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Reviewed 23 October 2013

Why Pensione Barrett Is rated so highly on Tripadvisor is a mystery to me. Their quirky website should have warned me off. I am thankful that I only stayed one night there, during a break in a train trip from Sicily to Bologna.

First, the good point: the location is great--it is close to the Pantheon, Forum, and Campo di Fiori. Within a few steps, there are two fine bars for a great cappuccino and breakfast pastry.

Now, the drawbacks:

To begin with, I requested a quiet, non-smoking room and asked for directions by public transport from Termini, Rome's central station. I struck out on all counts. The directions the B&B provided were from the airport or a regional train line. In other words, the directions were totally useless for someone arriving from the main train station. Even more aggravating was that a bus I could have boarded at the station stopped in front of the hotel.

In addition, not only was my room clearly intended for smokers--an ashtray was one of the many items on the cluttered desk--it was also anything but quiet. The room (and window) was directly above Torre Argentina, a busy square with busses, sirens, conversations of passers-by, and music from buskers. The noise level was very high. The weather was still quite warm and the room was uncomfortably stuffy and humid, so closing the window without some circulation was out of the question.

When I arrived, I was processed in--and I use the word 'processed' because there was little welcome or warmth in the way I was received. The woman who took me to my room spoke only Italian, which I understood fairly well, but I could not make her understand my questions.

Shortly after I arrived, I returned to the reception desk to ask about air conditioning and web access. No one was there, so I looked around the area for the exit to the street, thinking I could rouse someone by using the buzzer on the entry door, down two very long flights of stairs (there is no elevator). That was when I realized I wasn't sure how to get out--the reception area was so confusing when I initially came in that I simply couldn't remember the direction from which I came. A door was marked 'Emergency Exit' but I was afraid it might be intended ONLY for emergencies--many doors marked like that in the US have alarms that go off if you try to use the door for non-emergency exits. Clearly no one was around to answer questions, so I went back to my room to call the reception desk and night number--and still couldn't get an answer--this was around 7 pm. Finally someone from the reception called me back, just as I was beginning to wonder how I was going to get out of the place to find dinner.

When I asked for the air conditioning, I was informed that I would have to pay an extra 10 euros, which I forked over just to assure a decent night's sleep. Frankly, that was highway robbery considering that I had requested a quiet room and did nothing to improve my rapidly souring opinion.

Although the room was small, it had great potential--which was not achieved. Its exposed wood rafter ceiling and Baroque architectural elements were overwhelmed by clutter--most of it associated with supplies for breakfast. The B&B doesn't offer a proper breakfast. Instead, rooms are equipped with a pod-style coffee maker, tea bags, plastic containers of UHT cream, and enough pre-packaged junk food to put a healthy person into a diabetic coma. Baskets filled with the packages cover the desk and most available surfaces, so don't expect any space to put your own toiletries. The prices on the 'food' are cheap, but who comes to Italy to eat that kind of swill? (Should you be unlucky enough to stay here, go to one of the aforementioned bars and have a couple of cappuccini and a fresh, baked-on-the premises pastry for under 3 Euros.)

Back to the room: The small entrance way was made even smaller by a pants press that stuck out into the narrow area left for passage--and the only place to put my small suitcase was on the floor between the window and bed, thereby blocking access to one of the night tables.

The wifi was free and supposedly available in the room--but I couldn't pick it up; so much for that amenity. I didn't try to access WiFi in the reception area--which was also as cluttered with tchotchkes as my room.

Do yourself a favor and steer away from this place. The price may look good, but you are not getting very good value for your money. You can find pleasanter, more comfortable digs for your stay in Rome that will leave you with pleasant memories--not feeling cheated and uncomfortably cramped.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled solo
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2  Thank 891,236,503
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 October 2013

Hi,

We chose with my girlfriend to stay at the Pensione for 3 nights in October based on the several very good comments about the hospitality of the owners, the location of the hotel, the value for money of the rooms and of course the quirkyness of it all! And let me say that is all very true!
The most important of all for us was the owners. They are a mine of knowledge on Rome and tell you all about the other places you should visit in Rome, the other restaurants you should be having lunch or diner. More than being knowledgeable you understand very quickly when speaking with them that they love their city (which is fantastic!) and what they do.
As I said to Cinzio when we left, next time we are in Rome we stay at the Pensione.
Chris

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Christophe A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 October 2013

Wow, where to start. Taxi from the airport is 60 euros. Do not pay anymore. The Barrett is ideally located to walk or catch a tour bus to most tourist locations. Now about the hotel, firstly it does not have elevators, one must climb up a couple of stories to get to reception. But staff insist bringing up your luggage even the heavy items. You enter a wonderfully cluttered reception area with ceiling artwork, big comfy leather lounge chairs and the most friendly helpful proprietors.
Your room: wow. Very small but has more to offer than any 5 star apartment I have ever stayed in.
Massage chair, foot massage machine, real coffee machine, all kinds of foods with and a small oven to heat. Clothes press for your suit pants. The absolute best shower stall with water jets from top to bottom.. If I had any negative comment is that it offers too much for a small room. For us it was a wow factor.

Room Tip: Ask and you shall receive information on what to see or where to eat
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank mikecudgen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 October 2013

We stayed 5 nights in the heart of Rome and this hotel made our trip so great, everything is at walking distance and the advice given by the owners (both on visits and restaurants) is extremely valuable! It makes all the difference and enables to have a wonderful experience! highly recommended!

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Mund H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 October 2013

What a wonderful surprise in Rome!

The hotel is wonderfully decorated with antiques and frescoes, giving visitors a feeling like they are visiting a special place. They are, in fact, because the owners are probably two of the most wonderful people in Italy -- so friendly, caring, kind, and helpful.

The rooms come with a complete buffet selection of minibar and drink choices... All at a very reasonable price (cheaper than some cafes).

The location couldn't be better -- walking distance to every single Roman sight including the Vatican, Pantheon, Colosseum, and churches.

The one thing that could be improved is wifi access throughout the hotel. They have it, but it's weak in some of the rooms.

Excellent value for money and an awesome place to stay.

Room Tip: Any room is likely perfect.
  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank 502Dave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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