If you are planning to see rome and you are reading this because you are considering staying at hotel capanalle, then i am requesting you to reconsider. rome will forever be ruined for you by this choice.
Let me explain:
You are considering hotel capannelle, because
1) it came up on top of the searches/recommendations?
2) it has 4 stars (!) and cheaper than the other hotels with less stars (!!)
3) some of the recommendations say it is "ok"
ah, i see the rationalizing there:
1) it is a bit out of the way (but it has 4 stars!)
2) some reviews seems to be quite negative (but the price is cheap!)
and of course,
3) the stuff in negative reviews would not happen to me, would it?
My girl friend and I are what one would call forgetful passive guests. we never write reviews (till now), positive or negative. We put past behind us pretty fast and go forward with minimal hesitation. I have stayed in bad places and good places for that matter, but this was bad for many reasons. and so, here goes...
1) It IS out of the way!
It takes a minimum of 2 connection to reach this hotel from anywhere of significance. Be it, airports (fiumicino is worse, which takes at least 3 changes). you want to go see the collosseum/bascillica/villa borghruese? minimum 3 changes including metro/buss. If it is your first time in rome and you plan to take public transport to the hotel, please don't. The buses that go there are quite confusing. the main road near the hotel ('Appia') has 8 stops whose names are not written on the bus stop boards (except at that specific stop, which is too late) and it is a pain trying to figure out where 'appia-cloudia' is for the first time. The hotel website does not make it easier.
2) It has 4 stars? how did that happen?
I am a bit skeptical now about the star systems for hotels. And that is based solely on our experience from hotel capanelle.
The room is spacious, the bed comfortable and the linen clean. The bathroom was clean and had ample towels (though flushing the toilet takes a much more that a strong push). That is about it. The rest of the facilities are mediocre, if not lacking.
yes, there is a pool - but it more of a backyard pool, small and open between 10 am and 7 pm. We did not use the pool, see other reviews for more information, if you are planning to use it.
Our room had a balcony. It was locked and the handlebar removed so that the guests can not open it (i am not sure why that is, maybe saving energy by keeping the cooled air in?). Since, we were not fussy, we just let it go. There was a note on the balcony door saying that it would be the pleasure of the hotel to give us the handle to the door, if we contact the reception. we didn't.
The breakfast included with the room was monotonous, for lack of a better word. the menu was cakes/white bread/cereals, scrambled eggs and bacon. Every day. Scrambled egg was slushy, the bacon very oily. Fruits were from cans and juice with the manufactured taste (except, red orange juice. that was nice). Coffee and milk were passable.
The room is devoid of any basic facility that one might use. No drinking glasses or water. The only water you can find is in the mini-fridge. and of course it is not free. no kettle or tea bags (we are from scandinavia, where kettle, tea bags and water seems to be a given in hotel rooms).
3) The tricks. Oh, the tricks!
a. If you want to go into town and you ask at the reception, they will tell you that they have a shuttle bus service (which departs a few times during the day) that we can use to get to the nearest metro station. So, we wait, along with probably 50 or so other guests. At the scheduled time, a minicab drives up, that can seat probably 15. Amid the confusion, those with quick wits hop on board and other are left wondering what happened. Then there is a mad scramble to find the nearest bus stop and bus schedules. The shuttle bus service is a name sake (maybe for one of the four stars?) and it would be wise not to rely on it.
b. The instructions from the front desk (if you ask anything) is borderline useless and often times dismissive. With the exception of on ('daniel'?), everyone seem to be there by force. usually on the phone or trying to dismiss you as fast as they can. The instructions they give about how to get about town lacks vital information and assumes that you know the area. This often leads you to wander about in the neighborhood around the hotel either after arriving by bus from somewhere or trying to get somewhere. But, you make friends with other wandering tourists from the same hotel and learn the surroundings quite well (but, that is not why you are going to rome, are you?)
c. There are two restaurants nearby (which you cannot find on google search and about which the front desk would not tell you). but before you discover these, you will choose to eat at the hotel restaurant once. and once is too many. I, being a meat eater, ordered the best entry on the menu - an entrecote steak (19 euros). After much waiting a thin slice of beef arrived, unsalted and alone. no vegetables,no sauces, not even potatoes in any shape or form. i had to call to waiter to remind him about this and he hustled off, returning with potatoes cut into pieces and fried in oil - which i guess the chef did after i asked. The excuse, it seemed was that they had a large party who had booked the hall for an event and they were busy. My girl friend's chicken was tasteless, by her standards. the house red wine was good, which was the only relief in an otherwise sad meal. we got a 10% discount - i would have preferred a decent steak...
d. The checkout is an interesting experience. Since we wanted to leave early the next day, we decided to settle our bills the previous night. Everything went smoothly. We had paid our room in advance, so we had to pay the city tax (3 euros per person per night), the bill for the dinner the previous night, and of course, for the water from the mini fridge. We asked for a taxi to take us to the airport (since, we decided that changing 3 public transport with bags early in the morning was not wise). The hotel booked us a taxi ("private car", according to them) for the morning and that it will cost 55 euros. we agreed.
The next morning, we packed and went down to the reception to give back the room key. The gentleman behind the desk seems to have misplaced part of the bill we settled the previous night! Apparently, according to him, we had paid for the meal, but haven't paid the rome city tax! We were a bit taken aback by this claim, and showed him the bill we settled the night before (pro tip: keep the bills, if you choose to stay here in spite of this review. you might need it). The guy seemed to be accustomed to this interaction before, since he took our bill excused himself to the back room as if to check something, and came back in less that 2 seconds. he said "no problem" and gave us back our bill, and turned away to other tasks - no apologies, no clarifications, nothing.
I guess if we did not save our bill, then we would have ended up paying the 20 euros rome tax once more. We will be keeping a close watch on our bank account statements for a couple of months for anything from this hotel...
The "55 euros" "private car" to the fiumicino airport is neither 55 euros nor a private car. It is a regular taxi (with "fiumicino - 48 euros" written clearly on the side) which we chose to ignore since it was 7:30 in the morning. The meter, it seems, was kept running while the taxi was waiting (before the ordered time!). The driver tries to distract you with some casual conversation about the traffic, where our next destination etc. When we reached the airport, the meter reads around 70 euros. The agreement we had with hotel capanelle gets thrown out of the window and now, we stand at the airport arguing with the taxi driver. We ended up paying 60 euros. The sprinkling of salt, so to speak, on an already annoying wound.
I wrote this review because, while i was at the front desk, waiting for the guy to verify our claims about already paying the city task, i noticed a laminated certificate proudly displayed on the front desk. It was a certificate from "hotels.com" awarding hotel capanalle with an excellent score of "8.2". As i was sitting in the taxi to the airport, expecting to fight about the fair, i pondered where the 8.2 came from. it might be from people like my girl friend and I, who chose to ignore the crappy experience, only for it to happen to someone we do not know.
So, i leave this review here - for those who would read. and it has been cathartic.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 250 guest rooms. Located just 9 km from downtown, 30 km from FIUMICINO airport and 4 km from CIAMPINO Airport, Shuttle bus service available. Complimentary off site car and pullman parking, on site parking for 280 cars available with a fee, 9 conference rooms with 2000 sqm of total meeting space, outdoor swimming pool and 500 sqm roof with a breathtaking city and Castelli Romani’s view. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Domina Roma Capannelle Rome
- Domina Roma Capannelle Hotel Conference