Rome: Westin Excelsior?

Old Mar 5th, 2010, 03:00 PM
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Rome: Westin Excelsior?

I'm hoping that people who have stayed here in the last year can answer a few questions for me:

How is the air conditioning? Is it powerful enough in mid-summer? Is it reasonably quiet?

How's the soundproofing-- both from outside noise and from room to room?

Are the beds really like the stateside "heavenly beds"? Or are they more like the EU harder mattresses?

About how long a walk to, say, the colisseum or forum?

Any other details much appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old Mar 5th, 2010, 03:05 PM
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We have stayed here a number of times and really enjoy it.

- Sound - It is extremely quiet and the soundproofing is effective. Every other hotel we visited had walls made of paper.

- A/C is great and was more effective than any other hotel we visited.

- Heavenly beds are like the ones in the US.

We easily walked to the Colisseum and Forum from here. I can't remember how long it took but maybe 20-30 minutes? We tend to stroll in Rome so it probably takes us longer to get places.

The negative feedback for this hotel tends to be related to the outdated decor. The decor didn't bother us one bit.
The staff is also extremely friendly and helpful.
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Old Mar 6th, 2010, 06:58 AM
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Much appreciate the reply (and hoping for more). So many of the reviews on TA are really negative-- it surprised me. I don't think we'd mind out-dated decor, though I know we would mind shabbiness and lack of good cleaning. Gina-- did you stay in a standard ("deluxe") room or in one of the better ones? Do you happen to know if each room varies greatly depending on where in the hotel it is? It's so impt to us that the room be quiet. (One of the negative reviews mentions awful noise from nearby bar.) Thanks once more.
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Old Mar 6th, 2010, 07:33 AM
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Hi poss; Looked at trip advisor and there were 218 reviews and only a few were negative. [197 were very good to excellent]. With that many reviews, there will always be some people unhappy with 'something'. We have stayed there when new sidewalks were being installed outside the hotel--no problem. The hotel is lovely. We stayed in a deluxe room and it was very nice. [With Starwood points] Never a problem with noise. Gave our daughter two nights there with Starwood points. They had a problem getting their luggage to their room after four hours. Ended up with a 'suite', two rooms, each with a TV and two baths. All this with no money exchanged, just Starwood points. Great customer service. Go and enjoy. Richard
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Old Mar 7th, 2010, 05:36 AM
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I appreciate the additional replies.
The other hotel that we're considering is Capo d'Africa. I know that it's in an area where we'd have an easier time walking to pleasant moderate-priced restaurants and such. We're most interested in ancient Rome, so Capo would be good for us in that respect as well. But we also like the idea of being near the Borghese Gardens.
MAIN thing for us is that our accommodations be reasonably spacious and QUIET. It'll be July, so we'll need good a/c. Comfortable bed, quiet, good a.c.-- those are our main concerns.
I wish I could know whether we're more likely to find those things at Capo (whose decor doesn't especially appeal to us) or at Westin (which is a little bit of a price stretch for us).
Again-- I appreciate the input.
(I'd love to stay on Aventine Hill-- for the relative peace and quiet-- but we're in our late 70's and I'm afraid that all the hill walking in that heat is not a good idea.)
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Old Mar 8th, 2010, 05:54 AM
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Hi...to answer your question we have stayed in the regular and premium rooms and were upgraded to a suite once. The a/c, beds and noise (lack of) were the same across the board.

We liked the location. We walked to everything from there and actually found the location to be quiet as compared with other areas.
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Old Mar 8th, 2010, 07:34 AM
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Hi; For the Westin. You could consider applying for a Starwood American Express CC. Once approved you get 10,000 points. Then spend another $6000 giving you 16,000 points. [air fare being a good part of the $6000] You could then get two nights for 8,000 points and $150 US dollars PER NIGHT. We use this CC frequently for free nights. D.C. in May, five nights with only points at the W Hotel [48,000]. Helsinki in August at the Hotel Kamp for two nights, 4.000 points and $90 Us dollars per night. If interested, call them and ask about the 10,000 point offer. Richard www.AmericanExpress.com/starwood P.S. No annual fee the first year [Cancel after your trip] The next year it's $45 dollars per year.
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Old Mar 8th, 2010, 07:43 AM
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Thank you both very much.
iris: I remember other folks speaking well of that card. Perhaps I should do as you suggest-- a bit of trouble, but worth it no doubt.
(I'm looking at the Inn at the Roman Forum as well now. It's in an area that I think will be more to our liking, esp with less expensive and more "local" eating places nearby. Though I love the idea of being near the B gardens.)
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Old Mar 18th, 2010, 03:52 PM
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I know that the Westin is in a more "touristy" section than some other areas (not necessarily a total drawback). I'm wondering if there are, in fact, some nice moderate more "local" kinds of restaurants for pleasant evening meals.
Thanks. (Still haven't decided-- though I did apply for a Starwood AmEx.)
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Old Mar 18th, 2010, 04:14 PM
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Colline Emiliane
La Bruschetta
Tullio - not really moderate but it was very good!
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Old Mar 18th, 2010, 04:19 PM
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It's not so much that it's a touristy area as that it's a high-rent area, which is reflected in restaurant prices.
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Old Mar 18th, 2010, 04:21 PM
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What do you mean by "moderate"? What do you want to pay per person?

