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Old Apr 16, 12, 1:26 pm   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: 神奈川県
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Thumbs up Holiday Inn Rome - EUR Parco Dei Medici

Good: Relatively good prices for Rome, updated rooms are comfortable, location near Trenitalia station on the FR1 line to FCO (Muratella), shuttle available to FCO & central Rome

Bad: Old hotel being slowly updated, mediocre restaurant, limited dining options outside the hotel, 15-30 minutes on the train + transfers to city center, hotel attracts tour groups, not your best choice for early morning/late night FCO flights

Overall: A good ICHG option for Rome - if you don't mind staying outside the city center

Reception: Staff was friendly at check-in and seemed to be working through guests quickly and efficiently. "Upgrade" was to a renovated room. No other Plat benefits to be had. The reception staff has a variety of language skills, English included, although a few employees only speak Italian.

Rooms: I'm not sure how many of the rooms have been renovated, but they are a major improvement over the mid-80s style older rooms. Mine was a two queen bedroom that was attractive and comfortable, much more so than the old rooms I stayed in twice before. The room was a little warm and the only climate control option was the heater (which did not have a fan-only mode), so I had to open the windows. The windows slide open and open wiiiide, so of course there are justified warnings about watching your kids. The views from the upper floors of the hills of Lazio are nice.

Beds were firm but not uncomfortable. Plenty of pillows on the beds. TV was large flatscreen (32"?) with 4 English news channels available along with the usual variety of Italian and other European channels (didn't watch much TV here). There was a minibar, but I didn't look inside. During my past stays, these minibars have had extra space for your own provisions.

Bathrooms: Modern furnishings, though the water pressure in my room (6F) was a little weak. All soap and shampoo was in unwieldy screw-top bottles; no wall-mounted soap dispensers as many Italian hotels have. I ended up unwrapping the small bar of soap provided for the bidet and used it for hand washing. Many renovated hotels still have a lot of evidence of the room's age in the bathroom (old doorframe, tub, etc.) but not this one - they did a good job. Despite the fact that I listed 3 guests on my reservation, we had to ask for another set of towels for our third guest, which were delivered quickly.

Amenities: Outdoor pool, gym with sauna. 6F had a shoe polisher near the elevator lobby that was just what my shoes needed after a day of hiking around downtown.

Internet: Didn't use in-room, hotel webpage says 7 EUR/day. Business center is .35 EUR/min, not a bargain, but not bad if you want to spend a couple of minutes checking email or printing boarding passes.

Restaurants/Bar: Have never eaten lunch or dinner here but have eaten at the breakfast buffet twice. You can certainly fill your stomach, but the quality is spotty. When I stayed here last year, the scrambled eggs had pieces of shell in them and I notified the restaurant staff. This time the fruit juice was heavily watered down and I notified the restaurant manager.

Otherwise, the coffee, bread, and pastries are good. The fruit varies in quality from good to tasteless. Hot food is limited to sausage, bacon, and scrambled eggs (which did not have shell pieces this time). Restaurant staff isn't particularly friendly, but if you speak Italian things improve. I was able to get breakfast included in my rate for 7 EUR above the Best Flexible rate.

The restaurant lunch/dinner menu is slightly expensive but not outrageously so for a hotel restaurant. Be careful at the bar. While I haven't used the bar recently, they have charged me for both gin and tonic (for a total of 14EUR) when ordering a G&T in the past. If you order something not listed on the menu, ensure you know what you will be charged before ordering.

Summary: A decent hotel with generally reasonable prices that is becoming more competitive with its renovation. Notably, I have found that when central Rome is packed to the gills with tourists or pilgrims, this hotel usually still has rooms at a decent price. For example, I stayed here the night before Pope John Paul II's beatification. The hotel wasn't all that crowded and the rate was 99 EUR.

Lots of tour groups and flight crews here. Some groups are made up of high school kids - I verified that my floor didn't have any groups assigned to it before accepting the room. This is apparently also a popular place for weddings, which cause the restaurant staff to start breaking down the breakfast buffet as early as they can.

There is a nearby restaurant/pizzeria, Verde Smeraldo, that I had been meaning to try during past stays and finally did. Not too good. The pizza was tough and 7 EUR for a pizza margherita is a price I would expect at a tourist dive in the city center, not way out in Parco Dei Medici. That's really the only option outside of the hotel restaurant, which I may break down and try next time. You're better off eating downtown before returning to the hotel.

Parco Dei Medici is a fairly quiet business park and there isn't too much loud traffic at night, although Verde Smeraldo doubles as a club (it has a pool) and is probably very loud on summer evenings, though at least then you can close the windows in favor of the A/C.

If you have lots of heavy baggage, especially if you are arriving in Rome at Termini Station, this may not be the best hotel for you because you'll have to transfer at least once to get here and probably will need to negotiate a lot of stairs. From FCO (to Rome), it's not too bad, but Muratella does not have elevators; you'll need to use the underpass when arriving. The track to FCO is only up a short flight of stairs. Be advised the FR1 can become very crowded at times (especially weekday mornings).

If you drive, parking is FREE. It may be possible to drive here and use the hotel as airport parking in connection with a stay - I've never asked, but I think the hotel would be willing to permit it. I don't know how secure the parking lot is, though I did park here once overnight with no issues.

While this Holiday Inn is an old fortress of a hotel, its location, price, and renovated rooms make it a decent option in the Rome area. It has improved slightly every time I've stayed here, and I would do so again.

Access: Take the Trenitalia FR1 commuter line to Muratella station (same line as trains to FCO), then use the exit facing the Parco dei Medici business park and walk to the left until the break in the fence on the right; walk up the street and you'll see the hotel - about a 7-10 minute walk. From FCO, ensure you board a regionale (FR1) train, not the Leonardo Express. If you arrive at Tiburtina station, you can take the FR1 directly to Muratella. Most people arriving at Roma Termini will find taking the Metro Linea B to Piramide and then FR1 from the adjacent Ostiense station to be the simplest way.

Easy access via car from the GRA (Rome ring road) via a short drive on the A91.

Hotel has a shuttle for 3.50 EUR each way to FCO and Santa Maria in Cosmedin (Mouth of Truth/Bocca della Verita) in the city center. There are several hourly departures in the morning beginning at 0700, but they are much less frequent after 1100. If you're going to the city center, taking the train is a better value if you plan to use one-day or three-day ATAC public transport passes.

When going downtown from Muratella, note the FR1 does not go to Termini but to Trastevere, Ostiense, Tuscolana, and Tiburtina in that order from Muratella. Use Ostiense to Linea B at Piramide for the Colosseo, San Giovanni Laterano, and Termini Station. For San Pietro & the Vaticano, transfer at Trastevere to a FR3 or FR5 train to San Pietro station where you can either walk to the Vatican or hop on bus 64 for three stops. If you need to go to Termini, you'll need to transfer at Trastevere or Ostiense. Train tickets are available at the hotel gift shop, including tickets to FCO.

FCO Access: The shuttle, if it fits your schedule, isn't a bad option for FCO, as a Trenitalia ticket to the airport is 8 EUR and taxis to FCO are expensive.

0530 is the first Trenitalia FR1 departure from Muratella to FCO, which is scheduled to arrive at 0549. This can be tricky for people with early morning departures to the US, especially if leaving from Terminal 5 (extra 15-45 minutes walking to and waiting for the T5 shuttle).

Last edited by keihin_242; Apr 17, 12 at 9:29 am
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