Boscolo Exedra Roma,
Heading into Rome was interesting - because initially I was only going to spend 1 night here, then fly off to Turin to stay at the Turin Palace (which Tripadvisor has ranked the 3rd best hotel in 2017). However, upon getting to Rome at about 12pm, then having lunch, then heading to the hotel at about 3pm - I realized that I wanted to spend my next 2 nights in Rome - so I ended up cancelling my hotel reservation (The Turin Palace staff were amazing, cancelling my non-refundable paid stay and refunding me), while the Air fare was cheap, so I let that go. Hence, the Boscolo Exedra Roma and St Regis took over in Rome. Booking the Boscolo Exedra was interesting because booking really late meant the paid rate was about $600 AUD (it was also peak season it seemed, imagine below is not of the same date I stayed). The reason I wanted to stay here was my last trip to Rome in 2015, I walked past this hotel pretty regularly, and I was genuinely curious - because it looked super fancy from the outside. A quick search showed that the Exedra Roma was bookable through Marriott - and hence Marriott points. Now normally I don't have too many Marriott points (as I prefer SPG), but having just been aquired by Marriott, my SPG Gold Status was linked to Marriott, and I could transfer SPG points to Marriott at a 1:3 rate (excellent value in my opinion for certain stays).
Being a Category 9 property, the highest Marriott category from memory, it would cost me 45,000 points, or $600 AUD paid. I decided to go for the points option since it seemed like better value. Since I already had some points, I transferred over 12,000 SPG points which converted into 36,000 Marriott Points - and I booked it for a night (taxes came up to 125 euros since I also had an e-certifcate from the previous Marriott promotion). Since I was rooming with a friend for the night, I booked the Superior Guest room with 2 single beds.
When we arrived in Rome, our taxi van dropped us off at drop off area in front of the hotel - and no one came to help us with our bags. So we lugged our suitcase up till I pretty much had to stop one of the hotel staff to ask my bag to be taken up the stairs. That little hiccup aside, I noticed they were really busy as there were many people either dropping off or checking in that day, so I understood how busy they were. We walked up to the Reception and waited our turn in line, which gave me a chance to take some pictures of their gorgeous lobby and entrance.
They had layed out flowers everywhere, and it smelled so good in the reception, almost like spring (despite it being autumn) - this hotel had a beautiful interior, and I can understand why this hotel looks so grand from the outside - because it is quite grand (traditionally speaking) from the inside. I later realised they were setting up for a wedding later that night. Finally after about 7 minutes, our turn came to check-in. The receptionist was a weird mix of friendly and cold depending on the conversation. "As a Gold member, is there a room upgrade available?" "No we are full" she said coldly. "However, since you are Gold, I'll upgrade you to a nice view room overlooking the Piazza, and breakfast is complimentary as a Gold member sir" she responded, with a friendly tone. It was like she was going through a inner battle to be friendly, and not care at the same time - super weird. Either way, once we were checked-in, we headed towards to the room (again no one offered to take our bags).
Since the hotel is around a circle Piazza, the entire building was curved, and unfortunately we were given a room nearly all the way to the end of the curve (a good minute or so walk from the elevators with our bags), and we finally arrived at room 345. The traditional style thick door really added to that traditional grand experience.
The room wasn't massive - but honestly I was quite impressed. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I'm normally not a fan of traditional styled hotels, but the Boscolo Exedra Roma was quite a pleasant room. A massive mirror took up the left side of the room, the bed in the center with two arm chairs with a table in front, and the desk and cupboard on the right of the room. It was almost over indulgence in opulence, but somehow it worked with the traditional style of the building. My friend who had never obviously travelled with me simply said "You done good Jay". The bed itself featured what looked like a crocodile skin bed rest - but I couldn't tell if it was real or fake, though most likely fake to add to the ambience. A neat little chandelier in the middle of the room added to vibe the room was giving as well. I decided to check out the bathrooms as well.
The bathroom was nice and spacious, and while the color of the tiles gave it an aged feeling - everything was well maintained. My biggest issue - the shower was so damn tiny! Like seriously, the space planning for the shower area was just horrible, and it felt tight and constricting (especially when you're 6'1). I generally like bigger showers, over bath tubs, so this was a real letdown for me. On the plus side, the shower pressure was excellent.
