HOTEL COLUMBUS ROMA – ROME, ITALY
Booking a room in Rome is no easy task. Let alone if it’s your first visit. Location for us was of course as for most travelers, of great importance; as was price when starting out a two week trip of Italy. After searching the web and doing my research I decided on the Hotel Columbus Roma, which covered both those bases and also added some historic values.
If you are a fan of The Vatican or have always dreamed of seeing it then there could not be any better hotel in all of Rome than the Hotel Columbus Roma. From the moment our cab brought us from the airport to the road the hotel is on, which happens to be the same road leading into The Vatican, our jaws dropped. Literally one of the greatest views in Rome is the grand entry to Vatican City, and this hotel is exactly three buildings down from it.
After checking into our room, we were able to open our window and look to our left upon St. Peter’s Square. In fact, with two occasions during our stay, Pope Francis was there speaking… moments that will forever live in our hearts & minds. If that wasn’t enough, a glance to our right and we were able to see Castel Sant’Angelo.
There’s history behind this hotel in it’s proximity to The Vatican. It’s construction was finished around 1490, and became known as the Palazzo Della Rovere. There it had been owned by prominent Cardinals for over 150 years until the mid 1600’s when it changed hands to an order that housed Vatican pilgrims, friars, priests and more for the next 300 years. To this day, many of the original artworks that had been painted of many of those that stayed there, are still hung in the hotel today. You don’t get much more history to Rome, let alone the Vatican than that.
You would think that alone sells you on this hotel, but actually stepping into this centuries old building takes you back in time. Between it’s architecture, furnishings and artwork, you will have no better appreciation of a time long ago. Those paintings of all the friars & monks from the past centuries alone are priceless. And one of the greatest views is in the dining hall, called La Veranda, with one of the most beautiful frescos I’ve ever scene. The daily breakfast was quite nice too. Between the food offered and the hotel staff manning it. A pleasant surprise we found in Italy, is all the hotels we stayed out, including here, is their version of the European “continental breakfast”. which is quite more. Of course they feature the standard selections of breads & corenetto’s (Italian version of the croissant) with local jams & jellies, espresso & cappuccino, juices and fruits… but they also feature scrambled & hard boiled eggs, various chilled & grilled meats, yogurts with all kinds of toppings, and a few breakfast deserts. My wife and I have several food allergies, her especially, being gluten & dairy free, but because all our breakfast choices, as most the food in Italy, is farm fresh and local, and contain no GMO’s nor harmful preservatives. Not only was the food so clean tasting, but we could start our days indulging in food we don’t normally eat at home, have no health issues and felt fantastic.
Here’s a wonderful experience I must share. One night there, late, my wife and I ask the desk clerk if there was a nice locals ristorante open. Before we could finish our sentence, the door man and a young one at that, walked us about a half mile away by the Borgo Pio, to one of the best places we ate at in Rome. They were basically closed, yet he had the owner come over to take care of us. I’ll have a full review and story about that experience and meal later, but, it was… Unbelievable.
When I had written a review of the hotel on one of the popular travel sites, I didn’t give it the highest rating I could, though it was pretty close. Mind you, when I chose the Hotel Columbus, my research lead me to wanting an older hotel, for it’s charm and history. With an older hotel, often realizing some things may not always be modernized as others with certain things.
I let some of those things get to me instead of understanding what I knew might be ahead of time. Then feeling like a whiney ol’ American after the fact. First off, it was our two year wedding anniversary, which they were contacted about prior to our stay. I wanted every little extra perk we could get for the perfect stay I suppose. I realized we booked our trip through a second party web site, but the room we were put in was the worst of our two week tour through Italy. Nothing like the pictures we saw and what I was told during several communications first hand with the hotel. It was so tiny there was almost no room for our four suitcases. Which is common we learned in Italy. Especially how we really found that out about the bathrooms, especially here at this hotel. Be prepared if you are a 6’3” man as myself, Italy can give you fits when trying to shower, lol. Better yet, nothing like while in the middle of taking a shower, my wife blew the circuits in the whole bedroom & bathroom while blow drying her hair even though she checked all the settings and it was below the max wattage, but just an old hotel. It was actually funny later on, just not at the moment in pitch black, covered in shampoo & soap, trying to feel around to find my phone, to then use as a flashlight to find the rooms fuse box, to flip everything back on, my wife on the other hand laughed through all of it.
This all lead me to talk to the hotels front desk people. Yet even with rooms available, we were told that because we didn’t book directly with them, they wouldn’t upgrade us. I’ve traveled too much to know that isn’t a good business practice, so I kind of let that bother me maybe more than I should of, instead of just appreciating the “charm” of the hotel for what it was.
The other reasons are minor, just little nuisances. Another lesson with Italy is WI-FI. Italians just don’t have a need to access Wi-Fi at every moment as we Americans do. Most all the hotels we stayed at and have heard about don’t have that great of Wi-Fi. The Hotel Columbus’ was horrible. If you turned off any device even for a moment, you had to log back on, going through the whole process which takes a bit. In this day and age, for us Americans, we’re just not used to dealing with that.
Another of the amusing, yet not great aspects of the hotel was their elevator. At least when it came to luggage. They had the cutest little elevator, antique, vintage look, fun for heading up and down from room to head out to Rome. However, you will barely be able to fit one person and a couple pieces of luggage in the elevator. But again, it provide amusing moments the first trip, well few trips, up to the room with our bags. A centuries old building, so we understood, but just be prepared for a couple trips.
That all said, in summary, there are so many choices in any big, let alone historic city for one to chose, especially us returning to one. But all in all, I would completely suggest the Hotel Columbus to be one to stay in. Just use common sense, and make sure you secure a large and newer remodeled room, and you will be as happy as can be. In fact, it remains a place with so much good, and no other with that location we found to compare, to still remain on our list to stay in next visit to Rome.
HOTEL COLUMBUS ROMA
Via Della Conciliazione 33
00193 Rome, Italy