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luvtotravel Jun 29th, 2008 11:41 PM

Hotel or apt in Rome?
This would be so much easier if we had a fourth person, but we will be three women in Italy (ages 52-60). Have not determined exact itinerary, but we know we'll spend about four nights in Rome, not really my first choice of where I want to be in Italy (that's where I was able to use airline points), but that's to be saved for another post.

We don't want a hotel room that sleeps three with one shared bath. This fall the three of us are renting a three-bedroom, two-bathroom apt in Santa Fe and it looks charming (my first time using VRBO). Okay, we're also spoiled by nice hotels on business trips. When we travel on vacation I always find us charming inns, B&Bs, small hotels, etc. This time I'm challenged to rise to the occasion.

The last time we traveled as three was in 2001 when we paid $.87 for a euro and took two rooms at each hotel where each of us had a chance to have our own room. With the dollar's decline, we need to be more careful about our budget. I'm thinking we can afford $100 per night per person. I know that doesn't go very far in euros these days. For something worthwhile, we may come up with a little more. I should mention that the other ladies will need to purchase their airline tickets.

I've looked at numerous (really, a lot) of rental apartments in Rome and many of them look lovely. However, I don't look forward to the hassles of payment, having to have someone meet us, etc. that I've been reading about on this board.

That being said, we prefer hotels. We like have someone at the desk for answering our questions. We like the breakfast in the hotel to start the day. Somehow I don't see us cooking breakfast every morning and would go instead to a restaurant/cafe if we rented an apartment.

My apology for the very long explanation. I would welcome your suggestions about this decision.

LoveItaly Jun 30th, 2008 12:58 AM

Well with the exchange rate I saw this morning luvtotravl one US dollar equals 63 euro so if you can spend $100.00 US dollar for each hotel room you would need to find one that only cost 63euro. That to me doesn't sound possible unless perhaps you stayed in a convent?

I have never rented an apartment in Rome or anywhere in Italy or actually anyone when on a trip although many people do and have been quite pleased with doing so. So hopefully some other Fodorites can give you some good advice.

adrienne Jun 30th, 2008 04:58 AM

Even the 1 star hotels in the city center charge about 100 Euro per night for a double room. And it doesn't sound like you would want to stay in a 1 star hotel. Best bet is an apartment or a hotel outside Rome and commute every day (not my idea of fun). Or the convents that loveitaly suggested.

How many questions do you really ask of hotel staff that you would need to stay in a hotel. And how many hotels in Rome would offer "cooked" breakfast? I've only stayed in 5 hotels in Rome but none of them had more than cheese and yogurt in addition to bread, etc.; nothing cooked.

kybourbon Jun 30th, 2008 05:55 AM

She said $100 per person so that would be $300 per night or 191€.

If you get an apartment, try to get one with three real beds so someone isn't stuck on an uncomfortable sofa bed.

Kristina Jun 30th, 2008 06:10 AM

I think if you are staying a week, then an apartment makes sense. It's harder to find apartments by the day, but they are there.

Having two bathrooms limits your choices further, but again, they are there. I found one, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, after a very long search. My guess, is for your price, you won't find a 3 bedroom.

OTOH, finding hotel rooms for 63 euro a night, one for each of you, I think would be very difficult.

I think you're going to have to compromise somewhere, either on price, or number of bedrooms/bathrooms.

zeppole Jun 30th, 2008 06:51 AM

Given your budget, I think you're focusing too much on the "hassles" of renting an apartment, and forgetting that unless you pay a pretty penny, most Rome hotels are nothing to write home about.

There are travel review sites that specialize in apartment rental reviews from users. Some places get consistently high marks for ease of use.

Another option you might explore is a small Roman b&b. Some of them only have two or three bedrooms. You might not have three baths to go with it (maybe just one or two), but you would get breakfast and have some concierge services. And they can be very inexpensive.

adrienne Jun 30th, 2008 07:02 AM

kybourbon - 191 Euro per night for a double and a single in a nice hotel would be tough to find. I know it's $100 per night per person. I was giving general prices based on the OP's budget.

eliza3 Jun 30th, 2008 07:23 AM

This is very much personal choice but we always try to stay in an apartment over a hotel. Not only are they cheaper (generally) but there is more space, somewhere to sit other than the bed, no one interrupting you to want to turn down the bed or check the mini bar. But some like the facilities hotels offer, including concierge etc. We hate the intrusiveness of a hotel but to each their own.

