Subject: Cinque terre
No 5 stars to be found in Cinque Terra (and in my opinion, that's a good thing...the area isn't overrun with development as yet), not even many hotels that have elevators; closest to a 4-star in the area itself would probably be the Porta Rosa.

If your traveling companions are expecting 4-5 star quality hotels in Cinque Terra, that makes me think they perhaps don't have an accurate mental picture of the region. Urge them to do more reading, to make very sure the area can provide what they enjoy when they travel. It's not deluxe, and is for people who like charming small towns and walking. There will be wonderful food to be found in tiny places, but no 5 star dining rooms with chandeliers and fine silver and crystal. Make sure expectations match reality for your friends!

Sally Watkins, Certified Travel Counselor