I knew that finding a nice hotel in Rome that was $50 or less would be a challenge. After a lot of digging, I ended up finding the Heart of Rome Hotel. The reviews were good, the room looked nice and it was just within our budget. After getting Andy’s sign off, I booked the room for the 4 nights we were in Rome.
Getting to the Hotel
The easiest way to get to the hotel would be to take a taxi from the bus station where we arrived. We decided against that because taxis in Rome are expensive and we knew that there would be an option available which used public transportation.
After doing some investigation online, we found a commuter train which took us from the bus station to the hotel relatively quickly for 8E or $9 per person. While this seemed a bit expensive for public transit, we accepted in Europe things would be quite a bit more expensive than they were in South America.
The train arrived right on time and was clean. We were fortunate that it didn’t fill up all the way since fitting our large backpacks, small backpacks and ourselves on 2 seats would have been quite a challenge.
After we got off the train, we had a 15 minute walk to the hotel with all of our bags on. While it wasn’t the most pleasant walk, we have gotten used to carrying all of our bags instead of springing for taxis. Our thought is by not taking taxis unless absolutely needed, we have more money to spend doing fun things on our trip.
I had read online that the hotel was not a traditional hotel and was inside of an office building. I was glad that I had read those reviews online as I would have certainly thought that I was in the wrong place when I arrived.
We rang the buzzer and the owner, who was outside smoking (because seemingly everyone in Europe smokes), greeted us and walked us up to check in. If I had to create a character in a movie who was a stereotypical Italian, I would cast the hotel owner. He looked super Italian and spoke English very quickly with a thick Italian accent.
Once we were being walked to our room I realized just how odd the hotel setup was. The reception desk and rooms were not all grouped together, in fact, our room was on the opposite side of the building and had a different set of stairs. This was fine for us, but it was a little strange to have to walk through the office building and up another set of stairs to reach the reception area or get breakfast.
Even though we booked our stay for Heart of Rome, we were given a room at the Star of Rome which is part of the same ownership. I believe that we were put in this room as it was one of the nicer rooms that the hotel had as there was a private balcony off the room. While we didn’t enjoy the balcony much since it was a little cold, we absolutely would have used it if it was warmer out.
Everything was extremely clean which we appreciated greatly and the bed was comfortable, always a big plus for us.
Every day when we were out, our room was cleaned which was really nice. After the second night, our towels were also changed out. While this might seem normal to most people, having rooms serviced is something that we have not come to expect when staying in budget hotels.
The bathroom was very modern and similar to the rest of the room was very clean.
The shower had a rainfall style showerhead which had great water pressure. Since we were part of a larger building, not having our own personal water heater, there was plenty of hot water to go around. We both enjoyed taking long showers with abundant hot water.
My only issue with the bathroom is that the bathroom fan did not seem to vent properly. Because of this, the steam would stay in the room and caused some mold to form on the ceiling. I am not sure why the hotel has not taken care of this issue but I hope they address it soon.
Heart of Rome – Amenities
Whenever a hotel offers breakfast we’re always excited because it’s free food. The breakfast at Star of Rome was really good so we were extra happy. It included cereal, toast, cold cuts, cheese, hard boiled eggs, pastries, fruit and yogurt. We always ended up eating a large breakfast which filled us up enough to have a late lunch.
The hotel also had coffee and cappuccino made to order. The lady who worked the breakfast was always very confused when we said we did not drink coffee. I will say that the coffee looked really great and if we were coffee drinkers I think we would have been very pleased with it.
Discount for Paying Cash
I typically use my credit card whenever I can since I have a card which earns airline miles for every dollar spent. The Star of Rome does take credit card but they offer a 10% discount for paying in cash. This was a pretty sizable discount so we ran to the ATM to withdraw more cash to cover the bill.
After so many months of terrible wifi in South America and Egypt, we were ecstatic to have fast wifi at the hotel. All of our pictures and videos were quickly uploaded to our Google Drive for safe keeping should anything happen to our computer or external hard drive.
The biggest negative about the hotel for me was the location. It was a bit removed from the downtown area, requiring a bus or subway ride to get to the historical city center. The bus to the historical downtown area was right outside our door which was very convenient, but the subway was a 12 minute walk (mainly uphill). While it was not expensive to take public transportation, it would have been nice to be able to walk from our hotel to the city center.
While we were far from the historical city center, we were only a 20 minute walk from the Vatican.
While the hotel was very nice, in hindsight I realized that we should have booked an apartment. Restaurants were expensive and similar to Florence, were not quite as good as we hoped that they would have been.
The frustrating thing about Italy is the lodging tax that they have. Normally all taxes are included in the room rate, but for some reason in Italy it is not included and must be paid in cash. For some strange reason, every hotel that we stayed at in Italy had a very different rate that we needed to pay. The highest rate by far was Rome which was 3.50E or $3.85 per person per night, a very high amount to pay in taxes for a low cost room.
Before we left, the owner made sure that everything was OK. We told him everything was great, which it was – although I suppose I should have told him to fix the bathroom fan. Anyway, I assume that by asking customers if everything is OK, gets any grievances out before there are negative reviews written. The hotel’s ratings were extremely high and I assume that part of the reason is because all issues are addressed.