Making plans to use BA miles b4 they die for a trip for my friend and I October 2012. She will use the BA miles from SFO/LAX to Bali and I will use Continental miles and fly DTW/Bali. I live SDF but noticed if I fly out of DTW some routing takes me thru FRA and then Rome. It looks like a stopover is possible before continuing on to BKK and then DPS. We will be using SPG 5 nights in Bali.
How many days would be appropriate to get a decent feel for Rome and/or daytripping? I have 90k Priority Club, 40k Hilton, 45k Southwest which can be used to book some hotels and some other 20k hotel pts in smaller/ickier rewards. I noticed on tripadvisor quite a few of the Priority Club hotels have very mixed/bad reviews. So basically, I want to stay for free in a decent hotel which limits my available days, wondered if any experienced Romers would care to take a whack at solving the3 dilemma.
1st Cav Vet
Oct 19, 11, 4:55 pm
I am not a Romer. I can advise that Rome is a very intense city to visit. You may want to consider staying a few days, and lodging at least one night at Hilton Hotel FCO. That Hilton has a free shuttle bus... for hotel guests.. to main part of Rome.
Nov 4, 11, 5:41 pm
I am a Romer. Saty at least 4 days to have an idea of the city.
Stay downtown if you are in Rome for such a few days.
Rule out Hilton FCO, as it takes at least 30 minutes to reach downtown from there.
Nov 5, 11, 3:48 am
In my previous life I earned millions of points in my travels and often times I would use them in Rome. For Priority Club, only the Intercontinental De La Ville is worthy of using your points. It sits on the top of the Spanish Steps and is an easy walk to all "touirst" parts of the city. As with most European hotels, the rooms are smaller and it is an older hotel.
I'd imagine it's probably 30,000+ points a night. We stayed so often there (for free), I became email friends with a few folks at the hotel and often brought them stuff from the States on my visits. I was a Royal Ambassador Platinum Priority Club member so I always got an upgrade. If you can, ask for the 6th floor, larger balcony rooms facing the city. The other Priority Club products are not worth using your points at - They are all outisde the centro area. Don't be fooled by their misleading names (like the Crowne Plaza St. Peter's --- which is about 2.5 miles FROM St. Peter's).
I've used Hilton points to stay at the Roma Cavalieri (http://www.roninrome.com/%20hotels-spas/the-roma-cavalieri) - one of our favorite hotels. Back then, it was 50,000 points a night. I was a Diamond so I always got a room on one of the two executive floors. Now the hotel has converted to a Waldorf so options have changed. The only issue with this hotel is the distance from downtown. They have a shuttle but hours are limited and a taxi ride is about €15-20, depending on where you're starting from. A great hotel though.... but many, many points. All the other Hilton products are outside the city.
The only Marriott I'd recommended is the Gran Flora on Via Veneto. Again, all the other Marriott hotels are outside the city or in "difficult" locations. The Gran Flora is an incredible hotel and sits adjacent to the Villa Borghese. I was a Marriott Platinum so we again got upgrades. This hotel does have some larger rooms and we enjoyed our few stays here. The issue at this hotel is the Black-Outs. If you have staus, it's easier, but getting a points-reward at this hotel means starting EARLY as they offer very few "points-rooms."
If you can convert points or have Starwood points, they do have a few agreements with downtown hotels... I enjoyed those! As you can see, it takes A LOT of points to stay in Rome. And frankly, I would NOT stay at an airport hotel like the Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, or Marriott Coutryard. First, you're too far from Rome. You'll not get a true experience, more of a "tourist" experience. 2nd, you're lmited by the shuttle or other transportation options and thus, you can't "drop off" or walk by your hotel for a break. It's quite limiting.
And you won't see Rome at night, unless you want to pay some big taxi fees - which means you'll miss this (http://www.roninrome.com/%20sites-and-attractions/rome-at-night)! . Dinners often don't even start until after some of the hotel shuttles have stopped running.
