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“Makes Basil Fawlty seem polite” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Villa Habsburg Porta Metronia

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Villa Habsburg Porta Metronia
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Piazza di Porta Metronia, 00183 Rome, Italy (Monti)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #427 of 723 Specialty Lodging in Rome
Midlands, UK
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Makes Basil Fawlty seem polite”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2008

Just discovered this site, but it seems from other reviews that things haven't changed much and others have had similar experiences. Stayed in July 2006 for just under a week.

5 stars for the location, which is a genuine short walk down into the city. Views, at least from ground level, somewhat overstated. Not exactly quiet; the place seems to be above a main route to one of the area's hospitals, so the peace is regularly punctuated by those odd Italian sirens. Something which comes with the central location, I suppose.

3 stars for the actual accommodation. We stayed in a ground floor flat, which was adequate, but a little dark and the bathroom in particular was fairly dingy, with mould in places. A mish-mash of furniture, more substantial pieces mixed with the ubiquitous chipboard, for example in the kitchen.

0 stars for the the attention received and the attitude of the owner. She is straight from the Basil Fawlty School of Customer Relations, and clearly a star pupil. Her condescension was amusing at first, but when this turned to downright rudeness it ceased to be. Having previously insulted a colleague of mine at work and the whole of the south of Italy, she accused me of being "stupid" for having the temerity to try and change the time of a taxi to pick us up from the airport. Note the tone of her replies to other complainants.

Incidentally, in the time we were there we saw no-one else, neither staff nor representatives of the owner, nor any other guests. This is not a complaint, just a comment.

I hope these observations will make you make an informed decision as to whether or not to stay here.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Owner's attitude
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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35 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
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  • English first
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English first
Los Angeles, CA
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2008

Friends from Belgium invited us from Los Angeles, California to spend the week with them at the Villa Habsburg Porta Metronia in Rome, Italy. We found it to be beautiful and well maintained, with lovely gardens and spectacular views of the Baths of Caracolla. For history buffs, a large part of the old Roman city wall runs along one side of the property. It's located at the end of a gated, private driveway; just steps away from a city bus line. Our apartment was very large and easily accommodated the four of us. There was no air conditioning but the floor fans worked very well. We enjoyed the garden patio for breakfast every morning. The villa is very private, quiet and secure. Our visit to this charming villa was a unique experience and a place we will remember fondly.

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fullerton, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2007

We returned this week from a 23 day tour of various cities in Europe, ending in Rome where we stayed at Villa Habsburg (aka Porta Metronia and Valley Castle...). I felt compelled to write a review of this property to make other travellers considering a stay at the Villa aware of what they are getting.

First off, readers must know that our stay was in the Piano Nobile (the flat on the second floor), and I will only be speaking about that accomodation as I have no knowledge of the guest houses or other apartments in the Villa.

The Piano Nobile is very spacious...3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kichen and living room area. The grounds are beautiful, and the location along the Aurelian wall is unique. You will enjoy very nice views from all of the bedrooms. The Villa is about a 10 to 15 minute walk to the Colosseum and city busses are very nearby.

The apartment, is advertised as "newly restored," however, is not in good condition. There are numerous problems with plumbing (notes around the bathroom suggest that previous tennants are responsible for this), rotted windows which are impossible to open (without forcing which is not advisable due to the possiblity of breaking them), dilapidated and broken shutters (again attemps to open may result in ruination), and severe lack of outside lighting. Additionally, potential travellers should know that in spite of being advertised, there is no lift available (the owner indicated that a guest broke it and it will not be repaired) and predictably, no air conditioning.

These last two issues are of concern since the apartment is up two curved flights of stairs and the lack of air during a stifling Roman summer is almost overwhelming (although the management can hardly be held accountable for that).

The lack of lighting issue is also important. The Villa rests at the top of a hill. You walk up a semi-steep drive (gravel and stone) to reach it. Our first evening, coming in after dark, we opened the gate at street level and were dismayed to find the drive unlit. We trudged forward up to the front door only to find no front light to facilitate finding the key hole to open the door. We fumbled around with the key until we opened the door, however, this is totally unnecessary and guests should not have to be put out in this manner.

The apartment is totally self catering...you are supplied one bath towel , a hand towel for each bathroom, bedding, a bottle of hand soap for each bathroom (used by previous guests), and one roll of toilet paper for each bathroom (I asked the housekeeper for two more and she looked stricken!). The kitchen is equipped. There is no maid service, and no further supplies given. We supplied our own bath soap, shampoo, facial tissue etc. You must understand this before you rent.

