Lavishly decorated rooms, all with ocean-view balconies or terraces
Stylish bathrooms, many with spectacular hand-painted tiles
Infinity pool in teak deck dramatic against an ocean backdrop
Beautiful terraced succulent gardens and lemon grove
Laundry service available for a fee
Valet parking for a fee
Many steps up to hotel after elevator
Advertised as a five-star property, but missing critical details
Some rooms on the small side; some showers quite small
Perched dramatically on a mountain, the Hotel Botanico San Lazzaro sits over the resort town of Maiori on the Amalfi Coast. A glass elevator built into the mountain takes guests up to the 18-room upscale hotel and its drop-dead ocean views, the true draw here. The Venetian-style decor includes plenty of gilt frames, Blackamoor candelabras, and elaborate majolica tile. Rooms -- some of which are on the small side -- are decorated with shabby-chic furniture, lush fabrics, and bold colors, in a "more is more" approach. All have balconies or terraces with ocean views. An infinity pool and terraced gardens also overlook the ocean. Easily the most lavish hotel in town, the Hotel Botanico San Lazzaro is also the most expensive. For wonderful sea views at a lower price point, consider the Hotel Panorama.
Gilded style inside, spectacular ocean views from every level outside
The approach to the elevator of the Hotel Botanico San Lazzaro -- through the parking lot of another hotel and down an alley -- is awkward and unappealing. Inside the entrance, though, the hotel’s style starts to show. Beyond a small desk, beautiful tile in a botanical print surrounds the circular staircase that leads to the glass elevator. And after that, it’s all about the views. From the elevator, a steep stairway leads to the hotel proper. The bright lobby continues the botanical theme, in its many plants, curtain prints, and large wall panels. Four cherubs in relief spit into strikingly modern cisterns, and Blackamoor candelabras abound. But this hotel is about the outdoors. Stone steps lead up through the tiered garden, which offers more ocean views from among the hotel’s lemon trees and around its succulent garden. Seating areas are scattered throughout, and even the gym is set out on the terrace.
A panoramic lift and steep steps lead to the hotel, overlooking Maiori between Amalfi and Salerno
Covering four stories halfway up a mountain overlooking the Gulf of Salerno, the Hotel Botanico San Lazzaro is located in Maiori, between Salerno and Amalfi. To reach the hotel, guests take an elevator, tucked away in an unlikely spot off the main street parallel to the sea. Hotel staff meet guests there and direct them up the elevator; cars and luggage are brought separately. After the lift, it’s still a good walk up steep steps to the hotel. As the biggest town on this part of the coast, Maiori is popular for its wide, lounger-lined beach. There are lots of good restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars within walking distance of the hotel. Amalfi is about a 15-minute drive, Salerno and Pompeii are 45 minutes away, and Positano is an hour's drive away. The nearest major airport is in Naples, located a 65-minute drive away.
Gorgeous rooms -- some smallish -- with ocean-view balconies or terraces and beautiful bathrooms
There’s no shortage of style at the Hotel Botanico San Lazzaro. Plain white walls and exposed-beam ceilings let the ornate headboards, gorgeous linens and textiles, and beautiful terra-cotta tile floors take center stage. The simpler rooms can feel a bit cramped, with furniture shoe-horned into the space and little storage. Some rooms are loft-style, with living space downstairs and sleeping quarters upstairs. Family rooms, which can accommodate up to five people, have sleeping areas both upstairs and down. All have flat-screen TVs, and all but the smallest have writing desks. Every room has an ocean-view terrace or balcony -- some of which are larger than the rooms -- with sun umbrellas and chairs or loungers. But these can lack privacy as they're often separated from the neighbors by only low planter boxes. Bathrooms have modern fixtures and are individually decorated with delightful majolica tilework; the suite’s hand-painted ocean scene is spectacular. Some rooms have whirlpool tubs and separate showers with waterfall showerheads, and some just have showers (a few are quite tiny). All come with bathrobes and slippers. Minibars are stocked with drinks in every room. Rooms have programmable safes and free Wi-Fi.
Ocean-view pool and hot tub, four-level succulent garden, outdoor gym, and two restaurants
Surrounded by a teak deck, the hotel’s ocean-view infinity pool has a water feature and plenty of loungers to enjoy drinks from the outdoor bar. The hot tub also overlooks the ocean. On four levels, the hotel’s beautiful succulent garden offers a variety of seating areas to take in the views. Lemons are a symbol of the Amalfi Coast, and the hotel’s small grove on a narrow terrace is a pleasant surprise. The gym is on a narrow strip of terrace so guests can enjoy the full view while working out. Two giant canvas umbrellas shelter a treadmill, an exercise bicycle, a cross-trainer, and a weight-lifting station. The hotel has two restaurants: quite a good pizzeria downstairs, and the more formal Donna Clelia upstairs. The restaurant is a draw for hotel guests and nonguests alike, who come for the spectacular view. The hotel also has two bars. The Lemon Spa is a small, comfortable space that offers a menu of bodywork, available in the spa or on a terrace. The free breakfast -- served on the communal or guests’ private terrace -- includes smoked salmon, caviar, and a wide selection of local meats and cheeses, as well as Champagne.
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