The 16-year-old Otto III is said to have spent the night at La Sosta di Ottone on his way to Rome in 966 to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor - sosta means stopping place. To reach it you have to leave your car and walk 100 m to the house up the narrow village street, but it's worth the effort if you are after somewhere private, relaxed and friendly, with stunning views. The emphasis is on providing good value and a family ambience: the six suites are all spacious and can be fitted with sofa beds to sleep groups of four. Decoration and furnishings are unpretentious and home-like with some pretty touches. Recently a new chef and sommelier have joined the La Sosta Kitchen, which produces very good food, and is now open to non-residents. It also has an excellent wine menu.
La Sosta is best as a base for an active holiday - there is not much for loungers to do. Almost from the door there are clearly marked walks into what is now the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Cinque Terre: five seaside villages, connected by a train, ferries and by footpaths clinging to the wooded hillsides. Levanto is only 5 km away and here you can hire a boat, rent surf boards or sit on the beach.