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Hotel Oriente, Lipari

Residence Alberghiero Eolie, Lipari

Hotel Oriente, Lipari - hotel review

Hotel Oriente, Lipari

About Hotel Oriente

Hotel Oriente is a reasonably-priced three-star hotel close to the heart of Lipari town, on Lipari, the largest of the Aeolian Islands. I stayed at the hotel for four nights in early June 2009, before the start of the high tourist season. I paid 55 per night for a single room, but was lucky enough to be offered a double.

> More information / make a booking at the Hotel Oriente

My review

The hotel was able to provide advice and help with sightseeing and with travel. Reaching the islands can be rather tricky and I rang up in advance to find out the best way to deal with suspended ferries from Reggio due to rough seas (advice: head to Milazzo in Sicily). I was also impressed with the folder produced by the helpful receptionist containing timetables and information for planning my return to Sicily and airport bus links. Although the port is not far away, the hotel goes to the trouble of providing a free shuttle service for guests on arrival and departure which I appreciated after a tiring journey. The hotel offered fast free wireless internet.

My room at the Hotel Oriente, Lipari Once I had checked in I was shown to my bedroom, a double room on the ground floor near the street. The decor and furnishings were serviceable but slighty old and shabby. The double bed was two uncomfortable twin beds pushed together. Basic furniture included a wardrobe with a tiny safe (not large enough for a laptop), a bedside table and a desk with no electrical socket nearby. The room wasn't particularly large and two guests may have felt crowded had they spent much time in the bedroom. The bathroom was simple but decent, with an old but fairly effective shower. Both the bedroom and bathroom had windows which opened onto green bushes in a narrow garden space adjacent to the road. By Lipari standards this was a busy street, and there were scooter parking spaces next to the building, but I found that double glazing kept out most of the external noise. My room, however, was not a quiet place to stay. It was along a short corridor from reception and near some rooms used by hotel staff, and I found banging doors and loud-voiced conversations carried on at argumentative levels disturbed me on most of the mornings of my stay.

The hotel's most striking feature is the bric-a-brac which clutters every bit of wallspace in the public areas. The owner collects local crafts and curios, and these sometimes bizarre objects gave the hotel a very eccentric character. Breakfast was taken in a large room alongside the leafy garden terrace, with hot drinks brought by friendly waiters and the usual buffet where guests could help themselves. Most of the breakfast items were fairly typical, though there were more savoury antipasti type items than I expect to see. However, although there were rolls on the tables, I didn't ever see the Italian breakfast staple, croissants. This seemed an odd and unfortunate oversight. Most of the other bread and cake foodstuffs were prepackaged and rather dry, so I stuck with rolls and butter.

Hotel staff and acquaintances gathered in the lobby to chat during the day, which made me feel rather observed as I came back to relax. Twice in the afternoon when I tried to take a shower I found a shortage of hot water. The cleaning was erratic and on at least one day my towels weren't changed or even straightened.

Although I did have several quibbles about the room, I still thought the hotel was good value for money, as the Aeolian Islands are generally fairly pricey places to stay. One of the best features of my room was a fridge, which meant I could shop in the nearby supermarket (on the main street about ten minutes' walk away) and save some money on food. The hotel's location was excellent for seeing Lipari and getting to the boat services. By crossing the road alongside the hotel and walking down a short alleyway I reached the town's main street, lined with shops, restaurants and pleasant bars. The castle, museum and two harbours were all just a short walk away. Returning to the hotel after a meal out was quick and safe.

The lobby of the Hotel Oriente, Lipari Although I am sure that Lipari, being a small and friendly island, is very safe in general, as an experienced traveller I was rather taken aback by the hotel's apparent lack of security - obviously not something I should describe in detail online, and to be fair it can be hard to judge how close an eye the hotel staff were keeping on entrances and exits.

For me the main drawbacks of the hotel were the noise and the lack of breakfast croissants. Noise would probably not be a problem in the hotel's other rooms, which include some little buildings in the garden area. A swimming pool or sun terrace would have been pleasant; obviously the hotel doesn't have - or charge for - a pool, and its sun terrace was being renovated. The garden was pleasant and shady, though.

Hotel Oriente made a very convenient base for visiting the islands for the first time. The proximity to Lipari's central street made it easy and quick to get around the town, and to the port, on foot. I think the accommodation was quite reasonable for the prices charged, though I admit that in my next hotel I was pleased to find myself in spanking new modern surroundings. I'd recommend the Oriente for travellers who want a budget hotel stay in the islands, and who don't mind a bit of eccentric clutter and rooms which are slightly tired.

> More information / make a booking at the Hotel Oriente
> More accommodation in Lipari

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