17.11.2014 - 17.11.2014
It's an early day again as we drag ourselves and our heavy luggage to Barberini station.
On the train from Barberini to Roma Termini. It was a Monday morning. Very typical morning peak hour scene much like that of the MRT in Singapore. Their train is a lot less crowded though...
Roma Termini is a huge station with lots of shops!
Roma Termini resembles an airport! The large screens are for inter-city travellers to check the arrival and departure times and train platforms. While we were looking up at the screens to find our platform, a young lady came over to us and asked us if we needed help, but still haunted by Mr I-carry-your-luggage-up-the-train-gimme-10-euros, we insisted that we were fine. The lady looked abit taken aback and maybe slightly disappointed at our insistence, and went back to join her friend. I felt bad, she actually looked genuine about helping.
Breakfast was a sugary croissant and a bottle of juice from one of the shops at the station.
Train looks pretty high tech. Compartments between carriages are accessed via automated sliding doors and the toilets are behind, so I guess that reduces the ick factor for the people having to sit near the toilets.
Those with prams can sit in the solo seat where there's a large space next to it. This isn't our seat, the train looked quite empty and we weren't happy with our seats. Unfortunately we were in it for no more than 10 minutes before the owner of the seat came (he didn't have a pram). Tough luck. On our previous trains, people played musical chairs like nobody's business.
The overhead luggage racks are quite similar to those on airplanes. Only small to medium-sized carry-on luggage go in them, and large check-in luggages have to go in the luggage compartments found in-between carriages. We're always paranoid that someone will grab our luggage and make a run for it, so we always keep a watchful eye on the luggage compartment until the train moves on. The conductor, walking down the aisle to check tickets, dons a very smart suit. All the train conductors I've seen have suits as uniforms, even the bus drivers too!
Our destination is Firenze Santa Maria Novella Stazione (what a long name!) and Hotel Fiorita is just a couple of blocks away. Again there was a nasty flight of stairs to contend with, but thank goodness there's a lift!
The lift looks antique with an outer gate, an inner door, and one summons it like a normal lift by pressing a button. When we arrived at the hotel, some inconsiderate idiot had left the gate open on one of the floors, which prevented the lift from coming down. Ivy went to Hotel Fiorita's reception which was on the third floor, and the reception staff came to help us get the lift moving and assist us with our luggage.
Press the button to summon the lift...
Open the gate (lift not here yet, just posing)
Go inside the lift, close the gate, close the door. Closing the gate is very very important, otherwise the next user on another floor will not be able to use the lift!
Hotel Fiorita shares the building with other small hotels so its sign is actually not obvious on the front of the building, unlike a standalone hotel like Hotel Alexandra.
The corridor to our room is bathed in warm light and looks cozy and quaint.
The room key is super heavy, thankfully we are able to leave it at the reception.
Our room is very spacious, yet cozy.
The doors are heavy wooden double doors, and there is a coat hanger. It's the only hotel we've stayed in that has a coat hanger. It's so cool!
There's a mirror and dressing table, and the black thing in the corner of the mirror reflection belongs to the TV.
The ceiling is very high, which makes the room feel spacious.
I love this painting of the Ponte Vecchio! I wanted to find a production print like this for a souvenir but to no avail.
The curtained doors open out to a balcony.
The balcony. And while at it, let's take some outfit shots...
The view isn't very interesting, but you can see the tips of mountains from afar... and scaffolding...
There's the dome of the Duomo in the distance.
The Duomo is the dome with the white pointy tip. On Hotel Fiorita's website, it was stated that you could request for a room with the view of the Duomo, so I asked for that, thinking the room would over look a bustling piazza with the Duomo standing over it. Obviously that was not the case because Hotel Fiorita isn't even adjacent to the Piazza (but within walking distance) so I was a bit disappointed. But our lovely room and the wonderful staff and service make up for it.
At night, we can still see the tip of the Duomo as it is illuminated.
The bathroom. It even has a bathtub, but there's no time to soak.
Breakfast is a buffet style breakfast in a cozy dining room, with fruits, cereal, biscuits, breads, yogurt and you can make your own sandwiches with scrambled eggs, ham, bacon etc... There's a variety of beverages as well.
Hotel Fiorita is a really nice and convenient little hotel. More importantly, the staff are friendly and nice, always smiley with a friendly greeting when guests pass the reception. I remember on the first night, we couldn't locate any power points to charge our electronics, so on the second morning we asked the staff at the reception. He offered to show us, and because our room looks like a warzone which we feel really sorry about because it's just past the first night, Ivy apologised for it, and he laughed and said we should look at his room. It seems like a small gesture but you can tell that they really make the effort to make you feel good. Other people would probably give the standard professional response of "it's all right", which is perfectly fine but less friendly. And of course, the good thing was, there were indeed power outlets, quite a few of them in fact. They're hidden behind furniture, so be sure to check behind your side tables!
The staff speaks good English, and were very efficient and friendly with their email correspondences. 100% would recommend!