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The Secret Hotels of Rome
genuine budgeteers will appreciate the sarcasm : The merely Rome hotel to rival the five-star Hassler ( atop the spanish Steps ) for “ Best board with a view ” is Albergo Abruzzi, a backpacker ‘s haven overlooking the incredible 1,800-year-old Pantheon. Few bum sleeps are indeed good situated, but among the best of the best, each has its own charms. I recently toured more than 70 Roman hostel where doubles cost under $ 80 before choosing 20 that offer some combination of a good location, solid comfort, a modicum of amenities, and helpful management that strives to make each guest ‘s last out a memorable one. These little Wonder Hotels run the gamut from spare hospices managed by nuns to a pensione serving kosher breakfasts, from external backpacker pads to classy joints where you ‘ll have to snatch a board aside from traveling italian businessmen. Whether your dream cover is a block from the spanish Steps or from the ancient Forum, whether you want to crash around the corner from the train post or from the Armani showroom, you ‘ll find the perfect room at one of these budget hostel. The hotels are found in four well-known neighborhoods : Centro Storico, Termini, Prati, and Trastevere. The centro storico ( historic center ) is where most people want to be : Along the boutique-lined streets radiating from the spanish Steps, or tucked into the knot of cobble alleys and antiques shops surrounding Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, and Campo de ‘ Fiori with its good morning market and night cake picture. Rome ‘s best bargains are clustered amid the Termini train station ‘s nineteenth- hundred grid of bus topology boulevards, budget shops, and holocene immigrants trying to scrape a know. Though central enough, this is Rome ‘s least interest neighborhood-dreary, dirty, and slightly disreputable ( particularly just south of the station ), and a half-hour hike from the centro storico. I ‘ve pinpointed the shining gems of cordial reception and fashionable frugality amid Termini ‘s ocean of seedy flophouses and tour-bus chain hotels. Across the Tiber River are Prati, a bang-up, non-touristy neighborhood that surrounds the Vatican ; and, to the confederacy, the restaurant- and pub-filled alley-ways of a gorgeous medieval artisans ‘ quarter called Trastevere. Unless differently specified, all rooms come with private toilet and telephone, credit cards are accepted, and the scope of rates is seasonal worker ; you pay clear dollar approximately from Easter to October ( but excluding August and sometimes July ; rates used here based on E1=94¢ ). To call Rome from the United States, dial 011-39 before the numbers listed below. Centro Storico Pensione Panda Via della Croce 35, tel. 06-678-0179, facsimile 06-6994-2151, world wide web. hotelpandaparadise.com. 20 rooms, 12 with bath. double room E62 ( $ 58 ) without bath, E83ÐE93 ( $ 78Ð $ 87 ) with bath. 10 percentage discount for paying cash. No breakfast. For the best libra of comfort, style, and price in the very heart of Rome, the Panda wins hands-down. The washboard-vaulted ceilings are frescoed ( second floor ) or trimmed in stuccoes ( first floor ) over terrazzo flooring, wrought-iron wall sconces, and firm new bedsprings. even rooms without private bath have sinks surrounded by antique stone tiles. That cash discount keeps it under $ 80. All that and it ‘s merely two fashionista-teeming blocks from the spanish Steps amid Rome ‘s toniest shops. Hotel Smeraldo Vicolo dei Chiodaroli 9, tel. 06-687-5929, facsimile 06-6880-5495, www.hotelsmeraldoroma.com. 50 rooms, 44 with bathe. bivalent room E68ÐE78 ( $ 64Ð $ 73 ) without bath, E104ÐE114 ( $ 98Ð $ 107 ) with bathtub. Breakfast E5ÐE8 ( $ 4.70Ð $ 7.50 ). This is the