When it comes to hotel accommodation in Rome there is a lot to choose from. How to choose the right one? is the question most first time visitors will ask themselves.
It’s a real headache-inducing problem which I also faced when we were finally Rome-bound. After reading many reviews, getting another headache after checking the prices and getting lost in countless open tabs in my browser, I created a strategy to finding the accommodation the easier way. It worked for me perfectly, so I decided to create this simple guide to choosing the right hotel in Rome.
If you’re visiting Rome for the first time, you most likely want to see the most important monuments, buildings and museums. And if your time in the city is limited you wouldn’t want to waste it riding on a bus or train for an hour.
My strategy starts with a quick look at the map of Rome. I marked all the places I wanted to visit – Campo de’ Fiori, Circo Massimo, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps to name some of them. Then I added one final mark – Roma Termini, Rome’s main train station. All those markers formed a “golden” rectangle which I then further expanded about 200 meters in each direction. This was the only area for my hotel search.
This way, most points of interest are in a walkable distance from each other or a short metro ride away. The Termini station is also an important point – that’s where all long-distance trains and buses arrive as well as where you can find transport from & to the airports.
Cost is another important aspect that will help you filter out the accommodation. From our experience, Rome is one of the most expensive cities when it comes to hotels. In most places we visit, we don’t have a problem finding accommodation that is of a decent standard and under A$150 (€90). In the case of Rome, we had to up the limit by A$100 but that’s most likely due to our timing. Prices in Rome highly depend on seasons with summer (and its shouldering months) being the most expensive.
What factors on the high cost? Room size, food included in the package (usually it’s just breakfast, but some 5* hotels offer afternoon tea), the location (which we already narrowed down in the first step), services offered by the hotel and amenities. If you’re willing to compromise on some of them, you shouldn’t have problems finding the hotels fitting your budget.
Remember that hotels in Rome are also obliged by the law to collect tourist tax (visitor can be taxed for a maximum of 10 nights). The amount you pay is based on how many stars a hotel has – more stars mean higher taxes. While booking your hotel take to account this additional charge, which can be between €4 and €7 per person per night.
Here are two examples of hotels from our recent visit to Rome:
What to expect for €150?
Hotel Domus Mea is a recently renovated 2* hotel 5 minutes walk from the Termini Station.
The hotel starts from the fifth floor and spreads over the two top levels, the lower floors belong to a residential building. To enter, you need to use the intercom and wait to get buzzed in. Inside, there is an old school lift to take you up to the reception.
The entrance to the building as well as the staircases from the fifth floor onwards look clean and inviting with their white panelling and modern lamps. This theme continues into the room. It looks fresh and cosy.
Like many hotels in Rome, the room is rather small. If you travel with bigger luggage you may have to do some Tetris-style manoeuvres as the bed, desk and wardrobe take most of the space.
The night we spent there was comfortable. There were no noises from the corridor nor from the streets below. The bed and pillows were also good and the room was air-conditioned.
When it comes to amenities, there is a kettle, instant coffee and minibar in the room. The bathroom comes with one of those big bottles of all-in-one soap attached to the shower wall. Breakfast costs additional €10 per person. Complimentary bottles of water are not provided but the tap water in Rome is safe to drink (plus, there are many water fountains around the city where you can refill).
What to expect for €300?
€300 got us into a suite in the 4* Palazzo Caruso – a lovely boutique hotel located just a few minutes walk to the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps.
The suite was much bigger than I expected. Its living room area with big windows overlooked one of Rome’s beautiful baroque fountains – Fontana del Tritone. There were more sitting options than we would ever need and a nice, handwritten welcome letter with some chocolates. The furnishings and decorations looked great, especially the intricate wooden ceiling with painted flowers.
Bedroom and bathroom were tucked away in the back at the end of a small corridor. The bed was big and probably one of the tallest I’ve seen – I hope they do provide steps for it for shorter guests.
There was a small open wardrobe together with a minibar in the corner of the bedroom and bathrobes waiting for us on the bed. We felt so relaxed from the moment we arrived at the hotel we seriously considered putting them on and staying in. Especially after the shower, which not only had the right water pressure in its rainshower head but also some luxuriously smelling Zenology cosmetics.
We had some problems with the WiFi on the day (the signal was poor) but as we were staying only for one night we didn’t investigate it further.
Breakfast is served on the 6th-floor terrace (which you can use at night and relax there with a bottle of wine). It’s a buffet of mostly sweet options, like cereals, yoghurts, cakes and pastries but there were also some hams, cheese and toast bread. Instant tea and Nespresso coffee were included with breakfast.
The room also comes with a small Nespresso machine but you have to ask for a kettle. The hotel staff were accommodating and brought us one upon request.
There is no easy answer
When it comes to popular cities like Rome, with so many available options, it’s worth spending some time on hotel research keeping your requirements and budget in mind.
This article was written in partnership with Hotels.com.