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Old Aug 23, 06, 10:01 pm   #1
 
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Arrow GONE: Grand Hotel Palazzo della Fonte, Fiuggi, Italy [Master Thread]

We then went on to the Grand Hotel Palazzo della Fonte in Fiuggi, which is an hour southeast of Rome. It is a tremendous property in the style of grand old European spa hotels. It is beautifully done, with large rooms and marble baths. We were upgraded to the nicest double rooms but did not receive a suite. It has wide hallways, an indoor and an outdoor pool, spa, and a tennis court. Fiuggi is in an area we had never visited and we were amazed to find it in a lush, green, mountainous area. It was a great location for visiting sights on the outskirts of Rome, such as Ostia Antica, Hadrian's Villa, and Castel Gandolfo. The road from Castel Gandolfo is a wine road and warranted more time then we had to give it. The hotel dining room is very formal so we opted to eat in the old town of Fiuggi, located on the hill above the hotel (car required). There were two excellent restaurants, La Locanda and La Torre, the first traditional and the second inventive. If you go, remember that a jacket is required in the dining room for dinner and jeans are not appreciated in the Lobby.

Last edited by SanDiego1K; May 9, 08 at 5:43 pm. Reason: Copy of hotel review from longer thread
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Old May 9, 08, 5:50 pm   #2
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I have searched all of FlyerTalk and this is literally the only review of this property. I read it when initially posted, and was persuaded on the basis of it to book the hotel. My stay is fast approaching. Does anyone have any experience with it? How is its treatment of platinums? I see that the hotel requires a jacket for men in its restaurant in the evening. Are most area restaurants that formal?
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Old May 10, 08, 12:59 pm   #3
 
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Just finished a 3 night stay there

This is a grand old hotel out of another era! It was pretty quiet while we stayed this past week. The busiest day was when they had a pretty formal dinner meeting happening and clearly most of the guests were only there for the evening. The outdoor pool had not opened yet; the indoor pool is a nice size and includes a jetted pool. There is a "turkish" steam room, sauna, and coolish dipping pool adjacent to the two warm areas, that are all available free to hotel guests. There is a full service spa as well. The room rate we had did not include breakfast, the continental buffet b'fast was 16 euros pp, and we chose not to have b'fast at the hotel. The dinner a la carte menu is expensive and again we chose not to eat at the hotel at dinner time. The concierge service, in our limited use, was good. We did not find that any of the recommended restaurants in Fiuggi were even remotely as formal as at the hotel. We were quite pleased with the complimentary car service into central Rome. We were the only guests using the service one day and so enjoyed a 1 1/4 hour drive into and out of the city in a late model Mercedes by ourselves,( my only complaint is that our driver must have smoked like a chimney before we got into the car, as it just reeked of cigarette smoke). We paid for wireless service and were very disappointed by the poor quality of the signal, so much so that I requested a refund, despite their attempts to improve my experience(no response yet to that request). Overall, I can recommend this hotel, if you are looking for that "Old World" European experience.
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Old May 10, 08, 4:58 pm   #4
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Thank you, vindesante, that's very helpful additional information. I'm surprised to learn that they have complimentary service into Rome. Do they drop you at a place that you chose, or one designated by them? Pick you up at a time they determine or of your chosing?

Did you get an upgrade from the room you booked?
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Old May 11, 08, 9:55 pm   #5
 
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My wife and I stayed in this hotel for 4 nights last summer. It is a beautiful property in a terrific little (and old) town about an hour or so east of Rome, in the hills. Fiuggi is the site of some famous Roman baths, and there are still two public baths in town, although we didn't try them out. There is an outstanding family-run restaurant in the old town at the top of the hill (sorry, but I can't remember the name - the concierge certainly will) but beware: there is no taxi or bus service down from town after 8pm, so you'll either have to call the hotel for a ride (which I imagine would be forthcoming) or walk back down the hill to the hotel - a brisk 30 minutes or more.

I have 2 criticisms of this property. The first is that they appear not to even want to particpate in the SPG program, and certainly didn't offer any SPG platinum recognition other than the mandatory points. The hotel was essentially empty during our stay, but the best available room wasn't offered even after a polite inquiry - yet suites of all types were bookable online. The second criticism is that the price of goods and services, including restaurant meals, seems to be completely unrelated to the printed price. Dinner in the first-class restaurant ended up costing about $40 more than the prices in the menus, and I'm not sure why. The spa charged about $20 more for a massage than the listed price, too. And we had several minor overcharges at breakfast at lunch.

The staff was friendly, and Tiziana (a lovely young lady who works in the restaurant) is a terrific resource if you're interested in learning about places to go in the surrounding area, or where to buy the local provender.