We have rented apartments in Rome and have had no difficulty at all. If you check out you will find many reviews of apartments as well as agencies in Rome.

Skoop2 Jun 30th, 2008 07:31 AM

I'm staying in Rome for 4 nights next week in an apartment (with my husband and 12-year-old) that overlooks the Largo Argentina. Paying has been a breeze, the apartment looks great, and it was 120 euro/night-which was our accommodation budget and which we found virutally impossible to meet in Rome. The apartment has 2 terraces and AC-if we'd gone with the 120 euro hotel we would have been in a hostel or a 1 star hotel with no view and NO ac. I've stayed in apartments during business trips before (Spain) and always had a good experience.
A far as breakfast goes, as long as you have some coffee for your coffee pot, why not get your caffeine fix in the apartment and stroll down to the corner cafe and enjoy a cornetto and capuccino, and get an early start on sightseeing.
Here's the link to our apartment. Although we haven't actually gone through the meeting-up process, I can certainly vouch for the way this company has done business with us so far.


happytotravel Jun 30th, 2008 08:13 AM

We just returned with a large group, so we used a variety of accomadations. I would recommend emailing these hotels with your requests and seeing what they have to offer you. We got a better rate via email, than booking through the website at one hotel.

Hotel Julia: Has a variety of rooms, singles, doubles, and triples even some apartments. Serves breakfast. Near the Trevi Fountain.

Hotel Golden: A small hotel, oozing with charm. Bathrobes, slippers, fluffy towels and mini bar with extra low rates. Family owned and operated. Full of information. Just around corner from the 5 star hotels on Via Veneto at a fraction of the cost. Only 16 rooms.

Convent Santa Giuliana, near Piazza Navonna and Pantheon. Very clean and pretty, friendly nuns. Breakfast. Many public rooms for getting together and socializing. Rooms are sparse, beds are firm, and some street noise (bring ear plugs). Wonderful location. Many rooms to choose from around 40 E a person. You could get three single rooms or 1 triple room, I don't think the price changes. Plenty of bathrooms, and some rooms have baths, but all have bidets and sinks.
email-Sister kathryn at [email protected]

PeaceOut Jun 30th, 2008 09:58 AM

I can also recommend the Hotel Julia's apartment annex, the Domus Julia. We had a twin room, with one bath, and a shared kitchen/dining room. They could have a configuration for you, that would provide two baths.

The breakfast does include fresh boiled eggs that are hot, with sliced ham, pastries, fruit, and fresh cappuccino. It's a lovely breakfast room and a well-managed and maintained hotel and annex.

If you want two baths, though, it's going to be more expensive. Maybe a convent is the way to go for you three?

luvtotravel Jun 30th, 2008 12:14 PM

Thank you, everyone. I will definitely check out the websites you've recommended and Slowtrav. I didn't think of them.

I'm not sure what we'll wind up doing, but the more I think about it, the less time I want to spend in Rome (I was there 30 years ago). I've been to Paris, London, and Amsterdam multiple times, but I just cannot get excited about Rome. Maybe it's because I love the other areas of Italy so much, or maybe my impression is that Rome is noisy, crowded (we'll be there in April), graffiti is all around, and I have to be so careful about being pickpocketed (I wear a money belt). I want vacation to be vacation. What am I missing about Rome?

Of coure, this doesn't settle the issue of three women in one hotel room (LOL).

zeppole Jun 30th, 2008 12:35 PM

"What am I missing about Rome?"

The romance.

travelfan1 Jun 30th, 2008 12:40 PM

Hey luv, I can help you out "This would be so much easier if we had a fourth person." I love Rome and I'm available!!!! :-) Though I dare say if I went to Rome without my DH I'd never hear the end of it!

Have a wonderful trip.

luvtotravel Jun 30th, 2008 12:57 PM

Somehow "romance" does not come to mind when traveling with two women. Although, when I was in Rome I met a beautiful Italian man. Always adds to the memories. But, alas, I'm not young and cute any more. The only date I might make is with "David"--and I don't think he'll talk much.

