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Review 810: Doorways, Balconi

www.villavacations.com

Recommended
Review by Michael W. from IL

2bed/2bath apartment in historic center, Rome


When

March 26 - April 3, 2004, 8 days

Location

The "Balconi" apartment is centrally located in an especially old and historic area of Rome, just a few blocks from the Tiber River. It is on the fifth floor (fourth European floor) of a palazzo dating back to the 16th century, I believe. This is a very old area of Rome, with very narrow cobblestone streets. The apartment is within easy walking distance of many of Rome's sights - five minutes to the Pantheon, seven minutes to the Forum, perhaps 15 minutes to the Coliseum. By taxi, other areas such as the Vatican and Spanish Steps are reachable within 5 - 10 minutes at most. The Largo Argentina is a two-minute walk from the apartment, where taxis were readily available as well as buses to Termini station and all over Rome.

Nearby Amenities

There are countless small shops and restaurants within easy walking distance of the apartment, as well as an "Internet Point" for public access. A small supermarket that sells food and day-to-day necessities is about four blocks away.

The House/Apartment

The apartment building is in very good shape, especially considering its age. There is a small elevator that can comfortably accommodate 2 - 3 passengers. Regarding the apartment itself, it appeared to have recently been renovated, with newer windows, curtains, appliances, bathroom fixtures, furniture, radiators, etc., throughout. Lots of electrical outlets. The apartment appeared to have a working fireplace in the living room, although we did not use it, nor did we use the air conditioning.

The apartment building has a concierge who initially met us and let us into the apartment. About 15 minutes after our arrival, the owner came and showed us around the apartment and neighborhood (he speaks very good English).

This is a very large apartment - approximately 1,000 square feet. One item of note - different areas of the apartment are on slightly different levels, so there are a couple of steps between the kitchen and living room, for example, as well as a couple of steps up to the master bathroom from the bedroom.

Garden

The apartment has an outdoor terrace with a table, chairs, and a couple of lemon trees accessible through the kitchen. There is a small spiral staircase that provides access to a second, higher terrace. Both terraces are private and accessible only via this apartment. Views are of Roman tiled rooftops and church domes in all directions.

Furnishings/Cleanliness/Living Areas

The furniture was all in very good condition, and the apartment was very clean. Daily maid service, except on weekends, I believe. There is a television in the living room with satellite (all Italian stations) and built-in VCR. Except for a large "Indian style" rug in the living room, the floors are generally painted plaster.

Bedrooms/Bathrooms

Beds are firm, yet comfortable. Master bedroom has a queen bed and the other bedroom has two twins. Master bedroom has its own bath, with a jacuzzi tub, sink, and toilet. Second bathroom (off the hall) has a large shower, sink, and toilet. All bathroom fixtures appeared to be very new and were in excellent working order. Hair blow-dryer was included, as well as iron and ironing board. Also, we had a family of four staying in this apartment, with everyone taking morning showers, and we didn't run out of hot water.

Kitchen

Rather large kitchen with plenty of utensils, dishes, etc. Kitchen has a stove, oven, refrigerator with freezer, sink, microwave, toaster, coffee maker, and clothes washer. Plenty of cupboards. Small table with four chairs in eating area. Kitchen was apparently remodeled in 2003.

Agency and Representatives (and price)

Fabienne and the others at Doorways I dealt with were very helpful and professional. They provided us with plenty of useful information about Rome and the area, and put us in touch with a company that provided transport to/from the airport and the apartment.

Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?

I would recommend this apartment without hesitation, although it is somewhat expensive, especially given the current dollar vs euro situation.

Things to do in this area

FYI, there is a "Libre e Musica" store minutes from the apartment, across the Largo Argentina, that has a reasonably large selection of English-language books for sale (mostly popular fiction).

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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