I posted a while ago looking for information on a few Rome properties and thought I'd put up a quick review of my time there. I ended up going with the Grand Flora for 5 of the 6 nights in Rome, which I have to say with the exception of one small issue was a great experience. Lots of folks have expressed frustration with the property and honestly, I didn't experience the same issues I read about thankfully. The one issue I found was that they do not staff a 24hr maintenance person, they leave at 10pm. This was somewhat of an inconvenience when the toilet decided it was no longer going to accept donations at about 11pm . They offered to move me to another room, which I declined as it wasn't the same view but they did come and resolve the issue the next day. It took a few follow up calls to get it handled, which for the level of the hotel I would not have expected. Other than this one issue, the staff were great and while not the same level of excellence as I experienced at the Paris' Champs property or County Hall in London, they were "above par" for other places I visited on the trip.
Now on to the good bits
First off the room I booked was your standard room for 5 nights (Sun-Fri) @180k points. I actually extended the stay the extra day to take advantage of the 5 nights for price of 4 deal, which if you have the time make sure you consider if you are going somewhere for a week. I am pretty retentive about checking on/following up on reservations and noticed when offered to do mobile check in that I had been upgraded to a high floor superior room. The upgrade was given basically at the time of the mobile check in offer but it was very nice to receive it prior to arrival. Sadly there was no other upgrade provided at arrival, seems like many other properties in Europe they generally only upgrade one level of room from the booking level. This is not to say I was disappointed at all, the room was on the side of the hotel and offered a great view of the Borghese Park.
The room itself was what you would expect from a higher end Marriott. The bed was comfortable and the furniture solid material/quality stuff. The one note, to get a king bed, they basically tied two full size beds together. Not really noticeable until you found yourself on the seam but even then it wasn't horrible. I know there was some discussion about automatic temperature settings by the hotel and room controls. I found the room to be pretty easily made cool enough to be comfortable even in the Rome summer time. There is no "set to X degrees" capability, however the ambient temps were set to 23/24C (73-75F) and you could have the room unit blow colder or warmer at various speeds (see below). This made the room very comfortable in my stay, however one thing you will want to make note of is that the room is controlled by having your key in the master switch. I just left my extra key in it when I left so the room temps were always stable. My first day out I didn't do this and it did take about an hour to cool back down upon my return. Note, make sure when you open the door to leave if you do this, you pull the key out and put it back in before closing the door
The hotel itself was clean and very nice. They don't have an executive lounge, or at least didnt while I was there but they did offer me free breakfast for 2 each morning at the rooftop restaurant and a 50% off all courses of food (not drinks) at the other restaurants for lunch/dinners. This made eating at the hotel a very attractive option that I took advantage of a few times after long days walking all over Rome.
If you go, you definitely owe it to yourself to head up to the 7th floor for breakfast while you are there. The views are pretty amazing. I will suggest looking for a table to your left after getting off the elevator on the side of the hotel. It offers nice views of the Vatican and the park:
Of course sitting on the front side of the hotel has some great views as well
The hotel itself is really in a great location in central Rome. The Borghese park next door is amazing and pretty large at over 220 acres. There are well marked paths and trails to walk down, all types of amazing things to see, bikes to rent, a zoo and even the Borghese museum. If you are into artwork, statues and such, I definitely recommend a stop through the museum and the park. A word of caution, you need to book a reservation to get into the museum. I would suggest booking the tour in your preferred language. It's like 6euro more and was worth every penny. Also another word of caution, you cannot take even a purse into the museum and will pass through a metal detector. They do have lockers to put your things into but do plan for this as it was a surprise to many finding out at the front door, thus missing the first few mins of the tour. The artwork though is amazing and there's some classic masterpieces by folks like Bernini located in the museum. One such as this, carved from a single piece of stone.
The grounds are also pretty spectacular and offer some nice shade on a warm day in Rome. There's lots of folks that use the park for exercising so folks that like to walk or run will find it a great spot for sure.
Getting around was pretty easy. You can walk to most anything within 30mins or 2km-ish. I did find that the day pass on the subway was pretty handy for getting to farther out places like the Colosseum and Vatican. You can slam all of these sights into 2 days but you'll really want to have 3 or 4 days to see them without feeling like you just auditioned for the American Ninja show
The hotel site says Spagna station is the closest, which is the one for the Spanish steps. There is a station just across the street from the hotel labeled Borghese Park on the sign however it is actually a lengthy walk entry to the Spagna station. There is actually a small mall under there as well and depending on your level of enthusiasm for walking 3x as far as you need to actually get where you are going, there's a faster entrance if you walk down the right side of the wall on the staying on the left side of the main road.
From here you can take the A line towards Batitstini, stopping at Ottaviano for the Vatican or towards Anagnina for other parts of town. You will find the Termini station towards Anagnina where you can change to the B line towards Laurentina two stops to the Colosseo station. I think I paid like 7 euro for a 24hr pass, they have longer ones as well.
The Colosseum was amazing as were the Roman Forums. I will say that going at night or after hours if you can will allow you a more "relaxed" viewing and offer some different perspectives. The day time was packed wall to wall with folks and honestly the folks begging for you to buy their random bits of crud got annoying. Research your options well before you go to each sight. We were offered "great night tour packages" at one place that isn't open at night. Sounded great but yeah total scam. If you go to the Colosseum know this for sure. It's hot in there with some places for shade. They seemed to run out of water for sale on the hot day we were there, take some with you. There is metal detectors you pass through but the real trick here is buy your tickets online from the Roman Forum place. You get into both the Forums and the Colosseum for 14e pp instead of just 12e pp at the Colosseum site. If you have a smart phone this is the best thing, load the PDF you get buying online to the phone and show it to them at the gate. You'll blow past the lines, which when we went were very very long. I think it took less then 3mins to gain entry having the tickets on the phone already vs easily an hour for the buy tickets there or redeem reservations there lines. The other thing to note, if you have limited mobility OR don't do well on steep stairs find the lift and avoid the steps. These were seriously the steepest, tallest steps I've found in all my travels and we felt it once up and down the steps. Once you are inside however, well ....
As mentioned if you can get there after hours you can get a little different perspective with the lighting changes
We made the trip in the afternoon, I think 130pm is when we arrived at the Colosseum which was plenty of time to walk around inside and see things. We then went next door to the Roman Forums. I admit I didn't research this as much as I should so I'll caution you now, it's huge. Like really big and they have various terrain marked with "easy" or "hard" paths. You'll want comfy shoes here as there's large cobblestone paths, small cobblestone paths, dirt and plenty of steps/hills. You can easily spend hours in the forum park and they do have spots through out to buy cold drinks as well as a few of the famous Roman watering spots, which are said to be perfectly safe to drink. I can tell you the water is ice cold and feels great on a hot day . This picture kinda shows you some of the grounds. There's a few steps involved to get up here but it's well worth it. There's actually a hill top garden and several city overlooks along with an entirely different part of the park you get to by walking up here.
It's not a huge walk but it's definitely an elevated position
Here's a view of the mixed terrain, some of the stones can be a little slick even when dry.
More to come, have to get back to sorting through pics
This post was AWESOME!!! and your tips for things are wonderful.
I really LOL'd at the toilet no longer taking donations! Glad you got that sorted out. ha
Great tip on keeping the room cool. I would not have thought of that. Also the museum tips are super helpful. It's post like these that truly help us out here. Thank you!
Can't wait to see the next post. Love your photos.