Thin
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Old Mar 18th, 2010, 07:59 PM
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Poss,

Im answer to your question...yes, there are reasonably (modertate) priced restaurants near the Westin. However if you want cheap, you'll have to look further afield. The best meal I had in Italy was, surprisingly, at the Westin. And, I didn't find the area anymore 'touristy' than many other places in Rome.
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Old Mar 25th, 2010, 01:49 PM
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Thanks for the restaurant recommendations. I've made note of them. For sure the places don't need to be cheap, just not super-expensive. If Rome is anything like the States, one can often have an excellent meal at moderate restaurants, and sometimes quite expensive ones aren't all that impressive. We'd like to spend not more than about $25-30 on the main course.
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Old Mar 25th, 2010, 03:16 PM
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We were in Rome last year, staying at the Hotel Eden (not far from the Westin), and that area is indeed pretty touristy (which has its pluses and minuses). But we happened to wander by the Capo d'Africa, and my wife immediately said, we should stay here next time. Very much a residential neighborhood, very authentic, and we did in fact have a great bargain meal at a nearby restaurant. (And Capo looked quite chic, although we didn't go inside). It's definitely a bit off the beaten track (except for the Colliseum), but if you want a more unique experience, Capo might be a good choice.
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Old Mar 25th, 2010, 03:22 PM
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I understand that not all of us travelers like the same places, areas, food, etc. - thank goodness. And in saying that, we really like the Via Veneto area. We find it a lovely stroll to the Villa Borghese, which we always visit at least once during every visit to Rome. Love the tree lined street scene. In its day it might have been considered a wealthy area, but I find it more like haughtiness with a loss of luster! Not sure how many of the real wealthy folks stay there now; don't think there will be any movie stars around. We like it. To us, restaurants on the Via Veneto are not the only choices, but there are inexpensive local places around. It is an easy walk to the Spanish Steps, Termini, etc. for dining in local spots. The 110 bus stops on Via Veneto & is an easy transport to many areas. The subway is convenient to quickly go to dine. Stayed in that area once & enjoyed it, but we like to try different areas & we really like the Navona area. I think the Westin would be a good choice. Enjoy Rome, Julie
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 06:48 AM
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It is truly so helpful to hear the varied responses, especially when the tone is pleasant.
Julie: I, too, love being near Borghese and I love the idea of tree-lined streets to come "home" to. But I for sure don't enjoy an ambience of haughtiness; I wonder what you mean by that.
Kenman: I agree that Capo looks great from the outside, and I also like the idea of being in a residential sort of neighborhood. Our problem with Capo is that we're not big fans of chic or minimalist, or whatever the style of their rooms and lobby is properly called. I'm afraid we might find the place too "cold" or "trendy" for our taste. I gets great reviews though.
Ah, if only I could know which of the two hotels would be more quiet and peaceful-- that's where we'd go.
Thanks again for responses-- they're great to get.
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Old Mar 27th, 2010, 02:22 PM
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Hi poss.
"In its day it might have been considered a wealthy area, but I find it more like haughtiness with a loss of luster!"

I meant the haughtiness of the wealthy era is no more. We don't find it haughty at all now, although it was in the past - or so I've heard. As for now, how haughty can it be with a Hard Rock right in the middle!

When we travel to Europe, we spend weeks to maximize the high cost of getting there. And we travel with one 26" or one 24" bag each. So, we do not have room to pack the fancy clothes! And even in our travelers' clothes, we have not felt out of place or 'looked down upon', and we are sensitive to such class distinctions!

Walking up Via Veneto from Barberini to Villa Borghese are some eateries with counters and sit down cafe-type tables & chairs serving paninis, pizzas, etc. So, I don't call that out of our economic base. There are also a couple of cafe / counter types in the Barberini area, and in the side streets between Via Veneto & the Spanish Steps. At the Spanish Steps is a McD with a Dunkin Donuts - everywhere is Americanized now! So if you want an inexpensive quick bite, choices are available within walking distance. If you want the contrary, that is available too, as well as local Italian eateries.