beginning target in Rome I call for a board. You just wo n’t find a better place at these prices in the very heart of Rome. You get burnished chestnut veneers, stone-tile floors, marble sinks, and all the electronic comforts of home ( satellite television, hairdryers, even A/C ). The price for rooms with entire bathtub rises above our $ 80 ceiling but all rooms have sinks and bidets. The hardworking owners have besides equitable renovated the old Hotel Piccolo ( it ‘s now called hotel in Parione ; tel. 06-6880-2560, facsimile 06-689-2330 ) across the street. Casa Kolbe Via San Teodoro 44, tel. 06-679-4974, facsimile 06-6994-1550. 63 rooms. double board E80 ( $ 75 ). Breakfast E6 ( $ 5.60 ). Those rooms that do n’t open onto the peaceful court ‘s palms and orange trees look rather across a little-trafficked street onto a romantically overgrow, semi-excavated part of the ancient Palatine Hill. The Roman Forum capture is precisely a few hundred feet away. The Kolbe exudes that somber calm that only a early mon-astery can muster, but it ‘s comfortable adequate. The built-in units are austere, with celestial orthopedic beds sporting blankets in the most hideous shades of brown and yellow the 1960s had to offer. Hotel Mimosa Via di Santa Chiara 61, tel. 06-6880-1753, facsimile 06-683-3557, www.hotelmimosa.net. 11 rooms, 7 with bathroom. No phones. No credit cards. double room E67ÐE83 ( $ 63Ð $ 78 ) without bath, E83ÐE98 ( $ 78Ð $ 92 ) with bathe. Breakfast E5ÐE6 ( $ 4.70Ð $ 5.60 ). Tucked into a golden location between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, the family-run Mimosa has somehow been overlooked by Rome ‘s tourism machine, happily continuing to offer simpleton but ample, clean, and comfortable rooms at laughably moo rates. biggish rooms one, two, and three were recently redone with far-out touches : work cast-iron or administration bedsteads, sinuate mirrors, Oriental rug, giant ceiling beam, or brilliant blue curtains. lone one room has A/C ( an extra E10/ $ 9.40 ). Fraterna Domus Via Monte Brianzo 62, tel. 06-6880-2727, facsimile 06-683-2691, domusrm @ tin.it. 18 rooms. doubly board E78 ( $ 73 ) ; students E30 ( $ 28 ) per person. Breakfast included. If you do n’t mind cloistered simplicity, bantam bathrooms with curtainless showers, and a interior decoration that begins and ends with a little Crucifix nailed above the bed, this hospice just north of Piazza Navona run by a dwell sisterhood may be the ticket. The beds are firm, the tile floors kept next-to-godliness clean. The bad news program : An 11 post meridiem curfew ( but you might get a front door key if you stay a week ). They besides offer excellent full meals for a measly E12 ( $ 11 ), as I recommended in “ The little Wonder Restaurants of Rome ” ( Budget Travel, July/August 2000 ). Albergo Abruzzi Piazza della Rotonda 69, tel. 06-679-2021. 28 rooms, none with bathe. No phones. No credit rating cards. double room E95 ( $ 89 ). No breakfast. The Abruzzi is $ 9 over our limit, but what ‘s a few bucks more when you can open your bedroom window and practically poke the Pantheon with a stick ? Of course, there are no private bathrooms ( each five-room floor shares fair one and a half bathtub ), no amenities any, no backbone to the mattresses, and no double-glaze windows to keep out the considerable pedestrian noise from this popular plaza. It takes a die-hard computer architecture buffet and/or Rome aficionado to appreciate the Abruzzi ‘s charms. For me, it ‘s worth the annoyance, late-night commotion for at least one dawn of waking up to that view, which is best from the bombastic corner doubles with windows on two walls. Pensione Jonella Via della Croce 41, tel. 06-679-7966, facsimile 06-446-2368. 