Hotels in Italy

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Hotel Ariston

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 yourselves.

First published by Travel Intelligence Ltd

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