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“Personal service and great rooms” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Secret Garden Relais

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The Secret Garden Relais
3.0 of 5 Bed and Breakfast   |   Via Gottola, 14, 80063 Piano di Sorrento, Italy   |  
Hotel amenities
Level Contributor
85 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 135 helpful votes
“Personal service and great rooms”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2012

It was the second time we stayed at this B&B. Although it was not as good as I remembered from our previous visit, we had a very nice stay. The room we were staying in was just off the main entrance hall and had a separate sitting area. The breakfast was a very good, Italian style one with lots of sweet bread and pies. The location is not ideal, it is in the Sorrento valley and lacks the great views that you can find elsewhere in the area.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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220 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Level Contributor
18 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2012

I just returned from Italy and did a one night stop over at this Secret Garden Relais on my way to Pompei.

We booked based on the information on Expedia and their website (great location, great breakfast, lovely setting, etc. It was anything but.

We thought it was in Sorrento when the place is Piano di Sorrento, nowhere near the center of Sorrento. We made the mistake of getting off in Sorrento station instead of 2 stops earlier because the train map showed Piano and I did not clock that this was Piano di Sorrento. Big mistake.

Second mistake was not to retrace our steps on the train but take a taxi instead. Got majorly ripped off at the tune of 30 Euro.

The hotel (or B&B as it were) is in some kind of alley which is a little bit scary when getting there by night. The building is a residential building where some residents use their properties as Bed & Breakfast. This Secret Garden is one of them.

Don't get me wrong, the place has been refurbished and overall is OK (if a B&B is what you are after). Our room was tiny (just enough room to put the bed in. There is an alcobe (that's the best way to describe it) with an extra single bed although I cannot imagine how three people can sleep there. The bathroom was a shower room and there is no safe adding to the feeling of not being very secure. And there is no air conditioning so be ready to sweat and be eaten alive by mosquitoes.

The view from our room was one of some back street in no-man's land but at least one could see the see in the distance.

Getting to Sorrento is 5 minutes by train, something that the owner fails to mention on their site. And the last train is at 9:30 so better get in early or you have an expensive taxi ride back or a 30 minute walk.

Breakfast was suitably disappointing. I was not expecting anything other than what their site reads. I will just say that it wasn't anything close to it. You had cold meat, one pastry, bread, butter, coffee but the expectations from their site are definitely not delivered.

All in all, very disappointed. Must admit that partly is my mistake: alarm bells should have started to ring when I saw that the price was only £50 a night. Live and learn.

It is a pity to write a poor review because both the girl at reception and the woman who served us breakfast (presumably the owner) were both lovely.

So if you are after a bed to sleep and a simple breakfast and money is more important to you thank quality and you don't mind being a fair way from Sorrento center, then this is the place for you.

On the other hand, if you want to enjoy Sorrento and perhaps have dinner in town, returning to a lovely room, you should better chose a hotel and pay the additional £50 that it will cost you.

I know what I would do given another chance.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2012

We spent 5 days here in June 2012. The place is a lovely building and offers clean, spacious and well decorated rooms. Very quiet and lovely citrus garden surrounding it. Very useful computer as well with wifi. Very good cleaning service every day.
Two downsides though : I believe saying on the website that it is 5 min from Sorrento centre is misleading as you totally have to rely on the train, not your feet. So trains only run every 30/40 min and stop early in the evening. So in reality you are not 5 min away from Sorrento centre. But you also get away from the buzz of the city by being there so can be good depending on what you are looking for.
Most disappointing part really is the breakfast. Very deceptive description from their website, talking about healthy, organic, homemade breakfast when what you get is bad bread, no cakes at all and when one is there, it is far from homemade. Butter is in plastic pot and jams are in plastic pot like in cheap hotels. Nothing organic, or homemade here at all! And if you stay 5 days like we did, you absolutely get the same boring breakfast every single day!!!!!! Not even a fresh fruit in sight!

Owner is welcoming but just, could be more talkative and smiling.

So would recommend the place for the rooms, the quiet area and the lovely building. Still a lot to improve though in the service and especially the breakfast.

Room Tip: Twin room with additional room and en suite bathroom is great!
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stafford, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2012

We spent a week here during Holy Week in April 2012.

Our arrival was preceeding by a fairly squashed train journey from Naples, I was expecting a pretty ride along the Bay of Naples, but it was more of a commuter service in a rather grubby grafffitti covered train which stopped every few minutes at the many many stations on the route. Good value though at less than 4 euros. You do have to catch a bus from the airport to the train staton first and then run across a busy piazzo to the station. The circumvesuvious train is downstairs and well signposted. Three euros for the bus part if you pay on the bus. We took the direct airport service back from Piano to the airport which cost 10 euros, and, to be honest, was much easier. The only disadvantage is that they only run every two hours which might not suit your flight times.

On arrival we were allocated a nice 'suite' of two rooms and an ensuite bathroom. It was pretty basic and lacked drawer space and only really had cupboard space after we cleared the additional bedding onto the top of the wardrobe (The room had a sofa bed and the extra bedding was for that) The website mentioned a 'coffee service', but all we had was a kettle, no cups, no sachets of coffee or sugar etc. Good job I had had the foresight to bring my own cafetiere and coffee and that the dining room was nearby to borrow some cups. There was a useful fridge and safe.

