“ City: Florence / Address: Via Panzani 4 / County: Italy / Geographic coordinates: latitude: 43.77368, longitude: 11.25177 / Postal code: 50123 „
The Romagna Hotel - Florence, Italy
Having not written a negative review before, I find myself almost reluctant to do it. However, I really feel that people need to know about how bad this hotel is and if I save someone some money and aggravation then it will have been worth it.
I want to write this review as an experience of our week at the hotel and not just talk of the hotel itself as I want people to glean as much information as possible and then hopefully decide never to visit it.
The Hotel vicinity
The Romagna hotel is situated in a fantastic spot, slap-bang in the middle of Florence city centre. This really is the only positive thing to say about the place. It is embedded between a small café and a retail shop on the Via Panzani.
Anyone staying there has easy access to most of the sights in Florence, including the Medici chapels, the cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiori and Michel Angelo's statue of David, amongst many, many others. It is about a one minute walk to the famous Santa Maria Novella church and the Duomo.
The Santa Maria Novella train station is about a three to four minute walk and is an easy way to get to neighbouring towns such as Pisa and Sienna. These train journeys take about half an hour to three-quarters of an hour.
The hotel on the internet
The Romagna comes across as quite a pleasant hotel on any website and we booked because of the location primarily. Some of the reviews were quite good and I can only assume the people that wrote them were on LSD or are used to living in a discarded monster munch packet
The website that we looked at was www.hotels.com and why not?
The website lists the hotel as a two star and some websites a three? So we knew it wasn't going to be the Ritz and don't get me wrong we don't mind roughing it to a certain extent as you only have to sleep there and we like to save extra money to do more things in the location we visit. As you will see later on in this review I wouldn't give this hotel one star and that is being generous.
The facilities on the website are listed as follows (I am including this so you have a comparison to the reality of the facilities)...
= All rooms include =
Direct dial phone
In room safe
Satellite TV service
Window opens (how unique)
And each booking includes....
Arrival - finding the hotel and booking in
Upon arrival to Peratola airport in Florence we caught a shuttle bus to the Santa Maria Novella train station for five Euros each. The journey lasted about half an hour and the bus was well air conditioned, which was just as well as it was thirty four degrees.
We had planned this as we knew that the hotel was near. Upon reaching the station we consulted our printed out Google map and arrived at the hotel in four minutes.
It doesn't look very appealing from outside to be honest but the foyer seemed respectable and clean.
We were greeted pleasantly enough by the lady at reception, who's English was very good. She informed us that we were one of the first to arrive for the day, so we could choose which room we wanted. I obviously asked for the best one.
She informed us that the bottom two floors were notoriously bad for mosquitoes, so the higher the better. She said the top floor housed the best rooms and that no mosquitoes got up there. So, ok a no brainer, we choose to go to the fifth floor, which is the top floor.
We signed in and had to pay the new tax, which was enforced by the Italian government. We already knew about this, so no shocks there. It was two Euros a night extra for each of us. So for the seven days we would be staying we had to pay 28 Euros tax. I will point out that this was on top of the one thousand Euros we had already paid for the room.
I lifted our two heavy suitcases and this was when she informed us that there was no lift. So we had to lug our cases up ten flights of stairs! No one was on hand to help or offer to carry your bags.
Where to start!
Upon entering the room was about 45 degrees and that was with the windows in the room and the bathroom open. The first thing that struck us was the amount of mosquitoes squashed on the walls and the ceiling. I got fed up of counting at thirty-eight.
The double bed, which was two singles pushed together, wasn't very big.
The private bathroom wasn't that private as you couldn't lock it and it didn't shut properly. Lovely!
I used the toilet, which didn't flush properly, and noticed five mosquitoes in the bathroom.
While we unpacked I put the television on....or tried to. It didn't work.
My bedside lamp didn't work and neither did the hair dryer.
We decided to change and go straight out for something to eat and drink.
On our first night in the hotel room we both got bitten about five times and you know how annoying and irritating mosquito bites can be.
In the morning the toilet wouldn't flush. I would report it after breakfast.
The shower was also awful as there was no cubicle, no shower curtain, in fact, nothing at all to catch the spray of water as it hit you. The shower was basically just a tap on the ceiling and only trickled out.
On arriving in the dining area on the first floor after our four story 8 flight trudge, I was pleasantly surprised at how cool and light it was with the windows open and not a mosquito in sight. Things could be looking up.
