Positano is a quirky, fascinating town perched on a mountainside.

The hotels along the Amalfi coast are not what you might expect in Europe.

Many are family-owned and have a charm that a property belonging to a hotel chain will never be able to match.

The three hotels I experienced on the Amalfi coast – Hotel Savoia in Positano, and the Hotel Open Gate and Hotel Villa Maria Pia in Praiano – are all run by families, and are three-star establishments, although in my opinion they are closer to what would be a four-star place in SA.

All are fully equipped, yet simple, rooms (with TV sets and airconditioners) and views that you will only get here.

All make extensive use of ornate and pretty Italian tiles, which lend a distinctive flavour and help keep you cool in the soaring heat of mid-summer.

I was surprised at the reasonable rates hotels charge in this area – not far from what you’d pay in a similar place in SA.

Most hotels offer internet access (either free in common areas or for an extra charge if there is accessibility in the room) as well as breakfast, which is normally “continental” and accompanied by some of the best coffee you’re likely to find. - Saturday Star