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Review 3713: Rentvillas, Casa Blu

www.rentvillas.com

Recommended
Review by Jeni from Australia

3bed/2bath house in Ravello, Campania


When

July 26 - August 2, 7 nights

Location

Casa Blu is located a short walk uphill from the main area of Ravello (on the outskirts). It is situated on a main road and overlooks the Amalfi Coast below. There are other apartments in the block - Casa Blu occupies a whole level (there are two more levels above and one below). Local people live around and the sounds of roosters, dogs, church bells, and sometimes fireworks gave us a real sense of their everyday life. There are also a number of hotels nearby, some very luxurious. Ravello has some nice shops and a good selection of restaurants.

There are a few steps down to the apartment door, and parking during the peak summer period was not easy. We had to park our car further up the hill most of the time.

The town of Ravello is delightful with a beautiful open piazza that was busy day and night. By day locals and visitors alike ate in the cafes, drank coffee or cooled down with gelato. At night the piazza was a lively place, with lots of families gathering. We were there at the anniversary of Ravello's patron saint, so there were fireworks and a parade.

Nearby Amenities

You can walk to the piazza to have coffee, and there is also an Internet cafe on the main road close to the centre, where you can have coffee, a light meal and check emails. There are a few small grocery-type stores - some sell fruit and vegetables (not always fresh looking), others have cheeses and cold cuts, and you can also get regular grocery items in other stores. There is a Spar down the hill towards Minori (a 5-10 minute drive) and this is the best source of groceries (but you need a car).

There are a few restaurants - we ate at Cumpa Cosimo one night (pizzas, pastas etc), Villa Maria another (more elegant, lovely terrace) and our last night we treated ourselves to dinner at the Restaurant Belvedere in the Hotel Caruso - magical experience, dining on the rooftop terrace overlooking the Amalfi Coast, eating local specialties, tasting beautiful local wines, very expensive but worth it.

The House/Apartment

The building housing the apartment is modernish but not new, and probably three other apartments in the building. Casa Blu is on level two from the back (Amalfi Coast side) with one apartment below and two levels above. There is also another two or three storey apartment that is semi attached to the building and is the first one you reach as you go down the stairs. Casa Blu is the third door down from the street.

The building is in reasonable shape. Casa Blu has three bedrooms. As you enter the door you arrive in a hall - to the left at the end is the master bedroom with en suite, next is a room with twin beds, another room with a single bed and both rooms share a bathroom. Next as you go down the hall to the living area you pass a laundry. The kitchen is at the back of the apartment (with a window to the dining room) and is well equipped. There is a living /dining room leading on to the terrace which runs the full width of the apartment and looks down to the Amalfi - great views. Bedrooms two and three have doors onto the terrace.

You can view the property directly: Casa Blu.

Garden

The balcony is the outdoor sitting area. There is a small table and two chairs. It is not large enough to have dinner at, nor is the balcony wide enough, but you can sit and have a drink and admire the view. There is no pool. Perhaps that is one of the main things we missed as it was quite hot and it would have been great to be able to cool down at the end of the day.

Furnishings/Cleanliness/Living Areas

The furniture was in reasonable shape but quite dated, particularly the lounge furniture. The couches were quite comfortable.

The apartment was clean and there was enough seating both in the dining room and living room (for four people).

Bedrooms/Bathrooms

The master bed (a double) was very small and also quite hard (as were the pillows). This was probably one of the only negative things about our stay at Casa Blu. The twin beds and single bed were OK.

Generally the bedrooms looked OK but again the furniture was dated. The bathrooms were more modern in comparison. It was handy having an en suite bathroom for the master bedroom and a shared bathroom for bedrooms two and three.

Kitchen

The kitchen was very well equipped with all the pots and pans we needed. There were a variety of dishes, glassware and some serving platters and bowls of reasonable quality. The stove was gas (five burners I think) and the oven electric, and there was a dishwasher too. There was a sandwich maker, and two small espresso pots for making nice coffee in the morning. We cooked three evening meals which was fun. We did have a problem one morning when we were cooking breakfast (eggs), heating some bread in the oven, and doing some washing in the laundry. It appears the electricity isn't powerful enough to do too many electrical tasks at once. So the power went off, and with it went the hot water, which we had to restart.

One very convenient thing was the the apartment was supplied with a lot of basic food items on our arrival which made it very convenient to just move and have a meal without even going to the shops to buy provisions (as we arrived on a Saturday afternoon this made a lot of sense). We had bread, pasta, oil, bottled tomato puree, jams, Nutella, eggs, prosciutto, cheese, olives, fruit, salt, pepper, some spices, washing powder, dishwasher tablets, plenty of toilet paper, liquid soap etc.

Problems or Bonuses

The big surprise was the fantastic view to the Amalfi Coast. Ravello is quite high up and the views are breathtaking. Ravello was an excellent place to make a base. The town is delightful and not as crowded as the towns on the coast itself, but there is still plenty to do there. We did day trips to Positano, Amalfi, Capri, Sorrento, Pompeii etc and returned to Ravello to relax and enjoy the evenings.

There wasn't anything particularly bad, but as it was summer it was hot and we needed to sleep with the windows open at night, so the mosquito's buzzed around a little. It was a good idea to have a supply of personal insect repellent.

Agency and Representatives (and price)

The agency was very efficient and provided us with detailed information about getting to Casa Blu. Prior to our departure, they mailed us a package which included a small book on living in Italy like locals with lots of tips and information about various areas in Italy, and also an excellent map of the region we were visiting, which made it so much easier to navigate around the many roads of the Amalfi Coast area. In the apartment they provided us with a folder filled with useful information about Ravello and all the surrounding towns on the coast, historical information about each, information about restaurants, local food and wines, bus and ferry timetables etc.

We were met in Ravello by the agency's representative who directed us to the apartment, and came in to explain how everything worked (including what to do when we needed to change gas bottles, and what to do if we overloaded the electricity). Her English was perfect. The photos of the apartment that were displayed on the website were accurate. The view was better in reality than in photos.

Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?

I would recommend Casa Blu to other visitors who aren't too fussed about having a pool or air conditioning. If I returned to the Amalfi Coast, I would probably look for a place that has a pool and air conditioning next time. This would require also starting the search earlier, because the best accommodation in each price category obviously gets taken first. I booked Casa Blu in April for our stay at the end of July.

I would also recommend staying in Ravello and doing day trips to the towns on the coast. And renting a car is a good way to get around - you are more independent this way. Once you get used to the way the Italians drive up and down the narrow roads.

Things to do in this area

Villa Rufolo is a must see in Ravello. It's a beautiful property in the heart of the town with fabulous views down to the coast. Villa Cimbrone was also very interesting, with amazing grounds and deathly views down to the coast. The piazza is a great place to spend a couple of hours day or night and people watch.

There are quite a lot of shops with pottery, jewellery etc.

Favourite restaurants were Villa Maria and Restaurant Belvedere in the Hotel Caruso.

Our other favourite places were Positano (great shopping and a really nice restaurant down near the water - excellent food and service) and also Capri (we found a great restaurant in Anacapri in some little square, a few minutes walk from where the bus drops you - fabulous local dishes on the menu).

We had a swim in Amalfi and also in Minori but the water wasn't too clean.

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

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