Hello! I am booking an anniversary trip for next summer with my hubby. We will be taking a Greek island cruise but plan to stay in Rome for the weekend prior to the cruise. I am looking at booking either the Marriott Grand Flora or Boscolo Exedra Roma Autograph. I can use points for Boscolo, GF not available, but I may have depleted them on a trip to NYC in April with my daughter so right now points are not the deciding factor. Comfort, location and amenities are.
Has anyone had experience staying at both hotels to compare? Lots of great reviews on MGF so I have that one booked for now in a top floor superior (hoping for a platinum upgrade to a JS). Has anyone been upgraded there? Also I haven't read anything about comped breakfast and/or a concierge type club. Do either of these hotels have one or both?
Thanks for the help!
Sounds like an amazing getaway, rhoke813! While I'd love to say I've been, I can't. However, I have found some threads you may find helpful. I've included them below..
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Hope this helps!! Do let us know what you end up choosing.
Spent a week at Grand Flora in April of 2014 and loved it!!!! I have always been a fan of the location and the hotel and staff were super. Additionally, there are wonderful restaurants, shopping, sites nearby. Highly recommend. Would be happy to provide dining recommendations.
Breakfast on the roof every morning is a real treat! Walking or running through the Borghese Gardens right next door, the Roman wall next to the hotel is a great site. Borghese Museum is a must see - buy your tickets in advance if you want in.
Thank you! I am between this Marriott and the St Regis that I am able to book using points. Tripadvisor gives St Regis a higher rating but you don't get as many perks with starwood status as you do with marriott. I am starwood gold and I won't get breakfast BUT free room trumps not free room lol.
I wish we had the luxury of vacationing when we want to. I do with my job but hubby is a college football coach and that season seemingly NEVER ends. April = spring football. October…well that's regular season! It's either March for the university spring break or July for us
Mrs. Jakeal and I just spent 3 nights (2 on points, 1 paid) late November at the Boscolo Exedra and loved it. Great location for the hop-on / hop-off bus and for our purposes a less than 5 minute walk from Roma Termini train station. We experienced fantastic service, breakfast was great, and Marco and Pasquale at the concierge desk were two of the best!
Enjoy your trip!
I would suggest either walking, taking the metro (they only have two lines, so it is pretty easy but can get pretty crowded around rush hour), or the buses or trolleys. Cabs to and from the airport are fine - just have the concierge arrange for them. You can also take regional rail out to places like Ostia Antica or Tivoli.
The Grand Flora is a fantastic hotel!
You may want to contact the Concierge there and arrange to have a paid car meet you at The airport. Yes, it will be as expensive as a taxi, or maybe a little more. However, after a long flight, it is so worth it to have a "Friendly", meet you at the airport and take you directly to the hotel!
You are a good distance from the airport to downtown Rome, so make it easy on yourself and loved ones.
Likewise, if your time is limited, hire a private guide for Rome. You will see more in half a day, than most people experience in a week! If you need specifics, go to previous posts or contact me directly.
I might suggest a faster and less expensive alternative to a driver. The Leonardo Express Train is a non-stop train right from in the terminal straight to Termini Station. You can then catch a short cab ride to Grand Flora. We took that train and it could not have been easier. It was very reasonable, quiet, comfortable and fast - no traffic and no stops all the way to Termini. The Leonardo Express departs every 30 minutes (15 mins during peak times). Starts at 5:50am and stops at 10:50pm. This train is also guaranteed, even during strikes. Very good way to get back to the airport, too. Just an alternative.
Hi Jerry! Thanks for the scoop! We did get a room at the Grand Flora for one night. We decided to spend our first weekend in Venice at the JW there. Ever been? Looks great. Then just one day/night in Rome after the cruise prior to our flight home. I am very interested in a private guide for Rome if you can recommend someone! Thank you!
The best bet is to have the wonderful concierge at The Grand Flora help you with dining and tours! They are a talented group and a couple of things to remember:
The Vatican is NOT air conditioned, and the crowds can be quite large in the Summer.
If you get a guide, you will also need a driver. It is worth it!
For one meal, there is a wonderful place to dine within walking distance of the Grand Flora.
