I stayed at the Hotel Raphael for 5 nights on business, with the hope of being close enough to the sights to enjoy the tourist attractions as a first-time visitor to Rome. For this goal, I could not have picked a more perfect hotel.
My top priorities when choosing a hotel: Location/convenience, good internet connection, cleanliness (including linens), comfy beds. Hotel Raphael delivered on all of these things and much more.
Service was impeccable, characteristic of the R&C line. The housekeeping service somehow knew when I had left and timed the cleanings (daily and turn down) perfectly. I did not get a single "knock knock housekeeping," nor did I return to a not-yet-clean room once during my 6-day/5-night stay. I honestly can't remember the last time that's happened. I wish all hotels would pay attention to details like this.
Reception was friendly and supremely competent. The phone didn't even ring when I pressed for the concierge -- he was already on the line and waiting to assist. When I requested an ethernet cable from reception, it arrived in less than 3 minutes. Wired internet was fast (14 min to download an episode of 30 Rock from iTunes) and free. Wireless (used the hotel lobby wifi log-in and signal) was slightly less fast, but more than adequate, and also free using the lobby's network.
The room itself was clean, spacious, modern and well-lit (booked one of the Richard Meier doubles on the 3rd floor). Not a great view (facing a stone building next door), but not bad and there were 2 large windows for plenty of light. The room smelled faintly of smoke, even though it was a non-smoking room. The hallways also smelled of smoke once in a while, but it's hard to find a true non-smoking hotel in Rome. Also, the doors to the hallway weren't well insulated so I could hear people coming to and fro.
Bed was two twins abutting each other to make a king -- each side was adjustable to elevate your head and legs. Insanely comfortable. One of the nicest hotel bathrooms I've seen in Europe. Toiletries were Bulgari, and the hotel presented me with a boxed Bulgari gift set upon departure.
Delicious free breakfast buffet every morning -- lots of great fresh fruit, in addition to gourmet pastries, hot foods and meat.
I haven't even gotten to the best part yet: Location. Hotel Raphael is adjacent to Piazza Navona, the most charming and picturesque of all Rome's piazzas, and nestled in the historic center, within a 5 minute walk to Pantheon, 10 minutes to Trevi Fountain, 15 minutes to Spanish Steps, 15 minutes to the Colosseum and Roman Forum, and less than 30 minutes to the Vatican across the bridge. I didn't realize what a huge city Rome is, so being able to walk to all the great monuments was hugely convenient.
There are also a number of good restaurants nearby -- best pasta of my life next door at the renowned Santa Lucia. Around the corner is authentic Italian pizza at Focaccia. It's a 10 minute walk to Piazza Lucenzo for some of the best gelato in Rome (San Crispino and Della Palma) and a great, reasonably priced homestyle meal at Matricianella.
Finally, the front desk and bellmen were a pleasure at every interaction. Very professional and helpful. I will definitely stay at Hotel Raphael again, and would recommend it to anyone without hesitation.
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- Also Known As:
- Raphael Hotel Rome