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WHERE TO STAY IN ROME



Rome has been a major tourist Rcentre since the Middle Ages, when pilgrims from all over Europe came to visit the home of Catholicism and its relicpacked churches. The nostalgic can still sleep in a 15th-century hotel, or stay around the Campo de’ Fiori market, where visiting ecclesiastics were entertained by courtesans in the Renaissance era. Those who prefer their history a little less raffish could opt for an ex-monastery or convent, or stay in a still-functioning religious house. Romantics could sleep in the house once occupied by Keats, while stargazers could stay in former palaces graced by celebrities of the past and present. Rome can offer the full range of accommodation, mostly in historical buildings, very little purposebuilt. Pensione (guesthouse) is no longer an official category, but in practice many retain the name and more personal character that has made them so popular with travellers. Other possibilities include hostels, residential hotels and self-catering accommodation. The hotels are organized in the listings  according to their price category and area. On page 297 a key lists the symbols that denote each hotel’s facilities.

WHERE TO LOOK

Around the Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna lies the traditional heartland of foreign visitors, with some of the most exclusive smaller hotels. Similar places can be found all over the centre, to the west of Via del Corso.


While moderately priced accommodation is rare in central Rome, the advantages of staying right on the doorstep of the city’s many ancient sights cannot be overestimated; you can walk to the major areas of interest and easily return at midday for a shower and siesta. If the less expensive hotels we have recommended in the centre are full, try the Borgo – close to the Vatican – or the lively quarter of Trastevere. Those in search of glamour should head for Via Veneto, which has many grand and luxurious hotels

luxurious hotels. If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat, try the area around the Aventine, or one of the high-class hotels next to the Villa Borghese park. Although many of the streets immediately around Termini station are rather seedy, the area is nonetheless a convenient stopover for travellers and there’s a concentration of cheap hotels, with some decent (if basic) ones among them. The hotels recommended lie in a fairly safe area on the east side of the station. The approach to the centre from Termini has a number of good hotels that are particularly suitable for the business traveller.

HOTEL PRICES

Although Rome may still offer less expensive accommodation than other large cities like London or New York, rates for comparable establishments have caught up. Prices are set by the state, and hotels should display the official rate on the door of each room. VAT (IVA in Italian)is usually included, and has been taken into account in the price categories on page 297. Hotels in Rome generally have low and high season rates. April to June, September and October are high season. Double-check tariffs when booking hotels at other times of year as you may initially be quoted the higher rate. Excepting Christmas and New Year, there are some real bargains to be had between November and February, and also in July and August. Many hotels also offer special Internet booking deals. Discounts for long-stay visitors and groups are often negotiable.

Rooms without a bathroom can cost about 30 per cent less. Single travellers are badly catered for, and though it is possible to find a single room for 60 per cent of the price of a double, on average you’ll pay as much as 70 per cent, and occasionally even more.

 HIDDEN EXTRAS

 Even if the price of your room includes service, you are frequently expected to tip bellboys and for room service. Rates are often not inclusive of breakfast, especially at some luxury hotels, where it may cost up to 50 euros. Hotels usually add hefty surcharges to international phone calls, and may charge for parking and air conditioning. The cost of drinks in minibars can be high – you can buy a cheaper supply from local shops.

FACILITIES

Hotel standards have improved of late – you can expect air conditioning and some bathrooms with hair dryers in middlerange establishments and phones in middle to lower price rooms, although budget travellers staying in cheaper hotels shouldn’t expect much more than a clean room. Because most hotels occupy historic buildings, room sizes can vary dramatically even within the same establishment (and this is often reflected in the pricing), so don’t be afraid to ask to see your room before you check in. For the same reason, swimming pools are few and far between, but roof terraces or gardens are common across the range of hotels. Top-class hotels will usually have some soundproofing; otherwise noise levels can be dreadful, in which case ask for a room facing away from the road. Parking in central Rome is a problem, though a few hotels have a limited number of parking spaces of their own. Business visitors to the capital are well catered for, with hotel facilities ranging from internet access to meeting rooms.


