Reasonably-priced, close enough to the city center, and public transportation on the corner
During our two stints in Rome for our vacation abroad, we stayed at the Best Western Hotel President (3 nights and then 2 nights). Were I to stay at a hotel again, this would definitely be high on the list of candidates. While there are small nitpicks I have, there was so much about it that made our trip easy that I'd happily endure them (and just come better prepared next time).
- A fifteen minute walk east of the Colosseum (we did this walk once and it was very easy)
- Next to a movie theater (we didn't partake), a good Gelateria (not a big name or famous, but the pistachio was killer--and not neon green like the "fake" gelato), and a few small bodega- or deli-type markets if you need small things like water, yogurt, some fruit, or cured meats
- Around the corner (no more than a 30 second walk) from multiple transportation options:
* The Manzoni station for Metro Line A (subway), a quick two stops from Termini, which connects to Metro Line B, the rail lines throughout Italy, buses, and rails to the airport; seven or so stops away from Ottaviano, which pops you out a few blocks away from The Vatican or Castel Sant' Angelo
* Tram 3 that leads towards the city center and into Testaccio and Trastevere
* Bus 51 that leads towards the Colosseum, Tiber Island, and the vicinity of the Pantheon
- A 5 minute walk away from the buses (81, 87) across St. John's Basilica in Laterano that will take you near the Campo di Fiore area
- In sum, it's easy to get to transportation that will get you where you want to go anywhere close to the city center. It took us less than 30 minutes by Tram to get to Testaccio, and less than 30 minutes by bus to get to the centerpoint area between Campo Di Fiore, Piazza Novona, and the Pantheon. Finally, if you plan on taking the Leonardo Express between Termini and the airport, you'll only need about an hour total (~15 minutes between Manzoni and Termini, ~32 minutes between Termini and FCO airport, with buffer time in between for walking and buying train tickets). The immediate surrounding neighborhood itself isn't entirely interesting, but I wasn't bothered by it
Accommodation and Amenities
- The rooms are on the smaller side, but there's enough room for a nighstand on each side and a desk to use your laptop on. Clean decor, good amount of charging sockets, and good lighting. Shower doors / guards were a bit finicky, though.
- Depending on the room, you either get a nice view of the street, a nice view of the inner open space between the neighboring buildings, or a terrible few of a wall. We had the terrible view our first 3 nights, and the nice inner open space our second 2 nights. Didn't really matter as we were only in our room for sleeping and recharging.
- The walls are very, very thin, and the structure is just prone to noisiness. On our first night there, I woke up at 4AM, and could not fall back asleep because people were either leaving really early to get to the airport or the staff shift was changing. It was probably a mixture of both. Whatever the reason, I could hear all the commotion (wheels rolling on the floor and banter) in the hallways as well as the neighboring rooms--I could even hear someone snoozing their smartphone alarm repeatedly. The following nights I was able to alleviate this with a mixture of earplugs and taking melatonin to help my jetlag. And I don't think I was bothered by commotion after that. But if you're a light sleeper, come prepared
- Every room comes with a smartphone, pre-loaded with a tourism-oriented operating system. It's just a secure app that sits on top of Android, on a Samsung Galaxy A3 phone. You can use it to make local calls, browse the web, use Google Maps for directions, and use Google Translate for all your language-barrier needs (all with 4G speeds). Best of all, it is provided for free. I would say that compared to how many public transportation options there are close by, this free phone was of equal importance to us, since we don't have hi-speed global data plans. The Galaxy A3 is a budget-level phone, so it's a tad slow, the battery life isn't the greatest, and the GPS didn't always lock onto our exact location 100% of the time (once in a while it would be maybe 50 feet / just under 20 meters off), but it worked well enough for me to rely on it for all directions as well as scouting out restaurants and reviews on the web. We also carried USB battery packs with us so that we could charge anything on the go. (Note that for a 5 euro fee per day of use, you can also use it as a Wi-Fi hotspot for your own device, but we never felt the need to employ that option.)
- There is a decent fitness center with cardio equipment, free weights, and a multi-function machine with different strength training motions and (if I recall correctly) a pull-up bar. We only used it to raid the fridge for a bottle of water but it would have been adequate for our needs
- There is 5 euro breakfast. We didn't partake, but it's there if you need it
- The restaurant will fill up your water bottles for free. Just take it to the host. They ask that you do this instead of hoarding water from the gym
- The bed and pillows were a little squishy. Not the best if you're used to a firmer mattress and pillows. But they have a menu of pillows for you to choose from, which is a nice touch. It's just that the "firmest" pillow on offer didn't really do it for us
- Good air conditioning. Very important if you're going in the summer.
- Friendly staff. At least, our encounters were friendly. Helpful with public transportation directions or calling a cab. And, selfishly on my part, they all spoke English very well.
- Tiny elevators! Can fit four, maybe five, people in without luggage, and only three with luggage.
With all the other hotels--slightly closer to the city center--charging upwards of $200 a room, this is a very good sub-$200 alternative (rooms can be had between $100 and $150 depending on when and what you book). If money is no object to you, I suppose you could do better closer to the city center. This isn't extravagantly lavish. But if deciding on a hotel in the future, I would definitely stay here again on subsequent visits to Rome. less