Gran Melia Rome
What We Love
- Location in the hilly Gianicolo neighborhood is quiet but central?
- Breathtaking views (especially at dusk)?
- Free WiFi?
- Serene YHI Spa is perfect after a day of sightseeing
What To Know
- A city tax of $9 per person, per night will be collected by the hotel at check out
- Spa vitality pool is on the small side and can fill up quickly in good weather?
- The hotel is a short walk from the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica
- Outdoor facilities are open weather permitting?
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
It may have only opened in spring 2012, but the roots of the Gran Meliá Rome go back centuries. In the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, this sprawling site, near the banks of the Tiber River, was home to Villa Agrippina, residence of Emperor Nero’s mother. During the Meliá’s extensive excavation, numerous relics and archeological remains were discovered, many of which are displayed today throughout the hotel. Despite the unique historical ties, the flagship property is at its heart thoroughly modern; from its state-of-the-art spa and outdoor pool to its upscale restaurant helmed by a two-Michelin-star chef.
Bed & Bath
The 116 guestrooms are streamlined and stylish with Nespresso coffee machines, personalized pillow menus and iPod docking stations. Playful splashes of signature red add color to an otherwise muted palette of soft browns and creams, and headboards feature oversize artwork inspired by famous Italian paintings from the city’s museums. Bathrooms are crafted from marble and natural stone and have powerful cascade showers and Clarins products. For a room with a view, go for the Premium City View, which looks out over the Vatican dome and the castle of Sant’ Angelo.
A bust of Agrippina greets guests in the sleek lobby, off of which sits a contemporary library stocked with art books. Beyond this you’ll find a whimsical bar serving creative cocktails and the gourmet Vivavoce restaurant, helmed by two-Michelin-star chef Alfonso Iaccarino. Other dining options include Liquid Garden, a pool lounge bar in a grove of sweet smelling orange trees and chic rooftop lounge, the Lunae Terrace. For total relaxation, take a stroll through the hotel’s fragrant botanical gardens or head to the YHI Spa with its open-air vitality pool, sauna and steam rooms, a gym, and four treatment rooms.
In the Area
This city is made for strolling. Walks along the river, through the buzzy Trastevere neighborhood and to the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel are all within easy reach of the hotel (ask the concierge for suggestions). Located in the Flaminia neighborhood, the MAXXI museum houses contemporary art in a stunning building designed by Zaha Hadid. Nearby Trastevere is a hotbed of bars, nightlife and restaurants. Splurge at the gourmet Glass Hosteria helmed by noted chef Cristina Bowerman. If you want to venture a little further, head an hour northeast from Rome to explore Tivoli’s UNESCO-approved Villa d’ Este gardens.
How to Get There
The rooms were more spacious than other hotels in the area. It is just outside the Vatican. Interest points, such as Castel del Sant Angelo were a few steps away. They have an amazing breakfast buffet. It had an upscale vibe, but we were surprised that the staff had a friendly demeanor toward foreign, non-Caucasian visitors. They even allowed us to borrow an adapter for the power outlets.
Great stay at this facility. Really close to the Vatican and many Rome attractions. Lots of great restaurants within walking distance. Room was large and comfortable. Staff was friendly and accommodating. Had an issue with being overcharged for the breakfast buffet, so be careful there.
We stayed for four nights while exploring Rome. This hotel has the facilities to make something truly 5* but falls short in too many ways at the moment- we would book elsewhere next time.
Management respond to every review which is great but we really hope our views are taken on board because the hotel has a lot of potential and we were sadly disappointed.
- nice beds and clean rooms
- outdoor pool
- complimentary upgrade to room with bath tub upon request
- nice reception staff, taxi staff and concierge - just a shame they couldn’t be more flexible with issues below, must be a management problem.
- Take note that breakfast is not included, for such an expensive hotel this seemed crazy. €29pp for a small, cold, continental buffet was not reasonable.
- Poolside facilities were lacking, no one came around to take drinks orders and we were refused water before 12pm and not offered tap water instead. We had to go into reception to ask where we could get water from, we found it quite funny because it was so baffling! This could be made so much better by having a friendly member of staff looking after guests and checking in with people every now and again.
- Nearest toilet facilities to the breakfast room / pool was in the main hotel building, through reception and down a flight of stairs, not easy at all. Why they didn’t build toilets in the other building / near the pool at the showers is confusing as there is clearly adequate drainage.
- €20pp to use the spa in a 5* hotel was confusing, never had this before. Why not allow resident guests use of the spa facilities for free?
- No facilities to wash / get ready for flight on check out and only offered to pay €20 each to shower in the spa! We were only flying to the UK so not the end of the world but if you were long haul and had a later flight / wanted to freshen up this would be an issue - have never heard of this in a 5* hotel before.
- Tried to book Vatican tour / asked for recommendations. Only offered a private tour for €300 minus the ticket price. We asked for any other recommendations but they said they could only recommend that one - not a normal concierge service. Also found this pretty funny as that’s not normal for a good hotel to monopolise on such an expensive offer as they just expect you have money to burn. Ended up booking a fantastic group tour for €60pp but could have done with a recommendation instead of trawling trip advisor.
- Bathroom facilities feel dangerous - very hard to get in and out of bath and the shower is over the bath so people with mobility issues would find this difficult.
- Bar and restaurant completely dead with no atmosphere, such a shame as they were both stunning! It may be worth introducing a ‘happy hour’ if some sort of having live music play in the evening? Guests will often have a drink when they get back after an evening out but the bar was always closed and empty, pointless having it.
- Red level by the pool was silly - having a class system for sun beds felt very strange. We wanted a shaded area but the only adequate shade was on the red level beds. The other shade umbrellas didn’t offer full shade and the sun was still on you. Not ideal for those who burn easily or prefer shade. Really strange to be refused sun beds which stayed empty all day. Pool staff told us we would have to change rooms to the red level if we wanted shaded beds.
I don’t think any of this is the fault of the staff - they are just following the strange rules implemented by management.
Expected more from a 5* hotel in Europe, it really wasn’t up to scratch but could be vastly improved with a little flexibility. Maybe that is the downfall of the big chain??