by Sarah Shuckburgh
The Ariston could make a peaceful overnight stop if you're
visiting the Greek ruins at Paestum, 25 miles south of
Salerno. One of the more expensive hotels in the area, it's
an ugly, pretentious building, with fluttering flags and
spouting fountains, on a main road a hundred yards from the
sea. But by staying here you avoid the hurly-burly of the
beach front, with its jumble of hotels, crowds, cars and
whistle-blowing traffic police.
We checked in on a very hot day. The welcome chill of the
air-conditioned foyer was matched by a less welcome but
equally chilly reception. We had to wait while a uniformed
signorina took several phone calls, and we were then
directed to the wrong floor, and had to carry our luggage up
and down numerous carpeted corridors. But when we found our
room, it was huge, quiet and well-appointed, with two of the
largest beds I've ever seen. If size matters to you, these
rooms won't disappoint.
The hotel's specialities include local mozzarella cheese
(buffaloes graze in fields nearby), and the chef's own
home-made pasta, cakes and ice creams - served in a variety
of elegant indoor and outdoor dining areas and bars.
Overall, the hotel is spacious but soulless, with corporate
clients in mind. Indeed the conference rooms can hold up to
1000 delegates. There are plastic flowers wherever you look.
Il Centro Benessere e Sportivo (the Health and Sports
Centre) includes indoor and outdoor pools, a gym, a sauna, a
Turkish bath, a beauty salon, 4 tennis courts, a basketball
court, and no fewer than 4 football pitches. Use of the
outdoor pool is included in the price of your room.
The wonderful Greek temple ruins are a three-minute drive
away, and by staying nearby you can be at the ticket office
as it opens at 9am, and have the archaeological site to
First published by Travel Intelligence Ltd