Friday, June 15, 2012

Hotel Locarno.

On our recent trip to Rome, we stayed at the Hotel Locarno. And I loved it. I was a teensy bit nervous about staying there. Everywhere I looked, all arrows pointed to that being the place for us to stay. But there were a lot of bad reviews that I couldn't discount.  So I did a ton of research and decided that the magazines, friends and books that said it was fabulous would out weigh the negative things written online. I figured out that not everyone is looking for the same thing in a hotel. And not everyone has the same aesthetic appreciations or demeanor when traveling.  The pluses were that it was a historic art deco hotel in a great location and that lots of locals hung out there. Also a plus was that it was a place where artists flock to. But we read that it wasn't clean, smelled, could get loud, and that different buildings meant a vastly different room. And after staying there for a week I think I know where it all comes from. Here is our experience ...

We booked our room directly on their website -- I figured that we'd have more pull if we had a problem since we paid them rather than going through a discounted online booking service. And that way I was able to communicate with them directly about our stay. I'm not sure if that helped or not but I hoped it was a good strategy.

When we arrived, we got this room. I had seen it online and was hoping this wouldn't be our room. It smelled like smoke and was sort of dark. Plus, who wants to be in a red room for a week!  But the bathroom was modern and new, just a little small. I was trying to remain positive but my husband wasn't having any of it and he went down to see if we could get another room. And voila! We got this one. I'm so glad we asked!

Isn't it so much better? We loved it. It was bright and had French doors and a tiny balcony to step out to. We also had a gigantic bathroom ... but it was old fashioned. In the end, I loved that because it forced me to slow down. It also encouraged my wanderlust about living there and everyday I just pretended that this would be my life if we moved to Rome.

If you decide to stay here, this is what I figured out -- there are three buildings that make up the hotel. Yes, I read about this in advance but everyone calls each building a different thing so it's confusing to really understand the layout. I discovered that there's the lobby building, the building across the courtyard and the building across the street. I think the bright rooms that are more modern but have old-fashioned bathrooms are in the building across the courtyard. And not every floor in this building is the hotel -- it's also private apartments. The rooms that are dark (you can see photos on their website) are in the lobby building. Although I did peek in and see some bright rooms in this building but I think those might have been the suites. I didn't see the room at the building across the street so I can't help you there. When I go back, I'll ask for a room on the 7th floor in the building across the courtyard. But everyone there spoke English so I would recommend asking them directly before you book.

Speaking of the courtyard, we loved it.  It was such a nice place to have breakfast every morning. And we got to play our favorite game -- guess the nationality! There were lots of Europeans staying there and most had a cool interesting vibe so the people watching was fantastic! But don't be alarmed -- it wasn't super young and hipsterville. There was a great mix of couples, families, kids, groups of friends and business travelers. And I really liked the food, which is included with your room.

Just inside the courtyard was a lovely sitting area with great antiques. It's the kind of place that just oozes history and could tell amazing stories if it could talk.  In the afternoon, this lobby area bar and courtyard becomes a lunch spot where I saw lots of locals ... but it really became a hot spot at night for happy hour and beyond.  I think that's where the noise complaints that I read about were an issue. But it wasn't a crazy out-of-control crowd. It was a fashionable and sophisticated local crowd. We rather liked the noise -- a nice accompaniment with a cool breeze and a book after dinner . If it was ever too loud, we just shut ourselves in with the rolling blinds.

In every nook and cranny, there were artful influences ... like this antique hope chest with art books in the hallway to our room.

One of our favorite things about the hotel was that they have bikes you can check out whenever you need them. We loved riding them around town and checking out less touristy areas like Villa Borghese and Villa Ada. 

I really loved the location, too. It was located right near the Piazza del Popolo which is sort of the northern most hub of the central tourist area. It felt somehow central -- yet residential and quiet -- because it's on a tiny off-street of apartments and restaurants where locals seemed to eat. It always felt like we were coming home and not back to a hotel.

And one thing we didn't get to experience much but look forward to next time is a great rooftop where they serve breakfast and have cocktail area during the warmer months. This is the view. I think it's rather perfect!

Arrivederci Hotel Locarno! Until we meet again ...

P.S. If you are headed to Rome and want to consider staying here, I'm happy to answer questions. I wish I had had a helpful friend who could help. 

{All photos by me}.


  1. I WILL be going to Rome soon and I WILL be asking you questions, loving your take and think it'll be on the top of google's search list for Locarno at the soonist.


  2. it's helpful for me to choose room in hotel locarno.i have booked room there in oct.nice blog!