4 Stars in Rome Means What?

During 2018 EPIC Camp Goodman the Giants stayed at 21 different hotels over 27 nights. Hotel Napoleon in Rome, Italy was the last one. 4 stars and nice pictures lined up a nice end to a great trip.

Affordable enough rates for Deluxe Rooms with breakfast included.

Breakfast was good when it came to breads and fruits. The cold meats and cheeses were European standard in that they were like having a selection of sandwich cold cuts – not too much in the cold meats that is to the Giants’s liking. The warm eggs (scrambled and pie) and warm meats (sausage and bacon) were disappointing.

Have you ever seen baby carrots in cooked eggs? And the picture does not show how the bottom is burned black. No pictures taken of the soupy scrambled eggs – Giants like them dry not liquid.

The property needs updating. It takes one very tight elevator to get from the entry to the lobby. Then another very tight elevator to get to the rooms from the lobby. The elevators are the size a rich person from the 1980s would have put in their 2 story home.

What makes a 4 Star a 4 Star? The beggars and street venders immediately outside of the hotel definitely don’t award the stars. The park across the street that seems to be a den for thieves likely does not give out stars. The late night liquor store and small casino can’t be star givers… The Giants know how the ratings are done and loosely governed – Hotel Napoleon on paper meets the definition. As read above the Giants would not rate the property as luxury.

Access by Rome Metro is great, doorstep great. That’s a positive.

Giants rating:

Hotel della Signoria in Florence Italy

Looking for a place in the heart of Florence, Italy close to high end shopping, street venders, the leather market, and the sites? Good service, clean rooms, and included good breakfast (at least with our booking) can all be found at Hotel della Signoria. Easy walking distance to Duomo, Galleria degli Uffizi, and Ponte Vecchio.

Hotel della Signoria

This centrally located hotel in Florence still uses keys made of metal rather than key cards of plastic. There is something substantial to carry a key, and there is some added stress of worrying of losing that one key. The Giants found out half way through the stay that most guests left the room key with the front desk while not in their rooms.

Breakfast on the top floor that was included with the Giants stay included made to order eggs, attentive service, many options for travelers from cereal to cakes (and a full English breakfast), and excellent views of the red rooftops of Florence.

Giants rating of breakfast as compared to other “included” hotel breakfasts:


One of the Giants rooms had an awkward set up for the shower. The room is for two and if those two do not have a close relationship things could be delicate. The clear shower door is placed center of the room rather than off of the bathroom/commode area. This open placement of the shower was the only negative the Giants could find.


One other warning: ⚠️ if you are driving plan ahead. Getting a car to the hotel takes a phone call to the valet, the valet running to meet the group about a 1/2 mile from the hotel, competitive driving of the car to the hotel, and a drop off. Checking out the car is a lesson in patience since it will be stored offsite and take up to 45 minutes for it to be delivered – and then the adventures of driving through dense pedestrian traffic is all yours.

Giants hotel rating:

Florence, Italy 7/10/18-7/12/18

Matterhorn: Go for the Views and Stay with Julen

Giants stayed for a day, 19 hours really, in Zermatt, Switzerland and greatly appreciated the treatment and accommodations provided by Romantik Hotel Julen. When in Switzerland seeing the Matterhorn is a must. One room was booked through a travel website and the other directly. The perks of a direct booking were extended to both rooms occupants. Direct booking was cheaper, includes free e-bike rental, free breakfast, a welcome drink, and free water and soda in the room out of the mini-bar. Imagine the excited face of an 11 year Giant who in his life has never been allowed to even move an overpriced mini-bar item when he can drink to his kidneys content.

Visiting Zermatt and seeing the Matterhorn is a delight. Based on the excellent service, clean and comfortable rooms, and thoughtfulness of the staff the Giants will choose a Julen brand hotel if they are again blessed to visit this majestic town.

Not Got Moxy

Moxy by Marriott without the Marriott branding on or in the building.

The best hotel customer service experienced on EPIC Camp Goodman was at the Moxy Berlin Ostbahnhof. The 1st night all three rooms were upgraded to premium rooms by the staff! The second night brought to the Giants by an easyJet cancellation were offered by Moxy at a discount of 10 Euros a room compared to the previous night! These are some easily documented courtesies – the staff went much further in friendliness, concern for Giants stranded, and efforts to accommodate. Moxy staff puts accommodate in accommodations.

Giants rate the Moxy staff on Friendliness to Tourists:

The rooms, premium and regular, are clean, nicely appointed in a modern way, and provide comfortable beds. Good to see that finally new hotels are willing to not put phones in their rooms and adopt the mobile culture of 2018. The rooms minus artwork and preset hotel advertisements on the TVs rated:

Based on the ads running on the TV home screens Moxy is a brand marketed to those that are interested in hooking up. The non-subtle images and clear words promoted the concepts of the hotel – very clear images. By booking through Marriott the Giants did not know that suggestive images including partial nudity would be part of the stay. Would the Giants book Moxy again with kids – no. Did the Giants stay a second night rather than travel across town for the win, lose, or draw lottery once they were forced to stay an extra night – yes. To highlight the culture of the hotel, each room had an alarm button by the bed.

Graphic photos not taken by Giants or posted on this family travel blog.

Total number of Goodmans if you know what you are getting into:

Residence Inn London Bridge is Not Falling Down

The Giants stayed two different times in the matter of 10 days at Residence Inn London Bridge for a total of 3 nights. Those stays were met with unexpected surprises – good ones.

The Giants expected to be able to wash and dry clothes during the stays and maxed out the appliances on two different nights. What was not expected was for the usage of the machines to come free with the room rentals – based on the past the exception was that the machines would be coin operated like so many are at other hotels. Clearly this is not any other hotel since when the Father of Giants asked for directions to the machines he was given soap to use – again the expectation was that soap would need to be purchased, potentially at some level of real effort (going to a store or procuring the exact amount of money to use for a dispenser that only accepts certain coins and offers no change).

Breakfast can be one of the best meals when it is consumed with a group for the purposes of indulgence and social time. When breakfast is eaten purely as a way to get the engines running it can be a very disappointing event financially when some Giants consume 90 pence worth of food at a 18 pound English breakfast. What do Giants do to prepare?

4:45pm–5:45pm Shop for Tue/Wed breakfast, chocolate and snacks (Tesco Metro, 125 Tooley St, London SE1 2RS, UK) .5 mile walk (11 min) from hotel

Giants plan ahead and buy breakfast food elsewhere and eat in the hotel rooms. Above is the planning to get breakfast for one of the Residence Inn stays. Nothing at the Marriott website or elsewhere online said anything about breakfast being included with the stay. Of course breakfast is standard in the states at this name of property but dollars and Cheers merely as the name of a sitcom are standard too. Upon checkin the Giants and their perfectly detailed schedule were grateful to hear that breakfast is included with the stay (please go back and pronounce schedule in your mind like a true Brit would). The food was good too.

The pictures and discriptions of the property are correct with the accommodations proving to be nice. The negative on the facility is that there was only one elevator for a property that needed three. The staff was very helpful with one mate helping to fix a detached van mirror. Read more about why that was needed by clicking here.

Giants hotel rating:

Friendliness to Tourists rating of hotel staff:

June 18-20, 2018 and June 26-27, 2018