8 Important Things You Should Know About Italian Hotels
Italian hotels are not the same as in places like Australia and America, and definitely not as luxurious, although if you are paying 5 star prices they do become more familiar with our standards back home. Italians expect hotels to be clean and rooms to be on the small size and what is regarded in Australia and the US as old fashioned, is regarded in Italy as charming.
If, when travelling to Italy, you are expecting the same as back home – don’t be disappointed – just change your expectations and go with the flow and you will thoroughly enjoy your Italian holiday. If this is really going to be a problem, well maybe you shouldn’t be travelling.
I have heard, and read, many complaints about the shortcomings of Italian hotels.
They asked to keep my passport! Shock and horror.
Every hotel guest in Italy must be registered with the government. They must record your name, nationality etc. To do this the hotel will often take a copy of the passport and sometimes, when they have many guests checking in, they might not have time to do this on the spot and ask to keep your passport, which they will return later. This is perfectly normal and a requirement.
SOLUTION: Take a copy of the front page of the passport (the one with your photo) this will suffice to give to reception. They will return the copy later.
My room is not very quiet.
If you are staying in a central city hotel, say Rome, don’t expect your hotel room to always be quiet. Rome is a thriving, exciting and living city. Nearly all Romans live in apartments in what we might call cramped quarters, so the day to day living is usually always heard. The streets and alleys are tiny, and yes, cars still use them so you are sure to hear traffic.
SOLUTION: Take a good set of ear plugs and go with the flow.
Breakfast is not the same as back home.
The Italian version of breakfast is usually a coffee and a cornetto (sweetened croissant). An Italian would never think about sitting down to fried eggs and bacon for breakfast. Saying that though, most hotels will have the sliced meats, cheeses, fresh fruit and cereals.
SOLUTION: Give the fried eggs a miss on holiday.
There are no coffee making facilities or iron in the room.
Yes, that’s right, absolutely no way you can wake in the middle of the night to make a cup of tea or coffee, or do that ironing before you go to dinner. Italian regulations prohibit this in hotels, and finding a hotel that does supply you with the means to make your usual tipple or iron that shirt is like finding a needle in a haystack.
SOLUTION: Do what the Italians do and have your fix in a bar during the day (that’s where you enjoy coffee) and learn to live with wrinkles.
The room isn’t big enough to swing a cat!
Due to building regulations in historical cities you won’t find big chain hotels right in the centre. Usually the hotels have been renovated and have had a previously life. They are not purpose built, don’t have uniform room size, the rooms are small with the bathrooms even smaller and of course, are usually hundreds of years old.
SOLUTION: Go with the flow and prepare yourself before you go.
The walls are so thin.
SOLUTION: Refer to point 1 – ear plugs.
There’s a cord in the shower.
This cord is an emergency cord – if you pull on it, you will have someone running from reception to the room to make sure you haven’t slipped on the soap.
SOLUTION: Don’t use it to hang your washing – there will be a knock at the door.
I thought I prepaid my accommodation – why is the hotel asking for more?
It’s not a trick. There are taxes that must be paid (usually in cash!) at the hotel at the end of the stay. The amount is per person, and not per room, and is determined by the number of stars of the hotel and the number of nights. Yes, this is a hassle and it seems to change and rise every year. So in Florence if you are staying at a 4 star hotel it might be 4 euros per day times the number of days – yes, this does add up.
So if you are expecting Italian hotels to be like those at home – be surprised, go with the flow – and then enjoy the difference!