We are currently in Rome at the Flora. Lovely hotel and most of the staff is fabulous. We checked in using point on Sunday and I felt that the staff was talking down to me. no breakfast no use of the computer.... but the valet and room service was fabulous. I finally recieved a voucher for 30 min of computer use only in the lobby for the wifi. The Gallary Borgese is so very close so we walked through enjoying the fresh air and then ask directions to the Spanish steps... piazza Sagna. Easy to find. through the Metro underground tunnel and we were there. Having read the Mastermans blog I knew there was an entrance to the Metro by Harry's and so off to the supermarket I went for breakfast items. Once purchsed we enjoyed wine,fruit,and cheese we had preordered and room service was great!
Monday saw us off to the Vatcan. My husband and I got seperated and he never made it to our tour : ( but I saw it : ) make sure you travel very close together the Metro door close very fast. Once back at 1:30 We left for Trevi fountian and Pantheon. Great walk.
Upon return discussion with staff at 7pm, I was given a cord to hook to the internet in my room(yeah!) and we set about booking the Pope's audiance and the tour of the Gallaria Borgese for Wed and Thurs. great help from the staff
It is now Friday and Massimo the consiegner is fantastic! He has booked tickets for us given us direction and been friendly helping with seats for our flight home.
We used the Rome Pass for three days and found it very helpful... skipping lines and easy usage of the Metro. We then did the hop on hop of bus...okay nice to have an over view of Rome but slow and not as convienent as the Mtro. The Mero even has English on the billet machine where you can buy tickets. Nice...
This is our last night in Rome so off for a nice dinner and Gelato...yum
You should have received the computer cable when you checked in, though you sometimes have to ask. The Flora is one of the only hotels I know that (in my memory) has always offered free internet service - wired and wireless. You usually have to put a 10 euro deposit on your bill so that they make sure that you return the cable.
I did notice that this past weekend the hotel seemed a bit understaffed, so that may have been part of the problem.
If you have a chance, visit Santa Maria in Trastevere, the oldest and certainly one of the most beautiful churches in Rome. The whole area of Trastevere is wonderful. Another of my favorites is San Clemente.
Enjoy! I may run into you without knowing it!
Alas, believe it or not, I am one of the few people in the world who do not like chocolate, sweets or even gelato. (Though if one forced me to eat gelato I would choose pistachio.) I do make up for it in other ways, however. Give me a superb fish dish or a perfect (and in Italy often complementary) appetizer or dessert wine and I am in seventh heaven.
For those of you who haven't tried it, make sure to have vin santo (the wine of the popes, literally holy wine, but a dessert wine). I only first discovered it years ago in Florence at a conference with a friend who does Renaissance history. More recently I enjoyed it with a Jesuit friend and colleague. Then a couple of years ago after arriving in Florence at 7am and trying to stay up the whole day, I desperately tried to find a dinner restaurant open early (not easy in Italy). I found an amazing ristorante near the Arno and Ponte Vecchio that was open at 6:30pm. Not surprisingly, there were few people there. I ended up joining several Canadian women who had been dining there every night. At the end, I asked the host if they had vin santo. Certo! We all enjoyed a bottle with cantucci (see below) and I asked him to pour a glass for himself at my expense. In Italy, this has amazing results. Not only did we have a wonderful dessert, but every one of us (5 women only a few of whom knew each other) was given a free bottle of the house red wine to take back with us. Un offertà opens many doors in Italy. The same happened to me in Rome where a wedding party shared their cake with the others in the restaurant. So I ordered vin santo with cantucci for the rest of us. It's a wonderful thing in Italy that I seldom find elsewhere -- "the offering". In the US, I think it's buying one for the bartender, except that they're probably not supposed to accept. But there is a reciprocity that is acknowledged in Italy and if you know about it you get a wonderful experience and a closeness to the culture.
The key is, you must not just drink vin santo -- otherwise it seems like a kind of sherry. But when you dip cantuccini in it (sometimes called cantucci), it becomes a marvel of all that is Italia.
As for the Site Challenges, I remain as despairing as ever. I check every so often and post once in a while, but the site design is now terrible. If I were Marriott, I would get rid of LiveWorld and rehire the previous designer, who did a terrific job of getting us all together. Now that they've separated us (to a large degree) it no longer feels like a community unless you happen to sign up for every possible relevant discussion.
I agree with you comments. It is difficult to use the Insiders Forum as we all once did. Maybe it's my age, I do not understand why people change just for the sake of change.
We are planning a London or Ireland trip this Fall or next Spring. I hope I can count on my Insider Friends for advice again.
You can count on me to update my Ireland experience as well as past London experiences. I mostly go to France and Italy, so sometimes I actually have the best insights when I go to a brand new place -- just like I got to know Italy more fully after several trips last year.
Let's hope the promised changes at least bring back the cities section to Insiders.