9 Hotels for Roman Holidays
By Gary Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 4, 2004; Page P01
In Rome, the appeal of the monuments may be eternal but that of the hotel rates is not. Room prices in the Italian capital are rising faster than in any other city in Europe, by the account of the HotelBenchmark Survey. Travelers who can find an attractive three-star property in a central neighborhood for $150 a night should grab it. There are less pricey options in outlying neighborhoods, but the added cost and time spent getting to attractions dampens their appeal.
Armed with guidebooks, tips from Italian travel agencies and recommendations from locals, I recently crisscrossed the city, staying in three properties and inspecting a couple of dozen others. I came up with nine recommendable hotels. Some of my favorites are just right for travelers closely watching their euros; others are suitable for the kind of blowout you splurge on when you realize you may never have the chance again. And still others simply offer excellent value for the cost. Here are a few options to fit a range of budgets. Rates quoted are per night double, and are approximate. All hotels mentioned have elevators and, unless otherwise specified, private baths. Breakfast is included in the rates of all the hotels listed.
$100 and Under
• Hotel Firenze (Via Due Macelli 106, 011-39-06-679-7240, www.hotelfirenzeroma.it). $100 during July and August (normally $190).
The location (footsteps from the Spanish Steps) and decor (antique furniture, Oriental vases and fresh flowers in the lobby) give this three-star place a four-star feel. The intimate atmosphere in the lobby and bar, where you can have a tete-a-tete without raising your voice, is a rarity in this busy neighborhood. The 25 rooms are stylishly decorated, with noble wooden beds and dressers and antique carpets. All have cable TV and minibars. The vintage bathrooms are a tad small but include generous touches of marble. Air conditioning is $12 a day extra.
Best for: Couples seeking a romantic interlude.
Unexpected treat: Breakfast on the terrace offers a memorable view of one of the city's liveliest neighborhoods.
Nearby attraction: Giorgio Armani, Donna Karan and other boutiques are close enough that you can practically throw your credit cards at them from your room window.
• Hotel delle Muse (Via Tommaso Salvini 18, 011-39-06-808-8333, www.hoteldellemuse.com). $95 and up (5 percent discount if booked through the Web site).
The hassle of getting to the hotel (it's a 20-minute bus ride from the Termini station) was quickly forgotten when I walked through the door. There was a pleasant buzz in the lobby, with guests including Italians, a few Brits and a couple of Americans drinking beer and swapping tips and impressions of Rome. I visited three of the 60 rooms and found them small but inviting. Furnished in a contemporary style, they are well-maintained, decorated in bright colors and equipped with TVs and air-conditioning. Kids under 12 stay free, and several rooms are large enough to accommodate four people.
Best for: Budget travelers and families.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company