I wrote early in my stay that the Rome Central Park Hotel was excellent in all respects. I stand by that opinion after 12 nights there. There were a few glitches, like one elevator out of order anda couple of times when the van to Ottaviano was full and left people behind. They seem to have addressed this by the end by adding a second van.Still, I only took the van a few times - Gemelli FR 3 around the corner runs every 10-15 minutes on weekdays and Saturdays and no worse than every half hour on Sundays. This is especially important since the van doesn't run return trips at lunch hour (12:00-2:30). Regardless of whether you take the van or the train, get a transport card for 3 days (11 euros) or a week (16 euros) if you're there more than a day. It gives you unlimited transportation on all buses, metro lines, and the regional train system that includes Gemelli.
The rooms and service were of the highest calibre. It made me a little nervous that the word Marriott wasn't on anything inside or out, but it was definitely a Marriott-class room/service. While I wouldn't recommend the lunch, the outdoor grilled dinners were excellent light Mediterranean fare, especially good in the hot days of summer.
So maybe it's not the Grand Flora, and not quite as conveniently located, but I have to say that after very hot long days it was wonderful to 'get home' to the large air conditioned room with a balcony overlooking Pineta Sacchetti Park and the Vatican. And that's at anywhere from 1/3 to 1/5 of the price depending on when you check the two hotels.
Breakfast was free, at least for Gold Elite.
My one recommendation to the property would be to reduce the cost of wireless, which was exorbitant (88 euros for a week, though it was definitely high speed and reliable).
I'm about to make reservations for Rome and am really on the fence on where to stay. Since I'm staying on points and will need two rooms for 5 nights, I'd hate to use 320k for a stay at the Grand Flora. I'm doing research on the Rome Central Park and am having a problem committing to it even though it would cost a lot less points.
My first concern of course is the location. When I travel to Europe I like to come back to the room before dinner and change from the sweaty clothes that I've been walking in all day. If I stay at the Grand Flora it will be easy to head back and relax before dinner but the Central Park I perceive will be a pain.
Also, the property is switching over to a Courtyard in a few months and that means no more Executive Lounge, specifically, no more breakfast. Since I'm traveling with my teens, breakfast can add up if I have to pay and a lounge would save me a bundle each morning.
Can anybody put my mind at ease about getting to and from this property and what a taxi costs to get into town?
Also, we plan to take a few day tours and I'm concerned that there wouldn't be any pickups at this hotel. Are my concerns justified?
You raise some real issues about getting back and forth, though I didn't find it a problem -- as I mentioned in my early post, I used Gemelli which runs every 15 minutes to a connecting stop. I will be staying at the Central Park again. Here are a few things to think about --
Can you actually book the stay at the Flora in August on points? People have had lots of trouble in the past. The prices at the Central Park are very cheap for August, so you might consider paying and accumulating points instead (but make sure they post them -- I had to contact Marriott about that). I wouldn't waste points on a very inexpensive stay.
Don't worry about the breakfast part. Although they don't have an executive lounge, the breakfasts were free to elite members.
They do have tour pickups -- with Green Line Tours (I did a wine tasting tour of Montepulciano and Cortona). Not all the tours offer the service, but the longer ones do pickup and dropoff. And the concierge might be able to find other tours that also pick up at the CentralPark.
I love the Flora so if you can manage booking on points, do so. At the same time I thought the Central Park was a wonderful hotel, with location being the only sticking point -- but with several ways of getting around it with the shuttle bus and FR3 Gemelli.
Hope this helps!
Like I said, I don't want to use 320k points for two rooms at the Flora. What I plan to do is book 5 nights at Central Park using points and pay for the other room.
The Elite breakfast will soon be a thing of the past at this property because it's changing over into a Courtyard around October. My trip there won't be until late spring 2010.
Thanks for the tips, you put my mind at ease.
Over the years I have been to a few hotels that were not exactly branded Marriott except for the outside sign, so that doesn't bother me.
I did notice the long term stay price, which as you said, is quite reasonable.
I also contacted the hotel directly through email and the GM did say that breakfast will not be give to Platinum members once the changeover is complete. Which begs the question, are there local places around the hotel to eat breakfast before we head into central Rome?