Arriving in Italy
I might as well have been Rose or Lottie from the 1992 film Enchanted April. Based on Elizabeth von Arnim’s 1922 novel, Rose and Lottie escape the heat and humidity of 1920s London, arriving at night after a long, arduous journey to an Italian castle on the Mediterranean. They are hot, hungry, and tired. They gaze at each other wondering if they made a mistake. They wake up the next morning to birds chirping, a soft breeze, and the sounds of the sea gently hitting the shore. Lottie opens the shudders to see the most majestic, serene, and unique scene she ever could have imagined. Now replace Rose and Lottie with me and my best friend–well, you get the picture.
We were hot, tired, and hungry when we touched down in Naples, excited for our driver to shuffle us along to Positano. I had been to the Amalfi Coast several years back, but that was in February. We had flown overnight from New York, and no matter what people suggest, I cannot sleep on the plane–well, at least in Economy. I’m going to imagine I would actually be able to sleep in first or business class. I dare to dream. Add on the fact that I was in the middle seat of a three-seat row, I was clearly sleep deprived. We arrived in Rome for our layover, and I chugged down a cappuccino to give myself some energy. Then we boarded our next flight to Naples. Here we were a little luckier. I took a fellow traveler’s advice, and I reserved a window and aisle seat for us, hoping no one would be in between us. It actually worked out–too bad that wasn’t on the longer haul.
As we inched closer and closer to Positano, the scenery became more and more breathtaking. We arrived at Piazza dei Mulini, and our driver explained we would have to walk the rest of the way to our hotel. Please “No!” I thought. I was exhausted, and even hotter at this point. I could see the beads of sweat forming around my friend’s forehead; I wanted to get to the hotel as quickly as we could so she could be comfortable. So onward we walked for the last leg of our journey.
Welcome to the Palazzo Murat
The entrance to the Palazzo Murat is somewhat hidden. It’s actually on the main street which leads to Spiagga Grande. The entrance is to your left, and it looks like a private residence. As we entered, we walked into a private courtyard filled with patio tables and chairs. It was lovely. We were greeted by the concierge, who took our information and had us sit down on the patio. As we waited and marveled at the colorful array of fauna up and down the stone building, a waiter served us cold, fresh lemonade. We felt like royalty. We had booked a superior room for three nights, and then a garden view room for the rest of our trip because the superior rooms were all booked. But to our surprise, a superior room had opened up and we were going to be able to stay in one room for the entire stay. Yes, it added more money to the cost of the trip, but we felt it was worth it. Thank goodness I had saved up because I wanted to stay in a nice, well-reviewed hotel. A little luxury once in a while is ok–even for us teachers.
We were shown to our room which was at the end of a long, well-appointed corridor, filled with original and artistic tiles from the Amalfi area. Lovely pictures of the coastal life covered the walls, and several, well-placed antiques served as museum-like pieces on your way to your room. Our attendant opened the door to a sparkling white room, accented with splashes of color in the bedspread and in the knick knacks. To the left of the entrance to the room was a modern, very clean bathroom. It was a nice size by Italian hotel standards, although I would have liked more room in which to keep our toiletries. There never seems to be enough room. A queen-sized bed sat along the wall with a wooden night table on each side. A bench sat in front of the bed, making putting your shoes on quite nice. Across the bed stood an antique dresser, with a small, modern television placed directly to the left on its own stand, with an adequately stocked mini-fridge underneath. . Now, of course, no one travels to Italy to watch TV, but it is nice to have a choice. The system at the Palazzo Murat was Sky, so we did not have CNN International as a choice. A little disappointing. But the best part of the room was the balcony. Two French doors opened to a nice-sized patio with a small bistro table and two chairs. To the left of the balcony was a partial view of the sea; to the right were the hills of Positano. It was surreal. Going to Positano, I wanted to have a complete view of the sea, so that would have been nice. However, the hotel is almost at the bottom of the hill and close to the beach. So I suppose beggars can’t be choosers.
For a picky traveler, like me, certain aspects of the hotel are crucial. Palazzo Murat meets those aspects. Each morning they offer a delightful breakfast spread, complete with pastries, rolls, croissants, fresh fruit, cereals, and yogurt. Italians like their sweets for breakfast, so cakes were also offered. The cappuccino was very good, and after the first day, the waiters knew to get it ready when we walked into the patio area. The restaurant, Al Palazzo, is award-winning, and deservedly so. They offered, as most of the restaurant in Positano, an amuse bouche, and a nice selection of pasta and fresh seafood. pair that with wine, and your gustatory senses are complete.
The maid service was excellent. One afternoon we walked into the room as they were cleaning, and they are mopping the floor and had the bench turned over to clean it. I’ve never seen anyone clean a room like this. Superb! Additionally, they are green-friendly, and offer guests the choice of having sheets and towels changed everyday or keeping the same ones to conserve water. A nice touch.
Concierge services are completed in a professional manner. They made reservations for tours, dinners, a night in Ravello for dinner and a show, and provided complimentary beach bags–really nice ones too–and beach towels. The best service was a complimentary boat tour to and from Amalfi which was spectacular, and even better, guests could do this as many times as they want. We took advantage of it twice.
The pool was fantastic. Not all hotels in Positano have pools, so this feature was one of the reasons I chose the Palazzo Murat. Guests can relax on super comfortable lounge chairs, umbrellas optional, on a soft lawn overlooking an infinity pool with partial views of the sea. Right off the pool area is a little area with tables and chairs for a light lunch. There’s even a nicely-appointed bathroom right off of the pool area that rivals my bathroom at home. Actually, it might even be nicer.
Other services include room service at certain times, self-serve laundry, and babysitting. Wi-Fi is complimentary, but this is not one of the highlights of the hotel. In fact, when guests first check-in, they explain that the service is not effective at different parts of the hotel due to the age of the building. Something certainly needs to be done about that in this day and age. We found ourselves having to go down to the beach to an internet cafe called La Brezza to be able to access those services. And finally, one of the greatest services is that they are pet friendly. I just wish I could bring my Molly.
All in all, I highly recommend Palazzo Murat. While a little pricey, they cater to your every need, and make your memories of Positano that much more delightful.