Don't know if you want additional info, but just in case -

If you want a great local Italian restaurant, try Hosteria Constanza. When we were there, everyone else appeared to be local, & the server did not speak English. But we were treated well & even though we don't speak Italian, we did OK with the English menu. The food was excellent & IMO authentic local Italian, and the service was very gracious. It is in the Navona area carved into the remains of the Theatre Pompeo, which is a treat to sit within those walls. http://www.hostariacostanza.com/ingl..._costanza.html
With Vittorio Emmanuele street at your back walk past the Insalata Ricca Restaurant (good one for a salad, we think), & turn right at the 1st street (looks like an alley), & almost immediately on the left is the Constanza. The spagetti al ragu (meat sauce) was 9 euros for lunch (hubby had, but I ate a few bites - it was so good!); side salad 5 euros & it was a good size (that's what I had); bread basket 3 euros (charged that whether eat it or not); 2 bottles of water & we totaled 22 euros for the two of us. The meat sauce with parmesan cheese on top was the best we have had in Italy.

We've seen recs for the Trattoria da Giggetto in the Jewish Quarter & ate there & it was terrible; fish was fishy; friti were dry; bread was stale; service was absolutely horrid for us & many others. I mean it was a terrible meal. We left most of the food on our plate.

If you want to consider staying in the Navona area, you might research the Hotel Tiziana & the Navona Garden Suites / Navona Gallery Suites. We stay a lot at the Navona Suites. However, they have some apartments/rooms that have noise issues, so be sure to check tripadvisor.com for those & be sure to advise the reservation employee that you want quiet (the rooms overlooking the inner courtyard are the quiet ones). The Michaelangelo suite gets some night noise in the kitchen/balcony area. These are 1-2 blocks from P.Navona & Campo dei Fiori. Don't know how big your group is but one apartment has 2 rooms with queen size beds that share a kitchen with stocked refrig - it's nice & it is quiet.
http://www.navonagardensuites.com/
http://www.navonagallerysuites.com/

We also stayed in the P.Barberini area at the bottom of Via Veneto in the Residence Barberini apartments. It's a good place; 24 hr front desk coverage; kitchens; elevator. The ones facing the street are noisy; I think there are quiet ones facing the outside garden - if interested just ask them.
http://www.residencebarberini.it/2006/home-en.htm

As you can probably tell, we absolutely love Rome. Whatever you decide, have a great trip, Julie
p.s. the best local Italian meal we had was in EUR (few metro stops from Colosseum) at Il Chicco; just happened upon it - no English spoken; cafeteria style, & they treated us like long lost family members from the US - they were so warm to us.
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Old Mar 27th, 2010, 02:32 PM
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http://www.tizianohotel.it/Home_En.html
sorry, forgot to include the link for the Hotel Tiziano. Have not stayed there, but sat in their lobby waiting for a bus tour once, and they treated us like we were wealthy patrons! Asked us if we wanted some complimentary coffee or water; answered several questions we had that did not at all relate to their hotel - & they knew we were not staying there. The lobby is beautiful. The location is excellent. So thought I would just mention it, but if interested, be sure to research it.

Julie
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Old Mar 27th, 2010, 03:56 PM
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"they treated us like we were wealthy patrons"

Interesting. Hotel Tiziano doesn't attract wealthy patrons. Sounds to me like someone was so happy to be in Rome, she forgot to take off her rose-tinted glasses.

IMO, Hotel Tiziano is dreadful. Seriously run down, noisy and tired. No one in his/her right mind would compare it to the Starwood's Westin. The Tiziano is on Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, one of Rome's busiest and dirtiest car-fume streets. Tour buses galore. Their website comes in 7 languages with flags a-blowin'. That should be a sign. They cater to large tour groups and offer substantial discounts to them. Yes, the location is a favorite. That's about all it has going for it.

You will always find negative reviews on Starwood hotels. Their point promotions backfire when users don't get the upgrades they demand. Not every room in every hotel is fabulous. Either you get lucky or you pay dearly. Or both. Yes, the Westin Excelsior also comes in 7 languages, but they handle that service with discretion. The room rates are much higher at the Excelsior for a reason.

"The Via Veneto is touristy in a "foodcourt at suburban shopping mall" kind of way."

ThinGorjus must be drinking again. There's nothing on Via Veneto that makes me feel like I'm in a suburban mall's food court. You will not find Sbarro, Subway, Taco Bell or Long John Silver's. You probably won't find many mullets, either. Via Veneto (in an odd way) reminds me of Central Park South in NYC. CPS is very touristy, as well, but New Yorker's do live there and pay big bucks to do so. Romans also live on Via Veneto and pay big bucks.

Via Veneto is not my favorite area because it's too far away from what I love most about Rome. Plus, I wouldn't be caught dead in a Hard Rock Cafe even though my Rome friends say it's the best place for a cheeseburger and fries. However, I think the street retains much magic, maybe because of its history, maybe because of its tree-lined curves. In spring and fall, the feel is lovely, especially late at night. I've walked Via Veneto at 4 AM and loved it. Not a tourist in sight.
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