We are flying into Rome then heading down to the Sorrento/Amalfi area and are a bit stumped as to where on the Amalfi coast area to stay. I've got the rest figured out for the other stops on this 3 week trip but never having been there before & reading the posts I'm a bit concerned about having multiple flights of stairs as my wife cannot manage them (a couple of flights are OK but we've heard stories of 6th floor rooms with no elevator)so I'm looking for a place with an elevator....it just all looks so steep with the cliffs & all. She really wants to go to the Amalfi coast for the scenery. Not concerned about beaches, etc as we live on Maui and ....well ....some of the best are 10 minutes from home. Looking in the $200-300 USD range.
I recommend staying in Sorrento. It's much more convenient than Positano to get to places such as Pompeii, Herculaneum and Mt. Vesuvius. Also, it would be much better for someone who has trouble with stairs, a large part of Sorrento is flat (the old section and surrounding town for instance) whereas Positano is completely built on a steep cliff/hill. Sorrento is wonderful Tim, we love it there. I highly recommend Hotel La Tonnarella, it's in RS Italy guide. It has an elevator, a private beach (elevator also to beach) lots of terraces, flowers, rooms with balconies, incredible views, an inexpensive great restaurant, breakfast included in room price. We love it. We've been there twice and are returning again in July.
There are many hotels located on the steep cliff usually with either steps or an elevator down to a "bathing platform". Personally, we stayed in the Hotel Ambasciatori right on the cliff. It had an elevator down to the sea and also to the multiple floors of the hotel. Just next door was the Riviera Hotel (i think). Down the street a but was the Loreli et Londres - a budget cliffside hotel. There was also the Grand Hotel Royal which is a sister hotel to the Ambasciatori. There are many many more located on the cliffs. I would suggest to go to www.tripadvisor.com and look at the Sorrento hotels.
I would stay in Positano as opposed to Amalfi. Amalfi is very small and getting to and from hotels is difficult. From Positano you can take boats to Amalfi, Sorrento, Capri and anywhere else along the coast. It is very easy by boat and you get an incredible view. You can also take buses. From Amalfi you can take the bus up to Ravello (don't miss it). Positano has a small beach, plenty of restaurants and boutiques. We've stayed several times at the Hotel Poseidon, but any hotel in that area seemed fine. Check the internet for hotels in Positano. Sorrento is a bigger town - for me it is not as convenient as Positano to see the coast. Also, my family is from the Amalfi coast - so this is where we stay. Have fun, you won't regret it!!
Positano also has no train access...although it's a beautiful town I would not use it as a base.
I agree with Susan. Sorrento is much more central from a convenience point of view and has more to offer in the evenings after a day of touring.
I would recommend the Ambasciatori as with the previous post. We were there last summer after a lot to travelling and it was a great place to recoup with everything at your finger tips with fantastic views, beautiful gardens, a pool, a beach. It was wonderful and I would highly recommend it.
Thanks for all of the advice. Keep it coming as the more ideas expressed the better.
We will have been flying for 1 3/4 days by the time we get to the area and would like to do sightseeing after resting up a bit. It sounds as if my inclination to Sorrento or Postiano might work out due to train/bus/boat availability.
We stayed several days toward the end of September 2007 at Hotel Desiree in Sorrento at the advice of a trip advisor and found it to be convenient and everything we needed while not luxurious. There are bus stops within a couple hundred meters on either side of the hotel which easily connect to the train station for further connection to Pompeii, etc. We are planning a return trip in 2009 but haven't settled on an itinerary yet.