Return From Paradise

Ms. Faye Riva Cohen
May 23, 2013 — 822 views  

The good news is that I have recently stayed in paradise, which is what I call the four star hotel we stayed at in Sorrento, Italy, where we have stayed many times, and the bad news is that I usually can’t return there based on my schedule and the demands of life, more than every 3 to 4 years. I don’t divulge the name of the hotel because many Americans don’t stay there, instead staying closer to the bustling town or Sorrento, or seeing the area via a cruise ship, or arriving via hydrofoil from surrounding areas. The hotel is situated on a cliff overlooking the beautiful Bay of Naples, with the islands of Capri and Ischia and Mount Vesuvius visible on clear days. I enjoy meeting the Europeans from various countries who do stay there, and on this trip we met lovely couples from two cities in Great Britain and Belgium, who promised to e mail. We were also visited by a family we met once on our last visit who were there for a relative’s wedding, and have stayed in touch via e mail.  

My companion, Michael, is of Italian heritage, and speaks the dialect of that area, and the Italians are delighted that he makes the effort to speak with them in their own language. The hotel is a grand hotel maintained in pristine fashion, and every time we arrive we notice that upholstery has been changed, the entire hotel has been painted, and many improvements have been made. The hotel is currently owned by the son of the original owner, who we met several times, and who was a retired lawyer, who passed on in his 90’s after a wonderful life owning several hotels after he retired from practicing law and waking each morning to one of the most beautiful views in the world. Hundreds of guests stay in the hotel daily and sit down for means throughout the day, enjoying the most attentive service imaginable. We have returned to the same hotel since the 1990’s, and most of the same staff are still there, and we have grown older together. It is sobering to see that the young waiters we first knew are going grey. There are even two female waiters, which is a first. Consider that this hotel closes from October until May and it is astonishing that the seasonal staff return year after year and work elsewhere in the off months. In Europe being a waiter is considered a decent career, although the pay is not great.

We are treated like royalty at this hotel, and the best tables are reserved for us, and if the owner runs into us or seeks us out 2 or 3 times a day, he always asked how we are doing and if there is anything else that can be done for us. When we were out shopping one day we stopped into a store owned by the owner’s wife, which we didn’t realize was the case, and she was so delighted that she called her husband to tell him we were there and he insisted that she provide us with a discount on her products.  We met other guests who had also returned to the hotel many times, and each of them remarked on the level of fine service provided by the hotel, and the delicious food. In this little corner of the world, the hotel treats everyone like a celebrity. In fact, we were very surprised during this trip that tips were often not accepted when we offered them, even by cab drivers. Compare that behavior to the cabdriver when we arrived in Philadelphia, whose cab didn’t have working air conditioning in 80 degree heat, and who tried to overcharge us.  

America is a wonderful and diverse country, and is the land of opportunity. And, interestingly, the people in paradise often gripe about their limited income, having to work long hours, and talk about coming to America. But I encourage them to remain in paradise, because as wonderful as America is, at least for those of us living in a large city on the East Coast, we dream of having a view of a beautiful ocean each day, not being stuck in traffic jams, not having to deal with crowds on a regular basis, being treated like a celebrity, and on many days, just being treated with common decency, and not anger, distrust, and argument.      

Ms. Faye Riva Cohen

Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C.

I am Faye Riva Cohen, Esquire and am a Philadelphia attorney who has been practicing law since 1974. I am the president and managing attorney of both the Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C. and Legal Research, Inc.