The most common questions that I am asked by readers are:
Finding a hotel can be a daunting and stressful task because you do not always know what you are paying for. There is nothing worse than spending hours on a long flight to Rome only to arrive and find that your accommodations are less than satisfactory. Below are some guidelines and tips to finding a place to stay that will not ruin your Roman Holiday!
Rome is a city that is easy to get around, whether you do it on foot, take public transport, drive (but why would you do that to yourself?) or hire a taxi. If your time in Rome is short (less than a week), then I suggest finding a hotel in Rome that is central to the activities and sites that you would like to visit. Not only will this help you to save time, but you can also save money on transport costs. Being nearer to sites and attractions will also mean that you can beat the crowds by arriving earlier and make so much more your time and trip.
Location might be even more important, especially if you are traveling with children or those who may have mobility issues. Choosing a hotel that is nearby will make it easier to get back in case of an emergency or other urgency, and this is definitely something to consider when planning your trip.
Finding Hotels in Rome
The internet is full of web sites that can help you find hotels in Rome. Cheaper is not always better, especially if it means that you are going to spend more of your holiday in a car or bus. Therefore, it is important to know where your hotel is. You might find a great deal for $50/night, but just how far outside the city is your hotel? Is it near a metro stop? Is it serviced by Rome’s bus system or tram system? Will you have to spend an hour each morning on public transport during peak periods when public transport is more sought after? Will you have to call a taxi every time you wish to venture out into the city?
Make sure that the site you are using has detailed maps that show hotel locations precisely so that you know exactly where the hotel is! Is the hotel easy to reach once you land? (Remember that Rome has two airports!) You might be saving on your hotel but will those savings be “eaten up” on taxi and transit costs? It is something to consider, especially if you are traveling to Rome on a budget.
Another characteristic that you should look for when searching for hotels in Rome is recommendations and feedback from other travelers. Did other guests find that $50/night hotel clean? Was the staff friendly and helpful? Did others find the hotel noisy? Perhaps it is mostly catered by students and backpackers and tended to be on the noisy side? Was the neighborhood safe? Also, how many reviews are there? One bad review out of one thousand probably means that the hotel is a good buy, but ten bad reviews out of fifteen probably means that this a hotel to pass on! Judge the recommendations of others carefully – what might be a negative to some travelers might not be a negative to you.
Finally, do not discount “word of mouth” — ask friends, family and co-workers who might have been to Rome where they stayed. Did they enjoy the hotel? Was it worth the money they paid? Was the hotel in a good location? While the experience of another does not guarantee that your experience will be similar, it can certainly take some of the guess work out of choosing and finding a hotel.
If you do not speak Italian, then finding a hotel in Rome that speaks your language is important as this will make it easier for you to communicate with the hotel staff. Check with the hotel before you book and before you pay! Many hotels in Rome require their staff to speak English as well as another European language and many hotels will also employ staff who speak Chinese and Japanese. Communicating with the staff important, since they are there to help you have the best stay possible and can serve as “ambassadors” to make your stay in the Eternal City as pleasant and enjoyable as possible.
photo: Fontana del Moro, Piazza Navona