I chose this hotel as I really like luxury hotels, as I feel good surroundings and attentive service really make a trip. I have always wanted to go to Rome, so when travelling with a friend here this year for the first time we wanted to pick a really nice hotel. This hotel looked good in terms of the pictures of the rooms we saw online, and in terms of the city centre location, and was within our price range (albeit at the higher end of the range!). Plus it offered twin double beds, something that seemed hard to find in many other nice hotels, which is unusual really as surely it’s common for two platonic friends of the same sex to go on sight seeing holidays together, and obviously you don't want to share a bed in these circumstances.
The location of the hotel was in a quieter area, near the Villa Borghese Gardens, but only approx a 10-15min walk from the Spanish Steps, and 2 mins from the Via Veneto (further out from some things but Rome is rather big!). The area feels very safe and is peaceful. We often go for a slightly quieter area, but still within the city centre, as a trade off for getting a luxury hotel more affordably, than if it was bang in the centre of the tourist hotspots. Not sure I would go for this area again, I would maybe go a little more centrally, as we often had quite a way to get back to the hotel to change etc, when we out and about, so we often stayed out all day, but as I said taxis weren’t that expensive and the walk isn’t exactly excessive to many things, and Rome is a lovely place to walk around in any case. I certainly had no problem with location on my trip. A good tip to note is that there is a taxi rank not far at all from the hotel – taxis are much, much cheaper if you walk the 2mins to a rank rather than if you ask the hotel to order you one we found (and you get one quicker walking the 2mins and getting straight in one than waiting for the hotel to get you one – I explain later in this review why I feel it important to point this out). I found taxis to be reasonably priced overall, but do allow enough time to get to where you are going, as traffic can be gridlocked at certain times in Rome.
The decor of the hotel was very opulent and grand overall, and although small (the hotel itself isn’t large small), the hotel lobby and check in area was grand. Staff were all very nice and courteous, opening doors for us when we arrived and taking our luggage to our room etc; what I expected of 5* service and luxury. The room was large for many European city hotels I have visited, we had twin beds and they were quite a distance apart, which you don’t always get (sometimes they are almost on top of one another). Rooms are similarly decorated to the rest of the hotel, in an old, more traditional, grand style (lots of red, blue and yellow and marble). The bathroom was also the largest I have had, with double sinks, a bath, separate shower and toilet. Again all in marble, grand style. Everything was very clean. Air conditioning worked very well, and kept the room very cool, when outside was very hot (something that is important to me). All in all I slept very well, and we were very comfortable and happy. Only criticism of the room, was that there was sometimes a sound of water running, I assume perhaps from the room upstairs or from pipes within the walls.
My only slight gripe with the hotel was with a slight blip in 5* customer service on our first full day. We asked the night before, when we arrived how long it would take the hotel to get us a taxi the next morning and for us then to get to the Vatican, where we had a trip booked for 9.30am. They told us 2-5mins to get a taxi to come to the hotel, and 10-15mins to the Vatican at this time. So they suggested we come down about 9.05am. We always like to get to places well in time so we got down the next morning earlier than suggested at 8.40am. We went straight to the reception and asked them to get us a taxi, and the receptionist then asked the doormen to arrange this – at this point we hadn’t explored and did not know there was a rank so close, and the hotel did not tell us. We were told a taxi would be with us in 5mins. About 10mins later one had not arrived, so we enquired of the receptionist where it was. She assured us it would be just another 5mins, and as it was only 8.55am at this time we were quite calm, as we thought it would be quick to get there as the hotel had told us the night before. Another 10mins went by and it was 9.05am and still no taxi, we then noticed one was driving up and got up to go out to the taxi, but a couple passed us just coming out the elevator and the doormen called to them that their taxi had arrived, we protested that we had ordered a taxi 25mins ago and needed one urgently to make our trip, but we were told this was not our taxi by the doormen and ours would be there very shortly. By this time we were stood outside with the doormen fairly paniced. When it got to 9.15am, we were beside ourselves as we thought we would be cutting it fine to make our trip (the hotel had told us it would take 10-15mins). Staff, however, seemed fairly calm and not at all rushed, but did then make another call regarding the taxi and started trying to flag taxis down as myself and my friend became more paniced. A taxi did not arrive until 9.25am, so I rang the tour guide, who’s number we had and she said they could wait for us for 5mins only or the tour would miss it’s slot. Thinking it was only 10-15mins away we believed we would be fine, we were wrong! Traffic this early is horrendous, complete gridlock standstill at many areas, subsequently the taxi actually took 25mins to reach the Vatican. Surely the hotel would know what traffic is like in Rome at this time! The taxi driver informed us, the traffic was normal for the time of day. We therefore missed our trip to the Vatican, and had to pay to book another trip for the last day before we left, causing much upset and stress on our first morning and leaving us around £40 each out of pocket, plus the taxi cost to a place we now had no reason to be.
