms and foyers and certainly add class and style. One will find such tiles in most hotels - if not all, and in a lot of cases, these tiles will be scattered along walkways or in the markets.

Hotel rates vary and are consistent between €80 to €130 per night. Weekend rates are usually high and can jump from €80 to €120 on a Saturday night alone. The Italians are not beyond haggling, so one can negotiate a better deal - as long as you are dealing with the hotel owner and not a young princess behind the counter.

Internet is not always available and Italy doesn't seem to have a covered 3G network. Some hotels offer Wi-Fi but a lot of the time this means that while they have Wi-Fi, it is only available in the reception area, on the terrace or outside a rare Internet cafe! I've managed to secure a Wi-Fi connection at two am on the stairs going up from the reception area (in my PJ's), on the terrace at three am, overlooking the Sorrento skyline, at a bar in the harbor overlooking the many ferries coming in and out while eating a chocolate sundae and by buying an internet Wi-Fi package valued at €10 for three hours, which my driver managed to haggle down to €5 for three hours with a free connection for the second user!

It's possible. Anything is possible in Italy and the Italians should be called the nation of possibilities. If you need anything, one simply has to mention it to the locals and they will immediately start off by telling you, "it's possible ...". Even when they have already found a solution for something, it's possible to find another one!

At a restaurant a few days ago, my driver and I discussed dinner options with our waiter. We could read what was on the menu, say what was on the menu and select exactly what we wanted but our waiter told us "it's possible" to have what we wanted OR "it's possible" to have a slight variation. When the meal arrived it was possibly the last thing we expected to get! But anything "it's possible", and I enjoy that.

1 comment:

  1. Please enlarge the photos to enable us to view them properly. Thanks for sharing your adventures in beautiful Italy. Take care and lots of love to both yourself and your 'driver'!