Booked through an agent specialising in disabled friendly hotels.
Approx. 1hr taxi ride from the airport Fiumicino (note.... Rome has set taxi prices to the airport of 48 euros currently).
We found all the hotel staff, from cleaners to head waiter (Marco and his hard working team) to be extremely professional, polite and friendly, with the exception of Rosario on reception, which was a shame. We checked out and except for telling me how much hotel tax I had to pay, he didn't even say thanks or goodbye.
Room was spacious and always clean. There are 3 lifts, which our wheelchair fit into. The lift goes to - 1 where there is a small gym, a small sauna and small steam room. Unfortunately there were a couple of steps to sauna/steam room and the hotel couldn't put in a ramp.
I wasn't aware that there still were smoking / non smoking rooms as some had a no smoking sign on the door. Ours didn't and there was an ashtray next to the bed (although there was a notice referring you to somewhere in the hotel you could smoke) but still, there was a faint smell of smoke in the room. If you want a non smoking room it may be worth asking for one (even if you are told they are all non smoking).
Rooms have a balcony, which was nice but we didn't use it (which we now regret!) . Rooms have air-conditioning, a free room safe and TV with BBC news channel. There is a mini bar and a hair dryer but no iron (the hotel offers a dry cleaning service).
The bathroom had a walk-in shower but the sink was not at wheelchair level and (as we have found in most hotels), the mirror was above head height making it difficult for the person using a wheelchair to see what they are doing (brushing teeth /shaving etc.) There is a full length mirror on the back of the bathroom door.
There are two ramps down to breakfast but you will need to assist the person in the wheelchair as these ramps are too steep for the wheelchair user to navigate alone.
There is a good selection for breakfast comprising cereals, fruit, pancakes, croissants, hams, cheese, breads, salads, cake and hot food such as scrambled eggs, bacon and small sausages. Tea, coffee, fruit juices and water are all available.
The hotel is situated approx 5 min walk from the main station, Termini, which is handy when taking the bus home as it can be a little confusing regarding where to catch a bus / get off at first.
We found the bus drivers to be really helpful with our wheelchair and most have ramps to get on / off. A one way bus ticket in Rome cost 1.50 euros.... Never really understood the system here as you have to use a ticket you buy within 100 mins of buying it. You have to validate the ticket when you get on by inserting into a ticket machine on the bus. However, most busses are packed to the brim and no-one can get to them. A lot of them are also broken. This has resulted in hardly anyone (except for the tourists) actually paying for a ticket. We never saw any ticket controllers and the drivers didn't seem bothered :) The ticket can be used on either the bus or subway. An all day bus/metro ticket cost 7 euros which can be useful but we bought one and only used it twice (to get to the Vatican and then back to the hotel). The rest of the time we strolled around and then only bought a ticket back to the hotel as we were so tired by the nd of the day. A handful of metro stations have lifts but not the main ones. Good luck getting onto a train during peak times as you are crammed in like sardines! Take care for pickpockets as the crowded public transport system makes you an ideal target.
There are lots of nice restaurants close to the hotel. It's worth checking them out and ask them if their chef is Italian if you really do want an authentic tasting meal. Be careful when ordering to check what is included. There is normally an additional cover charge / table tax per person. Also, if you ask for additional veg, you may be charged. We ordered a carbonara, which was 9 euros, but asked for additional mushrooms and were charged an additional 9 euros.
Bus 64 goes to the Vatican from Termini. Take a good pair of comfortable walking shoes with you whatever you do. Your feet will really thank you!
There are a few concerts showing close by. We saw one in a church, which comprised a quintet playing Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and a woman singing a sort of cantata, which was very enjoyable.
Most of the streets are cobbled and therefore were quite bumpy so if the wheelchair user suffers from any type of nerve related pain, this may be an issue at times. Some coasters may get stuck in between the cobbles causing the chair to jolt. I think we will look out for plumper, air-filled tyres for our next visit.
Don't be surprised when you check out when you are presented with a bill as you have to pay a hotel tax for each person per night (6 euros pppn), which is quite usual in Italy.
Of course we saw as much of the sites as possible. I now require extensive pampering of my feet!
We had a great stay and would recommend this hotel for location and comfort.
Management_Roscioli, Responsabile relazioni con la clientela at BEST WESTERN Hotel Universo, responded to this review
First of all, we would like to thank you for your detailed and nice review and for sharing with other travellers your kind opinion about our facilities and services! :)
We are very happy that your stay has gone for the better, however we take this opportunity to inform you that we took note of your clarifications, in order to make your potential future stay even more pleasant.
Concerning our colleague Rosario's attitude we're deeply sorry, and we will share your words with the concerned department for further improvement.
It would be a honor to have the chance to host you once again, here at Best Western Hotel Universo.
With our warmest regards,
Assistant Guest Relations
BW Hotel Universo
Roscioli Hotels Group- Rome