When we got back to the hotel that night (we wanted to spend the day out, as we were upset and had paid for a taxi over to the Vatican so explored the general area rather than waste the fare) we explained what had happened, how we had missed our trip because they had taken so long to get us a taxi, gave a taxi that did turn up to someone else and also gave us inaccurate info about the time to get through Rome city centre traffic early on a morning. They apologised but did not explain why the other taxi had been given away, why it took so long to get one or why staff did not appear to know how long it took to get to major tourist attractions at peak times. I persisted, saying we appreciated the apology but didn’t want to leave it there, as we were very upset, and it had caused us stress and cost us money. After I had spoken to the Manager, I was told they would see what they could do to book us a tour of another attraction in Rome, and they would let us know the next morning what they had arranged. We then went out to get something to eat, and upon our return around 11.30pm found a bottle of Prosecco in our hotel room with a card apologising for the mistake, and saying that they had been unable to book us an alternative trip (no reason why) but to please accept the bottle of Prosecco by way of an apology. The bottle of Prosecco cost much less than the rearranged trips of the Vatican we had to book ourselves, but we appreciate that this was an effort to make amends, albeit only when I persisted a mere apology from the receptionist wasn’t enough. I wouldn’t hold this against the hotel, as they did try to make amends, but feel it deserved a mention, as I feel perhaps our request for a taxi wasn’t treated as a priority as we are two females, in our late twenties but who look fairly young, and sometimes I think that this counts against us and perhaps makes us seem an easy touch. Plus I think that it is very important to feel you can trust the advice of the hotel on how long it will take to get somewhere, as we very often fit a lot of trips in to our holidays so need to be aware of this. Moral of the story, use the taxi rank nearby, we did for all other early morning trips and had no other probs, plus the taxis were always cheaper from the rank. Not sure how it was so hard to get a taxi when there was a rank so close in any case…..
Also, feel I should point out to animal lovers that the hotel restaurant serves foie gras, and as a result we would not eat there or visit the bar (found out after had booked the restaurant served it). I think its high time this outdated barbaric, food practice is banned, its so bitterly cruel. Restaurants should not serve it!
All in all, I would recommend this hotel, the décor is lovely, and quite impressive. The rooms are perfect - spacious, clean, well appointed, well decorated and good value. Certainly the best bathroom I have had as well! Location is good, we were happy, but you can get more central, for perhaps a similar price if you look (though not sure about 5*). I feel the hotel is 5*, but perhaps that we were unlucky with our taxi escapade, staff were good other than that, and did try to make it up to us. We had a great time in Rome staying at this hotel, and hope to return to Rome soon, I threw a coin in the Trevi Fountain so sure this is guaranteed ;-) I have gone for 4 stars not 5, due to the taxi really (and maybe the foie gras), and the fact the rooms were quite expensive, so you expect perfection with staff knowledge/customer service (hence only 3 for service).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A jewel of elegance in the heart of the city, recently restored from a palace dating from 1890 and walking distance from the Spanish Steps and the Via Veneto area. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Splendide Royal Hotel Rome
- Splendide Royal Rome