Rome Hotel Reviews
It's the click of your heels on inlaid marble, the whisper of 600-thread count Frette sheets, the murmured buongiorno of a coat-tailed porter bowing low as you pass. It's a rustic attic room with wood-beamed ceilings, a white umbrella on a roof terrace, a 400-year-old palazzo with Casanova's name in the guest book. Maybe it's the birdsong warbling into your room as you swing open French windows to a sun-kissed view of the Colosseum, a timeworn piazza, a flower-filled marketplace. Obviously, from the moment you saw Roman Holiday, your love affair with living "la dolce vita" has never been closer to reality than being a guest in some Roman hotels. Audrey Hepburn couldn't have had it better.
Happily, living la vita bella doesn’t always mean you have to break the bank. There are many midrange and budget hotels and pensioni (small, family-run lodgings) available, some with real flair. When it comes to accommodations, Rome offers a wide selection of high-end hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, designer "boutique" hotels, and quiet options that run the gamut from whimsical to luxurious. Whether you want a simple place to rest your head or a complete cache of exclusive amenities, you have plenty to choose from.
Of course, if you look at the extremes, hotels in Rome are something like the Sistine Chapel: at the top, they're heaven, but at the lower end, they can feel more like purgatorio. Palatial settings, cloud-nine comfort, spacious rooms, and high standards of service can be taken for granted in Rome's top establishments. Luxury hotels like the Eden, the Hassler, and the Hotel de Russie are justly renowned for sybaritic comfort: postcard views over Roman rooftops, white linen and silver at a groaning-table breakfast buffet, and the fluffiest, thirstiest, softest towels since cotton was king. Can you hear the angels singing?
But in other categories, especially moderate and inexpensive, standards vary considerably. That's a nice way of saying that very often, Rome's budget hotels are not up to the standards of space, comfort, quiet and service that are taken for granted in the United States: you’ll still find places with tiny rooms, lumpy beds, and anemic air-conditioning. Many of the family-run pensions near Termini station and elsewhere suffer from the maladies of budget hotels in major cities everywhere: too little space, too much noise, and chronic, some say fatal, lack of hominess. Happily, the good news is that if you're flexible there are happy mediums aplenty, and the following pages are packed with mid-price-range reviews.
One thing to figure out before you arrive is which neighborhood do you want to stay in— If a picturesque location is your main concern, stay in one of the small hotels around Piazza Navona or Campo de' Fiori. If luxury is, head for Via Veneto or beyond the city center, where price-to-quality ratios are high and some hotels have swimming pools. Most of Rome's good budget hotels are concentrated around Termini train station, but here accommodations can vary widely, from fine to seedy, and you'll have to use public transportation to get to the historic part of town.
There are obvious advantages to staying in a hotel within easy walking distance of the main sights, particularly because parts of downtown Rome are closed to traffic and are blessedly quieter than they once were. Here, no matter how inexpensive these lodgings may be, they give their guests one priceless perk: a sense of being in the heart of history.
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