Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Fitness, Wellness and Lifestyle Blog | Emtalks

Monday, 20 November 2017

Amalfi Coast Visiting Tips And Guide & Grand Hotel Cocumella Sorrento

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First and foremost, I am so sorry that this blog post is so overdue. I’m usually really good at keeping on top of my travel posts but I wrote up a blog post about Summer style in Italy and then headed straight off to loads of other countries so am just majorly behind. In my mind, I'd already featured Italy so many times on vlogs, Instagram and Twitter as well as a few blog posts here and there, I totally forgot to do an Amalfi coast round up or properly tell you about my time in Sorrento. I have, however, already featured this hotel in many places, including on my Italy vlog so don’t forget to watch that. After an incredible Summer, rushing around, I was so excited to travel to the Amalfi coast in August. It’s been on my travel hit list for the longest of times and finally, I visited. Today I’m gonna talk to you about the most wonderful hotel in Sorrento and also, give you my top tips for the Amalfi coast incase you decide to go next Summer or anytime soon. 
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Top Amalfi coast travel tips:

Don’t go in peak season - I know for some people it’s unavoidable, but try not to go in peak season if you can avoid it. We had serious issues getting into any restaurants and even wandering around the tourist hot spots as it was so busy it was a fight to get the photos. I almost feel as if tourists have ruined the Amalfi coast by battling to get the right photos there. It’s a real gem but I wouldn’t say the Amalfi coast is a hidden gem anymore. Rightly so, as it's gorgeous but expect it to be busy unless it's crazy early in the morning or off-peak. 

Transport is very difficult - We had a car and went for the smallest car we could find as the roads are crazy. It was difficult to drive from the airport to the coast as it’s a few hours drive in a new country with crazy drivers (seriously). If you are used to that though it'll be fine. Getting parked up around the Amalfi coast is incredibly difficult as it just isn’t really made for cars, it’s very windy on the roads so make sure your hotel has parking. We just used Google maps but we found that unless we arrived somewhere before the crack of dawn, sadly there was just no parking available. We ended up getting the bus somedays which was super cheap but we were often told we couldn’t get on it because it was so packed. One evening we did miss the bus home as they end quite early and we had to pay crazy amounts for a taxi, I'm talking 60 euros for a 15 minute taxi drive as they tend to scam you. Taxis around the area are extortionate so I’d recommend driving and getting parked early or getting the bus and remembering timings, unlike us. I do think driving means you can see more and see as much as possible. 

The further out you are, the cheaper your hotel - One good thing about Amalfi is that you can get cheaper hotels if you’re further out, you just will pay a premium for transport to then get into the main places. It's probably best to pay a little extra and get a hotel in Positano because then you don't really have any issues with taxis. 

Main places - We explored a few areas, you can see it all on my vlog which I'll also embed below  but I’d recommend Praiano (where we stayed to begin with, a little outside of the main area but super cute and easy to get a bus to the other places), Ravello, Amalfi and Positano. Positano is the busy place where everyone go to take photos and was definitely my favourite, everywhere you look is incredible. We had the best cocktails inside the champagne bar inside Le Sirenuese hotel. 



Amalfi coast italy


Use Tripadvisor - You could easily get ripped off by going to tourist traps so use Tripadvisor before your trip and find the best restaurants to go to. When I went to Santorini we stupidly thought anywhere with a view would be good and ended up losing loads of money on a rubbish meal. It was only when we checked TripAdvisor after and noticed just how much we had been scammed. 

Pre-book - Pre-book top ranking restaurants where you can as they do get incredibly booked up in Summer months. With things like boat trips we just arrived and booked them on the day and we were fine. 

Amalfi coast italy
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Go on the water - We didn't get the chance to go to Capri as we just didn't have the time but we did head out on the water. We had the most incredible time seeing Amalfi from the water, it's such a great way to see the beautiful coast.