I'd go back, but I'd know enough not to expect any SPG juice, and I'd be keeping copies of every bill so I would have an audit trail at checkout. Enjoy your stay - and do try the local wine (Cesaneze del Piglio), you can find very drinkable and affordable bottles at all of the local restaurants even though it isn't a highly celebrated DOC wine.
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Old May 11, 08, 10:21 pm   #6
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SportsTech, that's very helpful information. We'll have a rental car, which will make it easy to go to and from restaurants - and to explore the area.

It's disappointing to read about the lack of recognition of Starwood status. Thanks for the heads up.
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Old May 12, 08, 8:02 am   #7
 
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I spent 2 nights about a year ago (Late April 2007). As mentioned it is a “grand” hotel and most likely the nicest hotel in town. The complimentary car service to Rome goes to the Hotel Eden. IIRC it must be booked the day before as it is not a regularly scheduled service, but runs on demand only. You can not use this service to get to or from the hotel, which is a shame because getting to Fiuggi is something of a pain unless you have a car (we did not). The service is one per day at a fixed time (morning departure late afternoon return.) Probably useful for folks on a conference or the like, but I would not recommend using this hotel as a base for visiting Rome.

The hotel is nice, but during my visit it was really dead… as was Fiuggi. After spending 2 weeks in Capri, Sorrento, and Amalfi this was a real let down. It was even more of a letdown to discover that Fiuggi IS NOT AN OLD ROMAN BATH TOWN. The water from Fiuggi is for drinking. The big “spa” park is the weirdest place I think I have ever visited. There are all these little chairs… you just sit around all day drinking water.

The best reason to stay at the Grand Hotel Palazzo della Fonte is just so you can say the name. I stayed at the “Grand Hotel Palazzo della Fonte”, just sorta rolls off the tongue. This is good place to stay if you have a car and want to tour the region. The Hotel is nice, but just sort of there… it left no real impression on me other than that of being in a strange time warp. The main town is certainly OK, but not especially interesting IMHO.

As for SPG… I was on an award and spent the extra points up front (1,500 per night IIRC) to get one of their largest regular rooms. It was very spacious with a large seating area in the room. We were not offered any upgrades to a suite (I asked). Amenity was some Fiuggi water and cookies IIRC (actually I note in vindesante's post below the mention of wine... now that I think of it I got wine too, not Fiuggi water). Spacious older style white marble bathroom. The room had one of my favorite features… a door between the main room and the entry area… wish all hotels did this.

Last edited by schriste; May 12, 08 at 10:41 am.
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Old May 12, 08, 9:35 am   #8
 
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The car service to Rome left @ 9am from the hotel and returned @ 6pm. The drop off and pick-up are in via Ludovisci, a short walk away from the Spanish Steps.
Although I am gold with SPG, I did not inquire about an upgrade when I checked in. There was absolutely no verbal recognition of my status, but in the room was a note from the hotel manager, with a bottle of wine. The room was quite large by European standards, and as mentioned, the bathroom is all marble. We had access to a very small balcony from our room, which was an upgrade possibly?
I would not have been happy here without a car, although I am sure that a taxi would work for short trips to nearby restaurants. The old town is ~ 4kms away and up a fairly steep hill, it is where all the recommended restaurants are located. We enjoyed La Locanda in particular and would have eaten at La Torre but it was closed the Sunday evening we tried it.
We particularly enjoyed our day trip by car to Tivoli, to see the ruins of Hadrian's villa and visit the gardens of the Villa D'Este. We have traveled quite a bit in Italy, and I have to say that the gardens at the Villa D'Este are stunning; they are a UNESCO world heritage site and justly deserving of the designation.
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Old May 13, 08, 2:41 pm   #9
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I just called the platinum concierge line to find out about suites at this hotel. He called the hotel. He was told they have 153 rooms including one Royal Suite and 7 junior suites. I assume that the junior suites are considered standard suites, theoretically available for upgrades for platinum guests. Regardless, I was told there is nothing that can be done if I am denied an upgrade on checkin other than filing a complaint following my stay.

For those of you denied upgrades, did you subsequently call Customer Service? Did they take any action?
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Old May 13, 08, 8:21 pm   #10
 
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I did notify Customer Service and the usual FT channels, but got no satisfaction other than a (2 months later) email from the assistant to the GM saying "We're sorry, we thought someone at Customer Service answered your question already"...which couldn't possibly have been true since the GM was copied on at least 4 email queries with no response. Basically, this property doesn't comply with the SPG guidelines, the General Manager knows he isn't compliant, and he doesn't care who else knows it. Too bad; they could really use the business, especially on weekends according to the people working in the spa.