4 rooms, none with bath. No phones. No accredit cards. double room E52ÐE68 ( $ 49Ð $ 64 ). No breakfast. Think of this as your budget penthouse : Way up on the one-fifth floor with no elevator and no reception desk ( call when you get to the station and they meet you with the keys ), but a killer whale placement between the spanish Steps and the Corso. The rooms are broad and fitted with frame Roman prints and fantastic old Deco armoires and mirrors. Room 1 has an elegant bedstead and a balcony ; enormous Room 4 fits four beds and a dining room-type table with plenty of room to spare. If you hear a message in italian when you phone, stay on the line ; it ‘s just call-forwarding. Residenza Brotsky Via del Corso 509, tel. 06-361-2339, facsimile 06-323-6641. 24 rooms, 19 with bathtub. double room E50ÐE70 ( $ 47Ð $ 66 ) without bath, E60ÐE90 ( $ 56Ð $ 85 ) with bathtub. Breakfast E5 ( $ 4.70 ). A board house straight out of a Fellini film-dusty and worn at the edges, but full of character and astoundingly bum for its prime localization on Rome ‘s main passeggiata ( strolling ) street. A odds and ends of tire old furnishings and oil landscapes crowds the roomy rooms, and bathrooms were overhauled in 2000. Brotsky ‘s keep open graces are the creaky parquet-floored breakfast board, narrow Room 10 with its Corso balcony, and the roof terrace ‘s personable view of Roman rooftops, the Villa Borghese ‘s umbrella pines, and St. Peter ‘s dome beyond a brush of television receiver aerials. Termini Hotel Des Artistes Via Villafranca 20, tel. 06-445-4365, fax 06-446-2368, hypertext transfer protocol : //www.hoteldesartistes.com/. 45 rooms, 32 with bath. double room E45ÐE100 ( $ 42Ð $ 94 ) without bath, E98ÐE179 ( $ 92Ð $ 168 ) with bath. Breakfast E7.75 ( $ 7.25 ). Discounts of E5ÐE15 ( $ 4.70Ð $ 14 ) if you pay cash ( normally ). Paintings and prints brighten this economical seaport where some of the boastfully rooms can sleep up to six ( perfect for families ). The beds are orthopedically sound and the arte povera furnishings are among the nicest I ‘ve seen. Rooms with stylish secret baths come with A/C ( bathless ones get a sports fan ). The entire hotel-including the TV/chess/Internet terminal lounge-is nonsmoking, save the cheery ceiling patio, where you can breakfast in summer. The price range reflects complicated seasonal variations ; except during the busiest jump and fall periods, you will likely get a room with bathe for under $ 80, specially if you pay cash. Check the Web site for deals. Hotel Papa Germano Via Calatafimi 14A, tel. 06-486-919, facsimile 06-4782-5202, www.hotel papagermano.com. 17 rooms, 7 with bathe. doubling room E52ÐE68 ( $ 49Ð $ 64 ) without bathtub, E68ÐE83 ( $ 64Ð $ 78 ) with bath. Bed in share board without bath E18ÐE21 ( $ 17Ð $ 20 ). No breakfast. Gino believes that being a host involves more than barely providing beds. Most small hotels suffer from a drafty, blue feel, but Papa Germano is possibly the most comfortable, cosy hotel in its category. First take a powerful shuffle of double-glaze windows, brilliantly lighting, and high patterned fabrics and futon chairs. Add advanced climate command, amenities such as television receiver and hairdryer, and a loosen lounge with Internet stations. Finish it off with those low rates and the quick welcome of the impressively friendly, hyperhelpful Gino, and you can understand why Papa Germano books up early. Fawlty Towers Via Magenta 39, tel. 06-445-0374, facsimile 06-4938-2878, www.fawltytowers.org. 16 rooms, 5 with bath. No phones. No credit cards. double room E62 ( $ 58 ) without bath, E67 ( $ 63 ) with sink/shower, E77 ( $ 72 ) with bath. Bed in dormitory E18 ( $ 17 ) without bathroom, E23 ( $ 22 ) with bath. No breakfast. early flight ? Try crashing around the corner from the Termini station at this easygoing hotel that emanates that youthful, friendly, backpackers-of-the-world-unite