Last month my family and I stayed at the Sunbay Park Hotel for the third time in seven years. As in the past, we choose this hotel as a convenient pre-cruise staging area that previous reviewers on Trip Advisor had deemed comfortable and safe. The establishment is not a five star hotel and has some shortcomings, but it is peaceful and clean, and serves as an enjoyable starting point for cruises out of Civitavecchia. There are limited hotel options in this area and I feel that the appeal this hotel has to the ones in town is that it is quieter and is actually located on the water. During our most recent stay, my wife’s sister and her family joined us for a seven day cruise. We booked three rooms online at a very reasonable rate and the hotel gave us a large room for two adults and two children on the third floor as well as two adjoining rooms with ocean view balconies on the second floor. The staff also allowed my sister-in-law to leave her car in the hotel parking lot while we were gone for a week at no extra charge. Our experience at the hotel during our third stay was consistent with our previous two stays. The one exception being the breakfast buffet, which is not as extensive as it was in the past. I will add however, that when I pointed this out to our waiter, he brought me fresh made eggs and bacon at no charge. This along with other gestures renewed my enthusiasm for the place. The background story on the hotel, as told to me by a staff member, is that it was originally built as a seaside villa for an Italian Army Major during World War II. There was a large main house with a colonnade extending to a salt water pool near the ocean. After war the Major lost the property and it was converted to a hotel. A wing of ocean view rooms was built onto the colonnade, and the main house was expanded. Eventually a second fresh water pool was installed on the south side of the property. The grounds are landscaped with mature palms, century plants, and bougainvillea and surrounded by a high wall which secures the parking area. Most rooms are facing the ocean and have a balcony with shutters for privacy. They include fans and air conditioners, flat screen televisions, and free wi-fi access. The furnishings are rather old and simple, but the rooms and hotel are clean and the beds are very comfortable. The hotel is a five minute taxi ride to Civitavecchia and I would say that the majority of guests, at least in the summer, are departing or returning cruise passengers. Although somewhat expensive, the restaurant offers nice evening dining options and the wait staff are very professional. If you don’t want to spend so much money for dinner, there is a local establishment called the Pizzeria Fuori Dal Ghetto a couple of blocks away that offers good wood-fire pizza at a reasonable price. If you are staying in Civitavecchia and want to take the train to Rome, it will cost you about ten euros per person round trip. The ride is approximately an hour each way, but allows you to see the surrounding countryside and is a much cheaper option than hiring a limo or booking a shore excursion. Having done this twice, we opted to stay at the hotel and lounge by the pool this time. The air and water temperatures were perfect, and the atmosphere was so peaceful that my wife and I both enjoyed a nap under our poolside umbrella. The smaller freshwater pool offers a pool bar, lifeguard, and towel boy. When we were there it was very quiet with a mostly adult crowd. The larger salt water pool has lifeguards and two wading pools for children. There is also a large number of lounge chairs for sunbathers and as expected it is much more crowded. Beginning around October when the weather cools and most of the cruise ships have relocated to the Caribbean, the pools close down for the winter and the hotel business drops off considerably. We previously stayed at the hotel in October and had to turn on the heat in our room at night. The breakfast buffet is not as elaborate as it was the first time we stayed there, and I think it would be nice if the hotel added a game room and a spa. Nonetheless, the Sunbay Park Hotel is very convenient for pre-cruise lodging and offers a positive experience for a reasonable price. Unless they build a Hilton or a Marriott nearby, I will probably stay here again.
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- Also Known As:
- Sunbay Park Civitavecchia