Rick Steves Rome 2016 - Rick Steves, Gene Openshaw (2015)
SLEEPING IN ROME
Choosing the right neighborhood in Rome is as important as choosing the right hotel. All of my recommended accommodations are in safe, pleasant areas convenient to sightseeing: The Termini train station neighborhood is handy for public transit and services, though not particularly charming. Hotels near ancient Rome are close to the Colosseum and Roman Forum. The most romantic ambience is in neighborhoods near the Pantheon, which encompass the Campo de’ Fiori and the Jewish Ghetto. Equally pleasant, if a bit rougher, is Trastevere. Finally, hotels near Vatican City put St. Peter’s and the Vatican Museums at your doorstep.
Rome also has many convents that rent out rooms. At convents, the beds are twins and English is often in short supply, but the price is right. See the Church of Santa Susanna’s website for a list (www.santasusanna.org, select “Coming to Rome”) or consider these nun-run places, all listed in this chapter: the expensive but divine Casa di Santa Brigida (near Campo de’ Fiori), Suore di Santa Elisabetta (near Santa Maria Maggiore), Casa Il Rosario (near Piazza Venezia), and Casa per Ferie Santa Maria alle Fornaci (near the Vatican).
Book your accommodations well in advance if you’ll be traveling during peak season or if your trip coincides with a major holiday or festival (see here). For information and tips on pricing, getting deals, making reservations, seasonal differences, other accommodation options—including apartments—and much more, see here.
(€1=about $1.10, country code: 39)
S=Single, D=Double/Twin, T=Triple, Q=Quad, b=bathroom
Higher Priced—Most rooms €180 or more
Moderately Priced—Most rooms €125-180
Lower Priced—Most rooms €125 or less
Unless otherwise noted, credit cards are accepted, breakfast is included, free Wi-Fi and/or a guest computer is generally available, and English is spoken. Rome’s hotel tax of €3-6 per person, per night, must be paid in cash and is typically not included in the prices I’ve listed here (no tax for hostelers and children under age 10). Prices change; verify current rates online or by email. For the best prices, always book directly with the hotel.
NEAR TERMINI TRAIN STATION
While not as atmospheric as other areas of Rome, the hotels near Termini train station are less expensive, and public-transportation options link these places easily with the entire city. The city’s two main Metro lines intersect at the station, and most buses leave from here. Piazza Venezia is a 20-minute walk down Via Nazionale.
West of the Station
Most of these hotels are on or near Via Firenze, a safe, handy, central, and relatively quiet street that’s a 10-minute walk from Termini train station and the airport train, and two blocks beyond Piazza della Repubblica. The Defense Ministry is nearby, so you’ve got heavily armed guards watching over you all night.
The neighborhood is well-connected by public transportation (with the Repubblica Metro stop nearby). Virtually all the city buses that rumble down Via Nazionale (#60, #64, #70, and the #40 express) take you to Piazza Venezia (Forum). From Piazza Venezia, bus #64 (jammed with people and thieves) and the #40 express bus continue to Largo Argentina (Pantheon, Campo de’ Fiori) and the Vatican area. Or, at Piazza Venezia, you can transfer to tram #8 to Trastevere (get off at first stop after crossing the river). Bus #H also makes the journey to Trastevere, leaving from Piazza della Repubblica (on the northeast side of the square, near the entrance to Baths of Diocletian). If you are staying near the Santa Susanna and Santa Maria della Vittoria churches, buses from nearby Largo Santa Susanna (#62, #85, and #492) wind through the city center (leaving from the Bissolati stop; returning the stop name is Largo S. Susanna).
To stock your closet pantry, pop over to Despar Supermarket (daily 8:00-21:00, Via Nazionale 213, at the corner of Via Venezia) or Carrefour Express (Mon-Sat 8:00-20:00, Sun 8:00-14:00, two locations: Via Vittorio Orlando 93, between Piazza della Repubblica and the Fountain of Moses; or Via del Viminale 35, across from the recommended Hotel Sonya). A 24-hour pharmacy near the recommended hotels is Farmacia Piram (Via Nazionale 228, tel. 06-488-4437).
$$$ Residenza Cellini feels like the guest wing of a gorgeous Neoclassical palace. It offers 11 rooms, “ortho/anti-allergy beds,” four-star comforts and service, and a small, breezy terrace (Db-€195, larger Db-€215, extra bed-€25, prices good through 2016 with this book and cash, air-con, elevator, Via Modena 5, third floor, tel. 06-4782-5204, www.residenzacellini.it, firstname.lastname@example.org, Barbara, Gaetano, and Donato).
