“ Address: Via G.Vitelleschi, 34 / Rome 00193 / Italy „
For my 40th birthday, I was extremely lucky to have a trip to Morocco paid for by my Mum. Deciding to leave my partner at home with the kids, my sisters and I had a lovely, girly, long weekend away and enjoyed every single second. When it came to my middle sister's birthday, the same thing applied, the only difference being my eldest daughter came along too as she was celebrating her 21st. I'd decided on Morocco as it ticked off one of the places to visit on my 'Bucket List' but for Sarah, the seasoned globetrotter, it was somewhere a little closer to home that tickled her fancy. A trip to Rome was decided upon, and that's how I came to stay at the Hotel Atlanta Star, with this review discussing my/our experience.
~ * ~ LOCATION ~ * ~
Hotel Atlanta Star is a four star hotel, and while I've never stayed anywhere of this calibre, I'm more a Travelodge kind of girl (awww); I was quietly impressed when we pulled up at the kerb to see a canopied entrance, with floral arrangements either side. It reminded me of 'The Ritz' with the golden balustrade leading you up the stairs into the main reception area. Sadly I couldn't see any disabled access but I'm sure assistance could be arranged. There were around 12 steps and while they weren't particularly high, they were steep.
Situated at Via Vitelleschi 34 - 00193 Roma, at almost the midway point between Castel Sant'Angelo and boundary to the Vatican City, both are within easy walking distance. It takes approximately 10 minutes to walk either way, but a nice leisurely stroll (traffic permitting) would take about 15. Rome's layout seems to be in a grid system, so even if you get lost around Rome, it's easy to get back to the Castel Sant'Angelo, and you'll quickly find your way back to the hotel. You follow a few main roads, and go down a side street or two but it's nothing too confusing if you make notes of certain shops and bars as checkpoints along the way.
The following information is taken from the website: If arriving by rail, you'll probably roll into Termini Station, from here a taxi should cost no more than 15 Euros or you can take the Metro on the red line. From the Metro station the Hotel is a 10 minute walk away. Simply exit the station and walk down Via Ottaviano towards the Vatican Wall. Walk anticlockwise around Piazza Risorgimento at the bottom of the street and then turn left onto Via Stefano Porcari. This becomes Via Giovanni Vitelleschi and the hotel is on the corner of Via Tibullo on the left hand side. (That's exactly what I said before. ;) )
~ * ~ BOOKING AND PRICES ~ * ~
As a party of four adults we occupied what you could call a suite, but there was no separate seating area, so it was more like two bedrooms and a shared bathroom. The price for this room today (June 2013) is 275 Euros per night, breakfast included, but we didn't take the breakfast option thereby reducing the price a little. One might think that booking for an extended period would reduce the price a little, but alas the price goes up. A room for double or twin room costs 155 Euros per night (£133 at today's conversion rates), which is quite reasonable in my opinion, considering its location and that breakfast for two is included.
I didn't deal with any of the booking, my sister dealt with that personally. I do remember though that she carefully crafted an email in Italian (a result of evening classes, especially for our trip), regarding the complimentary transfer to the hotel from Fiumicino Airport and our expected arrival times and flight number, and was quietly impressed, if a little disappointed, to receive one back in English. The complimentary pick up is for a maximum of four people and only available if prearranged and during the hours 7.30 to 22.00hrs.
~ * ~ CHECKING IN ~ * ~
As you leave the staircase, you are greeted with the Reception area to the left of you. Checking in was extremely efficient and promptly executed. The area was bright, airy and freshly decorated, but a couple of chairs would have been a nice touch. Although it wasn't a particularly long trip, my youngest sister doesn't travel too well, and as seat would have been hugely appreciated. During our stay there were several receptionists on duty over the time, and all of them spoke fluent English so we had not trouble at all communicating.
