We were planning to visit Pompeii but finding a decent hotel close by was as easy as excavating those ancient ruins with a teaspoon. So Naples it was.
The HOLIDAY INN looked perfect for our needs - on the edge of the city towards Pompei and easy access from the autostrade. When I say easy access, I mean 'in theory'...on a map...in my wildest dreams etc. The Holiday Inn is situated in a modern development of high-rise offices and commercial properties called Centro Direzionale directly connected to a link road from the A1 autostrade. But, this being Naples, where stock car racing is not only the principal hobby, it's downright de rigeur, it proved a little more tricky than directed from the hotel's web page. Driving to the hotel being only slightly less dangerous than facing a pride of half-starved lions in the colisseum, we eventually arrived safe and sound...well, at least we arrived.
Sweating profusely, and shaking like a rabbit in a headlight, we parked outside the door and, avoiding the huge piles of refuse littering the dirty little back street, we made our way to the lobby.
The lobby seemed grand enough, but rather soulless and characterless. This is an hotel that is geared for the business user and those in transit to and from the not too distant airport. TV screens displaying stock prices and airport departures and arrivals was a dead giveaway.
Anyway, we had prebooked and were soon dealt with. The hotel has secure underground parking and, taking a quick look around the area, this was a definite must (assuming we didnt want the car robbed of course). At 13 euros a day, it was a little expensive but on the whole, cheaper than replacing the car.
The temperature outside was in the mid 30s so we were quite looking forward to settling in, turning the AC up full (do you turn ac UP to cool it down or down to warm it UP? ...answers on a postcard). We needn't have bothered. This was undoubtedly the worst AC I've ever encountered in a Holiday Inn - it's usually the one reliable feature of this chain. While it wasn't exactly blowing hot air, it certainly wasn't blowing cold. Still, we could always open the window and let whatever breeze there was reduce the temperature to a more manageable 300 C. Only one problem with this plan, the absolutely filthy windows didn't open - maybe that's why they hadn't been cleaned in 20 years.
At least the hotel has a magnificent view of Vesuvius...assuming you could see through the grime...and you were on the right side of the building. We couldn't and we weren't.
It can't all be bad, I hear you say. Well frankly, it wasn't but I was to busy sweating and struggling to breath that I couldn't have cared less what the room was like, but I'll give it a go.
We had two double beds which were comfortable enough, plenty of storage space and a table and chairs. There was a nice flat screen TV but not an awful lot of channels to choose from although it had the usual pay TV, games and wifi connection etc. It was clean enough, but a little dated and in need of decoration. We were on the 8th floor and could hear nothing from outside (not through those windows).
The bathroom was modern, clean and well equipped and the shower was well supplied with cold water which we took advantage of. Just the cheap toiletries though which was disappointing in a hotel that charged nearly £100 a night...and that on a deal.
We didn't take advantage of any of the amenities in the hotel, such as the beauty centre (superfluous to our needs): the mini-gym or the sauna...WHAT? A SAUNA?!!! Apparently, this was located on the second floor and not en-suite as we thought.
Nope, I have to say that while we couldn't spend as little time in this hotel as we would have liked, but we certainly didn't spend any more time than we physically had to. It seemed infinitely safer to hang about outside in sweltering sunshine with the pickpockets, hookers and various other ne'er-do-wells than risk being broiled alive in our 8th floor oven/room.
Speaking of the surroundings, all the roads in this commercial area are underground leaving the plaza above traffic free. There are shops, cafes, and bars all around but it is a pretty unsavoury area to stroll around in at night. There are a few options for dining around the hotel and the area is reasonably busy without being crowded. But, generally, it's not an area that you feel completely comfortable in late at night.
So, would I recommend this hotel?
Yes, if you're reptilian and in need of external heat for your metabolism. If you're human - and let's face it, the vast majority of you probably are, then I'd only recommend it if you're planning to visit in the cooler months. I kid you not, the whole experience of this hotel was dominated by the AC (or lack of). Nope, at the prices charged, the least you should expect in an hotel room is temperature control of some sort...any sort.