9 of us -- 4 adults and 5 children will be staying in Rome for 2 nights at the beginning of our trip to Italy in April. We can stay at the Mariott Park about 10-14 minutes outside of Rome (between the city center and the airport) for nothing using Mariott points. Would you recommend traveling in and out of the city for two days? ARe you familiar with the hotel's location? The hotels in the city center require us to get 4 rooms for all of us which when concerted to US $ is very pricey (1000 - 2000 for two nights). Ouch! Please help if you can.
Have you thought about a 3 bedroom apartment in the city center? Try www.vbro.com.
The Marriot is inconvenient to most of the sites, but we met a couple who stayed there and they told us they took a bus from the hotel to the Vatican each day and then walked or took a bus to the various city sites.
With kids you really want to be in the city center, not far from the sights like this hotel is. You may need a midday break or a change of clothes. The amount of money you will spend on taxis to/from the hotel will really add up. Hotel shuttles are unlikely to operate at the times you want.
Check out the apartmente reviews on SlowTrav (http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/vr/list.asp?r=Rome) or for a hotel, Hotel Julia (http://www.hoteljulia.it/). You should be able to find 3 triple rooms - a quad a 5-bed room may be hard to find. Also look at www.venere.com.
We were a group of 11 (6 adults and 5 children) and we stayed at Lancelot Hotel by the Colosseum. They had quad rooms available and were very accomodating. Good breakfast included. Very clean. Also, there is a nice park with slides, etc. 3 or 4 blocks away. A very quiet neighborhood but close to subway stop and lots of sights.
Just returned from Italy--used Marriott Pts for the Marriott Grand Hotel Flora which is in the center of the city on Via Veneto. For the 3 of us, we had to get 2 rooms--because of their so-called fire safety rules. If you have the points, this is the hotel to stay at. It's a 5 star hotel that is close to everything (walking or by metro). If you're a platinum member, I believe you get the breakfast buffet which is on the 7th fl. rooftop--awesome! I was lucky to get this hotel--kept plugging in dates on their website until I got 3 consec days. Our friends stayed at the Marriott Park hotel in June. There is a hotel shuttle that will take you into the city (45 min.)--it only runs during certain hrs. She said the hotel is out in the middle of nowhere--kind of a business area of Rome--a new hotel. It's not by the metro/train. If Grand Hotel Flora doesn't work, consider the hotel by the airport because you can catch a train (30 min.) to Termini. Then take the metro from there.
If you are on a strict budget then go for the free Marriott. If you want to have a great vacation then spend your nights in the Rome's Historical City Center.