Hotel Celeste is a trim and traditional blue-and-white-painted hotel on the Italian island of Procida. It is an affordable and pleasant place to stay, in a tranquil location close to the island’s best beach. I stayed at the Hotel Celeste for three nights in early September 2009. I’d booked a last-minute special offer of a double room for single use at 115 euros in total for three nights.
About the hotel
The hotel is painted white and blue and is fairly neat and well-cared-for. The rooms open directly onto walkways and terraces; some have space for a table and chairs outside, or for a clothes drying rail. There are small areas of communal terrace including a tiny sun terrace with four sunloungers, and a couple of tables with a lovely view (where I typed this review) over Chiaiolella and the little green island of Vivara. Since most guests head off to the nearby sea, these spaces didn’t feel busy, though the tables on the ground floor can make those rooms noisy.
The hotel has affordable prices, with rooms of varying standard and cost. In the summer it offers lunch and evening meals, as well as breakfast, and attracts Italians on their long annual holidays. The property closes between November and February.
The staff were all friendly and helpful. I was unlucky on arrival that my room wasn’t ready – there had been a plumbing problem and the bathroom was still being cleaned. However I was offered a chair and a cold bottle of mineral water, and I’m pretty sure this was a one-off event, as everything else in the hotel seemed to run very smoothly and efficiently. The receptionist was friendly and welcoming and ready with maps, information about the island and help with practical advice. She spoke English, and during my stay, though most guests were Italian, I also heard English and German spoken.
Hotel Celeste is on Via Rivoli, in the village of Marina Chiaiolella at the southern end of the island (see the location on my map). To reach the hotel, catch buses L1 or L2 from the port. The journey takes 10-15 minutes; the bus stops on Via Giovanni da Procida, before reaching the beach – ask someone where you need to get off. The hotel is a few yards down Via Rivoli, a narrow road opposite the bus stop. There is a sign for the hotel on the main street.
To reach the port and the main town, you’ll need to take the bus or walk a long way along busy lanes. The bus service is frequent and convenient, so once you’ve got equipped with some 80 cent tickets (from a tabacchi shop in Chiaiolella) you’ll get used to hopping on and off. The hotel’s setting is picturesque, with views from the terraces over the sea in two directions and of the island of Ischia. Since it is just off the principal street, the setting is quiet, with scattered houses and small lemon groves around. The best sandy beach on the island is five minutes’ walk away, and the little centre of Chiaiolella has several food shops and general stores, while there are several restaurants overlooking the tourist marina. Although not staying close to the port may be a disadvantage if you are on a brief trip, the location has a lot to offer.
Breakfast and evening meals
The hotel breakfast was very Italian and basic. It was a buffet, with a central table containing a limited selection of food: croissants, plastic-wrapped crunchy ‘toasts’, some small rolls and plain yoghurts. Although the selection won’t seem generous to a non-Italian, it must be said that the croissants – three varieties: plain, filled with pastry cream, or chocolate – were excellent. Friendly waitresses served hot drinks and there was fruit juice and mineral water. In the summer the hotel offers full and half board; I didn’t try out the meals.
I’d booked the cheapest category of room – a ground-floor double standard room – at a special last-minute price so it’s not particularly surprising if I got one of the hotel’s least appealing rooms (105). The hotel’s ground floor is actually up a flight of steps from street level. A row of bedrooms open onto the entrance courtyard, opposite reception. This is the thoroughfare for all guests arriving or leaving, so although interesting if you like people-watching, it has the potential to be noisy. These rooms each have a table outside, with chairs. My stay overlapped with some Italians who’d been on their long annual holiday (returning each year) and who had made themselves at home, so I was disturbed at 7am by a loud conversation at the tables outside. It is a matter of luck, though, as the following morning (after a change-over of guests) I was able to doze in peace.
My room was simple and functional. It was a fairly standard size, with space to walk around three sides of the bed but no more. The decor was bright and clean, with yellow walls and sky blue and white trim, like the rest of the hotel. My double bed was two singles pushed together; not terribly comfortable. The matching furniture comprised a dressing table/desk, a suitcase stand, a wardrobe and one bedside cabinet. There was a print showing a local scene on the wall, a small television on an overhead stand and a half-length mirror. The floor was tiled. My bathroom was a good size, clean and smartly-tiled. The shower wasn’t brilliant. The fittings included a wall-mounted hairdrier and a useful bathroom cabinet. The hotel provided basic toiletries. The air-conditioning unit was autonomous and easy to use.
The worst thing about the room was its position: the window was small and of frosted glass, opening onto the communal area. The door was made of glass, with adjustable shutters outside. The small, high bathroom window opened above a passageway leading to the hotel’s public toilets and shower, so this caused quite a lot of disturbance around the time that Italians return from the beach.
My room was perfectly decent and as described on the booking website. However, I would probably pay more on another occasion for a higher category bedroom, ideally with a view.
I enjoyed my stay at the Hotel Celeste and would gladly have stayed longer, though another time I would upgrade my room. It’s a good place to stay if you’re on a tight budget, and although the accommodation is simple, the hotel is clean and welcoming. It was’t a big problem taking the bus from the port, and I found the proximity to the beach and to Chiaiolella’s waterfront restaurants was very convenient.
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