Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, Sorrento

There is only one choice when it comes to where to stay in Sorrento. The 190-year-old Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria sits on a perch high above the Mediterranean, with views that extend from the island of Procida across the Gulf to Naples and Mount Vesuvius.

The hotel is set in five acres of olive, lemon and orange groves and was built on the ancient foundations of a villa designed for Emperor Augustus. Just an hour’s drive from Naples, the hotel has been continuously run by the Fiorentino family since it was founded in 1834 – now in its 6th generation.

The hotel is an icon of the Italian coast where everyone from Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren to Jackie Kennedy and Julia Roberts have enjoyed la dolce vita. Wagner completed Parsifal at the hotel and Lucio Dalla, the famous Italian rock star, composed the song Caruso after his yacht broke down in the Bay of Naples.

Guests can swim in the Mediterranean sunshine, sail around the Galli islands where the Sirens tempted Ulysses. Back on dry land, guests can toast to a day well spent at the properties al fresco champagne bar, La Pergola, for great people watching in one of the most glamourous destinations in the world. Gourmet guests can dine at the Michelin-starred Terrazza Bosquet, overlooking the sparkling sea.