Although Rome Week is technically finita, I do have a few straggling notes hanging around in my notebook itching to hit the big screen. Or, well, the computer screen.
You see, as a B&B owner I gravitate towards other B&Bs and nine times out of 10, prefer them to big hotels. I love the personal service, cozy atmosphere and friendly environment. Plus, I like to support the little people and send out those good Karmic vibes whenever I can.
On the other hand, I could also be accused of being overly critical and holding other B&Bs to sky-high standards. And it is true. I’m guilty.
Such is the case with the Cesare Balboa Suites in Rome.
On the surface there is nothing wrong with this B&B. They are located on Via Cesare Balboa, near Via Cavour, about 10 minutes from Termini train station. And as you can see, they are located inside a majestic palazzo on a quiet side street.
Just to be fair-and to keep things positive-I’m going to list my cons first so I can end on a positive note.
– The information we were given at booking said
* They had 24-hour reception
* They had hairdryers in the rooms
* They were near the Colosseum
* They accept credit cards
In reality, we saw them twice after we checked in, they didn’t offer a hairdryer until I asked and we were 15 minutes on foot from the Colosseum.
Now, I don’t mind a B&B without 24-hour reception, heck-we don’t have it! But I’m not into false advertisements, either.
I also don’t believe their credit card machines were “broken.” I believe they wanted us to pay in cash so they 1) wouldn’t have to report us on their taxes or 2) wouldn’t have to pay the credit card fees. If you don’t want to accept credit cards-don’t say you will.
– They deliver breakfast to your room-which is romantic!-but you have to arrange the time in advance and since they don’t really have 24-hour reception, changing your time can be a challenge.
– The room was spacious and decorated in antique Roman-style. It was warm and welcoming.
– The staff members, a husband and wife team, were friendly and accommodating. He offered us an umbrella when we checked-out, even though he knew we couldn’t return it. They smiled a lot and had maps of the area readily available.
– The price. We paid €70 a night for a double in Rome and although they weren’t really by the Colosseum like they advertise, they did have a good location.
In the end, I think my disappointment with Cesare Balboa Suites boils down to my expectations-expectations they set by making promises they didn’t keep. Had they not advertised that location, hairdryers, credit card machine and 24-hour reception, I’d have booked them anyway-and that “Con” list would’ve been a lot less imposing.
I am, admittedly, a critical customer. But what about you? What expectations do you have for hotels and B&Bs and what could they do to either cement your loyalty or send you running?