Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria Review
This past weekend I made a quick trip to Rome to complete my qualification for Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75K status. I had two nights in Rome and decided to use some Hilton points to book the Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria. This was my first Waldorf Astoria hotel stay.
The Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria sits atop Monte Mario on the northwest side of Rome. The benefit of the location is the views of the city. The problem with the location is that it is remote. It is located in a residential area that is inaccessible by public transit. There are a few restaurants a bit of a walk from the property, but that is it. Good luck finding a market or any other shopping near by. The center of Rome is about 30 minutes away by the free hotel shuttle or taxi/Uber.
Typically I use public transit whenever possible. I like navigating a new city in this way. I feel like I get to know the city and the people a lot better. And it saves money. This was a mistake.
It took me 2+ hours to get in from the airport, though it only cost €8. The first train took me about half way, but due to timing, I had to wait about 40 minutes at the first stop for the next train. Oops. The second train dropped me off the nearest station; Roma Balduina. I then walked from the train station to the hotel which was 1 mile uphill. I gladly paid the €65 Uber fare at my departure. If you plan on staying at the Rome Cavalieri, take a taxi or Uber from the airport.
The Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria was built in the 1960s and it is an ugly building. It is rather imposing and not very welcoming from the outside.
Once inside you get a feel for the hotel. It is over the top Italian luxury. There is nothing modern about the decor of the hotel. Most luxury hotels I have stayed in trend towards the more modern, minimalist elegance of the Park Hyatt Beijing or Sydney. That style is my personal preference. Those that prefer more stately, lavish luxury will likely love the Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria.
The lobby, I would imagine, is nearly identical to how it looked when the property first opened in the 1960s. Lots of gold accents, overstuffed furniture, and tons of statues and original art.
The art throughout the hotel is quite amazing. In many ways it feels like a museum. Though not my style, the property does feel fancy and high end.
The check in staff was very professional and formal. Upon realizing I was a Diamond elite, the staff went to see if the Diamond staff was able to check me in. He apologized that the Diamond desk was unavailable and that he would have to check me in. I really didn’t care, but I did feel recognized for my status with Hilton.
I was informed I had been upgraded to a Corner Suite. The rooms typically go for $2,000/night, so quite a nice upgrade (I paid 60,000 points for each night of my stay). As it was an upgrade, I did not have access to the Imperial Club that typically comes with a suite booking.
Waldorf Astoria does not give Diamond members breakfast, which is a bit tacky in my opinion. However, the breakfast buffet was offered for €20 per person per day (down from standard €38). The other Diamond benefits include free access to the pool and spa (again, usually an extra charge for this, which, again, seems tacky), a bottle of water, and free drink at the bar.
The front desk staff escorted me to room 367. Floor 3 is the first floor with guest rooms, so I was on a low floor. My suite was at the end of the hall.
As you enter the roughly 900 square foot Corner Suite, there is an entry hallway.
To the right is the bedroom and to the left is the living room.
In the living room is plenty of seating, work desk, wall mounted TV, “library” with hidden mini fridge, and coffee maker.
The bedroom is just as formal.
In addition to the standard curtains, black out shades could be controlled by the bedside switch (as could the various lighting options). I was impressed that the plugs allowed for standard US electronics to be plugged in. There were also USB charging ports throughout the room.
Outside of both the living room and bedroom is a connecting balcony that overlooks the pool area (and helicopter pad) and Rome in the distance.
I often judge a hotel room by the bathroom. The Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria Corner Suite has a fantastic bathroom. All original marble, the bathroom is over the top luxury.
The shower is in a corner behind the door and has both handheld wand and rain shower.
Next to the shower is bidet and toilet.
Next to the toilet is a Hammam, or Turkish bath. Essentially it is a steam room with two seats and 4 showers.
The bathroom amenities, and there were a TON of them, are Salvatore Ferragamo branded (see Singapore Suite Class). It included the standard large bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion plus facial spray, face lotion, eye cream, lip balm, so on and so on. The little black case you see below was a nail kit (file, scissors, clippers) which I actually really appreciated. I don’t think I used much else that was offered.
Of course plush robes and slippers are also provided.
Pool and Gym
The entire basement floor (-2) is taken up by the pool, gym, and spa. Additionally I counted at least three men’s locker rooms. The health facilities are quite extensive. They come with a cost; €20 for a day pass unless you are a Hilton Diamond.
Three pools are outside. However, as I was visiting during the winter, the outside pools were closed.
The indoor pool, however, was open. It is located off the main pool area under the white conservatory structure above.
The pool has a shallow hot and cold pool located behind the fountain. I wasn’t totally sure what it was for; the hot and cold pools were each only about 2 feet deep; not big enough to relax in. There was also a glassed in area with a fire inside. I think it was a bit like a sauna but never saw anyone use it. Maybe I am just not sophisticated enough to understand!
In addition to the pools, there is an Turkish bath area. All of the pools and Turkish bath are all gender and swimwear is required.
Half of the Turkish bath is enclosed in glass and filled with steam. The other half is similar to a standard hot tub.
There is also a small cafe off of the Turkish baths.
The gym is located on the same floor between the pools and Turkish baths. It is a standard hotel gym with a good number of machines.
Breakfast is served at L’Uliveto on floor -1. The standard price for the breakfast buffet is €38. As a Diamond, the cost is €20 but you first have to stop by the front desk and get a voucher. It is a pointless extra step; you should be able to just charge your breakfast to your room and Diamond elites get it at the discounted rate. It makes no sense.
That aside, the breakfast is what a Diamond or Gold elite would expect at another high end Hilton property for free. Included with the buffet is juice and coffee drinks, standard buffet food as well as some made to order menu items like pancakes or omelets.
I paid the €20 each day and felt like it was worth it. Plus it is really the only option for breakfast unless you want to take a taxi or the shuttle or order room service.
The night I arrived I was exhausted and wanted some food so I ordered room service. The prices for room service are obscenely high. I got a mediocre burger with fries and a coke. The total was €47 (€29 for the burger and fries + €10 for the coke + €8 delivery charge). Like I said, I was desperate.
The real fine dining on property is La Pergola, a three star Michelin restaurant; the only one in Rome. Prices start at €210 per person. I did not eat there, but I’m sure it would be far better than the other options on site.
For the most part, the service at the Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria is very good. The property (at least the inside) is very flashy and luxurious. In the end, it didn’t come close to other luxury properties like Park Hyatt or Four Seasons. The style is not for me.
The location is a real deal breaker. If I was to visit Rome for a week, it might be nice to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city center of Rome. But for a quick trip; I would stay in a better location.
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