The bathroom was ok with a nice bath, but the shower hose was too short to reach the hook and so a shower wasn't possible. The towels were old and a bit worn, but were clean. There were no glasses in either the bathroom or the bedroom which wasn't useful for either cleaning your teeth, or a nice cold glass of wine. There was no soap and only sachets of shower gel and shampoo, the cheapest ones possible. The water was always hot and there was plenty of it. I was surprised when the room was not serviced on our first morning and that it took 2 mornings after that two put a pillow slip on the additional pillow I had taken out of the cupboard even though I had left it rather pointedly on top of the bed. The cups that we had borrowed from the dining room were either left dirty or taken away.

"We exclusively use organic products from our garden and citrus grove. A very healthy and delicious breakfast is served each morning, in our lovely terrace surrounded by the flowers.
It consist of artisan marmellades and honey, home made cakes freshly squeezed orange juice, traditional neapolitan patisserie and a lot more"

This is a quote from the B&B's website. This was one of the main reasons I chose this place. Our breakfasts consisted of very ordinary plain yoghurt, pre-sliced cheese, 'square' ham, salami, foil wrapped pats of butter and little plastic pots of jam. The coffee was lukewarm and oily and the orange juice was very strong and undrinkable, more like cordial and certainly not freshly squeezed. There weren't any glasses to put it in anyway. There was also a small amount of bread (the best bit) and either one portion of cake or a rather solid croissant per person. It wasn't good quality and nothing about it seemed organic. On a couple of mornings we did ask for and received lovely espresso's but the service didn't seem to extend to remembering from one morning to the next that this is what we liked. Mostly there was nobody around. I think the coffee arrived on the table at 8 o'clock and that was it!

On a much more positive note we really liked Piano Sorrento. It was two stations from Sorrento, which only took 5 minutes, and was walkable in about half an hour. It was much more of a working town than a tourist town and much the better for it. There were a few restaurants and places for a drink and the prices were much more reasonable than in Sorrento. As we were there during Holy Week there were some fascinating processions to see in the evenings. There was a re-enactment of Jesus's trial with Pontious Pilate, and on another evening a huge procession that must have involved hundreds and hundreds of locals, either dressed in the rather strange hoods, or chanting in choirs, playing in the band or banging out a very goosebump inducing rhythm on drums. There was also a middle of the night session in the early hours of Good Friday morning.

We enjoyed trips to Pompeii (well worth joining a tour) Amalfi, Positano and Sorrento all on the very cheap public transport. We also used the buses up into the hills and walked back to base. Trips to Capri cost about 30 euros so we compromised with th bus and lunch in Amalfi, the a 7 euro ferry tp Positano before catcing the bus back. If you're careful with the timetables you can get dropped back off in Piano saving the longer journey via Massa Lubrense to Sorrento.

In conclusion we did have reservations about the B&B, it did seem very amateurishly run, maybe they haven't got into the swing of the season yet. It was peaceful and the wifi was very useful. We paid an extremely reasonable 300 euro's for the week but didn't feel that we had enjoyed very much hospitality at all. But the weather was beautiful, the seafood superb and maybe sometimes you get what you pay for.

Room Tip: The attic rooms only have velux windows but are more modern.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
116 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2012 via mobile

First, it's not a hotel but a true b&b. It is 2 train stops from Sorrento in Piano Di Sorrento. The hotel is an authentic historic villa that has converted the top floor into the secret garden. The hotel and the room was clean and comfortable but still lacked certain items that i think are essential to travelers. Not a lot of detail is given to the needs of the guests. Hallways are dark at night and trying to find unlit lights in the dark is impossible. Bathrooms are clean and somewhat spacious but shampoo is considered soap. As for getting into Sorrento, the train is close but runs only every 30 or 40 minutes, does not run after 930pm, and stops at odd hours on holidays. All in all a good price but be prepared for what you get.

Stayed April 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Level Contributor
33 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2012

A couple of friends and I chose this so called hotel (nothing more than a B&B) based on reviews that we read here on Trip Advisor. But the stay was terrible - to begin with, it advertised free parking - actually, the parking place is on the street, a public parking and no permit was available. The hotel was about 500 meters from it. The hotel is on the third floor of a 3 story house, and the elevator is turned off. The bed on my friends' room was so wore out that felt like a hammock. In my bathroom there was no soap, just an empty soap box! And the worst of it all: NO HEAT! It was turned off! Since it was very late at night, we slept feeling cold and left the complaints for the next day (there was no one available anyway!). Next morning - breakfast was not, let's say, very welcoming - 2 slices (small) of bread per person (when we asked for more there was none!). They gave us a heater for the second night. However, the plugs weren't strong enough to have these heaters on and so we were out of electricity. When we were taking our showers this morning we ran out of hot water! It was an old lady who was left to take care of the hotel (it belongs to her daughter) - she is a nice old lady, but doesn't even know what Expedia or a credit card is, and to our complaints she said we were the problem, not the hotel! Awful experience!

  • Stayed March 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Buenos Aires, Argentina
Level Contributor
35 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2012

It was a right choice. Good balance between cost and service. The place it is in a good environment to rest after tours.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about The Secret Garden Relais

Address: Via Gottola, 14, 80063 Piano di Sorrento, Italy
Location: Italy > Campania > Province of Naples > Piano di Sorrento
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 21 B&Bs / Inns in Piano di Sorrento
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — The Secret Garden Relais 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in a luxuriant citrus grove, The Secret Garden Relais is the ideal destination for those who want to spend their vacation in the Sorrentine peninsula at a relaxing hotel just a short drive away from Sorrento.The pastel colours of the building and the elegant furniture make this hotel in Sorrento an ideal location, especially as it has the cosiness of a private villa – one of the Charme Hotels best offerings. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Secret Garden Relais Hotel Piano Di Sorrento
Secret Garden Relais Sorrento
Secret Garden Relais Hotel Sorrento

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