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Ravello: Palazzo Sasso

Via san Giovanni Del Toro 28, Phone: 89.8188181; Fax: 89.858900
www.palazzosasso.com

* Click to book this hotel online


Reviewed by: wendyash from U K, review #273

When: April 2003

For those in need of an absolute treat. {5 star luxury}

Palazzo Sasso is a privately owned 5 * L hotel, about an hour and halfís drive from Naples airport. Ravello sits some 1000 feet above sea level on a stone raft with wonderful views over the Amalfi Coast and mountains.

Upon arrival we were met outside and our luggage discreetly taken charge of. Inside, we were welcomed warmly by Antonio Ferrara who is the front desk manager. Despite arriving much too early for checking in, we were invited to enjoy a complimentary drink on the terrace, from where we were able to enjoy a breathtaking and spellbinding view of the Amalfi coast.

Soon we were shown up to our room, a ďKing MountainĒ with a small balcony and a good view of the mountains with the sea visible on the horizon. We were not expecting a balcony, so this was a real bonus. The room was lovely, of reasonable size, with absolutely everything one could need. The bed was huge, beautifully dressed with top quality linens and we found it to be supremely comfortable. Air conditioning, good lighting, a CD player, a clock, 2 telephones lovely tiled floors, are common to all rooms.

We were welcomed to our room with a plate of canapes as well as a good bottle of local wine. This was to be an abiding theme throughout our stay - presents!! A very novel idea and one we loved. We brought home a bag with our leaving present of a bottle of Limoncello and two Limoncello cups!! I suspect guests in the better rooms/suites are given trinkets by Donatella Versace!!

Other thoughtful touches included a fresh bottle of water each bedtime and the weather forecast left on our pillow each night.

Our bathroom was a good size with excellent lighting, a good shower over the bath, bathrobes and slippers, wonderfully abundant soft towels and top quality toiletries.

The room was quietly situated, with no noise from outside on the village street nor from the hotelís adjoining rooms, so we slept well.

Breakfast was taken on a terrace overlooking the sea and mountains beyond, a completely mesmerising view. We were invited to choose from the groaning tables of fresh fruit, bread, pastries, cakes, cold buffet, hot buffet, freshly cooked of course, fruit juice, champagne and how did we want our eggs ?! We did, eventually choose our eggs as an omelette and watched chef prepare one of the nicest breakfast delicacies weíve ever enjoyed. There were sausages, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes etc etc.

Coffee was freely offered, of a very high standard as were all the freshly squeezed juices.

I think we took over an hour each morning to enjoy both the setting and the food. We were not hurried, in fact encouraged to eat and drink more, including champagne!

Service was delightful, relaxed, not over friendly, with attention to detail throughout. This led to the Hotel having a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere, with us feeling relaxed and at ease from the moment we arrived. In our experience this atmosphere is difficult to achieve in hotels of this category and I canít congratulate the Staff and Management enough.

The terraced grounds and garden are delightful, with a newly planted parterre on one of the lower levels and, new for this year, an outside Gym!

The swimming pool is heated in the off-season and is stunning. There is an underwater window in case you need to remind yourselves of the views over the sea! There are plenty of shady/sunny spots to sit and relax in, and we were pleasantly surprised to find that there was no need to fight over the sun beds! The swimming pool attendant provides icy flannels when the temperatures creep up, as well as iced fruit when it creeps even higher.

On the roof is a terrace called the solarium with 2 hydro massage pools, heated, of course, plentiful sunbeds, tables and chairs provided for a moonlit cocktail. This was a great place to get the late evening sun.

Public rooms are beautiful, including a splendid library with wonderful books and a complimentary computer connected to the Internet. There are many comfortable sofas, more books, newspapers and magazines to sit and look at in the cocktail bar and sitting rooms on the ground floor. Contemporary art is displayed on the walls and is available to purchase.

Lunch is available from Cafť Dell Arte as are light evening meals and light, classical background music is sometimes played.

The jewel in the crown is Rosselliniís, where we dined on our first evening as part of our package booked directly through the hotelís web site. The emphasis here is on local seasonal produce with Executive Chef, Pino Lavarreís contemporary interpretation of fine Italian food earning Rosselliniís a Mchelin star.

We had a thoroughly enjoyable evening of good food, wines, and superb service.

Palazzo Sasso has 35 rooms and 5 suites to offer, but feels much smaller and intimate.

Prices range from about 225 euros for a Queen Mountain view room in early spring to 1350 euros for the Belvedere Suite, opened to much architectural acclaim in 2002. As you would expect for a Hotel of this class, housekeeping and maintenance are to a very high standard.

Everything here is done with the minimum of fuss thus allowing a relaxing, stress free stay. It will be our base for a much longer visit next Summer. We tried the Spring Package, which included dining in Rosselliniís, but even without this I feel value for money is superb. Our King Mountain room was from 275 to 375 euros per night, depending upon the season.

Ravello is a destination worthy of visit, as it has much to offer. In easy walking distance of the Palazzo Sasso is the village Piazza with the Duomo and Villa Rufolo, with itís delightfully scenic gardens and home to the acclaimed Music Festival. It is also an easy, but slightly longer walk to Villa Cimbrone an interesting and beautiful garden rescued from obscurity by Lord Grimthorpe in 1900. Once again you will be captivated by those views, particularly from the Belvedere of Infinity.

Local restaurants to suit the gourmet or simpler tastes are within walking distance. If you donít want to drive, it is easy to get to Amalfi by public transport and thereby on to such destinations as Pompeii, Herculaneum, Naples, Salerno, Capri, Ischia. Alternatively the Hotel can organise escorted private trips. Ravello makes an even more interesting destination in May, when easy access to Naples will permit entry to some jewels that are only open in this magical month for the Maggio dei Monumento, more details can be found on www.commune.napoli.it

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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