HOW TO BOOK

The Italian postal service tends to be unreliable, so it is safer to book by phone, fax or through the hotel website. You should do this at least two months in advance if you want a particular hotel in May, June, September or October; Easter and Christmas are also busy. If you require any particular features, such as a terrace or a view, insist on confirmation in writing to ensure that you get on arrival what you have been promised.

promised. If a deposit is required you can usually pay by credit card. Under Italian law a booking is valid as soon as the deposit is paid, so you could lose money if you pull out. Double-check bookings prior to departure. Many hotels have a fierce cancellation policy and if you are not happy with the accommodation, or it is not what you booked, there is every chance that you will be charged for at least one night, even if you decide not to stay. Another reason for checking your booking carefully is that some hotels deliberately overbook and then offer unsatisfactory alternative accommodation. If you arrive by train, touts may descend on you at the station with offers of accommodation. They can be of some use if you are looking for a budget hotel, but you should exercise the usual caution. A better bet if you have not booked anywhere in advance is to head for one of the tourist board offices . Here, staff will reserve you a room within the price range you specify.

CHECKING IN AND OUT

Italian hoteliers are legally obliged to register you with the police, which is the reason they always ask for your passport. They usually hold on to it for a while, but you need it if you are going to change money. Everyone in Italy is supposed to carry with them some sort of identification. In some of Rome’s cheaper pensioni, do not be surprised if you are asked to pay on arrival. To speed up the checking out process, mention in advance if you intend to pay by credit card. A tax dodge used by many hotels is to ask for payment in cash; you are entitled to refuse.

DISABLED TRAVELLERS

Provision for disabled travellers is very poor. Small hotels that occupy parts of buildings sometimes only start their rooms up several flights of stairs, whereas certain other establishments can accommodate disabled guests on the ground floor, or only have a couple of rooms that are appropriate. Ramps, wide doorways and bathroom handrails are rare. Our entries for wheelchair access in the listings below rely on the establishments’ own assessments; any specific requirements should be checked before booking. There is a useful website dedicated to mobility within the city of Rome, while the Lazio region provides advice on accessibilty further afield 

TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN

 Italians love children and they are usually welcome across the range of hotels. Facilities, however, tend to appear unimpressive on paper. Most hotels can provide cots or small beds, but high chairs, children’s meals and babysitting services are rare. Those hotels that do offer special facilities for children are listed with a symbol. In practice, though, many establishments – especially smaller, family-run ones – go out of their way to be helpful. Many hotels do not have any special rates for children, especially in high season, and charge a standard rate if you require an extra bed in a room, whether for a baby or an adult, which can add anything from a few euros to 40 per cent on to the price of a double room. For a family with older children, two-room suites are sometimes to be found

BED & BREAKFAST

A fairly new option for visitors to Rome is bed & breakfast accommodation. Roman hosts offer their spare rooms to visitors, generally for a lower price than an equivalent hotel room. Contact the Bed & Breakfast Association of Rome for a good selection of rooms and apartments, Rome Bed & Breakfast in the US, or visit Rome’s tourist board website .

RESIDENTIAL HOTELS

If you want the comfort and privacy of your own apartment coupled with the services of a hotel, you could opt to stay in a residenza. Prices range from around €300 to over €3,000 for a week in a two bedded room, though some residenze are only available for fortnightly or monthly lets. A full list is available from tourist board offices. These are some of the most central:

RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS

If you do not mind an early curfew, quite a few religious institutions take in paying guests. You do not have to be a practising Catholic to stay in one of these as people of all religions are welcome. You should be sure to book well in advance, however, as all of the following places cater for groups of students and pilgrims. Il Rosario convent is located near the Colosseum, while Nostra Signora di Lourdes and the Casa di Santa Brigida are both well positioned in the centre of Rome. Prices are in the same range as for the cheaper hotels

BUDGET ACCOMMODATION

Even if you are travelling on a shoestring, it is possible to find a clean, decent room in Rome. Dormitory accommodation can be found at rockbottom prices in simple establishments, such as the Ottaviano. Youth hostels are a good option – and not just for the young. At the Ostello del Foro Italico bed, breakfast and shower can all be had at a very reasonable cost. Fawlty Towers has good facilities for the price, including a roof terrace; like Stargate, it is located near Termini station. Women can get single, double or triple rooms at the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). Its location near Termini is convenient but insalubrious, so those arriving at night should take care. Those wishing to book budget accommodation are advised to contact the organisation in advance. Advance bookings are not always accepted.

CAMPING

Most campsites are located quite far out of town – suitable for an occasional excursion into Rome – with the exception of Flaminio Village, which is only 6 km (4 miles) north of the centre

TOURIST BOARDS

Provincial and state tourist boards can provide advice on accommodation. Hotel Reservation is a booking service with offices at Termini station, as well as both airports.

WHERE TO STAY IN ROME WHERE TO STAY IN ROME Reviewed by MELANIE INFINITY on January 08, 2020 Rating: 5

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