Mediterraneo Palace Hotel, Amantea - hotel review
About the hotel
The Mediterraneo Palace Hotel is a brand new four-star hotel on a main road near the railway station in the seaside town of Amantea, in Calabria. We stayed for one night at the end of May 2009, when the hotel felt only just finished. We paid €85 for a triple room, booking in advance online.
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Our triple room was very large and airy, with a modern style and clean lines. We wondered if we were the first guests to sleep in it; everything seemed so new. Walls were pale and the colour scheme was cream and brown. It was quite minimal, perhaps something that would change over time. We would have liked more than one chair in the room, as well as chairs on the large empty balcony. There was no bin in the bedroom, nor any information about the hotel. However, the furnishings were good and the room had been equipped efficiently. The bedsheets were noticeably good quality. We had a large full-length mirror, a good size desk with a lamp and electrical sockets, a mirror above it and a flat wide-screen television with Sky channels and both the BBC and Sky news channels in English. There was a large suitcase stand, a wide double bed and a normal-sized single, with enough space for three adults not to feel cramped. The floor was tiled with a large rug. There were two bedside tables. The wardrobe was large with a laptop-sized safe. There was efficient air-conditioning. One wall was all glass, with curtains to keep out the sun's glare, and opened onto the balcony. We had views of nearby buildings in the modern settlement (not too pretty) but also the hotel's older sister building and garden, and, further away, the old town looking picturesque on its hill. Our bathroom was very large too, with what the hotel described as a 'maxi shower'. We had a minimal mini-bar, lacking prices and glasses.
The hotel offered a panoramic rooftop terrace and 'American bar'. This was closed but we found our way onto the bare terrace to photograph a lovely view of the old town golden in the sunset. On the first floor, up a central spiral staircase from reception, was a seating area with a large wide-screen TV, tables and an internet point. The hotel also had wireless internet access. On the ground floor was the hotel's restaurant Al-Mantiah (the original Arabic version of the name Amantea). We didn't try eating here so I can't report on the food. The hotel had a wellness centre, an indoor swimming pool and an outdoor pool surrounded by sunloungers. This looked nice but wasn't in a great position, as it was just shielded by a high fence from the busy main road. The sunbathing guests seemed happy, though. The hotel also runs a private beach establishment on the seafront, which was partially up and running during our May visit, and which looked very decent. The hotel has a little electric shuttle to transport guests to the sea, though it is only a short walk away.
The Mediterraneo Palace Hotel was in the least appealing part of Amantea, but it was very handy for both the main road and the railway station. From the railway station you simply walk straight ahead until you reach the busy main road (Via Stromboli), cross and walk about fifty yards to the right, where you'll find the hotel. It's only a five minute walk. The hotel supplied us with little folding tourist maps of Amantea which helped us to explore the lower, modern town before walking uphill to the pretty historic centre. This was all within walking distance, so for us the hotel made a very convenient base for visiting Amantea. We ate at a good restaurant just a couple of streets away.
The atmosphere was a little odd as the hotel was either only just open, or still awaiting the tourist season. There were other guests, though. Perhaps befitting its modern business-travel style, the hotel was rather faceless. At first I didn't have the sense of personal welcome and friendly contact from the staff that we had enjoyed in previous hotels on our journey to the south, and I wasn't too impressed when (at around 8pm) we were told that a broken lightbulb couldn't be replaced until the next day. However, the receptionist who helped us with checking out and storing our luggage was very charming and friendly and I left feeling that overall the customer service was good.
Breakfast was a lonely and unsatisfactory affair and it really did feel as though we were among the first guests all year. There was a small buffet including croissants, yoghurts and the usual Italian-style breakfast items, but it wasn't as generous or varied as a hungry foreigner would hope.
This hotel is smart, modern and rather surprising for its location. The setting on a major road is not an attractive one, but I suspect that a lot of guests might be either passing through, or visiting for a beach holiday and the position is certainly practical. We found the hotel a good overnight stop on a cultural tour of Calabria, and very convenient for train travel. We were able to stroll to the hotel and leave our bags before walking on to explore the old town. I liked the size of our room and its smart modern style. The whole hotel was thoughtfully and smartly designed to cater for a varied four-star clientele. Breakfast could be improved and it would have been nice if the rooftop bar were open, but I would still recommend this hotel as a practical, comfortable base when visiting Amantea. For the price we paid, it was very good value.
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