Rome is a big city with a lot of attractions and history, so it's not uncommon for visitors to stay at two hotels during their holiday: one near the Coliseum and the other by the Spanish Steps.
Photos by author unless otherwise specified
Rome is a big city with a lot of attractions and history, so it’s not uncommon for visitors to the city to stay at two hotels during their holiday. This is so that they can enjoy more accessibility to different parts of the city. One hotel is often near the Coliseum/Roman Forum and the other proximal to the Spanish Steps and Borghese Palace.
This is a strategy I have followed the last two times I made the trip to Rome. Three of the hotels were four star and the last a five star. The best value overall was Duca d’ Alba. This is why.
Near the Coliseum/Forum
Hotel Duca d’Alba
This four-star hotel is located near the Roman Coliseum and Forum, which alone makes it appealing to most people. But it is also within walking distance of the Scuderie del Quirinale and the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, both of which traditionally have worthy exhibits. The last time I was in Rome, the Quirinale had a Titian show and a the Esposizioni held a Helmut Newton exhibit.
This hotel is also close to the Basilica of San Clemente, one of the best-kept secrets in Rome. Though exquisitely beautiful in its own right, underground it contains unexpected passages that go down several levels, each revealing another layer of Roman history. When entering the church one must aware of this opportunity or it can be missed, because the entrance (within the church) is subtle and poorly promoted.
Duca d’Alba is also near the Oriental Institute for those interested in Asian history. The building alone in which the Institute is housed is remarkable, and this is to say nothing of the objects within. The magnificent church, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, is just steps away, as well.
Duca d’Alba has only 27 rooms and appears to be family owned. It was scrupulously clean. The common area was small as were the rooms so I would definitely recommend booking a room with more space over the standard. The front desk staff was helpful and efficient. The only downside was a pub across the street, but on the third floor we did not hear it, even though we kept our windows open at night.
Hotel Capo d’Africa
We stayed at this four-star hotel with the unlikely name Capo d’ Africa a few years earlier. Admittedly, when we checked in my first reaction was to leave. The room assigned to us was small and the bedspread stained. But, I remembered that I had tried to book a larger room with a balcony that hadn’t been available. When I enquired at the desk if this had changed, I was told that that reservation was cancelled and the room was ours if we wished.
The Studio Suite Terrace, is glorious. Few visitors can stay in a four-star hotel with a private large balcony that has a sweeping view of the city. Because of the balcony, we were able to delight in light meals and wine that we purchased at nearby shops.
My conclusion about this hotel is that I would not stay there unless I could book the Studio Suite Terrace. This studio was not only large with a lovely balcony but saved money that we would have spent eating out so that the extra charge for this special room paid for itself.
See what hotels are near the Borghese Palace and Spanish Steps.
Near the Borghese Palace and Spanish Steps
Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese
From the Hotel Capo d’’ Africa we moved to the Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese. This five-star hotel is clearly more fashionable and pricier.
Our room was small, compact with everything that we needed and had a view across private homes to the South. It was not only near the Villa Borghese and its park but also the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Via Veneto. It is also proximal to the Roma Termini train station and the Teatro dell’Opera.
View from the roof. Booking.com
Though I liked this hotel, it was much pricier than the Hotel Duca d’ Alba and probably not worth the extra cost unless you have money to spare.
The Bailey’s Hotel Rome
This four-star hotel was my least favorite. Though our room was fairly small, it was the front desk that was the downfall in my experience. Not everyone was as pleasant or helpful as I would have hoped.
I would steer clear of the The Bailey’s Hotel Rome. For the best value, choose a larger room at the Hotel Duca d’ Alba and if you can get the Studio Suite Terrace at the Hotel Capo d’Africa, it is most pleasant.
And for a splurge, the Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese might be just the thing.
See also Winter Cruise on the Mediterranean.