Interesting note from schriste below with regard to the water/baths; I know they're really old (dating from Roman era) but didn't know they weren't for bathing. As noted, we didn't have an opportunity to partake. As far as the town being "dead", it certainly isn't a party town, but there are lots of interesting places to poke around, and quite a few restaurants and gelato parlors. The restaurant "La Torre" was phenomenal: mom is the chef, dad is the maitre d'hotel and wine steward (and has an outstanding cellar for a small restaurant), and their daughter is one of the 2 servers; her english is excellent. We really enjoyed our meal and the conversation with the family.

The old town at the top of the hill, where "La torre" is located, was a very interesting place to walk around in the early evening. Great views from the hilltop, and a complete maze of streets too narrow and steep for a car or even a motorbike. One can only imagine what living in these little homes is like now, let alone 1000 years ago - just getting in and out of the house is an athletic exercise!

As you can tell, we enjoyed our stay in Fiuggi and the hotel is really quite nice. It's fair to say that the SPG snub is a disappointment, but other than that the hotel is worth every bit of the 10,000 points. Just check your expectations for status at the door, and check your bills on the way out.
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Old May 13, 08, 10:22 pm   #11
 
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
For those of you denied upgrades, did you subsequently call Customer Service? Did they take any action?
No I did not. I asked if they had any suites available at check-in and was told I was upgraded to a deluxe room. I replied that I spent the points for this “upgrade” so it was really not an upgrade. They said no suites available. I probably tried asking in one or two different ways, and then left it at that. I don’t usually go to war over suite upgrades. The Deluxe rooms are really large and I had no problem with it. Some hotels would term these rooms as junior suites as they had a couch and seating area. BTW, I also had a rather long and tedious argument regarding the car service to Rome. I had emailed the hotel prior to my arrival and asked if I could use the service to go into Rome on the day I checked out. I was told yes. On arrival I was told no… that this service was intended as round trip only. When I produced the copy of the email they finally relented (and staff nodded to each other that the person that responded to my email was basically an idiot)
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Interesting note from schriste below with regard to the water/baths; I know they're really old (dating from Roman era) but didn't know they weren't for bathing. As noted, we didn't have an opportunity to partake. As far as the town being "dead", it certainly isn't a party town, but there are lots of interesting places to poke around …
I think the Romans used to go there and drink the water, and they very well probably had classic Roman Baths back then and there may even be some ruins of them someplace… but the Fuiggi water Terme is this:

http://www.termefiuggi.it/

As for my dead comment, I think the town is really a summer destination for Italians (primarily older ones). So late April is just… dead. I can’t say I disliked my visit to Fiuggi, but I did not have a car and that really limited my ability to do anything around the area. In retrospect I would not have visited as there are so many more interesting things to see in Italy. I was drawn to Fiuggi for a couple of reasons. First I though it would be a nice stop off on the return trip from Naples area to Rome and a good spot to try out the baths . Second the hotel was a category 4 and looked pretty impressive for a hotel… and I liked saying “Grand Hotel Palazzo della Fonte”. This is one of those instances where my status and point balance at SPG unduly influenced my decision to go someplace. I would have never, ever considered going to Fiuggi if not for the category 4 SPG hotel sitting on the hill.

Last edited by schriste; May 13, 08 at 10:27 pm.
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Old May 19, 08, 11:23 am   #12
 
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Originally Posted by schriste View Post

The hotel is nice, but during my visit it was really dead… as was Fiuggi. After spending 2 weeks in Capri, Sorrento, and Amalfi this was a real let down. It was even more of a letdown to discover that Fiuggi IS NOT AN OLD ROMAN BATH TOWN. The water from Fiuggi is for drinking. The big “spa” park is the weirdest place I think I have ever visited. There are all these little chairs… you just sit around all day drinking water.

The best reason to stay at the Grand Hotel Palazzo della Fonte is just so you can say the name. I stayed at the “Grand Hotel Palazzo della Fonte”, just sorta rolls off the tongue. This is good place to stay if you have a car and want to tour the region. The Hotel is nice, but just sort of there… it left no real impression on me other than that of being in a strange time warp. The main town is certainly OK, but not especially interesting IMHO.

