traveling and meeting other cultures: ideas, destinations, reviews and tips
Il Cannito - a Boutique Hotel near Paestum, Italy
View on il Cannito main premises from the stairway to the lower level structure with the Sole and Terra rooms.
il Cannito, kitchen - the family of Gorga: Anna Maria (center) and two of her three children, Nicola (left), Santa (right) are doing their magic in the hotel's kitchen.
il Cannito, Nicola Gorga is in charge of wine and serving the food.
Details of the terrace in front of the "Sole" room - its wooden railing around the rooms' deck is visible in the background.
il Cannito - inside the Sole room. The name of the room (translated as Sun) originates from the fact that the room is full of sunlight for the most part of the day.
The advantage of staying in Sole is having its own nice sundeck with loungers.
il Cannito, Sole room, entrance to the room from its deck.
All bathrooms at il Cannito are equipped with such hydrosonic Jacuzzi bathtubs.
Il Cannito, a pathway (from the main building) to the secluded area with a swimming pool.
A road through another property owned by Gorga family - a campground with a private beach is open to il Cannito guests.
This photo may be soon obsolete - there are plans to change the il Cannito's campground property, but that's how it looks in summer 2011.
Such sandy beaches are typical in the area around Paestum.
il Cannito, private beach - the water is crystal clear.
Here, at Naviquan.com, we travel a lot, and boutique hotels are our favorites. As a result, we've seen quite a few of them. But I have to admit that il Cannito was a pleasant surprise. Not only our staying there turned out to have exceeded expectations by all traditional criteria regarding hotel accommodations (value, location, rooms, cleanliness, service), but our experience was enriched also by an unexpected personal touch which made several days we spent at il Cannito especially gratifying and memorable.
To make full disclosure, I'd like to mention that we did not find il Cannito. They found Naviquan.com and left a message using the "Contact us" page on our site inviting us to come. By the way, it was not an invitation for a free ride (implying that after that a positive review should follow). It was more like (in my loose interpretation) "hey, guys - you like cool places, come to check out ours - you will not regret." Indeed, as you can see from this write-up, we did not. So, yes, we paid in full for everything we did and had at the hotel.
I am not the first who is praising il Cannito as an amazing place to stay. Just visit its Tripadvisor page - it is full of positive reviews. But what really surprises me is that not only the hotel is #1 in its location and category, but that there are no negative reviews at all! If you are accustom to travel sites, then you know that even the best hotels once in a while get smacked by an angry guest for whatever reason, just or unjust, it may be. Of course, life is life and things happen; hotel staff makes mistakes as well as some visitors overreact. I checked - as of today, out of 30 total il Cannito reviews 29 rated the hotel as "Excellent" and one as "Very good." Isn't it a record by itself? I think it is.
When we arrived, at first, I did not pay much attention and did not have much thoughts on the phrase "Ospitali per passione" used by Il Cannito owners on some of its brochures, Web site or even on private label toiletries. I just shrugged it off as a usual marketing ploy. Soon, I realized that with my frequent habitual cynicism for any promotional effort I was missing the point. This phrase that can be translated in English as "Passion for hospitality" reflect accurately the whole philosophy, the driving force that make the Gorga family (who owns the property) do what they do. That's who they are.
Of course, Gorgas know about positive reviews and the apparent success of their business opened to public several years ago following a significant effort to transform an old Franciscan monastery into a modern logging facility blended perfectly into Cilento landscape. Interestingly, not only there are no signs of complacency, but it also seems that all praising makes il Cannito owners just double their effort. They know what to do, they take pride in what they do, and nothing is too much work for them to make their guests happy.
If in your reading you have been patient enough to come to this point, you may be wondering, why I am dedicating so much time to someone's passion and philosophy. Why, instead, I am not giving you a laundry list of what you can get for your buck (and at the end mentioning some negative things I found at the hotel before telling you that (1) "Yes, I would come back to this place again" and (2) "Yes, I would recommend this place to my friends")? Well, because it seems to me that the Gorga family's passion for hospitality materializes in something tangible with the value of its own - and I am wondering, under what criterion should I account for it? And as far as practical matters are concerned, isn't a genuine desire to do one's best to make guests staying as pleasant as possible is the best guarantee for all materialistic things?