The apartment was fairly clean...however, anything over the 5 foot mark was not touched, and therefore very dusty (i.e. the molding in the bathrooms over the tile). Additionally, walls and doors are covered with dirty handprints left from many others renters...scrubbing or even a coat of paint would take care of this and give the feeling of a cleaner environment.

Next comes the water issue. The information supplied by the owner indicated there were 3 bathrooms. We never did find the 3rd. This was important since the boilers had to be turned on and off alternately to afford hot water. One boiler turned on in the morning for two of the bathrooms, and one turned on in the evening to supply hot water to the kitchen and the 3rd bath and so on. This was problematic since we could (as stated) only locate two bathrooms. We ended up with only cold water for our 3 day stay, however, due to the heat and lack of a/c, the cold showers were actually appreciated. You will need to work this out with the owner, however, if you wish to have hot water.

Finally, I feel the most problematic thing with Villa Habsburg (Porta Metronia) is the owner's attitude. If she wishes to be in the vacation rental business, she really needs to change her mindset about doing prospective renters a favor by allowing them into her property. This approach came through very clearly in the 10 plus pages of instruction (front and back), and rantings about previous renters who did not follow her instructions to the letter and who caused her to be disturbed. This is followed up by numerous signs, notes, etc. in the apartment with further rules and threats of the tennant being charged for anything that may go wrong with the property. We found the owner to be neither available (she lives in Austria), nor interested in any issue we may have had while on our own in her home. She made it clear that any contacts would be unwelcome, and that the staff was instructed not to speak with the renters. Considering the amount that is charged (we paid $1800 U.S.) for four nights for four people, there should have been some feeling of welcome. There was not, and on the contrary, we felt most decidedly uncomfortable and fearful that something would go wrong during our stay and we would be held responsible. This is no way to run a business or treat customers.

Again, this information is being supplied so travellers can make an educated decision. As stated in the opening of this review, be very aware of exactly what you are getting when you choose to stay at Villa Habsburg (Porta Metronia). For some, this will be exactly what they are looking for, for others however (such as ourselves) we expected much more for our money.

  • Liked — The view
  • Disliked — Exhorbitant cost versus the product actually delivered.
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MARIE1295, owner manager at Villa Habsburg Porta Metronia, responded to this review, August 3, 2007
We would like to answer this letter point by point

The plumbing is perfectly alright when you know how to use it- but it is slightly complicated which is why we put up notices

I cannot understand the comment about rotted windows- they are of course wood not metal and the wood occasionally swells, according to the weather but I could find nothing wrong with them and nor can our carpenter.. One shutter does need attention I had that on my list,it is specialised work, the artisans come from Venice each year to attend to it - but the other twenty nine are in order.,

Lighting up the drive is switched off not by us but by the Rome Town Council, together with the other decorative lighting in Rome at midnight Perhaps this is a point to discuss with them not us

The lift is available to older persons on request and if the staff feel it is wise. We found guests repeatedly stuffed it with too much luggage and it broke down on a regular basis,

We supply fans not air conditioning- it might be a bit difficult, and anyway not sensible to have air conditioning in a house the beauty of which are the wide open windows on incomparable views over the whole of Rome .

We are delighted not to be considered accountable for the weather. How kind

Lighting please see above, the lights work perfectly I have just checked Perhaps these guests did not find the right switch ?

There is indeed no room service : this is definitely self catering and we say so, The reviewer is quite right to repeat it, so many thanks

I am afraid I cannot agree with this, the painter does a round every three months to touch up ; as for dirty handprints...no comment

Hot water see above .In the case of this reviewer we were never approached on this issue, and certainly there could have been no problem in showing these guests where the third bathroom was, in effect right under their noses

Regarding owners attitude: the fact is that we have long waiting lists . Clearly we are doing something right .If I "changed my attitude " we would be inundated with applications. and not have time to deal with them

The instructions, for which many guest have thanked me, and indeed on which two journalists have congratulated me at length in print in the London Spectator and the Zürich Tages Anzeiger, no less, take the place of a hall porter..They are meant to be useful… and amusing if mildy ironic . People tell me they are, and they certainly answer every single problem and query guest might have, say on a weekend..