Our party of four arrived at the same time as another couple, and we were all told to leave all our baggage in reception and the concierge would bring them to our rooms, which I thought was a nice touch. However, the other couple checked in first and were shown to their room before the concierge was available, therefore he didn't realise there were two parties luggage and brought the lot up to our room. While I didn't mind taking it back down to the reception area, I would have been extremely annoyed if it had been the other way around. Trying to persuade the concierge to take back the luggage was a different matter, as he spoke no English, and I couldn't speak to the receptionist as he was on the phone. I waited until he noted my presence, pointed to the suitcase, he nodded that he understood (still on the phone), and I made my exit back up to our room.
~ * ~ COMMUNAL AREAS ~ * ~
The room to the right hand side as you come off the main entrance is the meeting area/ bar/lobby. This, along with the reception, is the only place where you are able to access the Wi-Fi. Although we didn't make use of this room during our stay, we did sit in here while we awaited the taxi to take us back to the airport. It was tastefully decorated but they did overdo the burgundy velvet/velour plush somewhat, and while the reception was bright and welcoming this room inevitably, felt a little dark and dismal during the day, but would be somewhere nice and cosy to sit of an evening I feel.
~ * ~ THE ROOM ~ * ~
Our rooms/suite was on the fifth floor, and after our journey we were glad to make use of the one and only lift. There was a plaque on the wall that stated it was safe to hold a maximum of 8 people, now In my opinion, they would have to be 8 very small children, there was absolutely no way on earth you could get more than four adults in there. I was extremely pleased that the concierge had followed us up with our luggage at this point as there was barely enough room to breathe let alone swing a proverbial moggy.
After accessing the main door with our 'key ' we were greeted with a little area, I can't really put a name on this, a hall is too grandiose, on a house I suppose it would be called a porch or an entrance; and it's where we kept our cases and shoes, so while not cluttering up the main rooms, they were still secure behind a locked door.
Directly in front of us at this point was mine and my daughter's room. This was a smallish size, but certainly adequate for us, we tend to use a hotel as a base and somewhere to sleep more than anything. The window immediately drew us towards it. Huge doors opened onto a cast iron balcony, and although it was only a foot or two deep, it certainly made an impressive sight.
There were two fold out bed settees, and as we were to be using them, they were already unfolded and made up for us. The bedding matched the curtains and was completed with quite a heavy brocade throw. We had two pillows each and they seemed fresh and fluffy, rather than flat and tired. The chair beds were of foam construction, and over use, the foam had flattened to one side and sagged terribly in the middle. Therefore when we lay down, it was almost as if we were folding in on ourselves and it was almost as if we were reclined with our feet as high as our head, rather than being flat. In simpler terms we were like a v shape with our sagging bottoms. It didn't make for a restful night's sleep but after exploring the city from sunrise to sunset, we were exhausted and didn't care. There was a small table in a teak coloured wood in here, with a lamp sat upon it. While we needed to get out of bed to turn it off, it wasn't a huge inconvenience.
My sister's shared a room which on appearance seemed to be a huge king-sized bed, but after checking, it was two twin beds pushed together. This too was furnished quite tastefully but was obviously dated and in need of renovation to refresh the look. The built-in wardrobes were of superb quality being made from solid timber not some of this MDF rubbish. A desk/dressing table was fashioned from the same wood, and wooden screens were added to the very small window in place of curtains, and completed the effect. The gilt edged mirror above the dressing table did nothing to reflect light back into the room but was large enough for dressing and hairstyling if someone was occupying the bathroom. This room was very large, but the dark furniture and screened off tiny window made it feel gloomy even during the daytime, one benefit to this though, was that despite the temperature outside, it was always cool. There was a safe available underneath the dressing table, close to the floor, and next to it was a mini fridge for keeping drinks cool. We were provided with fresh glasses every morning when someone came in to provide fresh towels and empty bins etc. In this room there were two spare sockets for charging phones, camera batteries, and utilising the hairdryer.
The corridor interlinking the two rooms had an air-conditioner/heater but we didn't need to utilise this as we were warm enough and if we got too hot, it was nicer to open a window. On the right hand side of this corridor is where we found the shared bathroom.