$$$ Hotel Modigliani, a delightful 23-room place, is energetically run in a clean, bright, minimalist yet in-love-with-life style that its artist namesake would appreciate. It has a vast and plush lounge, a garden, and a newsletter introducing you to each of the staff (Db-€202, check website for deals and ask for a 10 percent Rick Steves discount when you book directly with the hotel through 2016, air-con, elevator; northwest of Via Firenze—from Tritone Fountain on Piazza Barberini, go 2 blocks up Via della Purificazione to #42; tel. 06-4281-5226, www.hotelmodigliani.com, email@example.com, Giulia and Marco).
$$$ Hotel Rex is modern and cool but also family-friendly. The rooms range in quality, but you’ll find an engaging lounge, a rooftop breakfast terrace, and all the four-star comforts plus a Michelin-starred restaurant (Db-€162-197, Tb-€205-240, Qb-€248-290, family suites available, air-con, elevator, Via Torino 149, tel. 06-482-4828, www.hotelrex.net, firstname.lastname@example.org).
$$$ IQ Hotel, facing the Opera House, feels almost Scandinavian in its efficiency, without a hint of the Old World. It lacks charm, but more than compensates with modern amenities. Its 88 rooms are fresh and spacious, the roof garden comes with a play area and foosball, and vending machines dispense bottles of wine (Db-€100-230 depending on room size and season—likely €200 in peak season, €40 extra for third and fourth person, 10 percent discount off best Web price for Rick Steves readers through 2016—must book directly with hotel and request at time of booking, breakfast-€10, air-con, elevator, cheap self-service laundry, gym, Via Firenze 8, tel. 06-488-0465, www.iqhotelroma.it, email@example.com, manager Diego).
$$ Hotel Oceania is a peaceful slice of air-conditioned heaven. This 24-room manor house-type hotel is spacious and quiet, with tastefully decorated rooms. Stefano runs a fine staff, serves wonderful coffee, provides lots of thoughtful extra touches, and works hard to maintain a caring family atmosphere (Sb-€135, Db-€168, Tb-€198, Qb-€220, prices often less, book directly with the hotel and use code “RICKSTEVES” for best rate, deep discounts summer and winter, family suite, elevator, videos in TV lounge, Via Firenze 38, third floor, tel. 06-482-4696, www.hoteloceania.it, firstname.lastname@example.org; Anna and Roberto round out the staff).
$$ Hotel Aberdeen, which combines quality and friendliness, is warmly run by Annamaria, with support from sister Laura and cousin Cinzia, and staff members Mariano, Costel, and Matteo. The 37 comfy rooms are a fine value (Sb-€102, Db-€170, Tb-€180, Qb-€200, for these rates—or better—book directly via email or use the “Rick Steves reader reservations” link on their website, air-con, Via Firenze 48, tel. 06-482-3920, www.hotelaberdeen.it, email@example.com).
$$ Hotel Opera Roma, with contemporary furnishings and marble accents, boasts 15 spacious, modern, and thoughtfully appointed rooms. It’s quiet and just a stone’s throw from the Opera House (Db-€150, Tb-€165, for these rates book directly with hotel and mention Rick Steves, 5 percent discount if you pay cash, air-con, elevator, Via Firenze 11, tel. 06-487-1787, www.hoteloperaroma.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Reza, Litu, and Federica).
$$ Hotel Selene Roma spreads its 40 stylish rooms out on a few floors of a big palazzo. With elegant furnishings and room to breathe, it’s a good value (Db-€160, Tb-€190, email directly for 10 percent discount, additional 5 percent discount if you pay cash, air-con, elevator, family rooms, Via del Viminale 8, tel. 06-474-4781, www.hotelseleneroma.it, email@example.com).
$$ Hotel Sonya offers 40 well-equipped if small rooms, a hearty breakfast, and decent prices (Sb-€90, Db-€150, Tb-€165, Qb-€185, Quint/b-€200, 5 percent discount with this book if you pay cash through 2016, air-con, elevator, faces the Opera House at Via Viminale 58, Metro: Repubblica or Termini, tel. 06-481-9911, www.hotelsonya.it, firstname.lastname@example.org, Francesca and Ivan).
