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loveseattle Apr 25th, 2007 03:44 PM

Sneaky way to reserve restaurants in Rome
Hi, I'm new to Fodor's and am finding this to be a terrific resource. From reading posts, it looks like restaurant reservations for dinner in Rome are needed for most popular spots during May/June.

This is our question: We have reservations at a big, fancy hotel in Rome and also reservations at a smaller one, because initially we couldn't decide what we wanted. We have decided to go with the smaller hotel because of price, but from email exchanges they are very curt and don't seem to offer any extra concierge-type service.

You can probably see where this is going. Before I cancel the fancy hotel reservation, should I email them and ask them to make our restaurant reservations? I know it sounds a little dishonest, but I can't figure out another way to make these dinner reservations.

BTW, canceling rooms at the big hotel is done online through an automated system, so assuming someone at the front desk would be making the restaurant calls, I don't think the room cancelation would have any affect on the dinner reservations.

Any thoughts??

surfmom Apr 25th, 2007 03:47 PM

Maybe I'm naive, but in the interest of 'fairness' the concierge is paid a salary to service the clients of the hotel. Not others. Hence, the benefits of staying at that hotel. Do you stop at a large hotel and get the doorman to flag a taxi for you also ?

Were you planning on stopping into the large hotel and giving that concierge an extremely generous tip ? Would you have tipped if you stayed at that hotel? Or do you expect this for free also?

Padraig Apr 25th, 2007 03:50 PM

I believe in fair play: if they are not going to get your business, then I think it unfair to ask them to provide you with a service. Accept the consequences of your decisions.

sandi_travelnut Apr 25th, 2007 04:28 PM

All of the hotels I stay in are quite small, without a formal concierge. I've never had an issue with someone at the front desk of the hotel not making reservations for me if I asked them.

bill_boy Apr 25th, 2007 04:59 PM

Agree that small hotels can make resevations. But, in a lot of cases, small hotels don't have the same clout in reserving hard-to-get tables as concierge from big, fancy hotels.

Anyway, it's completely sneaky, unethical and unfair if loveseattle asks for the big, fancy hotel's concierge to make the reservations. Even if a generous tip was given after the fact. The hotel's name may also have something to do with securing a reservation.

tedgale Apr 25th, 2007 05:05 PM

If you did it -- and I hope you have now been persuaded not to -- it would be a tacky move.

CarolA Apr 25th, 2007 06:32 PM

And one never knows... If the conceige checks a few days before your visit to see when you are arriving and doesn't see you in the system, he/she may "give" your reservations to a guest standing at thier desk WHO is staying at the hotel. All it would take is them calling the "popular spot" and saying this is "Alberto at XYZ and the Seattle family is not coming, but I am going to send the Jones family instead! (Don't think it couldn't happen, it does!)

Pausanias Apr 25th, 2007 06:35 PM

Really bad kharma, man.

janisj Apr 25th, 2007 06:48 PM

Boy - folks have sure been easy on you - must be the "new to Fodor's" bit :)

No -- tacky, dishonest, and it might come back to bite you . . . . .

And who broke your arm - you CAN make your own bookings afterall

cruiseluv Apr 25th, 2007 06:58 PM

Are the restaurants you want to reserve that difficult to do once you get there? i've never had problems, but it must be I wasn't that picky about which restaurant to go to.

Quite frankly, what you are thinking of doing is ridiculous. Just ask the hotel where you are staying if they can do that favor for you. You might be surprised.

Also, a lot of restaurants have websites with e-mails. You could probably contact them directly.

tomboy Apr 25th, 2007 07:14 PM

Just 'cause it's legal doesn't make it RIGHT.

Don't they have morality on the West Coast?

iamq Apr 25th, 2007 10:26 PM

"Vorrei prenotare un tavola per dui?" worked very well for me on my recent week in Rome. Making reservations over the phone wasn't nearly as unnerving as I thought it was going to be. Once I had to hang up the phone because the gentleman on the other end and I were not communicating, but all the other times, it worked out great. The positive experiences gave me confidence that I could attempt to speak Italian in other situations.

JohnFitz Apr 25th, 2007 10:49 PM

Don't do it .
Bad karma .

kleeblatt Apr 25th, 2007 10:51 PM

Hey! He hasn't done it yet. He's just asking. Give him a break.

The receptionist at your chosen hotel will be able to make restaurant reservations for you.

It is quite possible that a hotel will not make dinner reservations if you do not have a definite booking with them.

Seattlites aren't sneaky, just innovative.

LoveItaly Apr 25th, 2007 11:36 PM

Food for thought loveseattle.

If you are not happy with the communications and service you desire from the smaller hotel in Rome versus the big fancy hotel you possibly will not be happy with the smaller hotel when you arrive and stay at the smaller hotel in Rome.

And IMO yes your idea is "sneaky" to quote you. And let me tell you, Romans are not stupid. Most are very "street smart". So my advise is if you are going to cancel your reservation at the big fancy hotel then plan on them cancelling the reservation at the restaurant where you wish to dine.

twoflower Apr 26th, 2007 12:08 AM

LoveItaly's right - people in the tourist industry are pretty streetwise. Cancelling your room reservations online could very well filter through to any dinner reservations linked to that room number and to you, and result in them being cancelled as well. Agree also that if you are finding the smaller hotel curt in manner, you may end up regretting you stayed there. Not sure I understand the concern about concierges - I avoid them like the plague myself. Wouldn't care about the dinner either - with all of Rome at your disposal, I'd be out there getting into it. Eating in one's place of lodging is a monumentally unadventurous thing to do when travelling in new and exciting destinations.

loveseattle Apr 26th, 2007 07:18 AM

Ok, ok! I surrender! I won't do it. If I'd thought it was ok in the first place I wouldn't even have asked. I agree 100% about karma. Loveitaly and Twoflower may be right, the dinner reservation could get canceled with the room, the hotels must have some system for checking that to maintain good relationships with the restauarnts.

Thanks for your honesty, everyone.

ljc4creb Apr 26th, 2007 07:33 AM

....and when is the best time to request a reservation? call the hotel a week before and request or wait unitl you get there?

ekscrunchy Apr 26th, 2007 07:50 AM

Where is it that you want to eat? I think there would be no problem with e-mailing the new, cheaper hotel, (which one is it?) and asking them to make a call for you if you do not want to do it yourself. I would guess that there are English-speaking people at any restaurant in Rome with a large tourist clientele.

NeoPatrick Apr 26th, 2007 08:13 AM

"Do you stop at a large hotel and get the doorman to flag a taxi for you also ?"

Hmm. Interesting question. Yes, I've done that and never thought twice about it. Of course I tip the doorman getting the taxi. I've done this in New York more than once -- when it's hard to flag a taxi on the street, I just go to a large hotel, get in the queue if there is one and tip the doorman to get me a taxi. Is that bad?

Meanwhile, if you're planning on staying at any hotel in Rome that won't call and make dinner reservations for you, I'd be seeking another hotel. That's a standard service for even the lowest budget hotels in my opinion.

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