On September 5th, my wife and I spent the day exploring the ruins at Pompeii, under a hot sun. We then drove over the spine of the Amalfi peninsula (great drive!) coming down to Amalfi via Ravello. We were celebrating 25 years of marriage, and this day also happened to be my wife's birthday. I had been in Amalfi 33 years previously and was a bit anxious: would current day Amalfi live up to the wonderful memories from 1980?
Over the previous weeks, I had been in touch with Antonella from the hotel: could she arrange flowers? Of course! Could she arrange for a bottle of Prosecco? Absolutely! On second thought could she replace the Prosecco with my wife's favourite champagne? Good idea, no problem! And where do I park the car? Luna Rossa garage, here's how it works. Then, 48 hours before we arrived, I asked her if, when we arrived at the front desk, I could quietly slip her a birthday card, without my wife noticing, and then when she brought us to our room she could prop it against the champagne bucket (as if I had mailed it to the hotel ahead of time). No problem. Finally, as it will be her birthday, can she recomment and arrange for a reservation at a great restaurant? Of course!
I am explaining all this to illustrate that no request was too much, and Antonella and her colleagues just went out of their way to make our stay absolutely wonderful. After we had checked in, sipped our champagne, had a shower, and got comfortable, I dropped by the front desk to ask Antonella a question. She took the opportunity to ask me if everything was ok and if the surprise worked out. When I said yes, the look of relief on her face was marvelous to see: she genuinely was concerned. This was no jaded hospitality industry wage earner! And as to the bouquet of flowers we ordered, we could not believe how big and beautiful it was!
The ladies at the desk had a discussion amongst themselves regarding which restaurant we should go to: "Should it be restaurant X? Great food but the atmosphere is not as romantic. What about restaurant Y? That's better". They really were concerned about getting it right. When I explained to them that we were both foodies and that we had heard that there was a Michelin-starred restaurant in town, they ended up making a reservation at La Caravelle, followed, the next day, by lunch at Marina Grande. Later on, when they were replaced at the front desk by Ferdinando, I commented to him that we were going to La Caravelle. A cloud came over his face. I interpreted it that he thought the restaurant was very expensive. He was correct, it was, but it was also a great foodie experience. Ferdinando recommended we eat at Al Teatro, which we did the next night. There we had a different kind of foodie experience, eating on a slightly rickety table in a small alleyway. After all our restaurant experiences, the staff were asking us if everything went well. Indeed! We did not have a bad meal in Amalfi.
So far this review concentrates on the staff. But the hotel itself was close to perfect, and superb value for money. There were a couple of minor problems with our room: the sink did not drain and a towel rack was broken. I mentioned it to the staff, we went for a brief walk in town, and when we got back everything was fixed. Breakfasts were the usual Italian fare, but with fresh squeezed juice and soft boiled eggs. And the best sugar doughnuts! No complaints for the price we were paying! This place is real value for money.
Location is perfect. Right off the main street, but absolutely quiet. Not too far to get to from the parking lot (make sure your luggage has wheels, but they will arrange a golf cart transport, if you request it). And the rooftop terrace was a great bonus both for breakfast and end of day relaxing. Our room had a bit of a sea view. Maybe it would have been nice to be in a hotel right on the water, with a complete sea view and balcony, but we would surely have paid much more and it probably would not have been as quiet. In my opinion it would not have been worth it.
Of all the places we stayed in during our three weeks in Italy, this was by far the best in terms of value for money. And then to top everything, when we left we were given a nice little bottle of Limoncello, with a hand written card from the staff. A delighful touch to conclude a birthday celebration.
Conclusion: don't look elsewhere, book Antico Convitto right now!
- Also Known As:
- Hotel l Antico Convitto
- l Antico Convitto Hotel
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