I don't think I mentioned that for one of the women, it is her first time in Italy, hence the need to see Rome.

PeaceOut Jun 30th, 2008 01:00 PM

"my impression is that Rome is noisy, crowded (we'll be there in April), graffiti is all around, and I have to be so careful about being pickpocketed"--
luvtotravel, I had exactly the same fears before going my first time to Rome two years ago.

None of my fears were true!

I am not a big city person, but Rome was fascinating. You do need to know where you're going and how to get there, though. We walked everywhere, took a bit of public transit to get to the Vatican (but walked all the way back). And took one very wild and crazy cab ride home after dinner. If you must ride in a cab, make sure you don't look, or you're drunk, because it's terrifying! A thrill ride, for sure.

Being there in April will be lovely for you. We were there early May, and it was warm but not hot, a riot of deep pink flowers were blooming on the Spanish Steps (and everywhere else), and there weren't many tourists there yet.

Give it another chance, for a minimum of three nights IMHO.

evecolorado Jun 30th, 2008 01:00 PM

When my friend and I were in Rome last year, we rented an apartment and very much enjoyed our breakfasts--we bought oranges, pastries, yogurt, made fresh coffee, some mornings we had wonderful rolls and most delicious ham.

zeppole Jun 30th, 2008 02:23 PM

"But, alas, I'm not young and cute any more."

It doesn't matter to Italian men.

SusanP Jun 30th, 2008 03:07 PM

If you haven't been to Rome for 30 years, give it another chance! Yes, you have to be aware of your surroundings and careful, but you don't need to be paranoid about pickpockets. There is just so much to see there that is wonderful!

I just want to point out that I agree that Santa Giuliana Falconeri convent is in a fabulous location and is a great place to stay. However, all rooms do NOT have a sink and bidet. My single room did not. And there is only one room with ensuite bath, and it's a double. That said, I had never stayed anywhere with a shared bath and was a bit hesitant about doing so, but it really was fine. You won't beat that price for that location, and it has an elevator.

SusanP Jun 30th, 2008 03:09 PM

And I should add that the nuns were always able to tell me which bus I needed!

happytotravel Jun 30th, 2008 03:26 PM

Susan, you are correct, all of the rooms for our party consisted of the bidet and sink, and one was a quad with a bath. Luvtotravel if you are interested here is price the information that the convent sends.

I prezzi
Senza bagno con bagno
Without bath with bath
Singola/single € 46.00 € 51.00
Doppia/double € 79.00(€39.50) € 84.00 (€42.00)
Tripla/triple € 113.00(€37.66) € 120.00 (€40.00)
Quad € 146.00(€36.50) € 154.00(€38.50)
Quintupla € 180.00(€36.00) € 190.00(€38.00)

Abbiamo due doppia stanze e due quadruple con un bagno.
We have two double rooms and two quads with a bath.

Il prezzo include la prima colazione; il prezzo è uguale anche senza colazione.
Breakfast is included in the prices; without breakfast the price is the same.


SeaUrchin Jun 30th, 2008 03:31 PM

You may not like Rome and that will add to your travel dilemma, I agree. With an apartment you can retreat back if you get worn out by Rome and then you will have more room to sit in than a hotel room.

Like was mentioned, at low rates you will just find the basic hotel room where you will sit on the bed and maybe even climb over your own luggage to do so.

I stayed in a nice two bedroom lat year in rome but it only has one bathroom. One kingsize bed in a loft and twin beds in the bedroom.

Good luck and don't stress about Rome, go sit in a cafe and have a drink and read a book if you are stressed.

PeaceOut Jul 3rd, 2008 01:41 PM

If you like the idea of the 'hybrid' Domus Julia-- benefits of both hotel and apartment-- I'll bet you could rent one twin room w/bath, one dougle/single room w/bath, with a dining room and kitchen for extra space. Our bathroom was rather large, white tiled, relatively new. Furnishings are simple, but clean and attractive. Nice quiet side street location, a couple of blocks downhill from the Spanish Steps and the Barbarini Palace.

You still get a nice breakfast at the hotel, included, but you get two baths and more space. Plus they'll reserve rooms for two or three nights.

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