$$ Target Inn is a sleek, practical six-room place next to Residenza Cellini (listed earlier). It’s owned by the same people who run the recommended Target Restaurant nearby (Db-€150, this special price for Rick Steves readers through 2016, air-con, elevator, Via Modena 5, third floor, tel. 06-474-5399, www.targetinn.com, email@example.com).
$$ Bellesuite Rome offers six small but nice rooms that are worth considering for the location—in the same fine building as Residenza Cellini and Target Inn (Db-€160, Tb-€199, Qb-€240, 5 percent discount through 2016 if you show this book and pay cash, air-con, elevator, Via Modena 5, third floor, tel. 06-9521-3049, www.bellesuiterome.com, firstname.lastname@example.org).
$ Hotel Nardizzi Americana, with a small rooftop terrace and 40 standard rooms spread throughout the building, is another decent value (Sb-€95, Db-€125, Tb-€155, Qb-€175; to get the best rates, check their “Rick Steves readers reservations” link along with the rest of their website; additional 10 percent off any price if you pay cash, air-con, elevator, Via Firenze 38, reception on fourth floor, tel. 06-488-0035, www.hotelnardizzi.it, email@example.com; friendly Stefano, Fabrizio, Mario, and Giancarlo).
$ Hotel Italia Roma, in a busy and handy locale, is located safely on a quiet street next to the Ministry of the Interior. Thoughtfully run by Andrea, Sabrina, Abdul, and Gabriel, it has 35 modest but comfortable rooms (Sb-€90, Db-€130, Tb-€160, Qb-€190, book directly via email for these rates, air-con, elevator, Via Venezia 18, just off Via Nazionale, tel. 06-482-8355, www.hotelitaliaroma.it, firstname.lastname@example.org). The four “residenza” rooms upstairs on the third floor are newer and about €10 more expensive. They also have eight similar annex rooms across the street for the same price as the main hotel.
$ Hotel Margaret offers few frills and 12 simple rooms at a fair price (Db-€110, Tb-€140, Qb-€155, mention this book and pay cash for best rates, air-con, elevator, north of Piazza Repubblica at Via Antonio Salandra 6, fourth floor, tel. 06-482-4285, www.hotelmargaret.net, email@example.com).
Southwest of the Station
These good-value places cluster around the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, on the edge of Rome’s international district.
$$$ Hotel Raffaello, with its courteous and professional staff, offers 41 rooms in a grand 19th-century building on the edge of the Monti district. This formal hotel comes with generous public spaces and a breakfast room fit for aristocrats (Sb-€100, Db-€180, Tb-€228, family room available, book directly and ask for a Rick Steves discount for the best rates, air-con, elevator, Via Urbana 3, Metro: Cavour, tel. 06-488-4342, www.hotelraffaello.it, firstname.lastname@example.org, helpful Elena).
$$ Domus Nova Bethlem, run by the Oblate Sisters of Baby Jesus, is a spacious, pristine, and institutional-feeling hotel. The 38 high-ceilinged rooms are modest yet classy, and guests have access to a peaceful and leafy courtyard garden (Sb-€88, Db-€131, Tb-€149, Qb-€162, air-con, elevator, 1:00 in the morning curfew, Via Cavour 85A, Metro: Cavour, tel. 06-4782-4414, www.domusnovabethlem.it, email@example.com).
$ Hotel Montreal is a basic three-star place with 27 small rooms on a big street a block southeast of Santa Maria Maggiore (Sb-€90, Db-€110, Tb-€135, email directly and ask for a Rick Steves discount, air-con, elevator, small garden terrace, good security, Via Carlo Alberto 4, 1 block from Metro: Vittorio Emanuele, 3 blocks from Termini train station, tel. 06-445-7797, www.hotelmontrealroma.it, firstname.lastname@example.org, Pasquale).
$ Suore di Santa Elisabetta is a heavenly Polish-run convent with a serene garden, roof terrace with grand views, and 70 beds in tidy twin-bedded (only) rooms. Often booked long in advance, with such tranquility it’s a super value (S-€40, Sb-€48, D-€66, Db-€85, Tb-€106, Qb-€128, Quint/b-€142, fans but no air-con, elevator serves top floors only, 23:00 curfew, a block southwest of Santa Maria Maggiore at Via dell’Olmata 9, Metro: Termini or Vittorio Emanuele, tel. 06-488-8271, www.csse-roma.eu, email@example.com).
