Travellers evaluating accommodation options in Rome are spoilt for choice. Dizzying options await with countless hours of internet research passing by in a blink of an eye.
I found myself stalking Trip Advisor late at night (on many nights!) desperately trying to find something that was both good quality and in a great location and for the right price – ticking all the boxes was endlessly tiresome. Luckily, a friend suggested The Inn at the Roman Forum and while first impressions on the website didn’t do the property justice, I rolled the dice, hoped for the best, and just made the booking.
‘The Inn at the Roman Forum’ belongs to the Small Luxury Hotel group (SLH) so we were hoping for something special. The rate came in at roughly $250AUD a night for a Junior Suite so pricewise this was in our ballpark. Better still, it was in a great location.
The tariff we selected entitled us to a complimentary one way transfer from Rome’s Fiumicino airport – a welcome service after experiencing the infamous mayhem and chaos of Fiumicino.
Within 30 mins we were approaching the hotel through a maze of stereotypical Roman cobble-stone streets. This hotel isn’t on a main drag – it’s two streets back from one of Rome’s most iconic streets – Via dei Fori Imperali – the end of which has the Collesium, the other end has the majestic Altare della Patria.
The driver took our bags inside and we made our way to reception to be checked-in. The Italian gentlemen who greeted us went through the typical formalities with extravagant gusto and flair. Behind the reception desk was the doorway to the hotel’s underground crypt, where guests can visit while staying at the hotel (we didn’t have the time unfortunately but the photos look stunning).
The room looked fairly dim and dark when we first entered but thankfully the two windows that look out to the small street had doors that could be opened which let in natural light. The room had a classic but tasteful fit-out. The four poster bed looked majestic, and felt appropriately comfortable and plush. The pillows were OK, but I could’ve done with another for ultimate comfort factor (on our last day we found a cupboard by the front door with additional pillows – silly us).
There was no compendium of hotel services and we couldn’t find a mini-bar menu/price list – seemingly strange omissions as they are are generally standard hotel room fodder (I’m one of these people who loves reading the compendium after first arriving at a hotel – I felt lost).
The room was bigger than I had expected – a rarity for a typical hotel in Italy. The porter gave us a run-down of the room features and amenities which was a nice touch. The bathroom was a decent size, with the spa bath and shower having good water pressure. The provided toiletries could do with a revamp, as no conditioner was provided and the quality of the shampoo was questionable.
Our friend booked the cheaper Deluxe room and I was really surprised at the amount of space the room had. It was also more modern in its fit-out and design compared to ours, with a oversized floor lamp making a striking impression. Our friend paid just under $200 AUD a night.
Breakfast and the Balcony
Breakfast was adequate but didn’t blow me away as the worlds most elaborate offering – still – it was adequate in a Mediterranean kind of way . Each morning we were asked if we wanted scrambled eggs – they were always made from scratch and were naturally delicious. We were also offered freshly made coffee which was a welcome start to the day. Staff were more than obliging and were always very friendly in the early hours during our stay.
The best part of the hotel in my opinion was the rooftop balcony where we watched the sun rise and set most days – usually over a bottle or three of Italian red. Due to the low occupancy of the hotel, we almost had the run of the place which was a luxury – the balcony felt like our own personal chill-out zone.
On the odd occasion that other guests joined us, friendly conversations over wine were par for the course. This is something you just don’t experience at a larger chain hotel and made a huge difference to our stay.
Staff on reception were a tale of two extremes. We had a fairly cranky encounter with a morning employee who would just sit on the phone waffling in italian without any acknowledgement of our presence. How Italian, one might muse – I would call it painfully irritating. One morning we waited for roughly 10 minutes before she was off the phone to help us with a fairly simple concierge question. The reply was terse, as if we were a nuisance. Upon returning to Australia we were informed that this was typical Italian customer service.
Thankfully, another employee working the evening shift and she was the polar opposite to cranky sour-puss. She booked our train tickets to Florence and gave us great tips of sights to see and things to do. She really couldn’t do more to help us, which was appreciated.
WiFi was terrible and required a printed receipt to use which would expire after a day or two, needing us to get a new receipt from the front desk. Wifi reception on our level was laughable anyway, so I ended up using my phone for internet access.
The property really exceeded our expectations and the pricing was well within our budget. Certainly comes highly recommended. The best part? Chilling out on the balcony, drinking wine with friends watching the sunset hues of the sky dance over the Italian skyline. Priceless.
Interested? Check out the pricing for the Inn at the Roman forum here.