hostel ambience-but without the blue dormitory atmosphere or party-hard agenda. Rooms are basic, but the mattresses are new. About half the accommodations are individual ; half are shared, hostel-style ( but with only four cots each ). The ( generally ) young guests hang out in the television receiver room, sun parlor ( microwave, electric refrigerator, Internet station ), and flower-filled terrace, trading travel tips and much heading out as a group for pizza or a public house crawl. Hotel Tizi Via Collina 48, tel. 06-482-0128, facsimile 06-474-3266. 24 rooms, 10 with bath. No phones. No credit cards. double room E52 ( $ 49 ) without bathe, E62 ( $ 58 ) with bath. Breakfast E7 ( $ 6.60 ). The Tizi family actually lives here, so you ‘ll find them and their whizz Persian perennially hanging around their kitchen/ din board across the anteroom from guest-room doors. Rooms enjoy fresh wallpaper and Murano-style chandeliers, and honest-to-god blankets stretched across firm beds. Second-floor rooms sport swooping metallic bed frames, high stucco ceilings, and older baths, while ground-floor accommodations are larger but more dismally furnished. They are renovating another ten rooms in the build. Hotel Fenicia Via Milazzo 20, tel./fax 06-490-342, www.hotelfenicia.it. 14 rooms, 1 with toilet in mansion ( shower/sink in room ). double room E75ÐE85 ( $ 70Ð $ 80 ) ; discounted in winter. Breakfast available during some months upon request E7 ( $ 6.60 ). A gem amid a murder of budget dives, offering one-star prices for three-star comfort-including television receiver and A/C ( which costs an extra E10/ $ 9.40 to turn on ). Spanking new modular units and firm beds rest on modern parquet floors surrounded by matching fabrics. The bathrooms are ( for Rome ) unusually broad. The hotel is spread across three elevatorless floors : The first base ( criterion rooms ), moment ( classiest digs ), and fourth ( older, and generally smaller, rooms-except rooms 18 and 20, which are adult and newly refurbished and have bantam balconies ). Most bum hotels yell at you for doing laundry in the slump ; the Fenicia provides retractable clotheslines in the baths. Suore di Santa Elisabetta Via dell’Olmata 9, tel. 06-488-8271, fax 06-488-4066. 35 rooms, 25 with bathe. double room E51 ( $ 48 ) without bath, E66 ( $ 62 ) with bathe. Breakfast included. Kindly polish nuns have welcomed guests to their convent barely south of Santa Maria Maggiore for more than 100 years. The rooms are spare and elementary, but comfortable, with a painting or two in addition to the needed crucifix. Like a priggish 1950s situation comedy, the minute gemini beds are kept strictly separated in all rooms. Baths are old, but well cared for, and a few rooms have terraces. Guests can wander the bird’s-eye ceiling terrace and the passive palm-shaded garden of orange trees, roses, and kiwi-vine arbors. Kids under 12 stay at a dismiss. The big drawback : An 11 post meridiem curfew. Book well in advance. Hotel Katty Via Palestro 35, tel. 06-490-079, fax 06-444-1216. 23 rooms, 15 with bath. double room E26ÐE51 ( $ 24Ð $ 48 ) without bathtub, E39ÐE77 ( $ 37Ð $ 72 ) with bath. If you pay by credit wag, add 3 to 5 percentage to these prices. No breakfast. It ‘s a bite of a walk from the place, but the charitable owner, bargain-basement prices, and far-out interior decoration of the large, bare rooms earn the Katty a place amid Rome ‘s budget bests. Rooms without bathtub are kitted out with clobber modular furnishings but fantastic floors of chipped-stone mosaics. Private-bath rooms are brand newly for 2002, with bright tile floors, nice built-in units, A/C and minibar ( in some ), and double-glaze windows. A few have balconies on the court. Rooms 203 ( a triple ) and 206 ( a quad ) sport fresco