Hotel San Francesco al Monte Review – Naples, Italy


Hotel San Francesco al Monte
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Summary

Hotel San Francesco al Monte is one of the best hotels in Naples, Italy, if you want access to an outdoor swimming pool and opportunities for sunbathing. It also comes with incredible views across the Gulf of Naples. However this 4 star hotel does have some frustrations, especially distance from the city centre. Pack comfortable walking shoes – you’ll need them.



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Old hotels with character in Naples, Italy

Hotel San Francesco al Monte is a 4 star hotel in Naples (Napoli), carved into a hilltop overlooking the magnificent Mount Vesuvius and Gulf of Naples. In a previous life, this hotel was a former monastery dating from the 16th century.

It really is unlike any other with so much of the history preserved. You can walk to the 3rd floor and find a cell, now converted into a chapel, where Italian priest Giovan Giuseppe della Croce spent the last 12 years of his life.

Walking the halls, you’ll discover hidden alcoves, fragments of fresco and ancient interiors.

Rooms, said to be former cells, retain their character.

There’s even a fantastic nativity scene at the end of one corridor. The creation of nativity scenes is an historic pastime in Naples which you can witness first hand in the Old Town quarter. Walk into a shop and you’ll see the owner with their offspring shaping clay into nativity scenes.

When you read reviews on popular websites like TripAdvisor, many visitors comment that they walk the hallways around the hotel to take in every little detail. You never know what you’ll come across. If you have a spare 30 minutes, I’d recommend taking the time to do this too.

Hotel San Francesco al Monte has a beautiful outdoor pool on the 7th level with stunning views.

This was a big factor when we decided to stay there for 8 nights, the ability to blend a city break in Naples with a relaxing poolside holiday.

It’s not the biggest but it’s more than adequate to enjoy a dip when the temperatures extend over 30c in the height of summer.

Hotel with swimming pool in Naples

The hotel provide plenty of seating around the pool and off to the side to relax on.

There’s even a very chilled hotel cat.

You can find corners of shade to lie in too if the temperature gets too hot.

Mount Vesuvius

Hotel San Francesco al Monte hotel room

Food and Drink at Hotel San Francesco al Monte

Drinks at the pool bar aren’t cheap. A charge of €10 for water and a diet coke seemed a little steep. However it was a big 1 litre bottle of water and interestingly we were charged slightly less on a different day.

We ate lunch and dinner once at the hotel restaurant. The eating area is excellent with lots of plants, shade and a great view. The pesto and gnocchi went down very well. The dinner menu wasn’t really to our liking. Portions were also pretty small. I’d recommend eating out in Naples instead with a vast array of restaurants to choose from. The restaurants by the sea seemed most popular, close to Castel Dell’Ovo. We enjoyed meals at three restaurants here.

Coming to Naples, eating pizza is a MUST. I’d recommend Ristorante Pizzeria 7 Soldi dal 1962 where the dough was delicious and the prices very reasonable (€4.50-5 a pizza).

Pizza in Naples Italy

Breakfast was a little disappointing at Hotel San Francesco al Monte. The scrambled eggs were watery, there was no bacon (the Italian’s aren’t big on bacon like us British!) and the buffet mostly consisted of pastries. You could choose yogurt, fruit and a selection of three cereals too. But if a decent fry up is your preference, prepare to be disappointed.

We ate breakfast at the hotel for 5 of our 7 days. It did feel a bit samey after 3-4 days but as the breakfast was part of our charge, it made sense to eat there most of the time. The coffee was good and it was simple enough to get the waiter’s attention for more.

Outdoor seating Hotel San Francesco al Monte

Wedding hotels in Naples, Italy

If you’re researching for a wedding hotel in Naples, Hotel San Francesco al Monte would be a very good choice.

For native Italians, it seems to be an incredibly popular venue. We saw at least three weddings being prepared on the 7th floor during our eight night stay. This was actually my second biggest gripe about staying at Hotel San Francesco al Monte – the first being the location.

The hotel seemed to cater more for weddings than actual guests. The pool closed at 5pm each day because usually there was a wedding being set up nearby. When you look at Instagram, most pictures are of wedding reception parties rather than guests enjoying their stay. On one night, we were kept awake until gone midnight with noise from a wedding reception being held above (we were on the 5th floor).

The outside space is a great venue for a wedding – I can see why this is a popular choice. Lots of flowers, incredible views, plenty of space to cater for guests. So if you’re looking for a wedding venue hotel in Naples, I would recommend Hotel San Francesco al Monte.

Pool area

Wedding hotel Naples Italy

Walking to Hotel San Francesco al Monte

Steps in Naples

The main problem with Hotel San Francesco al Monte is the location.

There’s a tram station 5-7 minutes walk from the hotel which is fine if you want to travel into the centre. The problem is coming back. The tram network stops after 10pm so if you go for a meal in the evening, it’s likely you’ll miss the last time slot.

To get back to the hotel from the centre of Naples, the recommended routes on Google Maps are lots and lots of uphill steps winding through dark residential areas like the Spanish Quarter with scooters and cars speeding around the narrow lanes.

Also remember it’s still around 20c at night in Naples in June, July and August. This makes for a very sweaty, uncomfortable walk back to the hotel at the top of the hill. You could take a taxi, we never did. That would probably set you back €10-15 a time.

If you’re coming to Naples for a holiday and want to stay out past 10pm, you might want to consider a hotel more centrally located within walking distance of the Old Town / main shopping area.

Hotels with a pool in Naples, Italy

These are reasons why we might not consider staying at Hotel San Francesco al Monte.

  1. Location
  2. Weddings
  3. Average breakfast
  4. Possibility of hearing loud music from your hotel room
  5. On one breakfast there was a helicopter hovering over us throughout
  6. 5pm closure of the pool was a little too early
  7. The hotel reception had no spare plugs/adaptors so we had to go to a shop and buy one
  8. No food or drink is allowed into the hotel complex from outside
  9. The shower was slightly difficult to use for someone of 6ft2 height. It was also a pretty old set up with space limited
  10. The WiFi didn’t work despite being told the password. In the end I gave up on this and had to just use data

BUT

If your checklist includes a hotel with a pool, you should consider Hotel San Francesco al Monte. It’s rare to find a hotel with a pool in a city like Naples.

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Italy inspiration

Naples is just 70 minutes on the train from Rome. It’s a very busy loud city but not as busy as Rome where tourists are everywhere.

This makes Naples a good spot to locate yourselves before visiting other areas like Rome, Capri, Ischia etc. We went on a day trip to Rome from Naples. Make sure you buy your train tickets in advance as trains do get fully booked. A taxi from Hotel San Francesco al Monte to the train station costs around €15-18.

The hotel reception were great at getting taxis – one will arrive within 3 minutes of you requesting it.

If you want to plan a trip around Italy, here’s some inspiration from Booking.com.



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If you’ve been to Naples or Hotel San Francesco al Monte – what did you think? Where would you recommend staying if you went elsewhere?


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