While we spent much of our time in Italy staying with family in a village several hours south of Rome (plenty of pictures coming soon), for our last three nights we were in Rome so we needed a hotel. We were booked into the Hotel Emona Aquæductus, a relatively small, 'boutique-y' establishment along the ruins of the ancient Roman aqueduct. It was a nice place for sure, though definitely very different from the American hotels that I am used to. The entrance at the street was gated and led to a marble-paved path through a beautiful garden to the main entrance. The entire ground floor was a lobby with the reception desk immediately inside the door, seating that was both ample and very comfortable, and a breakfast area that was closed off. After checking in, we headed to our room one floor up. We piled into an incredibly small, triangular-shaped elevator with our bags for the short ride.
Each floor looked to have about 8 rooms to it and they were small by comparison to what I was used to back at home. Opening the door, there was a small entryway with a bathroom to the right containing a toilet, bidet, vanity, and shower. It was by no means spacious, but didn't feel cramped either. The main room had 2 single beds pushed together as a double with a gap in between, a small table and a mini-bar. There was also a small closet to one side of the bed with a shelf at the bottom for a suitcase. The bed(s) were decently comfortable though not spectacular. The pillows seemed fairly flat, so I needed to stuff the supplied sham under mine to get it to a reasonably comfortable height. The one blanket that was provided was very thin, though thicker ones were available on request.
One thing that I had been looking forward to after dealing with limited internet connectivity for much of the trip thus far was the hotel's WiFi. There were no fewer than 4 access points scattered around the hotel, so signal from at least one of them was good in most areas of the hotel. The first night of our stay they were fast and reliable, however for the last two nights, some points became difficult to connect to and didn't always seem to have a connection to the web when you could connect to the internet. However, when they worked they were very fast, and the access in the lobby always seemed to work fairly well.
Breakfast was a very nice surprise. I expected a continental breakfast, and had heard things about what breakfast in Italy consisted of, so I was very surprised to actually see what was offered. In addition to a small selection of breads, cereal and yogurt, and cut fresh fruit, there was also bacon and scrambled eggs, mozzarella and tomatoes, and sliced cold cuts that made for a delicious sandwich. And of course there was a couple varieties of juice along with milk, tea, and American coffee. Served buffet style, it was a nice way to start our day that didn't leave us looking for more to eat an hour later.
The location of the hotel was pretty nice, located in an area full of smaller independent hotels. There didn't seem to be much in the way of dining options in the immediate vicinity of the hotel, though there were some great choices withing walking distance in addition to Giovanni Fassi, a fantastic gelateria. Public transportation options were plentiful in the area. A mini transit hub was located about a block away with several bus and streetcar lines converging in a square. The Metra, Rome's subway system, was a bit further of a walk, or easily accessible by a short bus or streetcar ride. A daily pass was cheap at 5 Euros and good for all three modes of transportation. On street parking near the hotel was easy enough to come by whenever we needed it, and most of the places that we traveled to by car were a relatively short (if a bit harrowing) drive. The 2 closest points of interest were the aforementioned Roman Aqueduct across the street and the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, also known as the 'Pope's Church,' about a mile away.
All in all it was a nice stay, even if it was a bit different from the hotels that I am used to in North America. It was very clean and well maintained, and had an appealing old-meets-new architectural style with brick and arches accented with white LED lighting inset into the floor. I did find it to be a bit odd that our room keys were required to be turned in to the front desk each time we were leaving the property. Upon our return, some clerks would sometimes know which rooms by our faces, but other times needing to be told which rooms. There was never any request for identification, which bothered me slightly in terms of the security of my personal belongings.