we booked Hotel Grilli on the recommendation of a friend which was quite scary as we were taking a gamble on the fact that the hotel offered the great service and value for money that we were told. Well, we needn't have worried. we were met at the gates of the hotel by the owner and all the staff (including the waiters!) who welcomed us with open arms and carried our bags to the room.
the following morning we went up (the restaurant is on the top floor and has beautiful views over Cassamicciola town) and were served proper espresso coffee, juice and a complete continental breakfast. If you want anything in particular for breakfast the staff will do everything they can to accommodate you, although the only thing we ever required was hot water for the baby and cereal for the toddler, which the staff were always happy to help with.
the first day was spent by the fantastic volcanic, thermal, hot salt water swimming pool which was truly relaxing. we all felt totally refreshed at the end of the week. it is wonderful getting into a hot pool in the morning. i dont usually swim in pools or the sea as i find it too cold, but this pool is lovely, i swam for at least an hour a day.
we ate out every day as an excuse to get out and see some of the gorgeous island. there are loads of things to do, lots of other lovely little town and villages to visit including, Giardini La Mortella (tropical gardens designed and created by an Englishman in 1949 and he passed there about 2 yr ago), Sant'Angelo town which is a very old and beautiful town on the opposite coast of the island, Ischia Old Town and the Castle on the hill and various other sites like a hge rock shaoed like a mushroom which i didn't catch the name of in Lacco Ameno. For kids there are a number of great parks and static fairs with rides and boucy castles etc, plenty to keep them occupied.
As part of the cost of the weeks hotel booking Marco at Hotel Grilli provides guests with free tickets on the boat trip to Capri, a nearby island. Once you get there it's best to get on the bus or hire a taxi to drive you round and see the sights in particular the Blue Grotto which is breathtaking. You can also get a boat to these sights, but after an hours boat trip to get to Capri i think i would have preferred to do the island tour on land, especially if you get even a little seasick.
every evening we returned to the hotel for dinner at 7.30 sharp which consisted of a plate of perfecty cooked pasta, different style every night, a second plate of basically meat and 2 veg, which varied from Rabbit to Swordfish to Veal to Chicken depending what the chef fancied! then fruit and ice cream for dessert. very well cooked and presented food, leaving very little room for anything else.
overall i would definitely go back to Ischia and in particular Hotel Grilli again and again. Marco was a truly welcoming and amenable host who was keen to help us and advise us. The Hotel Grilli is really beautiful place, built on the hillside, with a very interesting and intricate design, it's his fathers lifes work. He passed 2 years ago and since Marco has continued the family tradition of entertaining guests at the property.
Whether you are travelling with kids or a couple there is plenty to see and do in Ischia. I would strongly recommend going to Ischia and visiting Capri for a day or 2. Capri is vastly over priced, you aren't allowed vehicles on the island unless you are a full time resident and it really has nothing at all to offer which you can't get in Ischia. I would personally say that Ischia is a more beautiful island as well as it much less spoilt by tourism, although obviously all of the islands are geared towards tourism. The great thing about Ischia is it's generally Italians who holiday there so prices aren't extortionate, the Italians simply wouldn't pay. Capri is geared for international tourists so it is way, way, way more expensive.
The way of life is great, everything closes after lunch until about 5 so make sure you've got a spare pack of smokes and a drink, although the bars and tobacconists take turns to open during siesta so you'll never be caught completely short, but you might have to hunt for a while! enjoy yourselves!