If you want to know more about Il Cannito, its Web site can be a good resource; it describes accurately all amenities and provides insights on possible activities. As a practical matter, I can add that there are differences between the four rooms available at the hotel (although there is no difference in price). Two of them, Mare and Luna, are located on the second floor of the main structure. Their obvious advantage is that they are close to everything (including the pool and dining area). Their minuses: they are smaller and less secluded. Two other rooms, Sole and Terra, are in the second structure about hundred yards/meters down the hill. So, you will have to use a stairway to reach both. My personal preference is the Sole room because of its exposure to the sun and a private sundeck. On this page, on both sides of the text there are pictures with captions - please read them for more details and insights about the place
Following the materialistic theme, I want to highlight excellent food cooked and served at Il Cannito. All this is done in a highly professional manner with the quality, creativity, tastes and flavors that would many chefs in Paris, London and Milan envy and jealous. When weather permits (and it usually does throughout the whole tourist season) meals are served on the terrace in front of the main building. Nicola is your host, Anna Maria and Santa will take care of cooking. We will remember forever these wonderful evenings. By the way, you may certainly express your wishes as far as specific dishes you would like to try. However, we preferred to be surprised by menus offered at Il Cannito - we had never regretted. Usually our dinner for two was between €100 - €135 including wine (prices 2011). Oh, no matter what you eat, ask for Santa's Lemon Meringue Cake, the best cake of all cakes I've ever eaten in all my life (which has been long enough).
If you like wine, Il Cannito is the right place to be. Nicola is a very knowledgeable wine specialist who has compiled and stocked a very good selection of local wines (both red and whites and offered at very competitive prices). If you are not familiar with Campania wines, Nicola will be your guide; I can only recommend trusting his taste and paring suggestions. I am glad that our staying at Il Cannito helped me discover such local red wines as Donnaluna (Aglianico De Concilliis) and Kleos (Aglianico Luigi Maffini) as well as such whites as Valentina (Fiano Alfonso Rotolo) and Cutizzi (Greco di Tufo, Feudi San Gregorio). But you are looking for a bottle of an excellent Taurasi, Nicola's choice has been Feudi San Gregorio and Antonio Gaggiano.
* * *
Summer dining area on the front patio at night. Dinner will start being served in 10 - 15 minutes.
When it is cold outside (il Cannito is open from March 1 to October 31), meals are served in this area. Make no mistake, tablecloths, napkins and tableware will add to the atmosphere of the place.
Having dinner on the main patio of il Cannito is unforgettable experience: the serenity of the place, excellent food and service are simply amazing.
The second of the two il Cannito structures. This one (located from from the main building about 100 yards down the hill) hosts rooms called "Sole" (left door) and "Terra" (right door).
Rooms at il Cannito have a minimalist design stressed by simple forms and elements like these ceiling beams.
All rooms at il Cannito have firm king-size beds.
il Cannito, Sole's bathroom.
il Cannito, a shower in Sole's bathroom.
il Cannito, a swimming pool - I regret that a picture cannot convey the piece around the place and the smell of local plants around it.
il Cannito, swimming pool, its deck full of the sun, views on Cilento landscape and piece around you: what else do you need to relax?
il Cannito's private sandy beach.
If you want to spend some time on il Cannito's beach you will get ready for you an umbrella, loungers and towels.
As I am proofing this page prior to clicking on the "publish" button, I realize that it may sound like something too good to be true. Is it really so? Well, two things to keep in mind. First, everything and everybody have their own limitations. Second, we are all different: what's good for one person may not necessarily be good for another. So, it is possible that something may not be to your liking. From my perspective, it is not really relevant - what you get at Il Cannito is a wonderful accommodation concept and its implementation. It consists of (1) romantic secluded place, (2) in a wonderful natural environment, (3) close to the world famous Paestum Archeological, (4) with an exceptional price-value ratio and (5) delivered by people going out of their way to make their guests happy. What else can I tell you?
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