I poured some hot water out of a machine and gladly pulled out my own teabag and sweeteners from my pocket (take note all you English people who like a good cup of tea abroad).
Then it was up to the breakfast bar. You could chose from stale white rolls, Stale brown rolls, and stale ciabatta with jam or butter. I opted for the cereals, coco pops, which are so chocolaty they even turn the milk brown when they're stale!
So our stomachs empty and longing for a good breakfast, we headed downstairs to report the toilet.
The second night I managed to get rid of the mosquitoes but still had fresh bites the next morning.
When we returned to the hotel the cleaner or hotel maid (I use this term loosely) had opened up all our windows again, so Jim Bob, Elizabeth, john Boy and all the other Walton Mozzies were inside our room again.
No one had fixed the toilet during the second day.
On the third morning after my nice cup of tea with nothing stale I reported the toilet again and asked about the TV remote.
The woman behind the desk did not speak a word of English and I just about managed to convey the problem via 'Bagno blocked no flusho'.
She got the drift and another woman came and told us in broken English that it would be fixed by five o clock.
On returning to the hotel on night three I was given a TV remote and told the toilet had been fixed.
We went upstairs and were confronted with twenty dirty handprints all over the toilet tank and it still didn't work.
The TV worked but only had one channel, which was Italian.
I went back to reception and told them about the toilet. It was the woman who didn't speak English again and I managed to get a key to an empty room next to ours so we could at least use a working toilet.
On entering this room, the bed was smaller and there were hundreds of squashed mosquitoes on the wall and it was awful.
The next day we were offered this room as a replacement. We were told we couldn't use the toilet in one room and stay in the other because they needed the room. So, basically they wanted us to move into a worse room and rent out our room to someone else with a broken toilet. I told them it was not acceptable and that we were staying put and I wanted the toilet fixed.
When we arrived back that evening the toilet was indeed fixed, thank God.
On checking out of the hotel we were offered no apologies and no explanation and by that point we were just glad to get out of there.
Experience and recommendation
We loved Florence and had a great time. It is a wonderful city. The only part of the holiday that was off-putting was the hotel. Like I said you only have to sleep there and we were out from nine in the morning until twelve at night, but I do like to stay somewhere clean, with a working toilet, which the Romagna did not provide. Not one of the facilities or amenities offered was working or in order. It was a little depressing to have to return there every night.
Why didn't we just book another hotel I here you ask. Well, we would've lost our thousand Euros and the other hotels were very expensive, so we just stuck it out and still enjoyed Florence.
We did buy a mosquito plug in device on day three and this did the trick. Seeing some of the people in the dining room of a morning (for our cup of tea) was enlightening. I can only assume they were on the bottom two floors because they all had about twenty to thirty bites on legs and arms. One woman had more mosquito bite than arm.
I would not recommend this hotel to my worst enemy. It was awful. Nothing worked. No TV, no tea making facility, no hair dryer, no lights, a faulty toilet and a staff that could mostly only speak Italian; Nothing wrong with this unless you don't speak Italian.
Just to sum up and say just how much I would warn people to stay away from this place, I say this....
I would rather shove my torn and exposed ankle ligament into a bucket of salt water and piranha fish than recommend this hotel to anyone!
My husband and I stayed at this hotel for 2 nights in February 2009. We are very seasoned travellers so for the bargain of 40 Euros a night for the room we knew roughly what to expect. Basically all I want on a city break for a couple of nights is somewhere decent to sleep, I do not intend to stay in the hotel longer than is necessary - if you want the Ritz then pay the price but for 40 Euros in such a central location, this was a bargain.
Firstly the good points - the location can't really be bettered for Florence, the city as a whole is small but this hotel is perfectly situated halfway between the station (about quarter of a mile away) and the Duomo (literally a couple of hundred metres in the other direction). The room was basic but clean and had everything we needed, breakfast was continental but then that's standard for Europe and the coffee machine was a proper bean grinding one which produced unlimited cappuccinos and espressos.
The bad points - when we arrived the owner was nowhere to be seen and the hotel was locked, however after a quick phone call and a broken Italian/English conversation he turned up on his moped (in true Italian style!) and let us in and gave us our room keys. Florence is quiet in winter and we seemed to be the only guests staying, not a great start to our stay but we didn't have to wait more than about 10 minutes. Yes the rooms are small but nowhere near as small as some I have stayed in for a lot more money (Paris is the worst place by far for broom cupboards classed as rooms).
