Full Disclosure & Whatnot: Just so y’know, my stay at Hotel La Bussola was offered free by the hotel, and the folks at HostelsClub put me in touch with the hotel. My opinions are my own.
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been to Italy now, and yet until this last visit I’d never been to the Amalfi Coast. I was excited to get an opportunity to finally visit this incredibly popular area, and even more excited when I arranged a hotel stay at a property on the Amalfi seafront with balconies overlooking the water. After all, the Amalfi Coast isn’t about visiting museum after museum or staring at great art (although that exists in the region) – it’s all about the views, the water, and the sun.
Unfortunately, three of my four days in Amalfi were plagued by less-than-great weather – it rained pretty steadily for two days (so much that the boats to the neighboring coastal towns and the islands weren’t even running), and only cleared up beautifully on my final day – so I still have yet to see the coast under its ideal conditions.
Thankfully, the hotel I stayed in was comfortable, and perfectly situated to enjoy the sun whenever it fought through the Amalfi clouds.
The Hotel La Bussola is a short walk from Amalfi’s main square, facing the habor, and offering small balconies and sea views from nearly every room. I loved the location, since it was a little quieter than being right on the square (and this is the low season – I can only imagine how bustling the square is in the high season), but still a quick walk to be right in the center of town. The hotel is also a few steps from both the pier from which you catch boats to Positano and Capri and the parking area where the buses connecting all the Amalfi area towns stop.
Hotel La Bussola has an on-site restaurant serving fixed-price lunch and dinner, and the same space is also where you’ll find an extensive breakfast spread each morning. There’s also an on-site bar that’s open for drinks in the evenings. The staff all speaks English wonderfully, and they’re exceptionally helpful with all sorts of questions – including things that have nothing to do with the hotel, like when they called the boat operator to find out how long the trip was from Amalfi to Capri. And the hotel has an arrangement with a fabulous local tour guide who offers walking tours of Amalfi in English two evenings a week (they’re normally €5, still a great deal, but if you’re a guest at Hotel La Bussola they’re free).
Above all at the Hotel La Bussola, however, I couldn’t get over the views. I totally understood why the Amalfi Coast is such a high priority for so many people visiting Italy. Yes, when I was there the views from my balcony were more often of storm clouds than sun and sparkling water, but all it takes is a glance at a summertime picture of Amalfi to see what that view would look like in June. The hotel has a rooftop deck they call a Solarium that would be a lovely spot to while away a day, alternately reading a book and napping.
My main quibble with the Hotel La Bussola is that they charge for internet access – it’s a common complaint among travelers who like to stay connected when they’re out and about, and I realize that plenty of people take advantage of a trip to Amalfi to detach. There’s a computer in the reception area, and technically there’s WiFi throughout the hotel, but the walls of the building itself are so thick I could almost never get a signal in my room. In fact, my cell phone couldn’t even get a signal most of the time. Of course, if your trip to Amalfi is about getting away from things like your computer and your cell phone, these things won’t bother you. Just note that you might have problems getting online or getting a cell signal in some parts of the hotel.
And if you do happen to get frustrated by technology issues (as I was), just look out the window to remember why you’re there in the first place (as I did). It really does kind of make everything better.
all photographs by Jessica Spiegel and may not be used without permission; the photographs are of the room I stayed in and the view from my balcony