As for SPG… I was on an award and spent the extra points up front (1,500 per night IIRC) to get one of their largest regular rooms. It was very spacious with a large seating area in the room. We were not offered any upgrades to a suite (I asked). Amenity was some Fiuggi water and cookies IIRC (actually I note in vindesante's post below the mention of wine... now that I think of it I got wine too, not Fiuggi water). Spacious older style white marble bathroom. The room had one of my favorite features… a door between the main room and the entry area… wish all hotels did this.
I decided to stay there for 3 days last week.
at no time was the car service told to me.
though you do need a car I would ahve ordered a car from fiuuji itself
I chose the hotel as it pool area looked fab and I had visions of lazy days beside a sun filled pool drinking margaritas.

on checkin I asked what what around the area they ent me to stupid places with not much around.
on sunday night we noticed there ahd been a big day in town
oh yes they said there was a religious fiesta ion old town.

just great biggest thing in the town in months and they FORGOT to tell us??

they also forgot to tell us that the pool was closed and empty except for the indoor pool which I never use.

shouldnt a hotel with a major asset that is closed have that on the website??
I would never have stayed somewhere for 3 days without an outdoor pool.
though the 2 concierges were nice .
they sent me to a nice restaurnat very hard to find in a dead end street in old town.
Carol you definitely need a car if you are there of rmore than a night
its quite a walk into the town and all up hill on the way back. nothing much in the new town the told town is miles away
i had checked on tripadvisor and they had lots of fab comments.
i agree with everything you said here and wish I had checked here first
the hotel is nice . the breakfast is forgetable and there isnt anything terribly much in this area except hills and small roads.
my travel companion liked this area and said he preferred it to our stay in the westin rome the st regis rome and the cavalieri
he is plat and we got an UPGRADE to a room as u described with the sofa and 2 windows.
the hotel was absolutely empty!
as plat he never asks for a suite just gets what he is given.
when i checked my booking (after we checked out) we were supposed to have a panoramic with balcony . we didnt get a balcony but i noticed that the empty hotel had heaps of balcony rooms with shutters down
when we arrived there were 4 bottles and glasses sitting opposite our room on the ledge they were ther for almost 3 days before being removed. we left empty dirty glasses on the table and they were never washed or replaced.
no water at night.

what a joke when thye ahve fabulous fiuggi water in the town.-but not in the fridges the water comes from another place. no brains at all!
one bottle of cheap red on checkin/ i would much have preferred a big bottle of fiujji water every day.
the halls were heated so hot I had to remove clothing to walk around.
Id never go to this hotel or that area again.
by the way we were on a full rate of 232 euro for one night and points and paid for other 2.
internet doesnt work well and kept going down so we didnt use it at all.
I called their reception for help

she was no help and very unfriendly the guys were nice though.

at this hotel at that price. in that area
it should be free wifi
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Last edited by tinkybelle; May 19, 08 at 11:43 am.
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Old May 22, 08, 12:56 pm   #13
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We've lost another hotel. Starwood drops management of this hotel on June 1. Unfortunately, I know this because I have a points stay booked on June 1 and 2 which will not be honored.

Any thoughts on an affordable and enjoyable place to stay between Rome and Rimini? We're already traveling, so I'm without some of my normal resource material.
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Old May 23, 08, 1:33 am   #14
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. . . Unfortunately, I know this because I have a points stay booked on June 1 and 2 which will not be honored. . .
Starwood handles these management changes so poorly, too often. It is inexcusable that a person is on a trip, with a reservation at a specific Starwood hotel, only to be informed that the hotel is changing hands next week and their reservation, as booked, will not be honored.

This could so easily be addressed with appropriate language in the management contracts Starwood signs with property owners.
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Old May 23, 08, 11:04 am   #15
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Starwood handles these management changes so poorly, too often. It is inexcusable that a person is on a trip, with a reservation at a specific Starwood hotel, only to be informed that the hotel is changing hands next week and their reservation, as booked, will not be honored.
Actually, they are handled the best way we can. While the timing is definitely unfortunate and inconvenient for some members when this happens, Starwood adheres fully to the terms of the legal agreements it signs with hotel owners. One of those tenets often says that we cannot publicly announce to anyone that a hotel is leaving unless they give their expressed written approval. That it actually came a week before this particular hotel is leaving is almost miraculous. It often does not come at all. In either case, we bend over backwards to try and accommodate those who are adversely affected.

Quote:
This could so easily be addressed with appropriate language in the management contracts Starwood signs with property owners.
I guess your experience is different from mine. Even when the management and/or sales contract specifies that a hotel will honor all reservations, even award reservations, when leaving, they often ignore that aspect. It has happened way more often than you can even guess, so IMHO, the management/sale contract isn't worth the paper it's printed on. I could tell you stories about this that would stand your hair on end.

Besides this, I've found it really easy for people to be critical of SPG when there is a serious lack of knowledge surrounding a particular event.

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