We did something not many people do when visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum; we stayed in the town of Pompeii itself. Many, if not most, visitors to Pompeii come just for the day from places like Sorrento, Naples, or even Rome. They arrive by bus and train and are gone before the sun sets on the Bay of Naples. I’ve even done this myself, visiting Herculaneum by train from Naples on a day trip.
This time was different, as we drove to the area all the way from Pienza. Our plan was to drive down, visit Herculaneum in the afternoon, sleep in the town of Pompeii, visit the ruins of Pompeii the next morning and then heading to the Amalfi coast. It was jam-packed, but it worked, even though we had to spend the night in Pompeii to do it.
Hotel Forum, Pompeii
The Hotel Forum Pompeii (booking.com link) is probably one of the best options in a town without a lot of choices. We booked a refurbished “garden view” room. It was nice enough, but on the ground floor so we felt like we needed to keep the drapes shut at all times for privacy.
The room was interesting. It was a good size, quite large, with a nice big bed and a good TV. The bathroom design was a bit odd. The sink was in the bedroom and it’s styled like a sloping trough (see photo below). The “faucet” is a chrome square pipe fixture which hangs down from the ceiling over the sink and splashes everywhere when turned on. That’s just poor design. The shower is a big walk-in type with a rain shower head and like most rain showers, does not put out enough water pressure to rinse one’s hair of shampoo. Also, there are rotating disco lights in the shower, I kid you not. The modern design extends to the uncomfortable, too high toilet.
The next morning we visited Pompeii, getting there when they opened at 9am and leaving the site around noon (this was not our first visit and it was ungodly hot and crowded). We’d asked for a late checkout when checking in and were told no but I asked again the next morning and we were told we could check out at 1pm which was much appreciated.
That said, the hotel is conveniently close to the back entrance of the ruins of Pompeii. They have a little happy hour in the lobby bar area where they put out some snacks and you can order a drink from the bar, though I would recommend against the Negroni. Breakfast is served in the downstairs restaurant and has a decent choice of items in a buffet set up.
For dinner, we ate a place right down the street called Add ‘u’ Mimi, which is right down the street from the hotel. Get the house red, it’s excellent, and at the time was only about 5 euro for a nondescript unlabeled bottle. The octopus salad was fresh and perfectly cooked with a squeeze of lemon. The fried calamari (top photo of post) was outstanding as were our plates of pasta. If you have to stay in Pompeii overnight you can’t go wrong here.
Next post, the ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii and tips for visiting them.