$ Gulliver’s Lodge has four colorful rooms on the ground floor of a large, secure building. Though it’s on a busy street, the rooms are quiet. The public spaces are few, but in-room extras like DVD players (and DVDs, including my Italy shows) make it a fine home base (Db-€120, Tb-€145, includes small breakfast at nearby bar, mention this book for these prices through 2016, cash only, air-con, a 15-minute walk southwest of Termini train station at Via Cavour 101, Metro: Cavour, tel. 06-9727-3787, www.gulliverslodge.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Sara and Mary). Their nearby Cavour Forum Suites offers similar amenities and a better location for about €10 more per night (Via Cavour 211, Metro: Cavour, tel. 06-482-0361, www.cavourforumsuites.com, email@example.com).
Sleeping Cheaply, Northeast of Termini Train Station
The cheapest beds in town are northeast of Termini train station (Metro: Termini). Some travelers feel this area is weird and spooky after dark, but these hotels feel plenty safe. With your back to the train tracks, turn right and walk two blocks out of the station. Splashnet launderette/Internet café is handy (€8 full-serve wash and dry, guest computer-€1.50/hour, €2 luggage storage per day—or free if you wash and go online, daily 8:30-23:00, just off Via Milazzo at Via Varese 33, tel. 06-4470-3523).
$ The Beehive gives vagabonds—old and young—a cheap, clean, and comfy home in Rome. Thoughtfully and creatively run by Steve and Linda, a friendly American couple, and their hardworking staff, the place offers six great-value artsy-mod double rooms (D-€80, T-€105) and an eight-bed dorm (€35 bunks) in the main building (with no air-con, only fans). Their nearby annex, The Sweets, has similar style and several rooms with private baths (Sb-€70, D-€90, Db-€100, air-con-€10; breakfast extra, private garden terrace, dinner available some nights, 2 blocks from Termini train station at Via Marghera 8, tel. 06-4470-4553, www.the-beehive.com, firstname.lastname@example.org). They’re also a good resource for apartments across the city (www.cross-pollinate.com).
$ Hotel Select Garden, a modern and comfortable 21-room hotel run by the cheery Picca family, boasts lively modern art adorning the walls and a beautiful lemon-tree garden. It’s a safe, tranquil, and welcoming refuge just a couple of blocks from the train station (Sb-€95, Db-€125, Tb-€145, book directly and mention Rick Steves for these prices through 2016, air-con, Via V. Bachelet 6, tel. 06-445-6383, www.hotelselectgarden.com, email@example.com, Cristina and Maurizia).
$ Hotel Sileo, with shiny chandeliers in dim rooms, is a homey little place renting 10 basic rooms. It’s worn, but run with warmth by friendly Alessandro and Maria Savioli (who don’t speak English) and their daughter Anna (who does); their other daughter, Stefania, painted the wall murals (Db-€70, Tb-€85, mention Rick Steves to get these prices through 2016, discount if you pay cash, air-con, elevator, Via Magenta 39, fourth floor, tel. 06-445-0246, www.hotelsileo.com, firstname.lastname@example.org).
$ Hotel Robinson is just a few steps from the station, but tucked away from the commotion. Set on an interior courtyard, it has 20 small and simple rooms, handsomely decorated with dark-wood accents, that are a good value (Sb-€65, Db-€85, Tb-€120, mention this book for these rates and a small breakfast plus free air-con, Via Milazzo 3, tel. 06-491-423, www.hotelrobinsonrome.com, email@example.com).
$ Yellow Hostel rents 220 beds to 18- through 40-year-olds only (I’d skip their 16 private rooms, which are basic and overpriced). Hip yet sane, it’s well-run with fine facilities, including lockers and a café/late-night bar (dorm beds-€18-40, Db-€140; reserve online—no telephone reservations accepted, breakfast extra, loaner towels, elevator, loaner iPads, no curfew, 6 blocks from station, just past Via Vicenza at Via Palestro 44, tel. 06-4938-2682, www.yellowhostel.com, firstname.lastname@example.org).
$ Funny Palace Hostel, adjacent to Splashnet and run by the same entrepreneurial owner, Mabri, rents dorm beds in quiet four-person rooms and 18 stark-but-clean private rooms. It’s far less convivial than Yellow Hostel, but suitable for introverts (dorm beds-€30, Db-€100, cash only, includes breakfast in café, elevator, lockers, guest kitchen, reception in the launderette—described earlier, Via Varese 33, tel. 06-4470-3523, www.hostelfunny.com, email@example.com).