ceilings. television receiver available upon request. Across the river ( Prati & Trastevere ) Hotel Colors Via Boezio 31, tel. 06-687-4030, fax 06-686-7947, www.colorshotel.com. 7 rooms, 1 with bath. No phones. No citation cards. duplicate board E68 ( $ 64 ) without bathtub, E78 ( $ 73 ) with shower/sink, E83 ( $ 78 ) with bath. Bed in co-ed dormitory without bath E20 ( $ 19 ). No breakfast. The folks who founded Fawlty Towers ( above ) now run this fifth-floor walk-up near Vatican City. It ‘s a few blocks from the best food denounce in Rome-indoor and outdoor markets, plus Franchi and Castroni, two renowned grocers-so you can put the communal kitchen and small shared terrace to good function. The simple, roomy rooms are vibrant in a supersaturated, capricious, accident-at-the-Crayola-factory way. only one room is shared dorm-style, and the largely young backpacking clientele tend to be of a more reserved, fledged stripe. The washer/dryer costs less than a launderette. Locanda Carmel Via Goffredo Mameli 11, tel. 06-580-9921, fax 06-581-8853, mental reservation @ hotelcarmel.it. 11 rooms. doubling room E80 ( $ 75 ) without bath, E85 ( $ 80 ) with bath. Breakfast included. What very well may be Italy ‘s only formally kosher hotel lies in a silence corner just two blocks from Trastevere ‘s casual grocery store on Piazza di San Cosimato. In 2001 they spread wonderfully colored quilts over firm fresh mattresses, and finally soundproofed the doors and windows. A buffet wooden chair and bedside table form “ furnishings, ” but all rooms have A/C, an ( unstocked ) mini electric refrigerator, and a television receiver. The sun parlor of spongy couches opens onto a cover girl, plant-filled terrace shaded by vine arbors. Pensione Lady Via Germanico 198, tel. 06-324-2112, fax 06-324-3446. 8 rooms, 4 with bath. double room E85 ( $ 80 ) without bathroom, E100 ( $ 94 ) with bathroom. No breakfast. Staying here, in the heart of Prati, feels a bit like moving into an arty acquaintance ‘s apartment : There ‘s the homelike exist room with its deeply cushioned couches and exposed wood ceilings ( a feature that graces about half the rooms ), a mix of Liberty and unfinished country-style furnishings, and framed prints on the walls. only the bathless rooms fall into our price class, but all have sinks ( one flush has a shower ). Pensione Joli Via Cola di Rienzo 243, tel. 06-324-1854, facsimile 06-3600-6637, jolihit @ yahoo.it. 18 rooms. double board E83ÐE93 ( $ 78Ð $ 87 ). Breakfast included. The blue entrance on a bustling middle-class shop avenue gives no tip of the lovely hotel high above, where spanking new furnishings and firm beds ( personally tested by the staff ) rest on polished plank floors. The Spartan baths, however, are delinquent for an pass. In front rooms, you can hang out the window to glimpse St. Peter ‘s attic ; from those on the court you can spy Rear WindowÐstyle on the italian neighbors. television receiver is free for the necessitate. The reasonably classy Hotel Florida ( tel. 06-324-1872, fax 06-324-1857 ), taking up the three floors below, charges E70ÐE75 ( $ 66Ð $ 70 ) for a double without bathe and E93ÐE110 ( $ 87Ð $ 103 ) with bath. Pensione Paradise Viale Giulio Cesare 47, tel. 06-3600-4331, fax 06-3609-2563, www.hotelpandaparadise.com. 10 rooms, 8 with bath. double over room E50ÐE60 ( $ 47Ð $ 56 ) without bathe, E75ÐE83 ( $ 70Ð $ 78 ) with bath. No breakfast. The eden does n’t enjoy the localization or expressive style of its baby Panda, but it ‘s right at a Metro barricade and only a few blocks from St. Peter ‘s. Mirrors help open up the smallish, minimally furnished rooms. distillery, the beds are new-and, in singles, wider than usual-and the sparkle baths mutant heated towel racks ( big for drying laundry ). They ‘re installing TVs this winter.