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Help with hotel choice in Rome for solo female

Hello-

I'm trying to decide on a hotel or convent to stay at in Rome and I'm having a hard time. This is my 1st trip. I'm looking at Hotel Sonya or Santa Elisabetta near the train station, Hotel Paba or the Nicholas Inn near the colesseum, or Hotel Giardino or Casa Il Rosario near piazza venezia. Is one of these areas better than another for a solo woman to stay in? Does anyone have experience staying in any of these? I'm going in January, so I need to book soon. Please help.

Posted by
536 posts

Kathleen - I always recommend The Hotel Forte -
http://www.hotelforte.com/en/index.htm

Only a few hundred yards from The Spanish Steps - Piazza di Spagna, and close enough to walk to The Trevi Fountain, The Via Veneto, as well as The Roman Forum. Emanuel and Emanuela take very good care of their guests. Nice Cafes and restaurants on the side streets by The Steps and very safe area.

Greg

Posted by
1313 posts

I don't know if one is better than another, but we stayed in Hotel Paba and liked it. Didn't feel unsafe at all. Granted, I wasn't solo but even if I had been, I don't think it would have been an issue. The beds are extremely firm though, so make sure that you are OK with that.

Posted by
440 posts

Kathleen, Casa Il Rosario is a delightful convent. It has a garden area at the second level (I think) and a large rooftop area (with clothesline!!!), from which you can see the Colosseum, Santa Maria Maggiore and the V. Emmanuelle edifice. Very quiet, in the splendid Monti district. I even had a goodbye kiss from the sister. Only breakfast was served but there are numerous little places close by. I have stayed solo in many locations in Italy, including Hotel Giardino (small single rooms) - all fine, no safety issues ever.

Posted by
466 posts

Rome itself is very safe!!!! You shouldn't feel scared as a single women walking the streets of Rome. The most that happens is petty theft. Just be street smart and you will not have any problems. Just keep walking if the gypsies start talking to you.

Posted by
104 posts

I am a bit worried about the petty theft that everyone keeps mentioning.

I decided to book with the Nicolas Inn as I've heard good things and it's small. I went with a convent for Assisi and then Hotel Davanzati for Florence.

Posted by
668 posts

I feel safer in Italy than any where in a US city. There is petty crime everywhere and all the time, but not violent crime. The wife and I feel like we can walk any where, even late hours in the city and its just the rats to deal with.

Posted by
14003 posts

I'm piggybacking on this thread, because I will be traveling solo in Italy in February.

  1. How early do I need to make reservations for Florence and Rome? (I will be in Rome for the second weekend of Carnevale, if that matters)

  2. In Rome (first time), does anyone have recommendations for a SINGLE room? In Venice last year I stayed in a "recommended" small hotel. No single room was available the first night of my stay, so they gave me a double at the single rate. Both rooms were "shared bath." The double was a lovely, spacious room with early 20th century carved wood furniture and a large comfy bed. The single was barely closet-size, with very small clothes cupboard, the narrowest bed and thinnest mattress, and all the furniture made Ikea look like luxury. My point is that had I only stayed in the double room, I would have highly recommended the hotel.

Posted by
1086 posts

I've stayed abt 10 minutes from the termini twice in the last 9 months at the Hotel Aberdeen. I have always felt safe. In fact, I walked to Xmas eve mass about 1/2 mile from the hotel and felt safe that late at night-just be aware, like you are at home.

Posted by
1313 posts

"I am a bit worried about the petty theft that everyone keeps mentioning."

The solution to that is a money belt and some common sense. Don't wear flashy jewelry, leave your ATM card in the ATM, or put your purse down on the floor. Do keep the majority of your money, passport, and credit cards in a money belt, of which there are many kinds. I personally do not like the traditional money belt, so I use a neck wallet. Stash the majority of your money in there and keep the day's spending money in a more accessible location. That way if you get pickpocketed, you lose 20 euro, not 200.

Also, don't act like a target. Walk with confidence, being aware of your surroundings. If you need to consult a map, duck into a cafe or put your back up against a wall. Keep a close grip on your bag and make sure it is zipped closed or otherwise secured.

Be prepared, be alert, but most important, have a wonderful time!

Posted by
668 posts

Petty thief is just that. You have to engage them to be ripped off or encounter a pickpocket. Both are easily dealt with. Money Belt, Money Belt, Money Belt. That takes care of all pickpockets.

