Free access to spacious fitness center, sauna, and hammam
Free hot breakfast that includes pastries, eggs, meats, and fruits
Lounge/bar on-site provides room service (though for limited hours)
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Cell phone/mobile rentals available
Pet-friendly for small dogs
Some guest rooms are small
No early check-in
Front desk controls room temperature
Reports of occasional maintenance issues with air-conditioning, light fixtures, and shower nozzles
This 216-room upscale chain hotel in a 19th-century building is just a short walk from the Termini train station, which offers public transport throughout the city, but a long walk from most of the popular tourist sights. The rooms are modern, with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, though lower-level rooms often experience street noise. The hotel's best features are arguably the spacious fitness center and small spa with a sauna, hammam, and massage rooms; guest get free access to the facilities. For business travelers, there's a conference room equipped to host corporate events for up to 300 guests.
A chain hotel in a busy, slightly gritty area near Termini station
The hotel is in a congested area near Termini train station, which is convenient for public transport but not known as a popular place to hang out. The spacious lobby is welcoming enough, with marble tile floors, faux marble pillars, an attractive light fixture, and a spacious seating area with button leather sofas. There is a concierge but self-help from the numerous brochure stands is encouraged.
The lobby leads into the lobby lounge, which feels a bit somber due to the lack of windows. The stainless steel bar tops buttoned red leather, and there are shiny silver metal and black leather bar stools; the resulting feel is slightly reminiscent of a '50s diner.
In between Termini Station and the Opera House, but a bit far to walk to most popular tourist sights
The four-minute walk from the historic Termini location is convenient, but as with areas surrounding most large train stations caution should be taken for safety. Major landmarks such as the Rome Opera house, Palazzo del Viminale, Palazzo Baracchini and the Via XX Settembre are in the area, and you can walk to the Borghese Gallery, Palazzo Massimo museum, shopping on the Via Nazionale, and the Coliseum. Other major tourist attractions are a metro or tram ride away.
Five minutes on foot to the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore
Six minutes on foot to the Via Nazionale
10-minute walk to the Piazza Barberini
10-minute walk to the Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli
Compact rooms with modern gray and white decor and simple amenities
Standard Rooms at the Universo are fresh and contemporary, and though they're a bit minimalist, with little to no art on the walls, they're more modern than some of the options in this price range near Termini Station. (The rooms at Eurostars International Palace are arguably less appealing.) Still, size can be an issue, and some rooms are so small that one side of the bed buttresses a wall. All have a gray, white, and mocha color scheme, free Wi-Fi, minibars, and flat-screen TVs. Standard Room bathrooms have small glass shower stalls, speckled gray tile walls, and stainless steel hardware.
The Junior Suites have a duplex layout, with a downstairs living area and upstairs bedroom connected via an open staircase. The loft-like, windowless sleeping area upstairs may feel a bit claustrophobic to some. Bathrooms here are larger, with big glass showers or shower/tub combos.
The spacious fitness center and spa with hammam are uncommon features for Rome.
As one should expect from an upscale property, the reception desk is staffed 24/7, and the multi-lingual staff members can provide concierge services. There's a free hot breakfast served daily in a spacious but uninspired dining room, and there is a shoe polish machine on each floor (also free). The windoweless fitness center is large but only offers a handful of machines, and the hotel also offers a sauna, private massage rooms, and a steam room -- rare features for a Rome hotel.
A simple Italian-American menu of pastas and chicken is available on-site in The Four Seasons restaurant, but a lack of windows both here and at the other restaurant, The Grille, gives a slight cafeteria feel. The Universo is across the street from the popular Ristorante Est Est Est (which is also next door to Hotel Diana and its famous roof garden restaurant). For more authentic Italian ambiance, the Ristorante Terme di Diocleziano, (a restaurant built inside an ancient Roman bath house), is around the corner.
Free newspapers are delivered daily to guest rooms, laundry and dry cleaning services are available, and there is a luggage room for storage. Parking is available nearby; reservations are needed and charges apply.
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