My wife and I had a lovely time in Rome staying at the Hotel Ponte Sisto. It was our first visit to Rome. We spent five nights at Hotel Ponte Sisto in and the trip to Rome was also to celebrate our 30th Wedding anniversary!
We chose this hotel after reading the reviews from TripAdvisor. I place a lot of reliance on the accuracy of information provided by the reviewers of TripAdvisor when deciding which hotel to stay with. We stayed 5 nights at the hotel. The hotel is rated as a 4 Star Hotel and I would agree.
After I had booked the hotel, I emailed the hotel directly to get them to quote me a price organise a private car to pick me and my wife up from Fiumicino, Rome airport. The price the hotel quoted was 55Euro. I believe it is well worth the money as there is no hassle when you arrive at the airport. The driver held a placard with your name as you past customs and out into the arrival area of the airport. He helped with the luggages. The car was a Mercedes E Class saloon/Sedan with air-conditioning...very comfortable. It took around 40-45minutes to get from the airport to the hotel. The drive dropped us right outside the hotel entrance. I also used the hotel to organise a private car to take us back to the airport when we left Rome - it cost 50Euro - I was told by the receptionist that the reason it is cheaper is the driver does not have to wait as he would have had to do so when our flight arrived at the airport....makes sense.
As the name of the hotel suggest, it is located next to the Ponte Sisto - bridge on the East side of the river Tiber.
Checking-in at the hotel was smooth and quick. We were warmly greeted by Danielle and he called (from reading previous TripAdvisor's review) the familar Mohammed who arrived promptly and help us with our lugggages.
We were given a room on the fourth floor at the back of the hotel facing the hotel's court yard. The room also had a balcony that overlooked the hotel courtyard. The room had a large king sized bed. The bed was very comfortable as it had a firm mattress and form pillows. A small flat screen TV with several channels that broadcast in English (including BBC World News). There was a room safe and sufficient wardrobe space to hang and store all our clothes during the stay. Overall, we found the size of the room was small......but you are in Rome. I believe if you pay a little extra, there is a larger room available. The corner of the base of the bed is hard as my wife bumped into it several times and got bruise on her legs from it. So be careful when negotiating round the bed.
There is free wifi connection in the main lobby only. The signal does not reach to our room on the fourth floor. And there is no Wifi in our room. I did not check to see if there was wired connection.
The bathroom was again small but impressively clean (see photos). The bathroom was decorated in a lovely type of orangey marble/granite and premium quality fixtures and fittings. There was only a shower cubicle and no bath tub. But it did have a bidet! I do not see that even in some 5 star hotel! No issues with continous hot and cold water in the bathroom.
Breakfast was very nice. It was mainly continental type breakfast with adequate selections of cold meats, jams, cheeses, bread, brioche, toasts and pastries. There was also a hot counter section serving bacon, frankfurters (not sausages) and scrambled eggs. Coffee was always fresh grounded filtered coffee and served with a jug of hot milk. I also asked for a cappuccino (info. provided by other TripAdvisors) one morning as it is not 'advertised' unless asked for. It was lovely. The breakfast was served in the courtyard every morning unless it rained or there was a risk of rain, in which case, breakfast would be served in the dining room of the hotel. You could also asked for tea instead of coffee in which case the waitress bring a pot of hot water and a selection of quality tea bags to the table.
We liked the location of the hotel as it was not in the 'tourist' centre of Rome nor was it too far away from all the major place of interests. It cost 10Euro for a taxi ride from the hotel to the Vatican. The ride took about 10 minutes. I wanted to attend Sunday mass at the Vatican. After mass we spent some time in the Vatican admiring all the statutes and paintings on the ceilings of the Vatican. We then leisurely walked back to the hotel which took around 20-25 minutes.
The hotel is also relatively close to the other main tourist attractions such as the Pantheon, The Trevi Fountain and the 'Spanish' Steps. Along the bank of the river are restaurants and shops. These open from early evenings and stay open until late at night.
As it was out first trip to Rome, we joined a tour to visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel and The Colosseum. The trip was booked via the hotel but you pay the tour company (Green Line Tours) direct when you are dropped off to join the main group at the tour operator's office. I found the tours a bit expensive as the mini bus also pick up other parties from other hotels. But you do get picked up from the hotel (but not dropped back to the hotel), jump the long queues and get dropped back relatively close to the hotel. So make sure you get a good map which the hotel can provide you with.
We did not take lunch or dinner at the hotel but ate at restaurants close by or when we felt hungry after walking to see so many places of interests. Walking is the best way to see Rome as the roads are so narrow and traffic very congested.
After the heartly breakfast provided by the hotel in the morning, and with the hot weather in Rome, one did not want to eat at lunch. So we usually had a lot of mineral waters and drinks and lovely 'gelatos' whenever we stopped to rest.
Restaurants that we enjoyed dining in was PierLuigi (seafood) and Dar Poeta (pizzas). Both recommended by the Luna, the receptionist at the hotel. There is a gelato shop just outside the hotel and it serves some lovely gelatos. But I found the 'Blue Ice' shops along the Piazza Campo de Fior had much more selection of ice cream and I thought it tasted better. There is a lovely bakery close to the hotel that sell some lovely macarons (free samples to taste too) and Cannolo di Ricotta......eat it whilst it is fresh!
Mohammed did recommended a restaurant to us that was also very close to the hotel which he said served good traditional Lasagna. The name of the restaurant was called "Osteria Romana". As my wife and I wanted to sample real traditional Italian Lasagna, we went to this restaurant one evening and choose the Lasagna dish as our second course. Although the lasagna was nice, we found the portion given was very small. The waiter at the restaurant first told us that they had no lasagna, but then came back and tols us that there were. So we thought the chef was running out of the dish and shared it between me and my wife. But we were shocked when we found out that we were charged 14Euro each (i.e. a total of 28Euro!) for such a small portion...........very expensive indeed (see photo and you can decide for yourself. The picture was taken before we ate the lasagna)! We did not inform the restaurateur that Mohammed recommended them to us. But we will definately not be going back to Osteria Romana restaurant if we visit Rome again.
Overall, we found the Hotel Ponte Sisto to be a lovely hotel. It is clean and comfortable. Our room was also quite. The air conditioned room was very effective to the point that we had to turn up the temperature as it was very cool in the evening.
All the staff were friendly. Special mention and thanks to Luna, Danielle, Enrico, Christina and Mohammed who were all most helpful and made our stay in Rome so memorable by organising all the tour trips and pick up and drop off from/to the airport.
I have no hesitation in recommending this lovely hotel to stay in Rome.
1) After booking the hotel, email the hotel before you arrive and ask for a high floor, quiet room a...
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