NO ONE IN ITALY NEEDS YOUR HELP. And that takes care of the rest.

Posted by
104 posts

Thanks Liz.

I am always aware of my surroundings (I grew up near Chicago so I'm used to bigger cities) and I have the neck wallet already. I'm always careful about where I look at a map or guidebook.

What do you keep in your day bag besides enough cash only for the day? Do you keep any id or a copy of your passport pages?

Posted by
811 posts

Kathleen, this is a off-topic from what you are asking, but I wanted to tell you nice choice on going with the Hotel Davanzati in Florence! My husband and I stayed there in 2007 and I can still picture it vividly and have fond memories of our stay there. It is a great hotel and they will take very good care of you!

Posted by
1507 posts

Too late since you already booked, but I stayed at Hotel Sonya as a solo traveler and felt perfectly safe. The staff was great. The train station "traffic" is something, but walking with purpose and a trusty money belt seems to be sufficient (also, taking an 8 a.m. train to the airport when most of the riff-raff is still sleeping seemed to help).

Posted by
104 posts

Thanks Angela and CL.

I do still need to pick somewhere to stay the last night before I fly home, so I was thinking I might try Hotel Sonya as it's closer to the train station.

Posted by
192 posts

Kathleen, I just returned from Italy. I didn't have any problems with petty theft but I followed Rick Steves advice on being careful. If you don't look like a target you will be fine. I did get approached by different people and I just stated strongly, "Non m'interessa!" (I am not interested) and I kept walking. I don't know if they were pickpockets or not but I didn't give them any chances.

Posted by
7735 posts

Just FYI, a lot of the return flights out of Rome require you to be at the airport before the trains start running, so being near the train station may not help much.

Posted by
1313 posts

I actually ended up keeping my spending cash in a jacket pocket. My rain coat has a small, flat pocket above the breast. It'd be pretty impressive if a pickpocket got his/her hand in there without me noticing, but I prefer not to take chances so the most I put at risk is 20 euro, 50 if I expect to need a lot of cash for some reason.

In my day bag was my guidebook/map, hotel key, sunglasses, chapstick, gloves--like you, I traveled in the winter and it wasn't too bad but my hands got very cold. Spare camera batteries/memory cards--I have a small p&s and it actually stayed in my pocket most of the time, with the strap around my wrist because I was using it so much. Hmm, that's about it I think. Maybe a protein bar to snack on.

I carried a phrase book for part of the first time I was in Rome but never used it so I ditched it in the hotel room. I am one of those who carries my passport with me in the moneybelt rather than leave it in the hotel safe. I do leave a copy of the passport back at the hotel.

Posted by
104 posts

I thought the 1st trains from Termini to the airport ran at roughly 6:20 am, so 30 minutes for the train, would get me to the airport at about 7:00 for a 9:45 flight. Is that not early enough?

Posted by
157 posts

Kathleen,

If you are relying on public transportation I would leave the hotel at least 3 hours before departure. The last time I was there I left my hotel at 7:00 for a 10:30 a.m. flight. By the time I got through security I had about 1 hour to get something to eat and relax before departure. I would allow extra time especially if you have not been there before.

Posted by
20686 posts

We were just at the Sonya earlier this week. With regards to your flight. If it is a flight within Europe two hours is fine. We used the shuttle (17E for one) and it got us to the airport is less than an hour -- left at 7:20 and in the airport before 8:00. The extra 6E is off set by the convenience. It is several blocks to the train station and then a long hike to the train inside the station. And the same at the airport. Shuttle will drop you right at the front door for the check-in. In total time from hotel to check-in counter the shuttle is much faster.

Posted by
58 posts

Hi Kathleen:

Congratulations for deciding to take a holiday to beautiful Italy!

While I was there several years ago, I am returning in June. This time as a single woman traveling solo! With the help of this forum and a very knowledgeable person I met on here, I have a wonderful adventure planned for three weeks...one full week exploring Rome. I am hiring a personal guide over there to show me around, as I have different interests and passions than when I formerly visited. I have no concerns about safety, and of course, will be pro-active insofar as passport, money belt etc...but that is just common sense.

In the meantime, I am savoring the anticipation and the planning for next June. Heck, that is part of the fun of going on holiday...the "anticipation".

Have a sensational time.

