Hotel California, Positano
In the middle of town, just up the street from tony Le Sirenuse but at one-fifth the price for a sea-view room, the California is the Amalfi Coast’s best budget find. What this converted 18th-century palazzo lacks in style and amenities (no pool, no restaurant, no fancy furnishings), it more than makes up for with the effusive welcome provided by the owner (who insists everyone call her Mary) and the camaraderie of the mostly middle-aged, middle-class travelers who gather on the common terrace, where trailing vines perfectly frame the town and sea below. Accommodations are basic—functional furnishings with the odd antique—but a bargain for the location, comfort, and friendly family atmosphere.
Room to Book: The choicest rooms are a toss-up between the four frescoed quarters upstairs in the original palazzo and larger rooms 51–55 in the newer wing, which open directly onto the shared terrace and have great views over the town and sea but are less private.