Where to stay in the Bay of Naples

A cliff-top palace in the heart of Sorrento, versus a retreat on the volcanic island of Ischia.

L'Albergo della Regina Isabella, Ischia

The island of Ischia is located in the Bay of Naples opposite Capri and Sorrento, offering wonderful views back towards Mount Vesuvius. The island's volcanic nature provides it with rugged terrain, secluded beaches and, best of all, medicinal thermal waters. L'Albergo della Regina Isabella is built into the hillside and has a thermal seawater Jacuzzi. Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Clark Gable have all been guests. Indeed, Taylor reportedly threw Burton's clothes off a balcony here during a row.

How they rate it

"Ischia is the bigger but less flashy sister of Capri," says James Hughes-Onslow in the Daily Mail. The views of the town of Lacco Ameno beneath the hotel are "breathtaking". The hotel also provides a range of treatments that draw upon the island's natural thermal springs. But don't have too many: "we were warned not to overdo it. The minerals are potent and bad for you if you overindulge".

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The spa

This hotel is better known for its spa treatments than its food although the food is excellent. Treatments available include mud wraps, thermal spring baths and facials involving both the thermal mud and spring water.

The cost

Double rooms cost from €190 per night. See www.reginaisabella.it, or call 00 39 08 1994 322 to find out more.

Excelsior Vittoria, Sorrento


Situated in the centre of Sorrento, the Excelsior is ideally located for the town, yet maintains a peaceful atmosphere. This is due to its location: perched on a 300ft cliff, it offers a show-stopping view of the Bay of Naples. The hotel has been owned by the same family since 1834 and comes with a rich history there are pre-Roman tombs by the entrance and the ruins of a Roman pool in the grounds. Thanks to its luxurious sophistication, the Excelsior has counted Sophia Loren, Pavarotti and British royalty among its guests.

How they rate it

This "flamboyant" hotel is located in a "near-perfect spot", says Casilda Grigg in The Daily Telegraph. The best things about it are the "lovely avenue of trees leading up to the entrance" and the infinity pool, which is "large enough for a proper workout, but also perfect for a poolside snooze". The rooms aren't bad either. There are 96 in total, with antique iron beds, marble bathrooms and "handsome vaulted ceilings and mouldings".

The menu

"This is a kitchen that sadly doesn't live up to its five-star billing," says Grigg. But don't despair. Sorrento is home to Il Buco a local favourite, this one-starred Michelin restaurant is housed in a former dungeon.

The cost

A double room costs from €240. See www.exvitt.it, or call 00 39 08 1877 7111 for more information.