If you are looking for a genuine historic hotel building with European charm and a very short walk to the Vatican this is the place for you. By European standards this is a four star hotel. By North American standards it may be a bit less. The elevator holds 2 maybe 3 people at most and is slow but remember its not possible to build a large elevator in a building that was built in the 15th century. There are no gleaming floors with highly polished mirrors and bright lights but it is an historic building with links to the Vatican with painted ceilings, soft lighting , lots of old masters on the walls in the public areas and for us, the best thing about it was the shaded patio restaurant and bar on the first floor , where you can sit under the trees near the garden fountain have a drink under the trees and umbrellas, a lovely reprise from the afternoon heat and the miles of walking you will be doing whilst in Rome.
Our package inculded breakfast which we ate on the patio in the mornings. The breakfast consisted of cold cut meats, cheese, boiled eggs, cereals, orange juice , tea and coffee and breads, cakes, fresh fruit , yougurts etc. so something for everyone. I took my bags of instant oatmeal which I poured the hot milk over from the self serve breakfast tables and then helped myself to sliced bread and a boiled egg. You can have as much or as little as you want. On the morning we went on a tour of Assisi the front desk had a pre packaged breakfast ready for us to take as we left before 7am which is when the restaurant opens for breakfast. Just let them know if you need a pre packaged breakfast the night before and it will be ready for you.
We ate at the restuarant at lunch time on a few occasions also. The food was very good, nicely presented but expensive. Part of the patio has large wicker padded chairbeds to lounge on which is complimented in the evening with nice soft lighting. We often went out for dinner locally and came back to the restaurant bar for an evening drink when the weather had cooled down slightly.
Our room was on the 4th floor overlooking the back of the hotel but it was quiet at night with the occasional blast of sirens from the ambulances or police cars.
Their is a hospital not far from the hotel , the Santo Spirito hospital. Santo Spirito Church is just at the back of the hotel and can be seen from the patio when the large doors are open. Take a look inside this beautiful church, its one of so many .
Our room was a very basic double bed room. The bed was large and quite comfortable. We had a bedside table each and a lamp on each table and an electric clock [no radio]. A large wooden closet with creakey doors which housed the safe which was easy to use and extra pillows. A small desk with a small mini bar fridge and an old small t.v which only has Italian channels on it with bad reception. Even so, my husband managed to watch a few European cup soccer games on it. We had air conditioning in the room but its not as forceful as you can expect in North America . See the photo I posted of the control as its sort of backwards to what we would think would make it work. Anyway, like most things in Europe where hydro is at a premium it only comes on for a few hours at time but I understand you can ask the front desk for a fan if you need one. There are no tea/coffee making facilities in the room. I took a small travel electric kettle with me as we like our cups of tea. Also took the tea bags with me of course. I asked the restaurant for cups and they obliged although I dont think they encourage people to make their own hot drinks.
The bathroom was very small but we had a shower , a sink a toilet and a bidet. The rooms are cleaned daily and I would give the cleaning lady a 4 out of 5 but it was clean, she just forgot on a few days to empty the garbage in the room so I left it in the middle of the room to remind her. They also provide small bottles of shower gel, shampoo and shower cap and soap but noticed they dont replace them daily.
The front desk were always helpful. You can use one of the two computers in the lobby for 3 euros for an hour. When the time came to check times on our flight home and book in on line I did so with the front desk printing out my boarding pass for me at no extra cost.
The Vatican is literally less than 5 mins walk up the street. Sunday morning you can hear all the church bells ringing and at noon the Pope comes out on the balcony of his private apartments [building to the right of St Peters Basilica] at noon to give a blessing to the crowds. People from all over the world gather to see him, and it was a great experience. Castel Saint Angelo is another 5 min walk in the opposite direction than the Vatican from the front door of the hotel and in the evening they have lots of vendors selling everything from food to handbags, clothing, rosaries etc . Its great to stroll along listening to the street performers and stop for a gelato.
The hop on and off buses that tour all the sites stop on the street right opposite the hotel entrance and if you cross the street from the hotel and take one of the small side streets you come upon lots of little trattoria's for lunch or dinner. Ask for the Turistico menu which is usually 10 euros each and consists of a glass of beer/soft drink and either pasta like lasagna or pizza. The pizza is usally large thin crust with cheese or ask for another topping for a little extra. The pasta's are generally home made and delicious. If you ask for a meat dish like Lamb, thats what you get, pieces of lamb [boney] on a plate with nothing else. You have to order separately any veggies and it can be expensive.
All in all this hotel is in a fabulous location near to a lot of sights within walking distance and lots of places to eat. Oh and for shopping where the locals shop, cross the street from the hotel, go down Via Erba [a small street and walk straight for about 15 mins [ the name of the street changes although you are walking in a straight line, becomes Via Orfeo,Via Ombrellari, then Via Properzio] then you are on one of the main shopping streets for locals called Via Cola Di Rienzo. Here you will find lots of stores including a department store. There were also street vendors selling clothing, shoes, souveniers etc. I fond one stall selling discounted tops for 3 euros and some brand name sports shirts for 10 euros. Its a very long street which leads to Ponte Margherita [bridge over the Tiber river] that takes you into Piazza del Popolo.
Despite the searing heat, 98 degrees plus every day [the hottest June in over 100years] we had a great time in Rome and still didnt see everything in the week we were there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Atmospheric 4-story Hotel with historic ambience, converted from 15th-century Villa, 2 blocks from Vatican. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Columbus Hotel Rome
- Hotel Columbus Rome