I personally do live in Austria but am literally available 24 hours a day,even at 2am last week actually- which would not be the case with any house agent . If I am not at home I listen to my messages every three hours and answer immediately .I think anyone who knows me would corroborate that , and many a guest has thanked me for it. My average day is seventeen hours

The staff has been with the family over twenty years and I would not dream of instructing them how to behave. Since we run self catering they have no direct obligation whatsoever to guests However I have noticed that when guests treat them courteously they are very helpful, like in cases of sickness or the odd language problem . When however they feel guests are ill mannered or overbearing it is probably true they tend keep their distance How wise

I hope that our answers will indeed help travellers make an educated decision, and should add, that the content of the very few letters of complaint we have had were reciprocal from our side . Sometimes people are just not made for each other Please do decide before you come to save offence on both sides

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dorset England
1 review
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2007

This review is rather late but I have only discovered Trip Advisor recently. I suppose that things may have changed but when we visited the Villa Habsburg the basement flat was very dingy indeed. The furniture was uncomfortable and very old and battered, the kitchen facilities were very poor and our ideas of self catering were scuppered. The bedroom was uncomfortable and the only windows were over 6 feet up. The garden was pleasant with a nice area for picnic lunches. The surrounding streets were defaced by graffiti but in contrast to the Villa the local restaurants were very welcoming, reasonable and the food excellent. Thr couple who stayed in the flat before us were similarly unimpressed and our detailed letter of complaint was not answered. In retrospect we should have checked out on DAY 1. I would recommend asking for intrerior photographs of the accomadation before even considering a booking. I hope things have improved since our visit but I have my doubts! Dorset Doctor.

Stayed September 2005
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MARIE1295, manager at Villa Habsburg Porta Metronia, responded to this review, July 31, 2007
Guest House 1 has actually been completely redecorated since 2005 so perhaps the good doctor would see it differently

However in the meantime we have had SUCH rave reviews in several prestigious journals (Spectator, Züricher Tages Anzeiger) that we are not too worried. I had to open another file for nice letters from guests only the other day.Well, you can´t please everyone Those who were unhappy do not have to come again


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1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2007

Fantastic location, accommodation is good, bedrooms in Piano Nobile, terraces and views excellent. The gardens are exceptional and it's in Central Rome. If you don't encounter any problems you will have a great time in this villa. We wish we had not had problems.

We were very cold, we asked for heating to be turned on, and it was, on one occasion. Despite asking for heating on three other occasions, our spokesperson was very rudely told (by the owner) it wouldn't be and we were advised to buy and wear socks. There were eight of us and we were very cold. This is a large old house, we rented five bedrooms, three in the Piano Nobile and one in each Tower. We had two portable heaters in the main apartment but after a powercut (which we were accused of causing) the portable heaters were removed from the very cold tower rooms. We opened the windows to let the heat in to the rooms each morning.

We have extracted word for word the details regarding heating from the owners extensive information pack.

"Heating in Rome is permitted from Nov 1st until March 15th for in our case nine hours per day. This is found by the great majority of our guests to be amply sufficient, four in the morning, and five in the afternoon/evening.

However, sometimes the odd person, especially elderly family members do prefer warmer surroundings. We can usually work our way around the rules – after all who would not risk a fine and possible imprisonment if it means a happy guest? And indeed we are quite happy to expose ourselves to both."

We arrived on the 27th Feb and left on the 3rd March we had a mere 4 hours heating on the 28th in the evening and "happy guests" we were not. We are not elderly and nine hours heating per day would have been amply sufficient for all.

I would like to state that we stayed in this owners apartment in Venice in May 2005, we had no reason to call the owner, we complied with all the instructions (as we did in Rome) and we had a great time. We were so sure that we would have the same experience in Rome, it was not to be.

The owner is well organised, and can be very charming, our airport transfers were of an exceptionally high standard, the accommodation in Venice and Rome is very good value and impeccable but if you do have a problem, be warned, this charning lady can be extremely abusive.

We don't mind wearing socks outside but to be advised to wear them in the villa and to put up with these very cold conditions indoors really is a miserable experience.

We fully expect to be featured in the next edition of the owners information pack, pity we won't read it.

Our advise if you decide to book. Go in Summer (take extra socks) look after your keys, abide by the rules and don't all get ready to go out at the same time or you may have a powercut and at no time ask for the heating to be switched on.

This ruined our well researched, well planned and much looked forward to holiday.

Stayed February 2007
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HELENEItaly, manager at Villa Habsburg Porta Metronia, responded to this review, March 27, 2007
Villa Habsburg Rome review date March 9th 2007 [ #TZQ-72783-443]

We would like to take issue with this accusation.

We had given a very good price to this group: 22.50 GBPper person per night We find that it is not reasonable to expect there to be enough electricity and Kwh for eight people to change with every single light and piece of apparatus on, without there being a power cut You can do that in an Hotel ....at 225 GBP a night ......because they have a generator per room We are not a hotel. And we have never ever had a power cut even when we lived in the house ourselves, a family of seven persons My son repaired the power cut at 11pm ,and discovered that not one single switch was off.