~ * ~ BATHROOM ~ * ~
The bathroom although white and clinical, was just a little lacklustre. The bidet, toilet, basin and shower above the bath were all kept spotlessly clean, but these too were showing their age with the greying grouting. There was too much crammed into this room, and I personally would have forgone the bidet if I'd designed it. We had to laugh when we saw the bath, at my home we aren't able to have a full sized bath and own a three quarter sized one so it will fit, but this bath must have been a half sized one. To compensate for its lack of size, to its credit it was very deep, but no good for soaking and relaxing in. We had to keep our wash bags on the floor underneath the basin as there were no surfaces or shelves on which to store anything.
~ * ~ TRAFFIC NOISE ~ * ~
We all slept fairly well, especially my sisters with the 'proper' beds, but despite being on the fifth floor, our rooms overlooked the main road and there was the inevitable traffic noise. It was nothing that we're not used to at home, but Italian Police sirens are not the quietest things on earth, they are simply deafening with their droning screech. It's not the hotels fault, but even shutting the screens to, couldn't drown out the noise.
~ * ~ BREAKFAST ~ * ~
Our room didn't come as bed and breakfast but we decided on the last morning to treat ourselves to breakfast on site rather than go out to eat. We simply had to show our room number, and breakfast was automatically charged to our bill on checking out. The cost was 12 Euros (about £10) but was worth it just to experience the views from the 6th floor where you can eat in full view of Saint Peter's Basilica.
We could sit anywhere we liked, and although there were waiters and waitresses hovering around, you helped yourself, buffet style. They had three different types of juice available, all freshly squeezed. A whole range of teas, and coffee was also on tap. Breakfast consisted of a range of different cereals, yoghurts and pastries with appropriate condiments, as well as a tempting array of cold meats and cheeses. It wasn't until we'd had our fill that we noticed that they were serving hot food too, but had simply run out and were cooking more when we arrived.
After breakfast we tried to make our way up to the roof garden that's mentioned on the website, in order to take the last photos of the panorama. Alas this wasn't to be, as we were informed that access was denied to us with no mention as to when it would re-open. It wasn't too much trouble as we were leaving in a few hours, but if you should like to visit and see the vistas, I would suggest that you ask at reception beforehand and maybe they will open it up for you. It would have been nice to see what we had viewed via the webcam a few months previously.
~ * ~ WHEN IN ROME ~ * ~
In the surrounding area to the hotel you are within walking distance to The Vatican (100 metres), Castel Sant'Angelo (100 metres), Trastevere (0.5km), Piazza Navona (1km), Spanish Steps (1.5km), Colosseum (2km) and the Trevi Fountain. These distances are the ones taken from the hotel website and should be taken with a pinch of salt. All I can imagine is that these are taken as the crow flies, but people and roads cannot travel that way; certainly everything is within easy reach, but if you're not up to walking too far, the buses and metros are an easy and affordable way to travel around the city.
~ * ~ MY THOUGHTS ~ * ~
Despite the aging décor, I cannot fault the service that this hotel provided. From the moment of booking, to the moment we arrived at the airport to fly home, we were taken care of and very minute detail was looked after. The hotel staff were exemplary and although not as friendly and welcoming as I'd like, they certainly performed their jobs well. Perhaps it's the language barrier thing going on, not many Romans speak Brummie. :)
I'd recommend this hotel as being perfectly situated just outside the Vatican City, so you're close enough to where you need to be, but without attracting the extortionate prices that a premium location would afford. If I made a return journey I would like to see the décor and soft furnishings updated, and most definitely Wi-Fi available in the bedrooms, but if you, like me, you feel that a hotel is a place to sleep rather than home from home, you'll be fine. All in all, I feel can award the Atlanta Star four star hotel, my own four star rating along with my recommendation.
~ * ~ FURTHER INFORMATION ~ * ~
Hotel Atlanta Star
Via Giovanni Vitelleschi
34 - 00193
Phone No: 3906686386
Website : http://www.atlantestarhotel.com/
Photo Gallery of the rooms: http://www.atlantestarhotel.com/photo-gallery/
Virtual Tour available here: http://www.atlantestarhotel.com/virtual-tours/
Trip Advisor also awards this hotel 4 stars: http://tinyurl.com/qyt4apy