Amalfi coast from the water

Explore - Italy is all about exploring. Wr found so many special, hidden coves and hidden gems which is why I'd recommend doing a lot of research and driving around.

hidden beach in the Amalfi coast
We ended our trip in Sorrento as it was definitely the quieter, more chilled area of them all, I would say that the Amalfi coast isn't really a chilled trip as there's so much to see, do and eat so do factor in a lot of time to properly explore. For our much needed chill time, we stayed at the Grand Hotel Coccummela and booked through Small Luxury Hotels because well, you’d be mad to go to Italy and not stay in an SLH hotel. I try to stay in them around the world as their service is always top class and their hotels are incredible. 

hotel grand cocumella
Sorrento was just as beautiful as we'd imagined. We pulled up and instantly felt revitalized. I have no words to explain how beautiful and charming the Grand Hotel Cocumella is. It was like a haven or a sanctuary. Sadly we only had 1 night to stay here and I'd have liked to explore a lot more and enjoy it more. We had a bit of a drama where we lost our drone in Ravello (yeh, I know). It flew away from us and we were pretty distraught when we arrived at the hotel. Luckily, the concierge from the hotel was incredible and drove us to the police station, filled out our statements for us and drove us all the way back home. He went above and beyond to look after us, look out for us and ensure we were okay. I would never have expected this but he went above and beyond. I think this is the thing about Small Luxury Hotels, they handpick the best of the best and Grand Hotel Cocumella is a prime example of this.



grand hotel cocumella

grand hotel cocumella






The decor was classic, comfortable and just luxurious in every way. I didn't want to get out of the bed.
Everything about the hotel was truly stunning and it felt so Italian, state the obvious, but it really did feel authentic. We wandered down the steps and explored the epic gardens of the hotel.


Sorrento italy
grand hotel cocumella beach

The best part? The private deck on the beach. You climb down some stairs in a rock (seriously) and then you can swim in the most beautiful ocean I've ever seen. They have staff down there who give you towels and cold water so you're fully equipped for a day in the sun. The only thing missing down there? Cocktails and pizza. We'd had such an incredibly busy trip so it was nice to just take a day to relax in Sorrento on this luxurious deck. I don't think I've ever seen such beautiful, clear water. 

pool at grand hotel cocumella



We spent our day split between the incredible pool area and the ocean platform. The best thing about hotels booked through Small Luxury hotels is the privacy, I find because they're small boutiques with minimal rooms, they feel like your own private resort. Whilst the rest of the Amalfi Coast was packed, Grand Hotel Cocummela was like our private little sanctuary, with not a soul in sight. The hotel itself is set out across so many grounds which could be why, it means you dont really bump into anyone. We had the pool all to ourselves which never happens abroad.



The hotel had so many gorgeous little areas tucked away, ready for you to relax in, read a book or grab a drink.





We had the best views in the house too.

 Not wanting to leave our dressing gowns, we got ready for dinner.

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We couldn't resist wandering over to the incredible view point and spoiling ourselves with the view from the hotel.

 We sat down for one of the best dinners we had on our whole Italy trip. The hotel Grand Cocumella also have a restaurant and you can book it even if you don't stay there. It was incredibly quaint but it was just incredible from the moment we sat down. The service was epic and the waiter knew so much about the food and the wine.

I started with the best calamari I've ever had in my life. I'm a calamari connoisseur too. 

Matt went for peanut carpaccio and again, it was incredible. The chef serioiusly knew how to mix flavours.

pea pasta

I couldn't spend my last night in Italy without my beloved pasta, so I had their pea pasta. It was the best pasta I have ever had. Perfectly cooked and so smooth. I wish I could recreate this at home.



grand hotel cocumella dinner
 We nibbled on beautiful and tasty deserts as we listened to the ocean and watched fireworks from the nearby wedding (the most stunning wedding venue, ever).

 I knew the Grand Hotel Cocumella was going to be incredible from the moment we stepped in and our car was parked for us, bags delivered to the room but no, dinner surpassed all expectations and I'm still dreaming of that pasta. Recipe please chef.

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We reluctantly got out of bed, reminiscing about the best dinner ever, we both said it was such a highlight of our trip. One of the only things to get me out of bed? The ocean or a good breakfast. We headed for breakfast in the gorgeous conservatory after a little game of tennis (the tennis courts are so impressive at the hotel).





Let's just say, I left the Grand Hotel Cocumella with plans to get married there, bring my whole family bag and basically had to be dragged out because I never wanted to leave. We both said it's one of the best hotels we've stayed at; a great location, the best service we've ever had at a hotel and just a dream come true.

Have you ever visited Sorrento? Have you visited the Amalfi coast? Have you heard of Small Luxury Hotels? 

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Lots of love, Em x


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