Getting to the Olympia Hotel located in the Plaza d Republica was comical for us. We typed in the address provided by the hotel and followed our GPS directions. We arrived in the city after sunset and navigated the alleys in the dark. Evidently our GPS decided we needed a quicker and better view then the Italian law provides, because she had us driving straight onto the square of the famous Duomo Cathedral of Florence! What’s very bizarre is we saw the road blocks and dividers which were originally supposed to keep vehicles out of the square and other local alleys designating them as pedestrian walkways. But coincidently our arrival to the city was during a time when the barrier was open which made the route confusing and we entered thinking it was guiding the flow of traffic and our GPS was routing us in the same direction. –We seriously did not know where we were going or that it was a non-vehicle area until we were driving alongside the corner stones of the Cathedral itself! By this point it was too late, we were committed and had to finish our vehicular trespassing, in passing the front of the Duomo the tourist police promptly flagged us down with hysteria! We understood we made a mistake but we were still lost and still on the wrong side of the tracks sort of speak. We were apologetic and to our amazement they gave us directions in broken English and did not issue us a fine, thus and we promptly took our leave before they changed their minds. Looking back at the experience I really wish I had jumped out of the truck and taken a picture of our illegal activity. Who else would have a pic of their beloved vehicle in front of a backdrop such as the Duomo?! It would have made for a great Toyota Truck advertisement! So I still don’t know how to reach the hotel the legal way, so please don’t ask.
So we drove over to Plaza d Republica and once again are completely confused and frightened that we are in another pedestrian only area. We quickly unload our luggage so we can move the truck as promptly as possible once we get our barrings with the hotel receptionist. But things continue to go bad.
The hotel is located on the top floor of the building with access by a freight type elevator or 5 flights or stairs to the top. During our reservation it would seem a school class or youth club has booked the rest of the rooms. Youth kids were all over the place. When we arrived they all were sitting in the enormous doorway blocking our entry until we had to ask to get through. Once inside, the elevator would not engage because the door had been left open at the top floor by one of the kids who previously used it. So our family of 5 with 7 bags went up 5 flights of stairs. The youth kids continued to be annoying by congregating in the stairway blocking parts of the stairs or racing by us bumping into our luggage.
Reaching the top we found the front desk which had a man of Indian decent working; whom we could tell by his angry demeanor had already had his patience tested and drained from the kids –Or at least I would hope his demeanor is not always so poor –I’m assuming it was the rude children, I’ve been here for 5mins and my patience is tested; I could only imagine how he feels after spending the whole evening with them.
So we ask him about the elevator and he knowingly just tells us the door is open and does not work until it’s closed. –Why he did not walk the 8 feet from his desk to the elevator and close the door prior to our arrival so that potential guests arriving with luggage could utilize it; -I don’t know. We actually walked over to it and shut it for him, ad within two minuets the elevator was summoned to the first floor for the next guest! When we were dragging our luggage on the stairs and arrived on the top floor he watched us fumble with the last flight yet did not assist us with our baggage in anyway. We tried to talk with him while getting our reservation, but he was uninterested with chatter. He was quite standoffish and rude. He spoke English but had an accent and mumbled a lot where it was very difficult to understand. For instance I asked him about local landmarks and he said to go outside to see them. I also asked if he knew what the local weather would be like tomorrow. He said the hotel has WIFI and to Google it myself! I certainly hope this man does not receive employee of the month –EVER. We inquired about our vehicle where he called ‘someone’ to pick it up and park it in a car garage for a cost of 25Euro. –A price and lack of parking not mentioned when researching this hotel. I was reluctant to hand my keys over, but really thought I had no choice. It took about 40mins for our car to be moved and the whole time we were nervous that we might receive a fine.
The hotel itself is what I would call a Hostel. The building is still a functioning office building. Those many flights of stairs will walk you by private offices and I think even a lawyers. Reaching the top floor, its different rooms have been converted to hotel rooms. –Rooms with thin walls that we could still hear the talk and shrills of children whom are up way past their bedtime –and mine! We reserved the family room which is located right next to the lobby which was also a contributor to the noise. The room was one large room with 4 beds. The furniture was old solid wood including a desk head boards, armoire, and the saddest lil’ TV I’ve ever seen; all functional and matched the motif of the overall buildings feel and the sponged terra cotta Tuscan paint of the walls. The rooms separate bathroom was interesting being the whole room was tiled with the shower nozzle mounted to the wall between the toilet and sink, making the entire room a shower –I had not seen this design since staying in hostels in Turkey! The WIFI worked and I was able to look up the weather for myself as directed. I do remember the room being overly warm where we left the window open. The window opened straight to an enclosed alley with views of a brick wall.
In the morning we were warmly greeted by a new friendly receptionist of white decent who also speaks English well – (I think he might have been a local Italian?). We asked if he was the owner in regards to the night shifts receptionist and his lack of any service or friendliness. He was not the owner but we still informed him of our bad experience and he had said they’ve heard complaints before and nicely refrained speaking anymore ill towards his co-worker. Yet he gladly talked to us about the city and its sites and gave us a map. He also warmly directed us to the hotels breakfast.
Overall the hotel is a disappointment but in all actuality I would stay here again. –In this case location is everything! When traveling I usually spend minimal time in a hotel anyway due to sight-seeing. Next time I know what to expect. If the night shifter is still there, I still won’t enjoy his demeanor. If I visit again I’d try to avoid the night shift attendant like the plague. If not I can arm myself with cocktails and Prozac as a gift for him, maybe I can order a Care Bear to fly in on a unicorn to puke rainbows and glitter on him? I hope that would make him smile, I certainly know I would be gasping for air between laughs!
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Ebookers, Cancelon, Evoline ltd, HotelsClick and 5viajes2012 S.L. so you can book your Hotel Olimpia reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Olimpia Hotel Florence