Hotel Porta San Mamolo
Guest photo of Hotel Orologio (from Trip Advisor)
Second-guessing myself seems to be second-nature to me (along with jumping to conclusions, which is my favourite form of exercise.)
And trip planning provides so many wonderful opportunities for me to undermine my own confidence by questioning all of my travel choices -- especially what hotels to select.
These are, after all, the most expensive part of a trip, in my experience. Accommodations, in total, always cost far more than the flight. And while the cost of meals does add up -- I'm sure I have had days where I ate 50 or 60 euros' worth of food (that includes gelato and coffee) -- food still doesn't seem to cost as much as hotels, in total.
So, inspired by fellow blogger Chiocciola, I've begun to doubt my choice of hotel in Bologna. In the following case, what would you do?
Background: I'm staying 7 nights in Bologna. A long enough stay that it matters to me that the hotel be clean and quiet (I must confess that I'm bothered by noise.) A decent breakfast and a nice public space also counts.
Option 1. Hotel Porta San Mamolo. I have booked a superior double room, with a little balcony, for 105 euro per night. This hotel is a bit away from the centre, which some consider a problem. I think it might help to keep noise levels down. It has a lovely central garden area where breakfast is sometimes served. This also seems to be a highlight for many guests. Further, Hotel PSM has gotten very, very good reviews from other Slow Travelers, particularly Girasoli and Palma, and it is one of the Bologna's highest rated hotels on TripAdvisor.
Hotel Porta San Mamolo's garden at night
Option 2. Hotel Orologio. Although I was very happy to get a good room at the PSM, I couldn't resist checking out the competition. Last week, after fellow blogger Mary described how much she enjoyed the very central Orologio, I sent them an inquiry. Their response? 135 euros for a double for single use. I emailed Orologio back to say thanks, but I'm afraid that's a bit too high. Their response to my response? An offered rate of just 90 euro per night, and the comment: "Now we are giving you a real special price ! We hope you appreciate that ! We also hope to hear from you soon !"
That's a good price, for a popular 3-star right on the main Piazza Maggiore. However, while a central location can be great, it can be noisy. Reviews on Trip Advisor have remarked on the amount of noise that can roll up from the main piazza (don't forget, Bologna is a big university town) Second, it doesn't get quite the rave reviews as PSM has drawn. Further, would I get a superior room at the Orologio, or their smallest double in the back over the garbage containers?
Yet, with the Orologio, I'd be saving about 100 euro on the trip, which is basically the price of one night's stay. So that's the dilemma -- how important is money to me? Should I roll the dice to save the price of one night in an Italian hotel, and take the chance I won't like it?