And lastly, when you're out at an airport hotel, you're isolated. There's nothing you can walk to for a bite to eat. You'll be eating and drinking in an "American-feeling" hotel. Even when I used my points, I tried to stay in a Euro-hotel... or at least in an area where I could experience the city. You won't get that at the airport hotels. Save your points for another city - you might get more bang-for-your-points elsewhere.
In Rome, as a first-timer, I'd try and stay in the centro area. You might look at these links which have the top-rated hotels and B&B recommendations in Rome. In centro Rome, you could look at Piazza Navona (http://tinyurl.com/hotels-navona), the Trevi Fountain (http://tinyurl.com/hotel-trevi), and the Pantheon (http://tinyurl.com/hotels-pantheon) areas. These are the most central accommodations, but also perhaps the areas with the most expensive hotels.
The next price lower bracket might include the Colosseo/Monti (http://tinyurl.com/hotels-colosseo) area and Trastevere (http://tinyurl.com/trastevere-hotel). We love the Trastevere area - it's quite lively and a wonderful part of town to walk in at night.
And then, there are the lower priced hotels, not as close to the central area. That would include the Roma Termini area (http://tinyurl.com/hotels-termini) (train station) and the Prati/Vatican area (http://tinyurl.com/hotels-prati). We've lived in the Prati/Vatican area for 3+ years and enjoyed living in this section of town. It, like Roma Termini, is well-connected by public transportaion.
I realize your goal was to use points and stay for free... but in this town, your options (by location of the hotels) may be limited. And to stay at the downtown locations of the "points" hotels, you may need a lot of points. So perhaps these links can offer you some options. In each article, at the bottom is a link that allows you to sort by price for that specific area. That could help you with your budget options -but I'd certainly read the reviews if I went this route.
As far as how long does it take to get a decent feel for Rome? How long do you have? I've lived in the city for 3+ years and still have a list of 100+ things to see and places to go outside Rome. It would take more time than you have points... so again, I'd advise you to save your points for another stop and look at some of the smaller, non-chain, hotels of Rome. I think you'll find your experience -in this city - more meaningful. Save your points for London, Paris, etc. where you'll probably have more downtown options.
Nov 5, 11, 4:04 am
I can confirm... at LEAST four days for Rome... the food, the museums, the sights... captivating city.
Nov 5, 11, 3:54 pm
And +1 for at least four days. Figure that you'll pretty much burn a day doing St. Peter's/Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel and another day on the Colosseum/Forum/Trajan's Market area (you can do more but it gets to be a bit much)... and that's just two groups of major sights. There is so much more! It's much better to give yourself some breathing room and not have it be a marathon.
Nov 5, 11, 4:09 pm
+1 on RinR's post. And I want to just emphasize that to see Rome, you do NOT want to stay near the airport unless its the only way financially. If you have a lot of SPG points, the St Regis is not priced obscenely high in Rome (compared to other SR's) and the location is really quite good. It's not up to par w/ the St Regis's elsewhere, but very nice. And walking distance to a lot of Rome. It is really a spectacular city-one of my all time favorites. If you have any love for architecture and history, you may never leave! If going to the Vatican, make sure you purchase tickets in advance, and then get there very early-the lines will be long if you go past 8am, if I remember correctly.
Dec 5, 11, 5:19 am
If you'd consider a hotel outside of the chains Hotel Turner is a classy and affordable 4-star place near Villa Borghese park and the US embassy.
Dec 5, 11, 11:40 am
Don't be fooled by their misleading names (like the Crowne Plaza St. Peter's --- which is about 2.5 miles FROM St. Peter's)
I've stayed there and would agree. I was in Rome for a conference and the Crowne Plaza was one of the conference hotels, so it wasn't an issue for me, but the name did give me a chuckle as you aren't particularly nearby at all.
Rome, while not my favorite place to visit in Italy (which would be Florence), has a lot to offer. If you only had a day to spend I guess it would be worth it, but having at least 3 days would be much better.