Views of the rugged coastline don’t get any better than those at the Excelsior Grand Hotel, which is perched high on the cliffs over Amalfi. Although the place is unquestionably dated (it hasn’t been renovated since the 1970s), its small but scenic pool area, access to a private beach, and rooms with gorgeous balcony views are major draws. The hotel's convenient shuttle service to the beach and town make it a solid choice for anyone more inclined to relax in one place than to explore on foot — walking to the town of Amalfi and beach are no small task.
The rectangular exterior and 1970s decor are reminiscent of a James Bond flick (a Sean Connery one), but for being dated, the 104-room Excelsior is in remarkably good repair. Peaceful and quiet, there are unbelievable views of the wild green foliage on the cliff tops and of boats making distant white lines in the water far below. The pool is surrounded by rocky cliff walls and lined with lounge chairs facing out over the sea. This property largely attracts couples who prefer breathtaking views to breathtaking rooms.
The Excelsior Grand Hotel is situated among vacation homes in the green hills of Pogerola, a five-minute drive from Amalfi. If walking to town is a priority, this is not your ideal place. But if you don’t mind tackling the 1,000-plus stairs down to the beach or hopping on a shuttle to get to the beach and town, this is a peaceful choice away from (and up above) all of the noise and action. In fact, you’re more likely to be awoken by a donkey whining or a rooster crowing than by the bustle of the marina and beach, where people are but silent moving specks far below.
Although the decor is unquestionably out-of-date, with yellow upholstered armchairs and disco-era striped bedding, there are flat-screen TVs in every room as well as balconies, some of which are large and come with tables and chairs. The furniture is faded and the paint is peeling on the staircase railings, but the worn fabrics and floors are clean and nearly every room has a decently sized seating area. However, bathrooms are small in most rooms, walls are thin, water pressure's weak, and the AC is loud. There's no in-room Wi-Fi but guests can access the Internet for free in the lobby.
The views -- which can be seen from the lovely pool and the charming restaurants -- are the main draws here.
There is no Internet access in the rooms, but the views from the balconies might have you reevaluating your priorities and sense of connection with the world. The shuttle takes guests to a private beach or to the town of Amalfi from morning through night. A full buffet with pastries and hot food is served every morning in the breakfast room and the two restaurants offer a variety of tasty local Mediterranean fare, including snacks that can be taken by the pool. One bar is tucked deep into a rocky cavern with a unique, cozy lounge area, but the best seating is by the pool or at one of many outdoor tables, which teeter on a cliff overlooking the sea.
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