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Help! Rome - Dependence (Hotel Smeraldo) safe?

Help! Rome - Dependence (Hotel Smeraldo) safe?

Mar 14th, 2007, 07:17 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 106
Help! Rome - Dependence (Hotel Smeraldo) safe?

Hotel Smeraldo is booked the week my sister and I will be traveling to Rome. They have offered us a room in their "Dependence" hotel "20 meters away".

Does anyone know about this alternative hotel? It is my sister and I traveling, both in our 20's, and we want to be SAFE.

Thanks for any advice!!
mary09 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2007, 07:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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That's probably what was called Hotel in Parione until recently. I stayed there last year and it was fine--clean, newly renovated, great location, tiny but well-arranged room and bath, no breakfast room but right next door to a fabulous bakery, plus there's a little bar-cafe right across from Smeraldo. I recommend it to budget-conscious travelers who want something above bare bones, but without frills.
kayd is offline  
Mar 14th, 2007, 07:31 AM
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Thanks, kayd. That is exactly what we want - above bare bones but no frills needed. I've heard stories of hotels sending guests to office/apartment buildings when they run out of rooms and I just want to make sure this isn't like that.
mary09 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2007, 10:27 AM
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You might be interested in the Hotel Julia/ Domus Julia (its apartment complex next door to hotel). We stayed there three nights last May and liked it a lot. Very pretty breakfast room, very good price. Here's my trip report:

"Rome, three nights in May 2006

I arrived at Romeís FCO airport around noon, having flown in from the States. I took the hotel shuttle to the Domus Julia (about 12 EUR), a nice little B&B type hotel, just below the Barberini Palace and very near the Spanish Steps, at via Rasella 32. I had time to get settled and refreshed before my daughter arrived from Florence at 5 p.m. I was not feeling at all tired or jet-lagged, just excited to be there and see Rome for the first time.

Domus Julia is a great value and nice little hotel. Itís the apartment annex to the Hotel Julia, so you check in and have breakfast buffet at the hotel. It is a fine little place, in a great location, at a very reasonable price. We had a double/twin room, which was large enough by European standards (and is pictured on their website quite accurately). It was 170EUR, with a private bath, and including the breakfast buffet. We entered our room via a nice dining room/kitchen common area. There were two other units which shared that space, and I think they are larger apartments and might suit our family of four. They offer a 13EUR shuttle from the airport, which is a big cost-savings.

As soon as she arrived, we headed for the Spanish Steps. It was a beautiful and sunny day, with all the deep pink azaleas in bloom, and lots of people lounging on the steps. We looked around, took pictures, and then walked down to see the designer shops on via Condotti.

Next, we stopped for dinner at Rosa Rosae Ristorante, via di Pietra 88. It was a very nice atmosphere, but a bit touristy. Food was just so-so, but service was friendly. Prices were on the higher side for the quality, at about 52EUR for two, with a half-liter of house wine. My veal was ok, but a bit tough.

After dinner, we ended our day at the Trevi Fountain, because we wanted to see it all lit up at night. It was very pretty, if somewhat crowded. We sat on the steps to enjoy it and chat. The street vendors are especially annoying there, though. They simply wonít take ďNoĒ for an answer, so itís best to totally ignore them, but thatís a tough thing to do at first.

Anyway, I discovered that itís a mistake to pay any attention, as the street vendors take that as showing interest, and they persist endlessly. You just have to ignore them, or they follow you and stay right in your face. I was surprised when I found out that the vendors come right into restaurants and walk up to diners at their tables, too. Itís a sad situation, really.

The next day we had reservations at the Vatican Museums at 2:00. We had a leisurely morning, enjoyed the Hotel Juliaís breakfast buffet, and then took the metro over to Vatican City. We were thrilled we were able to walk to the head of the line, which was about two blocks long. (So the hassle of faxing to the Vatican and waiting to hear back was all worth it!) we were very glad we'd gone to the trouble to get the Vatican's Museums tour confirmation. It was fantastic to be able to walk directly to the head of the line, which was about two blocks long. The tour guide uses head sets to communicate, and it makes it so much easier not to have to stay right next to her to hear, because there are many people there, of course. The tour took two hours, which left us in the Sistine Chapel at 4:00. Perfect timing to enjoy the Chapel for a nice long time, then exit through the back door, which closes at 4:30, and takes you to the St. Peter's Basilica. That's the best travel tip I had on our trip. (Another tip is to make sure you bring ID, as the Museum checks for your name on their list and wants proof of all visitors' names.) Other people didn't know about the Sistine Chapel back door, and would leave the Museums to go stand in line outside again to enter the Basilica. So, we never were in the Basilica line proper, and didn't notice students offering tours. Since my daughter studied in Italy last semester and had already toured the major museums to study art history, I was lucky enough to have my own personal student tour guide! I was most interested in seeing Michelangelo's Pieta there.

