Hotel vs. Apartment for Single Woman

Jan 29th, 2008, 09:53 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 237
I'm chiming in a bit late, Mebe. But I definitely understand why you would feel conflicted! I travel solo a lot, including several trips to Rome. And recently, I stayed in Rome for two weeks and rented an apartment for the first time. And it was a fantastic experience -- far better than I had expected.

I had been afraid that I would feel lonely in an apartment rather than a hotel; that I would miss having a front desk to turn to for calling cabs, or making reservations -- or if anything in the room went wrong, such as the electricity or plumbing.

I think a big part of what made my experience great was the people I rented from. I deliberately picked a very small owner-operated company, Dolce Roma. The couple that own the agency own four apartments in central Rome, and they have always received great reviews on Slow Travel because their service is so personalized. I feared that with a bigger agency, I would end up dealing with office staff that might never have even seen the places they rent and certainly wouldn't be available outside regular office hours.

The personal touch really made a difference for me. Natalia and Walter provide a cell phone with each apartment, which you can obviously use to call either of them at any time. But it was also great to use for calling home, making reservations -- pretty much anything. Nothing went wrong with the Campo dei Fiori apartment that I rented, but Natalia gave me a quick call almost every day just to make sure things were fine.

They offer free wireless Internet with their apartments, so I took my laptop (for the first time!) and it was a great way to keep in touch with people, check the weather and strikes-in-Italy sites. I even brought a few DVDs from home and had a couple of cozy evenings, when it rained, staying in and making dinner and watching a movie!

I am single, so I'm used to cooking for one, so that wasn't a big change. It was a way to save a few dollars, eating lunch or dinner in the apartment once in a while. I also found that some nights, I just wanted a big salad or soup because sometimes you just don't want a big dinner out.

I also noted that the doors on Dolce Roma's apartments are all steel and have double locks, which made me feel extra safe. And that was another reason I felt secure bringing a laptop, I don't think I'd be comfortable leaving it sitting in a hotel room when I was out.

This is running on, but I just wanted to tell you a bit about my experience because I think I've struggled with the same issues as you. But I think if you find a good landlord, through a small agency, an apartment could be a great experience!
sacc is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 10:30 AM
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 500
sacc -- We stayed at the same apartment! The first time I went to Rome was with my Hubby and daughter, at 15 months, two years ago. We LOVED it.

mebe is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 11:45 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 237
Wow -- that's great! Have you looked at one of Natalia's smaller apartments for your trip? She showed me her studio apartment near the Colosium, it looked really secure and very very nice. And a lot less expensive.....but maybe everything is already booked for May?
sacc is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 01:03 PM
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 500
The only part of our stay we didn't like was the Wine bar across the street -- did you hear the clunking of chains as people locked and unlocked their Vespas? Did she have snacks in the kitchen for you?

I just emailed her about the Campo one and asked if she would charge less if I used only one of the rooms. She gave us a deal like this the first time we stayed there. It is actually only 80E more than my orginal apartment choice.

I also looked at the Forum apartment. It isn't my ideal location, but the apartment looked nice.

My orginal choice (for this trip) it through Domus International, which I also found through The agency is a new slowtrav favorite, but the apartment hasn't been reviewed. I've been in contact with them several times, and the woman is very nice and helpful, so we'll see.

I'm looking through my old receipts to see how much we spent on groceries verses how much we spent on eating out.
mebe is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 02:00 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 237
I know what you mean about the wine bar! I'm extremely noise sensitive, so I was worried about that at first. But I found that the double-glazed windows really shut out the noise. Mind you, I was there in January, so closed windows at bed time wasn't a problem for me! I wonder if the windows weren't as sound-proofed when you were there? And the snacks Natalia provided were great -- I'm totally hooked on those round biscotti!

I'm definitely going to stay at the Roman Forum apartment the next time I go to Rome. Partly, cuz the price at 120 euros is really good and I liked the balcony that looks onto a really lovely inner courtyard. (As you know, there really wasn't a pleasant courtyard at the Campo dei Fiori apartment and Natalia is very clear about that!)

I think the location isn't as bad as I might have expected, since the Forum area makes me think of bus traffic! But there are some good restaurants and interesting little shops around the neighborhood, it's very near a Metro stop and an easy walk to some sights that I've neglected on previous visits, such as S. Maria Maggiore. But that's definitely a matter of taste!

I know what you mean about trying to figure out cost savings. I'm sure I saved money by eating more meals at home, including some lunches. And I don't think I went out for coffee much, because I loved making my own cappucinos and sipping as I got ready for the day.

But it's hard to figure out just how great the savings are. For instance, I bought a package of great, fresh ravioli stuffed with proscutto at the Despar for 3 euro, and it was enough for two good-sized meals. I know that's a saving....but then, I also had some cheese with that, and some wine and later, some fruit and yogurt. So, with everything thrown in, I'm not sure how much I really saved. But I felt as if I was able to eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, not always wind up eating big restaurant meals, and overall, with the apartment I just felt more at home!

sacc is offline  
Jan 29th, 2008, 02:06 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,188
I usually do not have kitchen facilities, but I'm still able to get a lot of food outside of restaurants. If I buy a small amount of cheese or meat, or I buy a yogurt, or I buy a juice, or I buy a tomato or apple or orange, I don't need to have a fridge before I eat it.

Maybe I miss out on some slight cost savings by not buying in bulk, but how much could I do that in a one-week stay anyway? Obviously if I don't have a kitchen, I couldn't cook a meal, but that's not something I'm likely to do while traveling to any great extent.

Hotels appeal to me more than apartments, but for many people, they enjoy an apartment, so it's all what works for you.
WillTravel is offline  
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