Hotel Loreley et Londres

CLOSED The Hotel Loreley et Londres was one of the Secret Hotels of the Amalfi Coast, a tattered olde worlde budget gem in Sorrento; it is currently closed (perhaps permanently)

Sorrento guide
[NOTE: This hotel was closed in 2007 for an overhaul by its new owners. I have no idea what it will be like when—or if—it ever reopens. Will it remain a tattered budget gem, or be transformed (as so many old favorites are) into a blandly overpriced three-star hotel? Anybody's guess. Contact the new owners, at the Hotel Mignon, for more information:]

The 100-year-old Loreley is an Old World pensione with a spectacular setting: a dusty rose building clinging to the cliff above the Marina Piccola port.

There are hints of past glory throughout—dingy plaster moldings on the walls, inlaid stone tile floors—but overall it's on the downward arc of a slow, easygoing decline into shabbiness. The cracks in the ceiling are clumsily plastered, the name painted on the façade is flaking off, and the rooms are a decidedly mixed bag: elaborate hand-painted floor tiles with hideous pea-green modular furnishings, or shocking pink floors with a mix of battered antiques.

None of that matters, though, when you fling open the doors to the your balcony (or, in rooms 11 to 15, small terrace) and are hit with that panorama over the busy ferry harbor to Sorrento's cliffs. You get the same vista from the shaded terrace restaurant—which is fine for cocktails, but avoid the one-step-above-Boyardee food. Though it's been in the guidebooks for years, the Loreley's location 15 minutes from the heart of town keeps it from jacking up prices.

Each morning, the breakfast room fills with pennywise travelers: British vacationers planning for tomorrow, American families chatting about yesterday's adventures, older Italian couples downing their simple continental breakfast in austere silence, and backpackers debating whether to make a day trip to Pompeii or just take the elevator down to the private swimming pier again and maybe later head into town to score free limoncello samples from the shops and watch old men play cards under frescoed porticos.

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Hotel Loreley et Londres
Via Califano 12
tel. +39-081-807-3187
Open Easter-Oct

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How long does Sorrento take?

Planning your time: Sorrento has maybe 2-3 hours of mediocre sightseeing. To be brutally honest it is probably the least interesting town in this area. It is only famous for its location.

Sorrento makes an ideal base for exploring Campania thanks to its location at the nexus of regional public transit—pretty much the only place from which you can get anywhere without having to change mode of transportation: Trains direct to Pompeii and Naples; ferries to Capri; buses or ferries down the Amalfi Coast.

If you prefer the home-base style of travel, Sorrento is the perfect base. Figure on three days/two nights here (hit Pompeii on the train ride down from Naples—you can store your luggage temporarily at the Pompei train station—then spend one day each visiting Capri and the Amalfi Coast).

If, however, you prefer to travel from town to town, just treat Sorrento as a way-station to switch from train to bus or ferry; skip Sorrento entirely and sleep in a more interesting locale on the Amalfi Coast or Capri.

» Sorrento itineraries

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