on May 18, 2001
This lovely three-star hotel is in a fairly quiet and central part of the the city. Surrounded by several major sights (Pantheon, St. Ignazius, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain), the Albergo Cesari--pronounced "cheh-zah-ree"--is just two blocks off the main north-south drag, Via del Corso.
When I booked our reservation over the internet, I noted that it was to be our anniversary, and when we arrived to our room, escorted by our helpful porter, a bottle of chardonnay spumanti and two glasses were waiting for us, compliments of manager Cinzia Farias. We were quoted a rate of 400,000 lire/night, or $200, when we booked and this is what we were charged. This included a buffet breakfast every morning in the smallish breakfast room.
Our room, #18, is on the corner of the building closest Piazza di Pietra, and through our three open windows we could spy on sidewalk cafe tables and strolling Italians. It was just what we wanted in a room. The noise was amply muffled at night by latching the casement windows plus their inner shutters. The room was huge with a dark wood floor, ample wood storage furniture (armoir, desk, nightstands, etc.), and servicable chairs. The bathroom was quite large as well, with an enclosed shower sporting a heavy duty shower head capable of providing American-style showers (yes, we can be a wasteful lot). The room decor was easy on the eye--soft greens. Modern conveniences made it comfortable: an AC switch, remote-controlled t.v., towel warmer, minibar, hair dryer, and telephone.
The all-male (that we noticed, anyway) front desk staff at Albergo Cesari were spectacularly helpful and polite. We ate at two of the restaurants they recommended (Taverna Antonina and Ristorante Clemente alla Maddalena) and were quite glad to have accepted their advice.
One note of caution: if you let them arrange limo service for you back to the airport, be prepared to glimpse how Princess Diana, Dodie Al Fayed, and their driver met their ends. I''m sure we made record time. The one-way trip with bags cost 90,000 lire ($45), by the way, which is just over what a city taxi would charge, especially on a Sunday or holiday.
The breakfast buffet at Albergo Cesari is ample, with choices for diners from all continents. There are rolls, croissants, doughnuts, crumb cakes, and Danishes of all types, accompanied by butter, jams, cheeses, sliced ham, and cream cheese. There is a bowl of fresh fruit, too. Corn flakes and meusli, milk and yogurts round out the selections. Warning: the juices they put out, orange and pineapple, are really heinous (fermented, possibly?), and the coffee they serve, sadly, is quite bad. But there are caffes on every corner in this neighborhood, so some killer espresso is only a few steps away.
You must book a room early here. E-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org or see their web site at www.venere.it/roma/cesari.
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