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paula1470 Jun 20th, 2005 04:33 PM

First trip to Rome Spanish Steps or Pantheon area for hotel
My friend (who is not very computer literate) is going to Rome for 5 days in July. She is traveling with her daughter, 22 and her son, 16. This is their first trip to Rome. She has heard so much about this forum from me and so wanted some advise about the best place to stay for a first visit.

She is looking for a triple and currently can book a room at either Hotel San Carlo in the Spanish Steps area or Albergo del Senato Hotel by the Pantheon. Both hotels are offering three single beds, the rate at San Carlo is 200E which includes breakfast and tax. The rate at del Senato is 260E including the same items. She isn't too concerned about paying the 60E difference but if the Spanish steps area is a better location then she would probably book the San Carlo. She has looked at tripadvisor for the reviews of both hotels.

Any advice would be appreciated as to best location. Thanks.

elaine Jun 20th, 2005 04:41 PM

There are people who swear by one or the other. Having stayed in the Pantheon area at the Santa Chiara (not far from the del Senato) I simply can't imagine a better location. The Spanish Steps area may be equally good, but the Pantheon area is perfect as far as I'm concerned. The Spanish Steps does have a metro stop, and the Pantheon area doesn't really. I don't think of Rome's metro as an important factor one way or the other, but some might prefer that.

massagediva Jun 20th, 2005 04:44 PM

If you search this forum,you will find sooo many discussions of this topic.I would definitely vote for the Pantheon area and the del Senato. From my experience(although I'm sure some will differ,)the Spanish Steps is pretty zoo-y and not nearly as interesting as the Pantheon,which is in the middle of practically everything.

claude315 Jun 20th, 2005 04:57 PM

I have just returned from my first trip to Italy. I stayed at the Pantheon Hotel and would whole-heartedly recommend the area. I would stay there myself again after having a good look around at many of the hotels recommended by Fodorites.

It is glorious sitting at an outdoor table at one of the restaurants overlooking the Pantheon on a clear night!

Everything was within walking distance and I just loved coming back to the area each evening.

Oh to be back there! Sigh....

paula1470 Jun 20th, 2005 04:59 PM

elaine and massagediva - Thanks for your quick response. I had looked at some of the threads and did realize there is varying opinions on the two locations. I appreciate that both of you gave some good reasons why you like the Pantheon area. I had heard that the Spanish Steps area was more crowded but lots of people seem to like it. It will be interesting to see what other replies I get. I don't think she can go wrong with either location or hotel.

paula1470 Jun 20th, 2005 05:01 PM

Claude-Thank you also. Looks like we were posting at the same time. I think my friend will like the idea of sipping wine and viewing the Pantheon.

MichelleY Jun 20th, 2005 10:25 PM

Dear Paula:

My vote is for the Pantheon area.

Hope you friend has a nice trip.


francophile03 Jun 21st, 2005 04:59 AM

Here is another vote to stay in the Pantheon area.

bookchick Jun 21st, 2005 05:05 AM

Well, I may be the one dissenting vote, but I like the Spanish Steps area, and have always received wonderful treatment from the San Carlo. I just returned on Wednesday from a 2 and a half week trip to Italy, and the Piazza Navona area, IMO, was just as crowded as the Spanish Steps were!

Buon Viaggio,

OpusX Jun 21st, 2005 05:36 AM

Pantheon area. Albergo del Senato is an awesome hotel.

Patrick Jun 21st, 2005 05:52 AM

Our first trip to Rome we stayed above the Spanish steps, and thought it was perfect. After that we stayed at several different hotels, near the Trevi Fountain and near Piazza Navonna. I now would prefer the location nearer the Pantheon than one near the Spanish steps, but you know what? It really isn't a big deal, either location is great. I'd go for whichever hotel seems nicer -- and I'd suspect (but can't confirm) that would be the Albergo del Senato.

RuthMc Jun 21st, 2005 06:05 AM

I'd vote for the Pantheon area also, as I think it is a little closer for walking to areas like the Vatican and Trastevere. As others have said, it's wonderful to sit having a drink seeing the Pantheon lit up at night, although you can do that and stay somewhere else (our second trip in May, we stayed near the Piazza della Boca della Verita) but still visited the Pantheon one night).

jabez Jun 21st, 2005 10:22 AM

I agree with Patrick.
I'd go with the best place you can get for your budget during your timeframe. If it were just me and my wife, I'd go with the Pantheon area. I might sway ,a bit, a little to the Spanish steps area if my young-adult childre were coming with. I think they would like the shopping close to that area a little more.

WillTravel Jun 21st, 2005 10:32 AM

I don't know enough about the two hotels to say specifically. Although this may sound silly, I would opt for whichever has the better bathroom, preferably one that is large and convenient enough that you can bring in your clothes without getting them wet, and shower without soaking the bathroom floor. Many Italian hotels are not set up this way, even the more expensive ones. This feature matters a lot more when traveling with two kids than it does for a romantic couple.

If the bathrooms are equivalent, I'd opt for the one with the larger room.

Both locations would be perfectly fine with me, and I see advantages to both.

bethrich Jun 21st, 2005 10:49 AM

Another vote for both The Pantheon and del Senato. The steps are nice to visit to or from a shopping trip, but staying near the Pantheon can't be beat - we loved it and were with our 18 and 13 year olds who enjoyed the area, as well.

bardo1 Jun 21st, 2005 11:22 AM

The Pantheon area is a much nicer area in which to base yourself for a trip to Rome - especially a first trip.

Your own post says that the two hotels are equal in ammenities but that the Albergo del Senato Hotel is 60E more.

There are three reasons for this: location, location, location.

amelia Jun 21st, 2005 11:27 AM

When we did Rome a few years ago, I had two kids, one of whom was a teen then, and we were meeting up with a family with two teens. We stayed near the Pantheon; they stayed near the Spanish Steps.

They loved our Pantheon location. They kept saying, "If only we had known."

john183 Jun 21st, 2005 12:45 PM

Another vote for the del Senato. We stayed at the Hotel Scalinata di Spagna at the top of the Spanish Steps in 2001 and at the Albergo del Senato in 2002 and would without a doubt recommend del Senato. Watching the sunset from the roof top bar while looking out over the Pantheon and sipping on some red wine just can't be beat. I think even her 16 year old will like looking down at the piazza from the roof top. We did not have a Pantheon view room but thoroughly liked the area. Even though there is not a metro station nearby, a major bus route is only 2 blocks away. As you said, she can't go wrong at either location. Isn't it great to have a win-win decision.

Weadles Jun 21st, 2005 01:39 PM

Yet another vote for the Pantheon area. We stayed two years ago at Hotel Pantheon, and really enjoyed being able to walk easily to the Trevi Fountain the Colosseum, and, of course, the Pantheon itself.

Also at night, when the Rotunda is lit up, the area is very beautiful and lively. There are plenty of outdoor trattorias where you can take in some great people-watching, and if you get bored there, it's a quick walk to Piazza Navona, which often has outdoor entertainment and "sidewalk" artwork for sale in the summer.

rohani Jun 21st, 2005 01:46 PM

We just got back from Rome on Saturday and stayed at the Del Senato by the Pantheon. We found it to be extremley convienant as it's city center and in walking distance to many sights in any direction. We didn't use the metro or the bus service and got around fine. We did use a taxi on a couple of occasions. After walking the city layout, we probably wouldn't stay anywhere else.

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