The bathroom does have a shower with no separation which means that things get wet and it's an odd shape, long and thin with the shower at the far end. This doesn't stop you using anything though. Our room was quite noisy during the day because we were on the first floor overlooking the main road, the windows do seem to be triple glazed though and when shut the level of noise was significantly reduced, we managed to sleep anyway but were occasionally woken up by sirens whizzing past or Italian football fans chanting - happens in every city though (not Italian fans obviously!).
For what we paid I was more than happy with the accommodation and the facilities, we had a TV in our room which is more than I would expect, although it only had MTV as an English speaking channel. The staff were friendly, the room was cleaned well during the day while we were out and the beds were comfy.
Basically if you are doing Florence on a budget then this place will be more than sufficient and great value for money, but if you hate anything less than 4 star opulence then this probably isn't the place for you!
Hotel Romagna, Florence
We arrived in Florence after landing at Pisa's Galileo Galilei airport. After a trip round Pisa we caught the train to Florence getting of at the central station, Stazione di Santa Maria Novella. From this station to get to the hotel Romangna is a 5 minute walk across the busy traffic junctions of the Piazza della Statzione and Piazza del Unita Italiana. This then leads you not the Via de Panzani which is where hotel is.
The receptionist was pleasant enough and the formalities was done in around 5 minutes. The main reasons we chose this hotel were firstly location. Having only really one and a half days in Florence our hotel had to be central. Well this hotel could not be more perfect. It is around 100 metres from the Duomo, 100 metres from the Cappelle Miediee and less than a tem minute walk to the Ponto Vecchio and Uffizi. The location couldn't be better.
The other reason we chose the hotel was the cost. Being so central for only fourty Euros as night!!! Amazing. With this cost and the location though something has to give right? Well kind off. I have travel Europe fairly extensively and stayed in hotels and hostels. The quality of the hotel is on a par with a good hostel rather than an average hotel.
The room had a large double bed (a proper double not two singles wedged together) and also a single bed. The bed itself was very comfortable and the sheets and pillows spotless. The rest of the room furniture was very very basic but what do you really need?
Being so central and facing onto the Via Panzani, a busy through road, you have to expect a bit of noise but in fairness to the hotel the thick double glassed windows did really reduce the noise and only the ambulances or high revved vespas really an encroachment.
Ok so the negatives. The bathroom was really basic. The shower was right next to the toliet with no screening so wet weather footwear was required to use the bathroom. The shower itself seemed to ration the hot water on a whim sometimes being so tight that frostbite was a possibility then at other pumped out for a split second lava heated boiled in hell aqua!!! Early on the Sunday though the shower and even sink were set to frostbite mode.
The other downside...the breakfast. Don't get me wrong for the location and price paid I didn't expect silver service and a choice of exotic fruit from round the globe. I did expect more than three types of cereal - no milk, one old but ok coffee machine and half a baggette with what has to be said was the highlight a fine selection of pre-packed jams. Having such a short amount of time in Florence though the time saved on breakfast was gratefully allocated to sight seeing.
So would I recommend staying in the hotel Romagna. Well it depends on which class of people you fit in:-
If you are a.) horrified that when you fly for £20 with Ryanair that you don't get a free drink, newspaper, relaxed check in and find it a horrific was to travel and an absolute injustice then definitely stay away from the Romagna. If though you like me are b.) amazed that Ryanair for £20 can fly you £600 miles return safely and think any of the suffering involved is worth it then you will love the hotel. It is the Ryanair of hotels.
For the price and location it ticks the box.
Location: minutes from Church of Santa Maria Maggiore and Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, within close proximity of Santa Maria Novella Square and National Alinari Museum of Photography / Location: minutes from Church of Santa Maria Maggiore and Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, within close proximity of Santa Maria Novella Square and National Alinari Museum of Photography / Number and type of rooms: 22 guestrooms. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and satellite programming is available for your entertainment. Private bathrooms with showers feature bidets and hair dryers. Conveniences include direct-dial phones and wake-up calls, and housekeeping is provided daily / Dining: A complimentary continental breakfast is included / Business, Other Amenities: 24-hour front desk, luggage storage, and air conditioning in public areas. Parking (subject to charges) is available onsite, and additional parking (subject to charges) can be found nearby.