Is This Italy’s Best-Kept Hotel Chain Secret?


Italy is home to some of the most ravishing, historic and downright unique hotel properties, square mile per square mile, than perhaps any other country in the world. So in a place where hotel names like Hassler, Cipriani and Feltrinelli loom large in the constellation of legendary hospitality, it might almost seem sacrilegious to spend even an ounce of your vacation time in a chain hotel. But we’re going to let you in on a little secret – there’s a 100 percent Italian hotel chain that is not only a good “runner up” lodging choice, but that has hotels you could actually want to make a part of your itinerary. We’re talking about UNA Hotels & Resorts.

UNA Hotels are generally four-star properties and very capably combine all modern conveniences with charming touches that convey a sense of place of Italy as a country proud of its varied geographic heritage but also with a foot decidedly in the direction of the future. Comfortable and contemporary wherever they are, here are just seven of many things that we like about UNA:

Great locations

UNA Hotels tend to have great city center locations. The UNA Napoli is about equidistant from the hectic train station and the fabulous Naples National Archaeological Museum. The UNA Catania is set in a renovated palazzo in the heart of Via Etnea, the city’s main commercial thoroughfare, and there are views of the volcano from the rooftop bar. In Rome, the UNA places you at a mere 15-minute walk to the Colosseum.

Friendly staff

Every UNA we’ve had the pleasure of checking into has been staffed by friendly and knowledgeable locals. Always helpful and always present, whether it’s 3PM or 3AM. We like that.

User Friendly

TVs that are both modern and that you can figure out without having a PhD in Remote Control Studies.

Great bathrooms

Always.

Best value-for-money room service in Italy

One tired night in Catania, we ordered a simple plate of pasta with grilled swordfish, and didn’t expect much. What we got was a deftly prepared, nicely presented meal that could hold its own against the best trattorias in Palermo, Rome or New York. Served swiftly and without a trace of pretension.

Thoughtful touches

Like a coffee service for early check-outs. Recently we had to leave an UNA at 6AM for an early flight from Catania to Rome. The restaurant wasn’t open, and our supply of Pocket Coffee was temporarily depleted. But alas, there was table set up in the lobby with hot coffee, tea and muffins. A small detail, but highly appreciated on a cold dark morning. And come to think of it, there are five-star luxury resorts that don’t think to do this.

Unexpected flourishes

Like a Renaissance floral motif the UNA Florence, or dark wood headboards at the UNA Catania shaped like vaulted monastery ceilings. Or, at the new 100-room UNA Bari City Resort, an architectural style that echoes that of Apulian towns. It’s lively and refreshing to experience this.

There are UNA Hotels in great locations throughout Italy — in Venice (in Cannaregio), Milan (just a few steps from the Duomo and in other locations), Versilia, Modena, Lodi, Florence (in the San Frediano district), Bologna (opposite the train station), Bergamo, Syracuse, Brescia and Benevento. Stylish, accessible, convenient: Consider making Italy’s secret hotel chain a link in your trip for your first or last night in Italy, or even for other, longer stretches during your journey.

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