Personally, I would think running one hostel in Rome would be hard enough. But Alessandro of Alessandro Palace and Alessandro Downtown fame – you thought there wasn’t really an actual Alessandro, didn’t you? – decided not long ago that one more hostel couldn’t hurt. But rather than opening another under the Alessandro name, he opted to spin the bottom floor of Alessandro Downtown off into its own hostel – Mosaic Hostel.
The friendly guy running the front desk at Mosaic Hostel when I visited goes by the name James (he claims it’s just easier to pronounce than his real name). James says that while both Alessandro Palace and Alessandro Downtown are a little more “rock and roll,” Mosaic Hostel is a bit quieter. The idea behind Mosaic Hostel was to split off part of the hostel so that it would be more peaceful for families or other budget travelers who like hostel prices but may have gotten beyond the pub-crawling hostel atmosphere. Think of the Mosaic as somewhere between a traditional Rome hostels and cheap Rome hotels.
Mosaic Hostel occupies the 2nd floor (1st floor in Italian) of the same building in which Alessandro Downtown has the upper floors, southwest of Termini station. Because the target clientele is different than the usual hostel-going crowd, the hostel itself is a little different. There aren’t common rooms designed for extended hanging out, although there’s a nice kitchen and a bank of a few computers near reception which are available for guest use. The rooms are still considered dorm-style, with the sizes ranging from four beds up to eight beds, so if you’re traveling as a family with kids you’ll want to make sure that you get a room that you aren’t sharing with strangers. None of the bedrooms come with private en suite bathrooms (remember, this whole hostel was once part of Alessandro Downtown, which is all dorm-style rooms with no private bathrooms).
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L-R: The signs for Mosaic Hostel & Alessandro Downtown point you in the right direction once you’re inside the building; the Mosaic front desk
All the rooms at Mosaic Hostel are on the same level as the reception, which makes it easy to get from reception to your room once you’ve checked in – no more stairs to climb with your bags! Alessandro Downtown is right upstairs, and Alessandro Palace (with its popular Alessandro Bar) is a few minutes walk away, so if you want the party hostel experience you can get it – but coming back to Mosaic Hostel it’s just likely to be a quieter evening.
L-R: Mosaic’s kitchen/breakfast room, and a communal bathroom (showers on one side, toilets on the other)
I have to say that although James said that part of the idea behind Mosaic was for families to stay there, I’m not sure I can imagine many families (especially those traveling with small kids) who would think it’s the best option – if for no other reason than there aren’t any rooms with private bathrooms. If this isn’t an issue for you, then that’s great (and I’m not a parent, so maybe private bathrooms aren’t a big deal!), it’s just something you’ll want to consider before booking.
Two examples of Mosaic dorm-style rooms
Location: Via Carlo Cattaneo 23 00185 Rome
Contact Information: tel: +39 06 4470 4592
Common Areas: kitchen/breakfast room, large reception area (but no real seating), a few guest-use computers
Dorms: 4-8 beds mixed or female-only dorms, none with en suite bathrooms
Private Rooms: smallest rooms have four beds, none with en suite bathrooms
Curfew/Lockout: No curfew, no lockout
Check-in/Check-out: There is luggage storage available, so you can check in or out at any time and leave your luggage if it’s either too early to get into your room or you want to explore Rome a bit more before your train leaves on check-out day. You can generally expect to get into your room after 14:00, and check-out is at 10:00.
Transportation Options: The hostel is within walking distance of Termini, so getting out of town is easy, and Termini also has a Metro station and a big bus terminal, which makes getting around town easy, too.
Safety: This is the side of the train station that some people may find less than appealing (after dark especially), though James told me he’s had no reports of problems from guests. The hostel building and the hostel itself are completely safe.
Fun Factor: This isn’t a hostel you check into if you’re hoping to meet a bunch of other backpackers and go bar-hopping around Rome; this is a quieter place, where you’ll get a good night’s rest and be able to hit the ground running the next day. That’s not to say you can’t go hang out at the Alessandro Palace’s bar, or any of the other bars in the city, with other travelers you’ve met at Mosaic or elsewhere – but this isn’t the kind of place where you bring the party home afterwards.
Freebies: breakfast, bed linens, weekday pasta party (depending on the season)
Extras You’ve Got to Pay For: internet access (first 15 mins free), towels for rent or purchase (if you don’t have your own)
Good to Know: Mosaic Hostel has heating for wintertime, but only ceiling fans for hotter weather. This could be fine most of the year, but in the height of a Roman summer I can imagine the rooms getting a little too warm.
Airport pickup is available for a fee. To arrange it, email the hostel after booking.
Payment Accepted: major credit cards, cash
Booking: Mosaic Hostel booking