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Francis Bown, Bown's Best

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See below for the latest October 2017 Reviews

Grand Hotel Quisisana, Capri, Italy | Bown's Best


Any list of my favourite hotels in all the world would have, very near the top, The Grand Hotel Quisisana. Not once, during my numerous visits, has it done less than fill my heart with gladness. It is grand – of course. It is located on the very spot I want to be on Capri. Its level of luxurious hospitality makes me purr with contentment. Its standards in every department are of the highest. But, as always, the people matter most. That is why I present to you a picture of myself with three of the paragons of virtue who make The Quisisana not just another luxury hotel, but a very, very special luxury hotel. They are, from left to right, Mr Aldo D’Enrico (Food & Beverage Manager), Mr Gian Luca Salvia (Director of Sales & Marketing) and Mr Stefano Mazone (Executive Chef). Together with the brilliant General Manager, Mr Nicolino Morgano, these gentlemen ensure that nothing is ever ‘too much trouble’. On this visit, my companion wished to practise some piano pieces. In the blinking of an eye, Mr Salvia had arranged for a baby grand (a Bechstein, no less) to be positioned in a private chamber for my friend’s use. The Quisisana never disappoints.

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Ristorante Il Buco, Sorrento, Italy | Bown's Best


If you were to ask the residents of Sorrento which is the best restaurant in their beautiful city, I would suggest that one answer would be given over and over again: Il Buco. I am not one to disagree with such clever and admirable people. Il Buco has the important star from the Michelin inspectors, and – just as important to me and, I hope, to you, dear reader – it has provided me with a number of delicious dinners over the years. My recent visit confirmed that this much admired gastronomic temple is maintaining the highest standards.

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The Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, Sorrento, Italy | Bown's Best


Lucius Cary, the second Viscount Falkland, was a wise man. He it was who, in 1641, uttered to the English Parliament some of the wisest words ever spoken in our language. “Where it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.” In my judgement, this should be the motto of every hotelier in the world. Glorious buildings, magnificent interiors, traditions of elaborate service – these need to be cherished and preserved, not tossed aside at the whim of the latest fashionable ‘designer’. Let us therefore sing a mighty Te Deum for The Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento, one of Italy’s most famous hotels and one of its most glorious bastions of tradition. I love it.

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Francis Bown 2003
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