Friday, July 18, 2014

InterContinental De La Ville Roma

Hotel Details
Hotel: InterContinental De La Ville Roma
Dates: July 18-20, 2014
Rate Paid: 50,000 IHG points/night
Regular Room Rate: $499/night
Point Redemption Value: 1.0 cent/pt

After a month long hiatus away from hotels (last one was Zurich for less than 24 hours), I was back jumping on a freshly made bed this past Friday afternoon right after losing my iPad and backpack full of diapers to a speedy taxi.

Booked back in February, we opted to burn through some of our IHG points as my father had recently earned 91,700 IHG points in December 2013 as a part of IHG's 2013 Big Win promotion. Recall that for successfully completing a scavenger hunt of hotel related activities, he earned about $900 worth of points. Those points were redeemed for a free 2 night stay at their premium property in Rome - the InterContinental De La Ville. While my father would never actually pay $499/night for a hotel room, he sure would burn through a bunch of hotel points in a tertiary loyalty program.

Located beside the top of the famous Spanish Steps, the hotel boasts an amazing location. From there, we could walk to the shopping area on Via Condotti or get some of my favorite gelati by the Trevi Fountain. Or you could hop a metro just 3 minutes from the hotel at the Spagna stop and connect to Termini Train Station, Piazza de Popolo or the Colosseum.

As soon as we entered the small lobby area, we saw the classic decor of a traditional European hotel. Sumptuously furnished chairs, marble floors, rich textured curtains and carpets, frequent use gilded tabletops and dark wooden paneling whenever possible.

Fortunately, after my father regrouped from realizing we just lost one of our bags, we went to the front desk and checked in. By now it was closer to 2PM, so getting early access to our room wasn't as much of a stretch, but we were still very appreciative of getting in before the standard 3PM time.

My father was thanked for being an IHG Platinum member (which only gave him free internet and a late checkout), but wasn't offered an upgraded room. But we were just thrilled to get into our room after a long transit from New York. We walked through the next room, past the small dining area and bar to the elevators in the far end of the hallway.

The tiny elevators could only fit 3 people at a time, maybe 4 if you include an adorable toddler as one of them. Welcome to Europe! But they were big enough for my stroller and got us to our 3rd floor quickly. On the 3rd floor outside our room, we saw there was an opening to a beautiful library with plenty of empty seats and well appointed furniture including a classic piano.

We finally then entered our room 304. My father did a quick photo session before the bellman arrived with our larger bags. The room was pretty standard. It faced the Via Sistina, but we were on the 4th floor so we didn't really hear any street noise (remember that the ground floor is labeled 0 here). We had plenty of closet space for our two large bags and a small dresser in one of the closets for our clothes, though we didn't really fully unpack given we were only there for 2 nights.

I was still pretty tired after having my sleep schedule thrown off, so my mother put me down on the large king bed - which was actually two twin beds pushed together - a common practice in European hotels.

The bed itself was fine. The A/C was functional. And we had CNN in English on the television showing yet another story on the Malaysian flight crash and the Israel-Gaza conflict. Clearly my family wasn't planning on watching much TV during this trip.

My parents then went into the bathroom to freshen up. The bathroom was pretty colorful, if not cramped. We did have a bathtub which is always a favorite feature of mine (as they can double as my swimming pool). The biggest frustration with old buildings classic hotels is the plumbing. It's hard enough to get the temperature just right when you have two separate dials for hot and cold water, but then when the temperature changes on you randomly, it's downright frustrating.

The bathroom came with a European style toilet (deep drop and two flush buttons). It also had a bidet next to it, though I cannot figure out how to use it. My parents were of no help either. To me, it just looked like a water fountain, but my father assured me repeatedly that I should never think of it that way.

 A few moments later, we heard a knock on our door. It was the hotel giving my parents a nice complimentary bottle of sparking white wine for their 5th anniversary. Recall, we received the same gesture during our Hong Kong hotel stays earlier this year.

But since my parents were taking antibiotics to get over a small bug, they thanked the hotel but said they weren't drinking alcohol. Instead, we swapped the bottle of the bubbly out for two large liter bottles of mineral water. Since Intercontinental doesn't give complimentary water in the room to its Platinum guests, my family was very appreciative of the gesture and flexibility.

So the bedroom itself was pretty uneventful. The bathroom could have used some more space and updating, but was functional. However, the best part of the Intercontinental De La Ville Roma was their rooftop bar.

After a first day of walking around the neighborhood, we went up to the rooftop that first night around 8PM when it was still pretty light out. The host gave us a table along the edge but over in the corner where the honeymooning couples wouldn't bother me.

After we ordered our mocktail mojitos (at €18 each, you're definitely paying a premium for the rooftop view), the server came by with a complimentary plate of small appetizers. We normally never spend that much money on a fully loaded alcoholic drink, let alone a juice/Sprite/mint combination, but we figured we had plenty to be thankful for and wanted to celebrate a little bit.

Our drinks came out in short order as well and despite the prices, we were all just really happy to be there. The fact that we were staying at a $500/night hotel for free by using hotel points didn't hurt as well.

But most of all, we were happy for the view - which was just stunning. Clearly Rome doesn't have the modern skyline of a New York or Hong Kong, but the clay orange roofs with the striking historical UNESCO structures sporadically sprinkled throughout, the Roman sunset was just breathtaking.

1 comment:

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