Spending 3 days in Rome prior to boarding a cruise of the Mediterranean, we had the pleasure of staying at this former pilgrimage house, or "religious housing", which used to provide accommodations for groups of 20-80+ pilgrims. With a fully-equipped commercial kitchen and several function rooms, daily meals were also provided with the tour bookings.
Becoming aware of the need for affordable accommodations for families with sick relatives at the Policlinico Agostino Gemelli (Gemelli Hospital, also known as the hospital of the Pope) just across the street, the Sisters of the Holy Spirit decided to change their ministry a few years ago by converting this pilgrimage house into a place of respite and solace to these families.
This is not your regular tourist hotel per se. As you enter the building, you will not find a lobby furnished with plush sofas and lounge chairs. In fact, the small registration area will take you back a couple of decades ago. There are no televisions, radios, lamps, alarm clocks nor the usual amenities you find at the cheapest motel. What you get though is a very a basic room with comfortable beds with your own bathroom and yes - air conditioning! You get fresh, thirsty towels and clean bed linen daily as well. Just recently, there is Wifi access.
For the lack of tvs in every bedroom, there is one in the snack room just off the lobby, as well as daily-replenished vending machines. There is also one in a small reception area on the second floor. There are several family-owned restaurants within walking distance open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is even a supermarket a couple of blocks away. Bus 146 or trains passing through the Gemelli Station, about a 5-minute walk away, will take you to the Vatican, The Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, or the center of Rome within minutes for about 1,50 euros. You can even take the train to Fumicino Airport or to the port of Civitevecchia for about 6,50 euros. The trains come often and are clean.
If you ask me what my favorite part of the Sisters' house is, it is the chapel just located beside the lobby area. In this beautiful chapel where the sisters gather for early morning prayers and where Mass is celebrated at 8:00 a.m. every day, it is a place of comfort for many of the families with loved ones at the hospital. The sisters also gather for evening prayers and guests are always welcome. The Sisters treat everyone with kindness and graceful hospitality.
So rather than focusing on the simpleness of this 'hotel', I choose to focus on the positive experience I, my family and friends experienced during our stay here.