Palace Hotel, Viareggio
With its distinctive misty-blue-and-white facade, the Palace Hotel is the epitome of old-school Italian seaside charm. Inside, behind the Liberty-style frontage, it’s just as appealing, particularly the ground-floor suite of parquet-floored lounges, decorated with antique furniture, Old Masters and Murano glass chandeliers. In these airy, breezy rooms with their atmosphere of leisured ease, it’s hard to believe that Viareggio’s lively beach scene is just beyond the glass doors.
You have to head upwards, though, to discover the Palace Hotel’s star attraction: its spacious rooftop terrace. From here, there’s a fabulous 360-degree panorama to enjoy: ahead, rows of coloured parasols on the wide strip of sand with the sea beyond and behind, the wooded hills that enclose the town. You could begin and end the day up here, starting with breakfast - as healthy or indulgent as you choose. In the evening, the bar becomes the place to gather for a drink; there’s an imaginative cocktail list and breathtaking views of the sun setting into the sea. You can even have a spot of something light to eat if you can’t bear to drag yourself away to the stylish main restaurant on the ground floor.
The 73 rooms are in keeping with the style of the building, with high ceilings, period details and a colour scheme of soft blues, greys and golds. Classic Rooms look out to the back of the hotel, with views of the town and the hills behind. There’s also the opportunity to upgrade to a room with a limited sea view or one with a small balcony and side sea views.