My wife and I recently returned from our honeymoon that took us on a mini tour of Europe. And while Rome was at the tail-end of our trip, I'll review it here first so that jerrycoin may get my 2 cents before he leaves for the Eternal City.
The Rome Marriott Grand Hotel Flora is located in the heart of Rome, within the historic city walls and on the ritzy Via Veneto. Unknown to me prior to our trip is the fact that this area is one of the most expensive areas of Rome. As a result, there are a lot of overpriced restaurants on the street, as well as high-end retailers. The US Embassy is also on the street, and is about a 5 minute walk away. The nearest metro station is a 10-15 minute walk away, while both the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps are about a 15 minute walk away as well.
Anyway, back to the property. The Flora is located in a historic building built in 1909. The decor of the property is decidedly on the historic side as well. Despite the historic decor, though, the property does have updated technology, including wireless and wired high-speed internet access and flatscreen HDTVs. Despite this, however, the climate control system is, unfortunately, antiquated. You are unable to set your own temperature; the system is centralized with a central control. You can, however, alter the temperature slightly by +/- 2 degrees and are able to control the fan speed.
Beyond the technology, the room is pretty old looking. I'm not talking about the historic feeling either. The furniture, carpet, and drapes throughout the property looked tired and worn. A refresh is long overdue. Otherwise, the rooms are nice and have a good amount of features. In my one stay here, I had a Jr Suite. Unfortunately, the room was facing the interior courtyard and thus had no view. However, the room did have a separate living room, separate bedroom with king bed and a decent sized bathroom with shower/tub combo. Despite having a single vanity, the bathroom did have a towel warming rack in the shower/tub combo and a bidet. Next to the bathroom is a decent sized closet with the safe and some drawers. Note: the in-room safes in this hotel aren’t large enough to lockup a 15” laptop. Oh, and watch out for those towel heaters! Nearly burned myself once or twice! There’s also no drying line in the bathroom incase you need to wash something. Another interesting note is the lack of unoccupied electrical outlets in the room. And those that were available often stopped supplying power when the lights were turned off... good thing there's a door between the bedroom and living room so we could leave the lights on in there and let the phones/cameras charge while we slept!
Jr. Suite entry as seen from the bedroom
Jr Suite living room as seen from entry
Jr Suite living room as seen from bedroom entrance
Jr Suite bedroom as seen from bedroom entrance
Jr Suite bedroom as seen from window
Jr Suite bedroom as seen from bathroom entrance
Jr Suite left closet with safe and drawers
Jr Suite right closet
Jr Suite Bathroom
Jr Suite Bathroom
Jr Suite Bathroom
Service wise, this property is a mixed bag. The front desk staff was pretty unfriendly when we checked in. The doormen were mixed, some being friendly and others not. The maids, though, are very friendly, and for our room, we received daily housekeeping AND turndown service. Turndown service also came with amazing chocolates made by none other than Italian chocolatier Venchi! The turndown service wasn’t so much a turndown as a refresh, but that’s ok.
Perhaps what was most odd about this property was the food service. The whole property seems to revolve around their restaurant, the Cabiria. In fact, when you turn on your TV for the first time, it will say the Cabiria Restaurant welcomes you! The restaurant is opened for lunch and dinner and closes between the two services, though we didn’t try. The menu is rather limited (in my opinion) and while they say they are Michelin rated (though not starred), I couldn’t find them in the 2013 guide. I also felt it was overpriced, but again, I didn’t try it for myself.
So what about breakfast? Well this property has no CL, though Platinums (not sure about Golds) do get complimentary breakfast daily at the rooftop dining facility. Getting to breakfast, though, can be a challenge, as there are no instructions on how to get there and the staff didn’t inform us of how to get there either. That being said, to get to the rooftop dining facility you’ll need to either take the stairs, or the elevator. However, the property has 3 elevators; 1 bank of 2 and a single elevator on the opposite side of the building. Only the single elevator will take you to the 10th floor rooftop, the other 2 elevators don’t go that high. Once you get to the rooftop, you’ll have to track down a staff member to get a table. They’ll also ask you for your room number for billing purposes. If it isn’t too cold, I’d sit outside and enjoy the gorgeous view!
Stairs to breakfast
The view, however, is where to good ends. Service (for me anyway) was really indifferent to poor. Once the employee sat us and then sat someone else on our table when we were getting food, though I made it obvious that the table was taken. Their response? “You need table?!” Nice… The food, unfortunately, doesn’t fare much better. All egg dishes are overcooked and dry, the waffles & pancakes are dry and/or burned, the bacon is often partially raw and partially crisp, fruits tended to be unripe, etc. The positive, though, was the presence of a mimosa bar! Also included is tea or coffee service. Oh, and don’t bother with the smoked salmon. It was quite fishy! Sweet items were also VERY sweet. By far, this was the worst breakfast service I had on my entire trip, which was disappointing from what is supposed to be a rather upscale, palatial property. So if you aren’t an Elite that qualifies for free breakfast, don’t bother. It isn’t worth the 20Euro/person fee.
The good news, however, is the abundance of restaurants in the immediate area. One must be careful in choosing, though, as this is an upscale touristy area and there are many bad meals to be had. I will, however, post my area dining reviews separately. Stay tuned!