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There are a lot of places we wanted to see on our first visit to Italy. A first trip to Italy just wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Rome. After 3 nights in Florence and 3 nights on Sardinia we embarked on our last leg of the trip with a stay in Rome. Leaving Starwood’s Luxury Collection Pitrizza hotel was difficult. We left in the early morning to drive back to the Olbia airport and give ourselves enough time to catch the Meridiana flight back to FCO.
This time when we arrived in Rome we took the train from the airport directly into town. A taxi was easy to pick up from the in town train station and we were on our way to the hotel. At first, we had a little trouble communicating with our taxi driver about our hotel. But we were on our way once I showed him the hotel picture and address I printed out from SPG.com.
- Tuscany And Westin Excelsior Florence, Italy
- Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel Pitrizza Sardinia, Italy
- Westin Excelsior Rome, Italy
For our stay in Rome we decided to use SPG points. Our choices for award redemption were the St Regis, Hotel Eden and the Westin. We chose the Westin Excelsior because of the great location on the Via Veneto district. At the time of our reservation the hotel was going for 12,000 SPG points per night. So for three nights we used 36,000 SPG points. I was a platinum member during the time of this stay.
We enjoyed the Via Veneto area. It is very near the Spanish steps and is walking distance to other interesting places. The hotel is also directly across a side street from the US Embassy in Rome.
At check in we were offered an upgrade to an interrior view Grandluxe room on the 2nd or 3rd floor. A bottle of wine was delivered as a platinum amenity once we settled into our room. It was easy to see that the room had recently been renovated and appeared to be in great shape. The room was spacious, had a nice sitting area and the bathroom appeared in good shape on the surface.
At the end of the arrival day we stepped into the shower and noticed it reeked of mold. Upon closer inspection of the shower and shower head we found significant mold. It was so late in the day when we found it that we decided to call in the morning to have it fixed. We called in the morning then left for the day but returned to see the same problem. It ended up being a back and forth with housekeeping throughout the entire trip. I wish I had taken pictures and taken it down to the front desk because we could not get the problem fixed through housekeeping. Upon check out, we requested and received a 2 night refund for 24,000 SPG points due to the lack of cleanliness. We left wishing we had selected the Hotel Eden instead of the Westin.
The Westin is located in the Via Veneto district and is down the street from the Hotel Eden. One night we went to the Hotel Eden rooftop bar for happy hour to enjoy the great views of the city. We saw the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Colosseum, ruins and on our last day had the privilege to see the Vatican Excavations tour.
We communicated with the Vatican prior to our arrival and secured two spots on the English speaking tour of the necropolis, the original grave of St. Peter. We timed our departure from the hotel to give us about 1 hour to catch a taxi over to the Vatican. If we missed our designated time, our visit would be cancelled. So when we went downstairs and found out that all of the Rome taxis were on strike that day, we did what all experienced travelers do, we didn’t panic. Instead we picked up a city map and briskly walked the 4km route over to the Vatican. The tour was fantastic and I would highly recommend this experience to anyone visiting Rome.
Rome was a fitting final stop on our trip to Italy. Overall we were underwhelmed by the Westin Excelsior hotel but enjoyed our time in Rome and especially the Excavations tour. We probably would have done a few things differently for the Italy trip including:
- Spend 2 nights in Rome instead of 3
- Select the Hotel Eden instead of the Westin Excelsior
- Reconfigure our itinerary to start with 2 nights in Tuscany, then 2 nights in Rome, then complete our trip with 5 nights in Sardinia
Hope you enjoyed the Italy trip report.