NEAR ANCIENT ROME
Stretching from the Colosseum to Piazza Venezia, this area is central. Sightseers are a short walk from the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Trajan’s Column—and all of these listings (except Hotel Lancelot) are close to or in the charming Monti district, with good restaurants and shopping (see here and here). While buses are your best bet here, I list a Metro stop if it’s convenient.
$$$ Hotel Lancelot is a comfortable refuge—a 60-room hotel with the ambience of a B&B. Located in a pleasant, low-key residential neighborhood a 10-minute stroll or easy tram or bus ride beyond the Colosseum, it’s quiet and safe, with a shady courtyard, restaurant, bar, and tiny communal sixth-floor terrace. It’s well-run by the Khan family, who serve a good €25 dinner—a tasty way to connect with your hotel neighbors and the friendly staff. No wonder it’s popular with returning guests (Sb-€128, Db-€196, Tb-€226, Qb-€266, €20 extra for sixth-floor terrace room with a Colosseum view, 5 percent off these rates in 2016 if you book directly with hotel and mention Rick Steves, air-con, elevator, wheelchair-accessible, parking-€10/day, 10-minute walk behind Colosseum near San Clemente Church at Via Capo d’Africa 47, tel. 06-7045-0615, www.lancelothotel.com, firstname.lastname@example.org). Faris and Lubna speak the Queen’s English.
$$$ Nerva Boutique Hotel is a snazzy slice of tranquility with 20 small, overpriced (but often discounted) rooms. It sits on a quiet, ideally located side street that faces the Roman Forum and has the lovable Monti neighborhood in its backyard (Sb-€160, Db-€230, extra bed-€50, book directly and use promo code “RICKSTEVES” for an additional discount, air-con, elevator, Via Tor de’ Conti 3, tel. 06-678-1835, www.hotelnerva.com, email@example.com, Antonio and Paolo).
$$ Hotel Paba is a cozy throwback. Its seven fresh rooms are chocolate-box-tidy and lovingly cared for by Alberta Castelli. It’s just two blocks from the Forum. Although it overlooks busy Via Cavour, it’s quiet enough (Db-€135, extra bed-€40, 5 percent discount if you book directly and pay cash, big beds, breakfast served in room, air-con, elevator, Via Cavour 266, second floor, Metro: Cavour, tel. 06-4782-4902, www.hotelpaba.com, firstname.lastname@example.org).
$$ Nicolas Inn Bed & Breakfast, a delightful little four-room place with thoughtful touches, is spacious and bright. While on a busy street, it’s just steps from the lively Monti district. It’s run by François and American expat Melissa, who make you feel like you have caring friends in Rome (Db-€150-170, 10 percent Rick Steves discount with this book through 2016, cash only, includes breakfast served at neighboring bar, air-con, Via Cavour 295, tel. 06-9761-8483, www.nicolasinn.com, email@example.com).
$$ Hotel Antica Locanda is a quiet gem in the heart of Monti. While the entrance is small and stairs are plentiful, the seven rooms—each named for a composer or an artist—come with stylish furnishings that are romantically rustic. The rooftop terrace is great for sunbathing or relaxing with a sunset drink (Db-€130, Tb-€160, book directly for the best rates, air-con, no elevator, Via del Boschetto 84, Metro: Cavour, tel. 06-487-1164, anticalocandaroma.it, firstname.lastname@example.org).
$ Hotel Rosetta, a homey and family-run pensione in the same building as Nicolas Inn, rents 15 simple rooms. It’s pretty minimal, with no lounge and no breakfast, but its great location makes it a fine budget option (Sb-€75, Db-€110, Tb-€130, air-con, up one flight of stairs, Via Cavour 295, tel. 06-4782-3069, www.rosettahotel.com, email@example.com, Antonietta and Francesca).
$ Casa Il Rosario is a peaceful, well-run Dominican convent renting 40 rooms with monastic simplicity to both pilgrims and tourists in a steep but pleasant corner of the Monti neighborhood (S-€42, Sb-€56, Db-€94, Tb-€120, single beds only but can be pushed together, best to reserve several months in advance, some rooms with air-con and others with fans, elevator, small garden and rooftop terrace, 23:00 curfew, near bottom of Via Nazionale at Via Sant’Agata dei Goti 10, bus #40 or #170 from Termini, tel. 06-679-2346, www.casailrosarioroma.it, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Winding, narrow lanes filled with foot traffic and lined with boutique shops and tiny trattorias...this is village Rome at its best. And like a real village, buses and taxis are the only practical way to connect with other destinations. The atmosphere doesn’t come cheap, but this is where you want to be—especially at night, when Romans and tourists gather in the floodlit piazzas for the evening stroll, the passeggiata.
