Historical Traveller Reviews of Raphael Hotel
Loved the Raphael
My husband and I have just spent 5 nights at the Raphael and had a great time. The hotel is lovely and the staff were very friendly and welcoming. Our bedroom was much bigger than I had expected with a very pretty ceiling!! The room had a walk-in wardrobe (2 full ones and 2 cupboards) with a safe and fridge therein. It also had a lovely marble bathroom with not only a bath/shower but a separate shower cubicle as well. Our bedroom was very quiet which was a bonus as I am a very light sleeper. The breakfast room was very pleasant and the breakfast choice was excellent. The location of the hotel is fantastic and there is a huge selection of restaurants and trattorias in the area. Our favourite was Terra di Siena on the Piazza Pasquino - family owned and fabulous. If I ever return to Rome then it will definitely be to the Hotel Raphael.
loved this hotel
not only is this hotel in an awesome location, the staff is wonderful, friendly and extremely helpful. Hooked us up with an incredible tour guide. Can't wait to go back again. Very Clean.
Not Quite There
Having stayed at the Hotel Raphael in 1997, I was looking forward to a return stay in early March, particularly because I won an online auction for five nights including breakfast each morning, the delivery of a daily paper and a dinner in their excellent restaurant for an unbelievably low price. The hotel is currently undergoing extensive renovations making it lighter and brighter than I remember it. However, there are banging noises for more than 12 hours a day, smells, and no stairway between some floors because of the work. On my first visit, I stayed in a postage-stamp-size room. On this trip, we were given a very large room (by Rome standards) with an adjoining veranda, which while nice, was not very usable, thanks to unseasonably cool weather. Still, it was nice to go out for at least a few minutes each day. The food in the restaurant is outstanding and the service there excellent. I also like the fact that I could check my email each day at the computer off the reception area. However, there were a number of things that disturbed me. While some on staff were most helpful, for a number of others, it seemed as though it pained them to smile or talk to you. A couple of the desk staff actually put their heads down when I walked by the desk so they would not have to say hello. One day, at breakfast, I was astounded to see one desk clerk put a straw in the orange juice decanter and sip it half dry while others on staff watched him and laughed. I should have reported it but didn't want it to affect our stay. I felt sickened by the incident. Someone on the staff commented, in Italian, (which I understand) about the number of Americans in the hotel, and it didn't sound complimentary. I know this was right after an unfortunate incident in Iraq involving two Italians, but for the first time in my life, I sensed what may have been anti-American feelings. I lived in Rome for two years and since then visited more than a dozen times and never felt this way before. I have yet to find the perfect Rome hotel, although the Parco dei Principi came close. Choose the Raphael for its great location behind Piazza Navona and enjoy a wonderful dinner there. Just beware that there are flaws right now in the areas of quiet and service -- the first to be rectified when the work is done, and the latter coud be rectified by a more disciplined management.
Small but great location
My husband and I stayed at the Raphael back in 2001, my husband's first trip to Rome. I chose this hotel because of it's location near Piazza Navona. As expected with most city hotels, our room was small but adequate and comfortable.
We were very disappointed that the roof terrace restaurant wasn't open during our stay, although it was only September and the weather was lovely, as this had been one of the factors taken into account when choosing hotels! The breakfast was average, although adequate, and every other meal was taken in or about Piazza Navona.
A highly recommended restaurant just around the corner from this hotel is called 'Bramante'. Well worth a visit, everytime I return to Rome, this is my first stop as the food is supberb.
Having read the reviews on this site I was wary about booking the Raphael but nonetheless went ahead with a special rate of Euro 210 per night for our weekend trip. I know Rome extremely well - I must have been there a dozen times - and there is no more central location than the Raphael and for a short visit I wanted to be right in the heart of the old city. (As an aside don't ever be tempted to stay out on the via Veneto - it is a very dull area and remote from most sites). As we had booked a standard room I was expecting something very small - the hotel itself says they are 16-18 sq m (a mere 180 sq ft!). For some reason they chose to upgrade us (though they didn't tell us this) to a much larger corner room on the first floor with a separate seating area and an enormous bathroom. The room was beautifully furnished with wooden floors. It was clearly newly renovated and very stylishly decorated. The staff at the front desk were unfailingly polite and helpful, even calling the night before we left to ask whether we required a car transfer to the airport. We saw through an open door into a standard room and it was more what I was expecting but nonetheless very smartly appointed. I realise we were lucky but I can't fault the Raphael.