Even better than the room itself however, was the view! Overlooking the Piazza della Republica, with it's stunning fountain sculpture in the middle, and 16th century churches behind, it was something to see. Despite it being a major roundabout - the windows were thick enough to keep most of the noise out. It was a different story when we opened it to take photos obviously, but it was a great view to have.
The view at night was even better, with less traffic and more lights which were perfect for photography.
Anyways, I had some work to finish up and I needed to print a few things, so I decided to visit their business center. I honestly thought I walked into the wrong area when I saw the business center, because it was literally the worst business center I have ever seen in my life - perhaps I'll just let the pictures do it justice...
Seriously Boscolo, what the f**k? I said down to get things done anyways - but computer was in Italian and incredibly slow, the other one incredibly slow - but at least there was English! Well unfortunately the printer was out of ink, so I moved back to the Italian one, making my way through with the documents on the USB. That printer was only in black in white, which was okay - except it would only print half the page. Disgusted I gave up to get a hot chocolate - which turned out to be disgusting. Even more disgusted, I decided to change and head out to see the sights of Rome before the sun went down, as I was meeting my friend for dinner (along with two of his Friends who lived in Rome). Obviously the business center is probably the least used area of most hotels - however this one in particular was just awful in every regard, though I appreciate they had some snacks & drinks, if only a little.
Before heading out, I asked the Concierge for some advice on how to the Trevi Fountain - they were professional and friendly and helped me figure out how to get there by walking. And I was off to quickly explore Rome! Being my 3rd visit in Rome - I knew where I wanted to go for my own little tourist trip.
As a side note, everyone has to visit Giolitti in Rome, they do the best Gelato's I've ever had.
After that, we ended up for dinner in the lovely Sciue Sciue, an area I hadn't been before. The restaurant had this interesting wax area where they just left the candles after they melted. Anyone have the step ladder?
Dinner was lovely, and once we were done, the ladies wanted to show us around Rome, a few of their favourite cities by night - we happily agreed, all merry with wine!
Around 11pm, they dropped us back to the hotel and we decided to crash. My mate was heading off to Milan so he had to catch a 6am train, where I was going to sleep in before moving to my next hotel (The Boscolo was booked out the next day either way, but I really wanted to check out the St Regis) so we said out goodbye's that night. I slept like a baby, I'm not sure if the beds were comfortable or I was just exhausted.
The next day, when I woke up around 9ish, I called reception to ask what time I could check out. The weird thing is, as a Gold member - Marriott's website states "Guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout, subject to availability at resort and convention hotels". Well this wasn't a resort nor a convention hotel, but the receptionist insisted that I had to check out at 11am because the hotel was full. I argued back, they finally relented and gave me till 1pm, still not even the guaranteed 4pm I was supposed to get, but at least it gave me a little bit more time to relax - though I'm not sure how 'Guaranteed' is defined by Marriott. Meanwhile I headed down to Breakfast.
Upon arriving at the dining area, on the 1st floor, I waited to be given a table and I was made to wait a good 5 minutes as they sorted out the seating arrangements. Not an amazing start. The brekky area was a little full, so I could take restricted photos. The breakfast spread was decent, and fresh.
After breakfast, I lazed around a little, then decided to check out, and then headed off to another hotel in between near the Pantheon. Unfortunately I don't have a review for that since the next night I met some British people, got absolutely wasted, and was too hungover the next day to take photos. So for the sake of argument, the next hotel was indeed the St Regis. Again on the way out, I had to ask someone to help with the bag down the stairs.
As for the Boscolo Exedra Roma - it was an enjoyable hotel overall - but staff attitudes (barring the concierge) left a lot to be desired. The Business centre was also a disaster for a hotel of this calibre. Overall, comfort was good, and you can get some good pricing off-peak at this hotel, but for now the points were useful. The location was right next to the Termini Train station, but a good 10-15 minutes walking from tourist sites. Either way, I was looking forward to my next stop - the St Regis