This neighborhood has two main transportation hubs: Piazza delle Cinque Lune (just north of Piazza Navona) has a TI, a taxi stand, and (just around the corner) handy buses #81 and #87. Largo Argentina has buses to almost everywhere, a taxi stand, plus the tram to Trastevere (#8). Peruse my recommended buses on here, and you’ll likely find a few (#81, #87, #116, #492, and others) that stop near your hotel.
Near Campo de’ Fiori
You’ll pay a premium (and endure a little extra night noise) to stay in the old center. But each of these places is romantically set deep in the tangled back streets near the idyllic Campo de’ Fiori and, for many, worth the extra money.
$$$ Casa di Santa Brigida overlooks the elegant Piazza Farnese. With soft-spoken sisters gliding down polished hallways and pearly gates instead of doors, this lavish 20-room convent makes exhaust-stained Roman tourists feel like they’ve died and gone to heaven. If you don’t need a double bed or a TV in your room, it’s worth the splurge—especially if you luxuriate in its ample public spaces or on its lovely roof terrace (Sb-€120, twin Db-€200, book well in advance, air-con, elevator, tasty €25 dinners, roof garden, plush library, Monserrato 54, tel. 06-6889-2596, www.brigidine.org, email@example.com, many of the sisters are from India and speak English—pray you get to work with wonderful sister Gertrude).
$$$ Relais Teatro Argentina, a six-room gem, is steeped in tasteful old-Rome elegance, but has all the modern comforts. It’s cozy and quiet like a B&B and couldn’t be more centrally located (Db-€220, Tb-€265, discounts if you pay cash and stay 3 nights or more, air-con, no elevator, 3 flights of stairs, Via del Sudario 35, tel. 06-9893-1617, mobile 331-198-4708, www.relaisteatroargentina.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Carlotta).
$$ Hotel Smeraldo, with 50 rooms run by a no-nonsense staff, is clean and a reasonable deal in a good location (Sb-€110, Db-€150, Tb-€180, buffet breakfast free if you show this book, air-con, elevator, flowery roof terrace, midway between Campo de’ Fiori and Largo Argentina at Vicolo dei Chiodaroli 9, tel. 06-687-5929, www.smeraldoroma.com, email@example.com; Massimo, Walter, and Eugenio). Their Dipendenza Smeraldo, 10 yards around the corner at Via dei Chiavari 32, has 16 similar rooms (same price and free breakfast, same reception and contact info).
In the Jewish Ghetto
$$ Hotel Arenula, with 50 decent rooms, is the only hotel in Rome’s old Jewish ghetto. Though it has the ambience of a gym and attracts lots of students, it is in the thick of old Rome (Sb-€100, Db-€140, Tb-€170, Qb-€200, 5 percent off with this book in 2016, air-con, no elevator, opposite the fountain in the park on Via Arenula at Via Santa Maria de’ Calderari 47, tel. 06-687-9454, www.hotelarenula.com, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Close to the Pantheon
These places are buried in the pedestrian-friendly heart of ancient Rome, each within about a five-minute walk of the Pantheon. You’ll pay more here—but you’ll save time and money by being exactly where you want to be for your early and late wandering.
$$$ Hotel Nazionale, a four-star landmark, is a 16th-century palace that shares a well-policed square with the Parliament building. Its 100 rooms are accentuated by lush public spaces, fancy bars, a uniformed staff, and a marble-floored restaurant. It’s a big, stuffy hotel, but it’s a worthy splurge if you want security, comfort, and the heart of Rome at your doorstep (Sb-€220, Db-€390, giant deluxe Db-€530, extra person-€70, check online for summer and weekend discounts—you’ll typically save 30 percent off their sky-high rack rates, air-con, elevator, Piazza Montecitorio 131, tel. 06-695-001, www.hotelnazionale.it, email@example.com).