Mirabelles's, is a fantastic place to dine, and reasonably priced for Rome. The place for "One Meal"!
it was a few years ago but coming into the port at Rome there were no taxis. You had to walk quite a ways to get to an area with taxis. We were lucky as we spotted a limo dropping someone off and got him to takes us downtown for a lot o money so I would agree I would arrange to be picked up .
I stayed at the Boscolo 2 years ago. It was magnificentt and, in my opinion, well located. A long block walk to the metro, many attractions were walking distance, breakfast each day was outstanding, the people there were extremely helpful and freindly. A lesser known attraction is the Catacombs a half block walk from the hotel.
Absolutely. Incredible works and beautiful museum and grounds. Bernini's Apollo and Daphne is one of the most incredible sculptures I have ever seen. The leaves, carved from marble or so thin you can see light through them.
Borghese Gardens are a nice place for a morning run or walk, from the Grand Flora. Great setting.
Thanks everyone! All great info! Has anyone stayed at the new JW Marriott in Venice? We are booked in a JS on points. It looks fabulous although not in central Venice but I think that may not be a problem really. Also jerrycoin we have booked a private car through Civitavecchia car service I think it's called to pick us up at FCO and take us to the cruise and also pick us up at the end of the cruise to take us to MGF so we should be set for that. I was able to book MGF on points as well! :-)
Congrats! You will love your stay at Marriott Grand Flora! Here are a wonderful dining spots just a short walk from the hotel. www.osteriaquarantaquattro.com Sergio will take good care of you. www.pizzeriasanmarcoroma.com Excellent food, to include fabulous Roman pizza, and excellent desserts. This is not your corner pizza joint. Just before you get to San Marco's, there is a wonderful little wine store which also serves wine by the glass, so you can sit outside with the locals and enjoy a glass, before dinner. www.ristorantesardegna.it wonderful seafood restaurant. www.alverogirarrostotoscano.it Was a recommendation from the Marriott and a delicious dinner, great service. At the end of the meal, they put a bottle of Vinsanto on the table with a plate of biscotti!! We have had the combination at home now, every Christmas eve, to end dinner and the evening. Enjoy!
Great restaurant suggestions. The Pizzeria San Marco is good, but I also liked Restaurant Cesarina Rome, Italy. Only a couple of blocks from the Marriott, it's an "old school" kind of place and very moderately priced. And after a long day of touring, the outside bar at the hotel itself is a great spot for unwinding while watching the world go by. Have a great trip!
We are booked into the JW Venice in September. It looks amazing. I would love to read your thoughts on the property when you return from your cruise. As far as the GF, we've stayed a couple of times (both times on points), and the last time, 3 years ago, we were upgraded (platinum) to a beautiful suite with a front living room and private bedroom, all with 12' ceilings, so upgrades are indeed a possibility.
Hope you have a wonderful trip.
Oh, one thing you may want to look into... the private boat from the JW only goes to/from the JW island and Piazza San Marcos, as far as I can tell. From there you have to then take the vaporetto to the cruise terminal. If your cruise departure is early morning, it might be prudent to check the vaporetto and JW private boat time tables against your show time for the cruise ship. Or best yet, call Marriott and ask for the email address to the hotel, and shoot them an email, explaining your timetable for the cruise departure, and ask them to advise you on the best way to get there at that time of day.
In the past, we have had to stay at the CY near the airport on the last night before a flight, because the vaporetto didn't start early enough to get us from Venice to the airport. Also, once when I dropped my daughter off at FCO (via taxi) at 6am, I had to wait until 8am to catch the first Leonardo Express train back to Rome. Exact same thing with the vaporetto early one morning at VCE.
We are not cruising out of Venice but Civitavecchia. We already have a flight booked from Venice to FCO with private car service to and from the port beginning and end of trip. We also have arranged pickup from the JW and transfer back to the airport which is damn near as much as the cost of the upgraded room with points! Actually the transport is more than the upgrade charge! Sheesh! I think it's around 200 eu each way. Good grief.
We are really looking forward to the JW! I will post a TA review, my TA name is RP8133 with an eiffel tower photo so look for it mid July if I forget to review it here. Also when you got your upgrade to a suite at the GF in Rome were you booked in a standard room on points or something else? I'd love an upgrade. I am also platinum.
