April 15, 2007


Which hotel you choose can completely alter your impression of a city. After three nights in The Grand Hotel I was in love with Rome.  How could I know that the hotel had turned my head? It was so splendid that I imagined I was staying in a palace. The room was large and gloriously ornate with a vast marble bathroom and an adjacent dressing room. Our butler was constantly showing up with little treats and asking if we wanted anything pressed. She even woke us up with coffee in bed.  A pianist was always playing right beneath the huge chandelier in the lobby, and the breakfast was enough to last you the entire day. I wanted to move in.
Instead we moved on to the chic, modern Hotel De Russie, and my love affair with Rome came screeching to a halt.  The room was modern, but much smaller, and it has seen a lot of wear since the last time I visited. Everything seems slightly shabby, down to the tiny tv (the Grand has big flat-screens). The service verged on surly; at the Grand I felt like a princess, but the De Russie made me feel like a nuisance.  And there’s nothing like being waken by the garbage man dragging a cart filled with bottles down the alley outside.
And the odd thing is, everything at the De Russie cost more:
Room , 600 euros at De Russie,  500 at the Grand Hotel
Breakfast 30 euros at De Russie,  free at the Grand Hotel
Internet connection, 20 euros a day at De Russie, 15 euros at the Grand Hotel

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