Jan

Posted by
104 posts

I'm still debating if maybe I would be better with the Hotel Sonya for both the 1st 4 nights, and the last night after I come back from Florence. They have a single room available for about 56 euros after the cash discount with the possibility of an in-room PC. Åre there any other advantages to staying here vs. the Nicolas Inn?

I know the single is small as I found some pics on TripAdvisor, but that's probably ok for me.

Posted by
1127 posts

I don't know if I could handle a single room. The single rooms are usually only a single because the room is so small it can't fit a bed for two. However you are in Rome, where you will spend most of your time exploring the city.

Posted by
354 posts

About the room - it really depends on your budget and your needs. Are you the sort who needs space, comfort and a good night's rest? In my younger days I could handle staying in a closet and in grotty hotels, but I don't think I can do that now! 56 euro for a decent clean room is a good price.

Posted by
104 posts

The room looks nicely done- new TV, small desk and nice bathroom, but it would be small by most people's standards. The bed looked to be about a twin. I'm petite and normally share my full size bed at home with a 75 lb bed-hogging labrador retreiver so to have a twin all to myself might be an improvement.

I care about clean and having a comfortable bed. I'm only taking a carry-on so I won't have a ton of stuff.

Posted by
3580 posts

I stayed at the Hotel Sonya on a RS tour a few years ago. It is comfortable, and has an elevator. I like being near the train station. The shorter the distance to be traveled with luggage, the better.

Posted by
354 posts

hi Kathleen, based on other travelers' notes here of Hotel Sonya, the fact that it hosts Rick Steves tour groups, offers a private bathroom and free internet for 56 euro a night ... I'd say, "go for it" :)

Posted by
21 posts

I stayed at 2 different places near the train station...it was fine I felt perfectly safe traveling alone. In fact I traveled around Rome and Sicily and I did not have any problems at all.
I would recommend hostels since the communal enviroment makes it alot easier to make friends, which in turn means that you have company at meals and sightseeing. Even just sitting around in a common room at the end of the day it is nice to have people to discuss your day with and get advice.

Posted by
1170 posts

You will need to leave for the airport 3 hours before departure, MINIMUM. Ideally you should BE THERE 3 hours before departure. If you have never departed from the Rome airport, you need to know that security and check-in is at Terminal 5. This is a separate terminal from the rest of the airport terminal system. It is set up to take care of special security concerns for flights to the U.S. and to Israel. Once you go through check-in and security in Terminal 5, a shuttle bus will take you to the departure terminal. There was a very long line for the shuttle bus last time I blew through there. I would suggest that you have your hotel arrange for a car to take you to the airport. It is a flat rate of 40 Euro. That way you get dropped off exactly where you need to be and won't have to try to figure out where to go once you get there.

Have you looked in the Trastevere section of Rome for a hotel/B & B? I always stay in Trastevere. It is just across the Tiber from the ancient sites and is quiet at night yet still has a vibrant nightlife with a great many restaurants and bars to choose from. It is a very safe place to stay. I stay at the Arco del Lauro, always. The proprietor is Lorenza and she is very, very sweet and always helpful.

Posted by
33 posts

Kathleen,
I traveled to Rome along for 5 days in April this year and had a great time there! You'll be fine being alone especially when you're most often surrounded by tourists anyway.

I was being more careful than when I was with a companion, but nothing that needs to go out of the way for.

I did find hotel as an important thing for single travelers so I did extensive research before I booked my hotel. I stayed at Hotel Milton Roma, which is literally right across the street from the Metro station Manzoni. It's a 10 minute walk to the Collosseum. Because it's not right in the heart of things, it's a bit cheaper. I found that being so close to the Metro was extremely helpful as I can just hop on a train and go back to my hotel.
I ended up strolling around the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps every night (wonderful experience! I'm missing it a lot) and just hop on a train at the Spagna station (very crowded even at night) to go home. Very convenient.

Just watch your bags and you'll be fine. I carried a shoulder purse and just kept my hand on the strap all the time.

The single rooms are SMALL. I didn't care much because I wasn't in my room most of my time anyways.

Enjoy your time there! Rome is truly magnificent!

Posted by
409 posts

Hi, Kathleen: Nicolas Inn is wonderful in every way (location, hospitality, quality of the room, etc.) and Melissa, the proprietor, is from Chicago, too! I was thrilled you had made that your choice until I saw the price of your other possibility. Nicolas Inn is about twice as much, so it will come down to budget. But if you're unsure as to whether Nicolas Inn is a good choice, it is a GREAT choice.