from A TripAdvisor Member
We booked what I thought was a good deal through SUmmit Hotels for a double at 150 Euros per night. While the hotel is a llittle rough around the edges, we were fortunate to get a room with a tiny private terrace (the hotel has 4, I believe). As is elsewhere in Europe, the rooms are small, but adequate. We asked for bathrobes and received them. They were fine, but not terrycloth. The a/c worked well, which wasn't the case for a poor chap I overheard complaining at the front desk. He had been without a/c for 2 nights in the August heat and wasn't getting any help from the staff (all of Italy goes on vacation in August and the manager was away). They have free internet downstairs in the lobby and a tiny workout room, but no sauna as I read in another review. The only surly moment was on our last night when we ordered chocolate cake. I should have asked about the price first, because after a 20 minute delay, we were presented with 2 betty crocker brownies. Price? 15 Euros. So I got a little screwed. Plus the waiter was really huffy about it when after he asked me how I enjoyed the fine pastry, I said it was ok, but actually that was a brownie. Big deal, yet somehow I can't let go.
t Get Any Closer
from A TripAdvisor Member
To the centro than the Raphael. It is on a very quiet, concealed viale just seconds from Piazza Navona. It is a small, sumptous hotel with ivy covering the entire front of the building. The hotel has quite an impressive art collection itself, if 20th century is to your taste. The view from the rooftop restaurant / cafe is among the best in the city - great to sip a glass of wine as you watch the sun glide down behind St. Peter's. I was in room 104, which has very recently been totally refurbished. It has recessed ceiling lights and electric drapes. I'm not an electric drapes lind of guy, but that and all the little extras )marble bathtub, refrigerator, safe, Internet access to name a few)truly made me feel I was truly staying at a luxury hotel. Being so close to Navona, you're right on top of all the restaurants / shops etc. Fontana de Trevi (my personal favorite venue in the entire city) is about five minutes away, and Via Condotti is about an easy 10 minute walk, if your tastes run that way. The staff is extremely friendly and professional. I dealt mostly with Roberto and Tiziano on the front desk, but everyone I dealt with treated me basically the same. I highly recommend using their private airport taxi service - it's a chauffer driven Mercedes, and it's only 50 euros, about the same as a regular cab. I go to Rome just about every year, and the Raphael is the only place I will stay - it's that memorable!
t have to stay there to visit the rooftop terrace
I stayed here last year and agree that The Raphael is overpriced (avg of $300 pn) considering the small size of the rooms and miniscule bathrooms. What was also odd is that the opulent rooms area with their silk draperies, ornate furnishings, are quite a contrast to the public areas which are very plain - plain whitewashed walls and some nice ceramics purportedly by Picasso. The location is great but the best thing about the place is the lovely rooftop terrace from which you can see St. Peter's and pretty much all of Rome. Although they don't advertise it, there is nothing to stop a non-guest (who is relatively nicely dressed- ie. no tennis shoes and shorts) from going up there in the evening for sunset cocktails. I am going back to Rome this June and have decided to stay somewhere less expensive but visit their rooftop bar at least once...
Perfect for a long weekend in Rome
from A TripAdvisor Member
When we first arrived at the Raphael we were hot and a little jaded but our complimentary bellini on the amazing roof terrace revived us and our initial views over the rooftops of Rome were amazing. The rooms are small but immaculate and the interior of the hotel is inspiring with the many objets d'art. The location was perfect - we were able to reach everywhere by foot. This is a perfect place to stay for a long weekend in Rome.
t a guarantee
from A TripAdvisor Member
Don't trust this hotel! We booked rooms for our group of 20 travelers to stay in June 2004. Our reservation was made in Aug. 2003 and we fully paid for all the rooms. We charged this to our credit card and received a faxed voucher that confirmed the reservation as fully paid. The room rate was a bit expensive, but reflected a discount from rack rates as a group price. Despite having fully paid for these rooms, we were just contacted (2 months before traveling), and they have let us know that they are breaking their contract and refunding our money because they have sold our rooms to others. Their explanation, that Rome has gotten busy in June and they were able to charge a greater price. Not to be trusted!!!
Top Local Tips for Rome
Late night dining
We dined late (between 9:30 and 10PM) and in the less-touristy areas such as Trestevere and the Jewish Ghetto. This gave us the feeling of dining as the locals do and it really made our evenings special. Rome is a great walking city and we always felt safe even as we occasionally lost our way down charming, narrow neighborhood streets.
Do not wear white tennis shoes in Europe. You are automatically identified as a tourist. Get a pair of dark, comfortable shoes and you will fit right in.
Make sure to get a guided tour - it is well worth it.