The heating: neither the week before not the week after was there heating and nobody minded. I was downstairs in another apartment at the time, the heating was on for one night but I removed it, it was far too hot This year has been exceptionally warm in Europe, the mayor of Rome has appealed for restraint control regarding the heating. One of the ladies in question was running about the house, even on the staircases with no stocking on, just sandals . She had , it appeared forgotten her stockings in Scotland You do not heat five hundred square meters just because one guest leaves their stockings in Scotland. Instead we find it more reasonable that that guest goes out and buys another pair. The floors are of travertine marble, of course they were cold-and thus clad the guest went to ask the housekeeper for heat..

Our tenant at the gatehouse which is in a hollow, and tends to damp, where he tends to feel the cold, also had not put on his heating

The group left the French windows on to the main lawn , where anyone could break in, wide open when they left They had extremely noisy drinking parties late into the night, nobody complained but this could have caused circulation problems causing cold There are two sides to all questions

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Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 51 cities Reviews in 51 cities
318 helpful votes 318 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2006

My husband & I and my parents recently spend 6 nights at an old villa on the Aurelian Wall at Porto Metronia in Rome. The apartments are about 6 blocks from the Coliseum & very close to the Bath’s of Caracole and St John Lateran. Rome is a very expensive city & I really wanted to rent an apartment so we could cook some meals on our own plus be part of a neighborhood. I also wanted a place where we could gather in private & have lots of room as well. This apartment met all those criteria & then some.

The apartments consist of several units all owned by a private party who is quite knowledgeable and helpful though she does not live on the premises. The apartments are situated on one of the glorious Seven Hills of Rome and overlook much of the city. These apartments were once part of a great estate and there is still a large garden and manicured green lawn. Something you will not find in the rest of Rome. The ancient Aurelian wall forms the garden wall & walk way up to the apartments. We rented the Piano Nobile Apartment which consisted of 3 big bedrooms, a large dining/living room, two bathrooms, 3 balconies, and a large fully equipped kitchen. We truly felt like we had a home in Rome, not just a hotel room. The apartment was old by American standards but clean and full of antique furniture. For the first hour we were there we wandered around in disbelief everything was so lovely and truly unique. We found a major grocery store nearby but the local morning market was more fun & an excellent bakery and fruit stand were also about 2 blocks away. Though the apartments seem isolated, they are actually in a very vibrant part of Rome. We quickly discovered the ambulance route is nearby and like always, we were glad we had our earplugs.

Valley Castle arranged for a driver to pick us up at Castel Gandolfo to take us to Rome. Not only did he drive us into the city but took us in & explained the apartment to us. This cost us only 60 Euro. We had easy access to the bus system which dropped us off near our gate and the subway stop was at the Coliseum. We walked a lot too but I was surprised at how easily we negotiated the Roman transportation system. We rented a car at Termini Train station to leave Rome & I expected to get hopelessly lost in the city. Our landlady emailed easy to follow instructions and we simply followed the signs to the airport which is on the GRA (Rome circular road). We zipped out of the city, a real Roman miracle.

We have been to Rome 3 times and these were by far our best accommodations. I dream of bringing my family back and renting the entire villa. It certainly would be suitable for a family reunion or great place for friends to gather and stay in Rome. I will say it was a pain to make the payment. You cannot just call in the credit card number. I had to go down to our bank and send off a bank draft in British Sterling to pay for the entire stay. There is also no cancellation policy, you would be totally out of your money if you cannot utilize the apartment. So I got trip insurance at the same time. The owner will send you detailed instructions via email and slow mail. Read them and take them along. They were very very helpful.

I know that we were very fortunate to be able to stay in this unique and beautiful place while we were in Rome. I could not find a review on tripadvisor so I really took a chance. Our week in Rome was wonderful. I am so glad I made the extra effort to thoughtfully plan our accommodations. This was a big part of a successful trip. If you plan on going to Rome I would definitely search the web to find out how to make reservations for and stay at Porto Metronia in the valley castle apartments

  • Liked — different, like having a villa of our own in the middle of Rome
  • Tips/Secrets — follow all instructions from owner
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2005

A few words about our stay at Villa Habsburg during the Xmas holidays 2004; We loved the place.
Unique in its architecture and location we couldn´t have found a better place or a better deal.
During the initial booking procedure I found Odile to be both articulate and charming.
The weather could have been better, but warm recommendations anyway!

  • Stayed December 2004
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Villa Habsburg Porta Metronia

Address: Piazza di Porta Metronia, 00183 Rome, Italy
Location: Italy > Lazio > Rome > Monti
Hotel Style:
Ranked #427 of 723 Specialty Lodging in Rome
Number of rooms: 7

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