Hello, my wife and I are planning to visit Rome in January 2010. We have narrowed our hotel choices (using Expedia) to the Duca D'Alba and the Hotel Colosseum. Can anyone offer advice on these properties or suggest a better option in this area? We are also planning a day trip with Viatours to Pompeii. Any opinions on this? Thank you very much in advance for replies!
Thanks for all the responses. We bought Rick's Rome 2010 a few weeks ago and find it a usefull resource (along with the Frommer's book we purchased). I'll visit the booking sites recommended as well. Please keep the feedback coming! It is very much appreciated.
Thomas - After many years in Rome this would bew and is my personal choice.
Perfect location and an excellent Hoterl - My friends Emanuel and Emanuella are great hosts - please check out their website - The Hotel is directly at Piazza di Spagna!!
I'm not familiar with the Hotels you mentioned, but you might also check the ratings for both properties on TripAdvisor.
I normally use the Italy Guidebook to choose lodgings, and on the last visit stayed at Casa san Guiseppe in the Trastevere area. The www.hotelaberdeen.it/inglese/hotel.htm seems to get good ratings from many that have commented here on the HelpLine.
I don't have any information on Viatours. Hopefully someone here has some details for you.
First of all, forget Expedia. Use venere.com for Italy and Spain. Having said that, I find the Eurostars Roma Congress to be ideal. Nice place, good breakfast (a bit extra). The beauty is that it only runs about $75 per night. It's out on the edge BUT has a daily free shuttle (AM in, early and late PM back) that drops you right at the Termini Station with metro station inside for zipping all over the city. No ideas about tours since I driver everywhere.
I Agree, Expedia is not the best
try caupona.com or eurobooking.com
you can go to the city you want and then the area of the city you want, in a price range and star rating. Then compare the site rates and contact the hotel directly. I agree check the ratings on tripadvisor
Pompeii is one of those places that is very easy to do without a formal tour. First, the train stop is right in front of the main entrance. Second, Pompeii has excellent recorded descriptions or you can hire a private guide at the entrance. Just spend some time discussion with them what they will do and at what price -- at the same time you are evaluating their English skills. Pompeii is massive and fairly intense so a private can be useful. There are other sites that an organized tour could be more useful.
I always find the recommending to avoid a private guide interesting. You spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to get there and then bulk at spending the final 30 or 40 dollars for a guide. I think self guided tours from a tour book can work well with one or maybe two people. But if you have more than that it can be awkward. When traveling with our two sons, they would say, "Time for the bible reading." And that is what it felt like with everyone gather around the reader. And a good guide can add an element of life, enthusiasm, answer questions,etc. -- all which you cannot get from the printed page. While I think Steve's tours are well done, there is a limited to what can go in the guide book and I would encourage the use of private guides when then are available.
Another vote to use Rick Steves book, Venere.com and Tripadvisor to find a hotel. January is very slow time of year so you should be able to find great rates. We love the Nicolas Inn but it may not be right for your needs. The hosts are very helpful but as a B&B there is not 24 hour reception. Be careful being lured in by hotel's rooftop bars, most are closed during the winter!
Reconsider spending a day at Pompeii. The hours of sunlight are very short in January and you'll spend most of your day on a bus or a train. Visit Ostia Antica (see Rick's book!) instead - it's only 45 minutes from the center of Rome and roundtrip per person transportation is 1 euro!
Last summer we stayed at a great b&b called Armonio All Opera across the street from the Roma Opera House and a 10 minute walk from Stazione Termini. The place is brand new and the cost for 2 was 95 euro. The owner is a young guy named Paolo who speaks very good English. I speak Italian, so this was not so important for me.
I also use venere.com to find hotels when I travel in Italy.
Thanks for the Ostia Antica tip. We'll check it out. I saw a video on the history of Pompeii as a child and it's always been in my mind to visit there one day. Eating pizza in Naples is also something I've had in my head for some time. A recurring theme as I read Rick's book and other sources is the level of crime and danger in Rome. It seems to be mostly of the pickpocket/mugging variety. How rough is it? I feel comfortable in big U.S. cities and I travel the Western U.S. as a salesman 2 weeks each month (with occasional trips to Memphis, Little Rock, Philadelphia, etc.). Any insights on safety that are not typically covered in the books/online?
We have been to Rome five times, most recently this past October, and I don't view Rome any more "crime ridden" than any other major European city. There is small level of petty crime, mostly pickpockets, but physical muggings are very rare. In all of our travels through out most of Europe we have never had a problem BUT we use reasonable precautions -- money belts, modest dress,min. luggage, etc -- so that we don't draw unnecessary attention to ourselves and try to act like we know where we are going even when totally lost. You probably are more likely to be mugged in the US but use the same precautions that you use in any strange location.
Naples has a worse reputation and probably it is deserved. But we have passed through Naples a number of times with no problems. Less concern if you are only using the train station for a connection.
While Ostia Antica does have a similar look and feel as Pompeii it is not the same. But O Antica is great for a short day, half day trip out of Rome.
My family just returned from spending 5 days in Rome. We used Rick's recommendation of Hotel Adler, located one block from Piazza Republica with its convenient subway stop. We were very pleased with the hotel & its location. Many pros to staying here: Our 5 day stay for 3 persons/one room was 105 euros per night; Breakfast each morning from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m; Pleasant second floor hotel .... very calm, clean, and a somewhat classy feel to the place; As it is only occupies one floor of a building, the front desk is not overwhelmed with dozens of guests at any time. Possible cons: The room doors & windows are not modern so the sound proofing is not the best. Doubles are available facing the interior courtyard & it would be worth inquiring about these rooms. Noise was not really a problem from the inside corridor, but the early morning hustle & bustle of daily Rome was noticeable on some mornings. If you are an early riser (6:30~7:00 a.m.)this shouldn't be an issue. Bathrooms are small, but adequate. Also, the hotel is not well marked. It is within 50 feet of the corner of via Torino & via Modena, but we walked right on by. Look for a small lighted sign about only 5 feet above the sidewalk.
Thomas-have a wonderful trip. I have been to Rome twice in the last year and as a single woman have never felt uncomfortable walking around-even at night. Of course, I am aware of my surroundings, wear my money belt, dress and act conservatively. I probably feel less safe when walking to the light rail in downtown Minneapolis at night. In Rome, I stay at the Hotel Aberdeen near the termini and have always been pleased. Finally, I found Ostia Antica very interesting and worth the trip.
I second everything Laurie said, except I haven't stayed at Hotel Aberdeen so can't speak to that. I think the least safe thing in Rome is crossing the street!
If you need to book selected hotels AND tours, check out Isango, the European equivalent to Viatour who will give you an immediate discount for booking hotels and tours together.