$$$ Albergo Santa Chiara, in the old center, is big, solid, and hotelesque. Flavia, Silvio, and their fine staff offer marbled elegance (but basic furniture) and all the hotel services. Its ample public lounges are dressy and professional, and its 99 rooms are quiet and spacious (Sb-€138, Db-€215, Tb-€260, check website for discounts, book online directly with hotel and request special Rick Steves rates, elevator, air-con, behind Pantheon at Via di Santa Chiara 21, tel. 06-687-2979, www.albergosantachiara.com, firstname.lastname@example.org).
$$$ Hotel Portoghesi is a classic hotel with 27 colorful rooms in the medieval heart of Rome. It’s peaceful, quiet, and calmly run, and comes with a delightful roof terrace—though you pay for the location (Sb-€160, Db-€200, Tb-€260, Qb suite-€300, €30 extra for bigger deluxe room, breakfast on roof, air-con, elevator, Via dei Portoghesi 1, tel. 06-686-4231, www.hotelportoghesiroma.it, email@example.com).
$$$ Hotel Due Torri, hiding out on a tiny quiet street, is beautifully located. It feels professional yet homey, with an accommodating staff, generous public spaces, and 26 rooms (the ones on upper floors are smaller but have views). While the location and lounge are great, the rooms are overpriced unless you score a discount (Sb-€125, Db-€200, family apartment-€240 for 3 and €265 for 4, check website for frequent discounts, air-con, elevator, a block off Via della Scrofa at Vicolo del Leonetto 23, tel. 06-6880-6956, www.hotelduetorriroma.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Cinzia).
Near the Spanish Steps
$$$ Hotel San Carlo is buried in the thick of Rome’s bustling pedestrian-friendly “shopping triangle.” Thoughtfully run by Alberto and his staff, its 50 rooms, connected by a treehouse floor plan, provide a tranquil haven (Sb-€125, standard Db-€195, superior Db-€224, 10 percent discount with this book if you book directly, air-con, elevator, Via delle Carrozze 92—see map on here, tel. 06-678-4548, www.hotelsancarloroma.com, email@example.com).
Colorful and genuine in a gritty sort of way, Trastevere is a treat for travelers looking for a less touristy and more bohemian atmosphere. Choices are few here, and public transit is limited to a few buses and trams. But by trekking across the Tiber, you can have the experience of being comfortably immersed in old Rome.
$$$ Residenza Arco dei Tolomei is your most poetic Trastevere experience imaginable, with six small, unique, antique-filled rooms, some boasting fragrant balconies. With its quiet and elegant setting, you can pretend you’re visiting aristocratic relatives (Db-€205, discounts if you pay cash and stay more than 3 nights, reserve well in advance, from Piazza Piscinula a block up Via dell’Arco de’ Tolomei at #27, tel. 06-5832-0819, www.bbarcodeitolomei.com, firstname.lastname@example.org; Marco and Gianna Paola).
$$$ Hotel Santa Maria sits like a lazy hacienda in the midst of Trastevere. Surrounded by a medieval skyline, you’ll feel as if you’re on some romantic stage set. Its 20 small but well-equipped, air-conditioned rooms—former cells in a cloister—are mostly on the ground floor, as are a few suites for up to six people. The rooms circle a gravelly courtyard of orange trees and stay-awhile patio furniture (Db-€190, Tb-€230, prices good through 2016 with this book and cash, free loaner bikes, face church on Piazza Maria Trastevere and go right down Via della Fonte d’Olio 50 yards to Vicolo del Piede 2, tel. 06-589-4626, www.hotelsantamariatrastevere.it, email@example.com). Some rooms come with family-friendly fold-down bunks for €30 extra per person. Their freshly renovated six-room Residenza Santa Maria is a couple of blocks away (same prices, www.residenzasantamaria.com).
$$ Arco del Lauro B&B rents six white, minimalist rooms in a good location. Facing a courtyard (no views but little noise), the friendly welcome and good value make up for the lack of public spaces (Db-€135, Qb-€185, prices good if you book directly with hotel, cash only, usually a minimum stay required over weekends in high season, includes breakfast served in a café, air-con, from Piazza Piscinula a block up Via dell’Arco de’ Tolomei at #29, tel. 06-9784-0350, mobile 346-244-3212, www.arcodellauro.it, firstname.lastname@example.org, Lorenza and Daniela).
$$ Hotel San Francesco, big and blocky yet welcoming, stands like a practical and efficient oasis at the edge of all the Trastevere action. Renting 24 trim rooms in this authentic district, it comes with an inviting roof terrace and a helpful staff. Handy trams to Piazza Venezia are just a couple of blocks away (Db-€90-180, prices vary wildly, email directly and mention this book for best rates, air-con, elevator, Via Jacopa de’ Settesoli 7, tel. 06-5830-0051, www.hotelsanfrancesco.net, email@example.com).