Thanks for the scoop! We are just 3 weeks away and can't wait!
Sorry I didn't pick up on your cruise location. Wow, you're not kidding: your private transport from the JW Venice to VCE is spendy indeed. You are livin' large, and good for you. Enjoy those private boat rides! The scenery will of course, be fantastic. I'll look forward to your review.
Re: the Grand Flora upgrades, yes, we booked a standard room on points, platinum member. I don't want to scare you, but I was just reading this post: Re: Problem with Marriott Grand Flora - Rome, and though I'm sure you won't have this poster's problem (which was no a/c, but if it happens to you, of course, just attack the problem early), but what I noticed in the post, was his comment that the hotel had posted a sign at the front desk, welcoming 59 platinum elite members. Yikes. Not sure why they do this, if it's to welcome/acknowledge their elite guests, and/or also as a subtle way to let elite guests know that they are numerous, and to therefore not have too high of an expectation of receiving a top shelf (ie. suite) upgrade? Anyway, good luck, hope you get the nice upgrade. If you're still planning on paying cash for a superior room on the top floor, hopefully that'll get you some priority. Plus only staying one night. Folks seem to agree that shorter stays tend to get more suite upgrades.
Your trip sounds amazing. Enjoy!!
pluto77, believe me I would prefer NOT to live large as in $$$ for a private transfer. The private water taxi is 120 euro and I read that you have to navigate around a 15-20 minute walk with your luggage to find the boat. That sounded really unpleasant after a transatlantic flight. Do you know of a less expensive uncomplicated way to get to the hotel? I am all ears if you do and would be grateful for a less expensive alternative!
Depending on the time of day (the JW shuttle and the Alilaguna boats don't run 24/7), I would walk to the marina from the airport (it's an easy, short walk, many people do it, just follow the signs), and take the Alilaguna blue line to Piazza San Marco (purchase a ticket at the ticket booth at the marina), and from P. San Marco, catch the JW water shuttle to the hotel, and then of course the reverse for returning to the airport, however, if you have an early departure, I don't think that this will work, because the JW shuttle doesn't start running from the JW until 8:30am, according to the below document:
The upside is it's very inexpensive, 8-10€ for the Alilaguna ticket, JW shuttle complimentary. The downside: the Alilaguna boat ride from Marco Polo airport to P. San Marco is about 1 hr, 15 mins., and the JW shuttle looks to be about a 20-25 minute ride, plus wait time. I'm sure the private water taxi will get the job done in less than half the time, so a big reason, besides being a private hire, for the exorbitant price. Doing it the cheap way is not complicated in my opinion, but it is time consuming.
For Vaporetto information - http://www.actv.it/sites/default/files/ultimamappa.pdf
Tips for taking a gondola ride - Venice Gondola Rides - What to Know about Gondolas in Venice Italy
For us, since we will be departing VCE in the morning, as far as I can determine, we cannot spend our last night at the JW, but will have to stay at the Courtyard near the airport, because the JW shuttle doesn't start early enough for us to catch our flight. I will contact the hotel directly to confirm this.
Agreed, Jerry! To add to the Vatican visit. If possible, try to arrange ahead to do the Scavi tour. It takes you below St. Peter's, where they have excavated to the walls of the original St. Peters built by Constantine, to some very early Christian and Pagan tombs and to St. Peter's tomb. Vatican city was once a hill and a Pagan cemetery. Constantine, after converting to and legalizing Christianity leveled the hill, at St. Peter's tomb (paying reparation to all the tombs destroyed). Pretty interesting. Also, if you attend the general audience with the pope on Wednesday's, take an umbrella. You will be out in the courtyard of St. Peters for sometime and the sun can be very intense. The shade helps.
Also very close to the Marriott are a few other eateries, depending on your tastes for the night. www.pizzeriasanmarcoroma.com. A fun, delicious restaurant serving true Roman pizza, pastas, great desserts and wine. Also www.osteriaquarantaquattro.com we had a wonderful dinner here, dining outside. Sergio took great care of us. Though not on the menu, they will make a wonderful cacio e pepe for your pasta course, a Roman specialty.