When travelling there is almost always a trade-off to for most of us when managing our travel budget. Splurge for nicer accommodation or save and go for that hot-air balloon ride you have always dreamed about. Where to put those precious travel dollars/pounds/Euros? I will be adding a Save or Splurge section to my blog to post my thoughts on the various things I save, or splurge on in my travels.
While in Rome I stayed at the Clover Guest Rooms (organised via the Beehive Hotel Rome) and the Radisson BLU Rome both located near the Stazione Termini. The area is a convenient area, not far from the major attractions with easy access to the main train station which is also where you will find the bus station and the Metro, making it easy for getting around. I would suggest making use of the buses and metro when possible, they are only 1 EURO for a ticket which is good to anywhere for 75 minutes. This is the same price as it was my first visit in 2006, London could learn something from Rome from this! Read on to find out if you should Splurge or Save in Rome on Accommodation.
The Clover Guestrooms (5 rooms)
My stay at the Clover Guestrooms (which can be booked via the Beehive) was very peaceful. Check-in is at The Beehive, which is a few minutes walk from the main train station and a 10 minute walk from the Clover. Once we had the key and the instructions on how to find The Clover, off we went (when you leave you just leave the key in your room). The Clover located in a traditional Roman building. After entering the small door you will find yourself in a marble foyer with 20ft high arching ceilings. The accommodation is on the 5th floor, this means taking the little lift, one of those charming things that make Europe so fantastic.
Once inside there will be someone to meet you and show you around. The Clover is a flat divided into 5 rooms, doubles (2 twin or one double bed) and singles, all of which are a good size. The whole flat has just been redone so everything is fresh and clean. There are 2 bathrooms, which is a good balance for the number of rooms. You will find there are little touches that make the rooms work well, a table to work or eat from, bedside lights, drawers to put things, a clothes rail to hang things and store luggage on, a guide to Rome with lots of tips, and a ceiling fan for those hot summer nights. The room I was in also had a little terrace.
The flat is very bright and has a shared kitchen should you want to eat in or make breakfast before heading out. As well you will find there is WIFI and even a communal computer. The set-up of Clover is perfect for single travellers or couples who would like a quiet place to stay with a decent size room. Clover Guestrooms are 40EUR (single)/60EUR (double) low season and 60EUR (single) /80EUR (double) high season per room (2012 rates), very good value for Rome.
The Radisson BLU (235 rooms)
The Radisson BLU Rome has an Italian designer style with modern minimalist look. The outside approach up to the hotel isn’t very spectacular, in fact one side of the building is a car park, but once through the door you find yourself in a modern atrium style lobby with views through the floor to ceiling window to the interior courtyard. Check-in is efficient and you will soon find yourself in a hotel room with a layout you may not be familiar with.
The rooms at the Radisson BLU Rome blur the lines between the bathroom and bedroom, with shower rooms, tubs placed next to the bed and translucent walls for the sink areas. I stayed in the Jr. Suite, this room like the other rooms in the hotel, has one wall which is floor to ceiling windows, with the rest of the walls, curtains and furniture all white or light coloured wood making it bright and airy.
As a woman I did notice two glaring omissions in the design of this room, the only mirror was in the bathroom which when it’s not daytime is not the best lit, nor is there a full length mirror. My boyfriend noticed another design problem; while it is cool to have the tub in the middle of the bedroom, because it was behind the bed one could not see the TV when in the tub.
The positives, this hotel like other Radisson BLU’s has one of my favourite features (in certain room categories) the Nepresso machine. As well the tub was deep and long, great for a soak after a day wandering and exploring Rome. There were blinds to black out the giant wall of windows. The hotel features a spa, rooftop restaurant, and pool.
So would I splurge or save on Rome accommodation? While it is nice to have a hotel with a rooftop pool, and a room with a tub and TV, when in Rome there are so many spectacular things to see and do you don’t spend much time at your hotel. If you were going to splurge on a hotel in Rome I would splurge on one with an amazing location. The number one thing I would look for in accommodation while in Rome is a comfortable peaceful place to rest up for the next day’s exploration. For that reason while in Rome I would save on accommodation and splurge on the great food!