NEAR VATICAN CITY
Sleeping near the Vatican is expensive, but some enjoy calling this more relaxed, residential neighborhood home. While jammed with tourists, the tree-lined streets are wider than in the historical center, and it feels less claustrophobic. Even though it’s handy to the Vatican (when the rapture hits, you’re right there), everything else is a long way away. Fortunately, it’s well-served by public transit—use the Metro (line A) and bus (ask your hotel for the most convenient routes) to easily connect with the center.
$$$ Hotel Alimandi Vaticano, facing the Vatican Museums, is beautifully designed. Run by the Alimandi family (Enrico, Irene, and Germano), it features four stars, 24 spacious rooms, and all the modern comforts you can imagine (Sb-€170, standard Db-€200, big Db with 2 double beds-€260, Tb-€260, 8 percent discount if you pay cash, air-con, elevator, Viale Vaticano 99, Metro: Ottaviano, tel. 06-3974-5562, www.alimandi.com, firstname.lastname@example.org).
$$$ Family-run Hotel dei Consoli, with 28 rooms offering four-star comforts, feels stately and old-fashioned. Breakfast is served on its leafy rooftop terrace, with a view to St. Peter’s—a nice way to start the day (Db-€180, Tb-€250, air-con, elevator, Via Varrone 2D, tel. 06-6889-2972, www.hoteldeiconsoli.com, email@example.com, friendly Laura and mom Amelia).
$$$ Hotel Gerber, set in a quiet residential area, is family-run with 27 thoughtfully decorated rooms—some chic and modern, others polished and businesslike (Sb-€140, Db-€180, Tb-€200, Qb-€220, 10 percent high-season discount and 15 percent low-season discount off these prices with this book in 2016 when you book directly, air-con, elevator, small leafy terrace; from Lepanto Metro station, go one block down Via M. Colonna and turn right to Via degli Scipioni 241; tel. 06-321-6485, www.hotelgerber.it, firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter and Simonetta).
$$$ Hotel Alimandi Tunisi is located steps from the Vatican Museums and run by other members of the friendly and entrepreneurial Alimandi family—Paolo, Luigi, Marta, and Barbara. They have 27 modest but comfortable rooms and vast public spaces, including a piano lounge, pool table, and rooftop terrace where the grand buffet breakfast is served (Sb-€90, Db-€180, Tb-€200, 8 percent discount if you pay cash, elevator, air-con, down the stairs directly in front of Vatican Museums, Via Tunisi 8, Metro: Ottaviano, tel. 06-3972-3941, www.alimandi.it, email@example.com).
$$$ Hearth Hotel, a block from the Vatican wall, has 22 small, modern, efficient, and characterless rooms (Db-€180, air-con, elevator, Via Santamaura 2, tel. 06-3903-8383, www.hearthhotel.com, firstname.lastname@example.org).
$$ Casa Valdese is a well-managed, church-run hotel that feels a bit institutional. Its 33 recently renovated—but basic—rooms come with the bonus of two breezy, communal roof terraces with incredible views—it’s a good value (two external Sb-€63, Sb-€100, Db-€121, Tb-€163, Qb-€193, mention this book for these prices, air-con, elevator; from Lepanto Metro station, go one block down Via M. Colonna, turn left on Via degli Scipioni, then continue for a block to the intersection with Via Alessandro Farnese 18; tel. 06-321-5362, www.casavaldeseroma.it, email@example.com, Matteo).
$ Casa per Ferie Santa Maria alle Fornaci is simple and efficient, housing pilgrims and secular tourists just a short walk south of the Vatican in a dull, high-rise residential zone. Its 54 identical, stark, utilitarian rooms are mostly twin-bedded. Reserve at least three months in advance (Sb-€70, Db-€100, Tb-€135, air-con, elevator; take bus #64 from Termini train station to San Pietro train station, then walk 100 yards north along Via della Stazione di San Pietro to Piazza Santa Maria alle Fornaci 27; or from the airport, take the train to Trastevere Station, then transfer to San Pietro Station; tel. 06-3936-7632, www.trinitaridematha.it, firstname.lastname@example.org, Carmine).