This baby-boomer is traveling to Rome in late July for a long weekend with my baby-boomer girlfriend. We're looking for a 4-star hotel in a semi-hip location that would be good for two people who want to explore the city for the first time, just people-watching, eating/drinking and going with the flow. Any recommendations?
Some of of the other travelers here make great points. I thought the same things as Alana -- a four star hotel in Rome for $175 -- that may be difficult (although I'm sure not impossible).
I agree with Tiffany's point -- you might be able to find a great apartment in that price range -- and it actually might be pretty romantic if you're going with your girlfriend to stay in apartment, live like the Romans do and go food shopping/cook a meal together at home.
So my suggestion would be to take the apartment route for a few nights (hopefully save a little money) then splurge on a hotel for one or two nights at the end of your trip.
I can help you out with the "splurge" hotels if you decide to take that route:
Hotel Hassler Roma - The Hassler is the best of the best in Rome. It's absolutely incredible and it's located right at the top of the Spanish Steps. Plus they have a really cool lobby bar that's worth checking out.
Hotel d'Inghilterra - This is a luxury hotel but more mid-level luxury. It really depends on the type of room you get here (some are very small). But it's a good choice and in a great location near the Spanish Steps.
Jumeirah Grand Hotel Via Veneto - If you're looking for something more modern this is a good choice (although it's in a historic building it's been heavy restored). The rooms are huge, the beds are big and the bathrooms are stylish. Just a side note: the neighborhood it's in felt more like parts of Paris to me then Rome (not that that's a bad thing).
J.K. Place - This place is super stylish, sophisticated and sexy. You can't go wrong here. Plus its location is pretty good.
In terms of a great place to take a romantic stroll, you have to walk through and get lost in what I believe is referred to as the Navona neighborhood. Use Gelateria Del Teatro as your reason to stroll through the little streets and wonder on and off Via dei Coronari. It's my favorite gelato place in the city and its setting is like the Rome people dream of -- a must visit. Here's a picture I took here to give you a visual.
Sorry I couldn't more directly answer your question, but I hope this helps inspire your trip and gives you a few new things to consider. Enjoy!
Mentioned in this answer:
Hey Dennis, I agree with DMae, I would aim for something in the Monti area. I've been to Rome a few times over the years and have really watched it evolve. Lots of great little places to eat, sit and people watch, shop, walk, etc. I like it because it feels much less commercialized than a lot of the city and always seems to be less populated by tourists, too, so the people-watching is a lot more interesting. There’s a fountain called the Piazza della Madonna dei Monti that seems to be the crossroads of the neighborhood and is a great people-watching spot. It’s a terrific place to do in the early evening and sit with a bag of fresh fruit or ice cream and just watch the world go by.
As far as a hotel goes, I would consider the Profumo Maison D'Hotes which is where I stayed the last couple times I've been in Rome. It’s really refined and modern. They have a great outdoor restaurant, which isn’t that unusual in Rome, but theirs is exceptionally good.
Last time I was there, I tried two restaurants I'd never been to before: Primo Al Pigneto, which was quite a walk from the hotel, but a nice one. I liked the food so much that I went back a couple of times on that one trip. The duck was fantastic. I also discovered Urbana 47, which is a very popular place. I actually didn’t want to come here initially because the dishes seemed complicated for my palate, but I ended up really enjoying it. I had a creamy pasta dish that I still think about.
Hope that helps. Let me know if you want any other Rome recommendations.
Mentioned in this answer:
We always stay in apartments as well, so I can't speak to hotels, but if you don't need the service of a hotel, you could find a very nice apartment for two within that budget. We love them because we feel more like locals that way, running out in the morning to a bakery or grocery for our breakfast and eating in, then spending our days out and finishing off with a bottle of wine inside late. It's relaxing and quiet, and even the quirky apartments add to the ambiance and that feeling of living there.
Dennis, if renting through Air BnB is not an option for you, book those:
Relais Clivo Vaticano (Clivo delle Mura Vaticane 44, Vatican City - Prati, 00136 Rome)
Don't you agree that staying in Vatican is quite hip?)
Hotel Villa Duse (Via Alamanno Morelli, 1, Flaminio, 00197 Rome) - very Roman place, romantic.
Enjoy and benefit from amazing gelatos!
A four-star hotel for $175 a night? I’m not sure how many choices you'll have with those criteria, especially in the summer because honestly, in a city like Rome, that’s more like a three-star rate. That said, I’m happy to give you my faves as someone who loves Rome!
My absolute favorite place is the Donna Camilla Savelli Hotel. All I can say is gorgeous —and I am underselling this. It used to be a convent and rooms are out of control gorgeous. The best part, though? There’s an insane outdoor rooftop place to eat. I know we didn’t pay a lot for this place—I’m almost sure you can get something for $175 here (sometimes if you check a hotel’s website they have good deals so I would check theirs for sure) but I know it’s not four star. I have to say, this is my go-to place when I’m there.
Crossing Condotti is one of the most elegant hotels I think I’ve ever seen and not stuffy at all. Totally homey and comfortable and it was in a fabulous location. I want to say the rooms are around 200 euro but this was in January so you’ll have to check. Actually pretty romantic, too if that’s a concern.
Hotel Lunetta is a total gem. You should definitely be able to book something in the 200/euro range here. I know it’s not the Ritz but it’s really tasteful, very clean, it was well-located—it even had a spa as well as well as a really nice breakfast (which was included in our hotel charge).
Check out UNA Hotel Roma, too. It was very close to the train station which was great and we had a killer view from our terrace. Great breakfast, very clean, etc. Don’t remember the rate but I know it was good.
Another one to look into is Leon's Place Hotel. The décor is a little sleek and monochromatic for me, but I still think it’s great. It definitely falls in the “hip” category I would say—lots of mirrors and lights. I don’t remember what the exact rate here was, but I’m sure it was under 200 euros for sure. The bar here is actually really great, too. Didn’t try the spa, but I’m sure there is one.
I hope you two have a good time in one of my favorite cities in the world!
Mentioned in this answer:
Here are some hotels in the Monti area of Rome that may meet your criteria. I usually rent an apartment for my stays in Rome so can't help much with hotels. Monti is a wonderful neighborhood and there are busses and the Metro available nearby. It is close to the Colosseo and the Roman Forum. There are lots of interesting shops and restaurants, cafes, and bars in that area.
They are all centrally located and look nice as I walk by them. Palatino Grand Hotel often has tour busses outside. Hotel Forum has a nice roof deck overlooking the Roman Forum. I stayed one night at the Hotel Nerva for their air conditioning (my apartment did not have AC) and did like that. They had an awesome breakfast and quirky rooms.
Grand Palatino Hotel Via Cavour, 213 00184 Rome, Italy
Hotel Nerva Via Tor Dè Conti, 3, 00184 Roma, Italy
Forum Hotel Rome Via di Tor de' Conti 25 Roma Lazio 00184
Mentioned in this answer:
I don't know about a 4-star hotel, as I stayed at a great B&B, but I can suggest Trastevere as a hip neighborhood, undoubtedly one of the best in Rome. Great food, street shopping and people watching. A real bustling place. You can't go wrong here.