Our tour was very nice, with an informative and interesting guide. We had headsets, which are a huge convenience in enjoying the tour. It took two hours, which left us in the Sistine Chapel at 4:00. This was great timing, since the door from there into St. Peterís Basilica closes at 4:30. We had 30 minutes to enjoy the chapelís masterpiece ceiling, which is barely enough time. We then headed directly into St. Peterís to admire its dome, and especially Michelangeloís Pieta.

It made for a great day of art appreciation, without any of the headache of waiting in lines. We figured we would have spent about four hours standing in lines in the sunshine, if we didnít have the Museums reservation and didnít know about the back door from the Sistine Chapel into St. Peterís. I donít think they advertise that little shortcut, but, thanks to Rick Steves, we knew about it.

After enjoying St. Peterís Square and seeing all we wanted to see at the Vatican, we crossed the Tiber and walked around that cute neighborhood for a while, finding a nice little café to sit for a drink and a salad.

We wandered around some more, took lots of photos and enjoyed the atmosphere.

Later, for dinner, we headed back toward a restaurant where my daughter had eaten earlier that semester. Itís very casual and good, called the Maccheroni Ristorante at Piazza delle Coppelle, 44, phone 06 68307895. Itís very popular with locals and gets very busy. The service is friendly and the atmosphere is lively and interesting. About 47 EUR for two, with one-half liter of house wine.

The next day dawned with pouring rain, which was a bit concerning as it was our last full day. and we planned to visit the Coloseum and the Forum. Our luck was good, though, because after weíd finished breakfast and were ready to head out for the day, the rain had stopped. It continued to clear throughout the day, and turned into very pleasant weather after all.

When we arrived at the Colosseum, a guide was selling space in the next tour of both the Colosseum and the Forum, so we jumped in. He was interesting, but rather rushed. He gave a quick history, and then we had just 15 minutes to look around, take pics, and meet the next guide for the Forum tour. That guide was quite a bit more interesting; a self-proclaimed history buff who knew all the background stories that make a place come alive. We walked to the top of the hill, and then stopped several times throughout the Forum, and he gave a lot of information and answered all the questions. After that, we wandered around a bit on our own, then headed into the adjoining Roman neighborhood to get lunch on our way back toward our hotel.

Trying to eat Ďlunchí in Italy in mid-day is a big problem, as probably everybody already knows. Once they close after lunch around 3:00, restaurants donít open again until at least 7:00, and it wasnít easy to find a market for picnic snacks. Finding a place to sit and enjoy a salad in the afternoon is a big challenge. We didnít have much choice, so when we found a place that looked nice and was serving food at that time of day, we didnít care much about the price or the menu. Of course, it was outrageously expensive and rather mediocre. (Can you say ďtourist trapĒ?) But, it was worth every penny to get some food and take a break. And it was a really charming place, with very nice outdoor seating.

We then wandered over to Piazza Navonna, and the Pantheon. We were so amazed by the interior of the Pantheon, and marveled how all that engineering and design talent existed in 100 A.D. Then we found Santa Maria di Sopra Minerva, a church that has Michelangeloís Risen Christ.

Finally, we found a Foot Locker store to get a pair of shoes my daughter needed to hike the Cinque Terre. Hers had completely worn through after her semester of walking everywhere in Italy. That accomplished, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

We had reservations to meet my daughterís friend for dinner at 9:00. He had studied in Rome that semester and recommended his favorite restaurant in the neighborhood where heíd lived, called Il Matriciano, on Via dei Gracchi, 49- 61. (Reservations advisedóphone 063213040, or 063212327) Itís perfect for a more special dinner, but certainly not over-the-top. For three people dining, we paid just 103 EUR, which included a liter of house wine. We shared two appetizers, and two of us had veal dishes, one had just spaghetti. We each enjoyed coffee and dessert. It is a very, very friendly and pleasant place. We completely enjoyed it.

The next day, we slept in a bit, and then took a cab to the train station to take EuroStar to Florence.

Itís my habit to peek into little hotels that look nice, as we wander around in any city, anywhere. Iím collecting research for our next visit, and besides, hotel lobbies are always interesting and sometimes beautiful. While in Rome, I picked up cards from these three hotels, which looked very nice, but also more expensive than our Domus Julia:

La Lumiere di Piazza di Spagna (Spanish steps), has rooftop dining, is in an old mansion on Condotti street. More expensive than our Hotel Julia, I'm sure. www.lalumieredipiazzadispagna.com.

