Have you been in a Holiday Inn lately? I had not, but find myself staying in Holiday Inn Express Rome–San Giovanni (not far outside the walls of the old city) as part of a package that mostly involves incredibly low airfare. I figure I’ll suffer the hotel in the name of an unplanned trip to Italy and with the knowledge that I’ll upgrade on the remainder of this particular journey as I head toward Florence and Venice.
The Holiday Inns I remember were musty conveniences typically experienced on long road trips in the United States. The chain, founded in Memphis, Tenn. and now headquartered in the UK offers me an unexpected surprise on my five days in Rome—a fantastic experience I would actually recommend.
Here is what I like about my visit to the Holiday Inn Express Rome–San Giovanni:
- Price. And by price, I mean value for that price. My room is contemporary, fresh, clean, safe. Staff are courteous. Location is reasonable, and the on-premises restaurant is actually good!
- Electrical sockets in the rooms are the same as they are in the United States. I can charge my electronic toys (indeed, multiple ones) without adding any additional converter or adaptor gadgetry or worrying about overheating.
- Proximity to Bus #85. A short walk down the hill on Via Assisi leads to public transportation access that makes hitting the major sites in Rome both easy and inexpensive.
- Nicely decorated, clean, not-too-cramped guest rooms.
- A bidet! Why aren’t these standard in hotel rooms in the United States?
- Free and sumptuous breakfast—plenty of fruit, fresh pastry, cappuccino. I’m in breakfast heaven. There are lots of choices for the carnivores, too.
- The restaurant, seemingly named ‘Restaurant,’ is impressive and also offers little tastes of home (I find myself partial to the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey). When was the last time you had fried squash blossoms or truffle risotto at a Holiday Inn?
- Helpful front desk staff. So often, the downside of staying in a budget hotel is the surliness of the staff. The Holiday Inn Express Rome–San Giovanni staff are helpful professionals who patiently provide useful advice to tourists. They’ll call a cab for you, too.
- Streaming images of Rome in film playing on a loop in the lobby. Snippets of La Dolce Vita just start your day in Rome right.
- The lobby itself has plenty of seating, offering travelers a resting place while they wait for their rides.
Planning a trip to Italy? You might like these posts:
- An Italian Itinerary
- What Happens in Italy Stays in Italy
- Katharine Hepburn’s Summertime Romance
- Appreciating the Riace Warriors
- On My Knees at the Scala Santa
- How to Feel like You’re Living in Florence
- The Takeaway from Firenze