Hotel Barberini, Via Rasella 3, a four-star just up the street from the Domus Julia, across from Barberini Palace and near the Spanish steps. [email protected]

Hotel Bramante, near the Vatican in the 'ancient urban neighborhood of Borgo Pio". www.hotelbramante.com."
Mar 14th, 2007, 10:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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The dependence of the Smeraldo is fine.
carrom is offline  
Mar 14th, 2007, 01:40 PM
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Thanks, Carrom. Have you stayed at Dependence?
mary09 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2007, 02:44 PM
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No but I have a flat in Via dei Giubbonari and walk past it all the time. The area is always crowded and bustling. It's really close to one of the best bakeries in town (Roscioli), minutes from Campo dei Fiori . Obviously as in all cities you must beware of pickpockets during the day and you may encounter some rowdy drunken tourists at night but because there's always so many people around I would regard it as pretty safe.
carrom is offline  
Mar 14th, 2007, 02:53 PM
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We stayed at Hotel in Parione in Sept. 2005 and tried to stay again in Sept. 2006, but it was booked. It was a great place - great location, and like a previous poster said, great bakery next door. Book it!!!
jill_h is online now  
Mar 14th, 2007, 04:53 PM
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I stayed in this Hotel (when booked called Hotel In Perione, when I arrived the name was taped off) in November 2006. It is around the corner from Smeraldo - you do need to check in at out at Smeraldo. The rooms are nice and clean. Elevator works. We did have a room with window looking upon street - there was contruction at the time and they started a bit early. Great location and there is an upscale wine bar a few steps away.
lothar1138 is offline  
Mar 15th, 2007, 01:15 PM
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Thank you, that sounds great. I guess I should book it - the emails from the hotel staff have been very curt so I hope they are actually reserving my room. My fear is showing up and having no room in sold-out May!
mary09 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2007, 09:48 AM
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We stayed at the Hotel Smeraldo a few years ago, in two different rooms in buildings that I think were side by side. One room was small and newish, the other was a bit worn but clean and larger. I got the impression they were doing up one building at a time. Staff there were not helpful or friendly but the location is great. Very atmospheric narrow streets, great little cafe across the road for breakfast cappuccino and Campo dei Fiori is 2 mins walk away. Have a great time.
Kay (almost forgot, we found it hard to find so print off the map from their website and take with you. You can always show a local.)
KayF is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 11:28 AM
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Thanks, Kay. Did you ever travel to the hotel by taxi? Did taxi drivers know how to get there? We will be taking a cab from the train station and I don't want to be overcharged while my taxi driver "searches" for the hotel! Any advice??
mary09 is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 12:27 PM
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The streets in that area of Rome have been there for centuries -- any cabbie should know them, though it may seem they are taking roundabout routes because so many streets are one-way. In addition to having the hotel name and address in writing, why not print a map from google or mapquest so you can point to the location if your Italian isn't fluent.
Fare from Termini will be less than 10E.
kayd is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 06:57 PM
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Hi Mary, We stayed at Hotel in Parione last June. We took a car service there from the airport, but we booked it ahead of time, and the driver consulted a map to find it. Maybe this would be something to think about? I think it cost us 40E. The hotel is in a very well touristed area though, so I think it wouldn't be that hard to find for any cab driver. I did notice that when the driver offered to take us back to the airport at the end of our stay, the man at checkin was very curt with him, and said we could use their car service. I overheard the Smeraldo quoting a price 10E higher than our ride cost, going from IN Parione back to the airport.(We had stepped in there to wait for our car). The Smeraldo is really just across the alleyway from In Parione (Dependence)
Also, I don't know when you're staying, but the air conditioning was pretty weak, if that matters to you. We thought the room was very nice although small. The bakery next door was really good, and we felt very safe in the area. It was really hard to get a cab to come to the hotel, but there is a taxi stand around the corner. Have fun on your trip! pp
peppermintpatti is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 06:59 AM
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Thanks, Patti. We're going in May (I think I just emailed you on another message!) so I hope the air conditioning is working well. That is good information about the car service, thanks. The Smeraldo did tell me they could order us a car service for 55E, which definitely sounds like more than your ride using a taxi. Also wonderful to hear that you felt safe! That's more important to me than air conditioning, any day!! Thanks for the tips!
mary09 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 07:03 AM
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Thanks, Kay! I'm glad to hear taxi fare from the train station will be reasonable. We arrive to Rome by train and fly out from the airport a few days later. That's a good reminder about having the hotel name and address in writing, also a good idea about the map! Who knows if I would be able to figure it out while riding in the cab, but it's worth a shot! Thanks again!
mary09 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 12:16 PM
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hello mary09, my sister and I are in the exact same boat! Just wondering if you've returned from your trip and how your visit to the Smeraldo Dependence turned out.
cherrytea is offline  

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