Rome

 

Bridge of the Angels
Bridge of the Angels over the Tiber River with St. Peter’s Basilica off in the background.

 

We’ve explored the Eternal City and discovered three new hotels for you to recommend.

 

 

 

Spa Time

One of our favorite boutique hotels in Rome is Villa Spalletti Trivelli,which was featured in a previous issue of Luxury Travel Advisor. It has opened a new “beauty lounge” spa, with hammam, tepidarium and a menu of detox treatments. We love the “floating therapy,” which makes one feel relaxed and light as a feather. Luxury travel advisors can contact the hotel’s General Manager Maria Merra ([email protected]).

 

 

While the monuments and museums in Rome remain eternal, what we are most excited about are the city’s new boutique hotels. Three such have caught our eye—all the creation of Count Alberto Moncada. The most recent is Babuino 181, which opened in March. The building is hidden from plain sight, with only the flag above the doorway indicating the presence of a hotel. Enter the double glass doors of this renovated city palace to discover a “contemporary comfortable” ambiance. Andrea Puizina ([email protected]) is in charge here and she can also assist with details about the other two Moncada properties.

 

The Superior Suite
The Superior Suite at Margutta 54, which has four suites in a private courtyard.

This small treasure appeals to guests seeking a high level of service and amenities, and an intimate atmosphere, all on one of the best streets in town. Despite its terrific location, between the Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps, during our stay we heard no street noise to disturb our sleep in Room No. 201, a standard room that’s surprisingly spacious and well-appointed.

The Deluxe Suites are also large and can sleep three guests. We checked out No. 105 and found smooth natural woods and neutral fabrics, plus a big golden marble bathroom with huge tub, separate shower and double sink. For a larger group, connect this one to Double Deluxe No. 104. Upstairs, Deluxe Suite No. 5 is even more delectable: it has its own small balcony.

 

 

 

Neighborhood Eats

Rome has a highly competitive hospitality industry, and key to drawing guests back for another visit to all three of these charmers is Alberto Moncada himself. He not only welcomes his guests, but also sends them to his favorite restaurants and bars—places he’s found during a lifetime in this neighborhood in Rome. Just ask Moncada to point the way to:

Babette’s Cafe & Ristorante on Via Margutta 1d/3.

Hostaria da Pietro at Via Gesù e Maria 18.

Ristorante Al 59 at Via Angelo Brunetti 59.

Brillo Parlante at Via della Fontanella, 12.

 

 

The star of Babuino 181 is the Babuino Suite, with its grand terrace (perfect for a cocktail party or an intimate honeymoon breakfast), three-windowed living room, quiet bedroom overlooking the courtyard and bathroom marbled in gold tones. This suite can connect to No. 301 to add another bedroom. This was the ideal choice for the family from California we met in the breakfast lounge, but it could also work well for two couples or business colleagues.

 

Of course, at Babuino 181 Nespresso coffee/tea machines are standard, along with iPhone docks and Wi-Fi and a laptop to borrow if you didn’t bring yours. The walk-in closets have enough room to stash all your shopping bags, business paraphernalia and suitcases, and still have room for your clothes. Somehow, Moncada and his architect managed to install a glass elevator in the palazzo to whisk guests upstairs.

The four luxury suites hidden in the Moncada family’s building at Margutta 54 are for those wanting the privacy of an apartment and the full service of a hotel. Moncada’s great-grandfather built this structure as studios for artists, such as Picasso, Puccini and Stravinsky. It also has an art gallery.

 

The Deluxe Suite
The Deluxe Suite at Babuino 181 can be connected to the Double Deluxe room to create a private family residence.

Before its artistic days, the property was a 17th-century boatyard, where the family repaired boats for the old Roman port on nearby Via Ripetta. Today, behind the imposing gates, guests live like real Romans, with the assistance of a butler, of course; outside on Via Margutta are some of Rome’s most interesting galleries and shops.

The suites have natural wood flooring, left unsanded for a rustic feel—limestone is mixed in for texture and is accented by brown, orange and off-white color schemes. Important Note: The air conditioning is strong enough to keep out Rome’s hottest summers. The bathrooms have glass showers and big tubs, lots of amenities and a very modern feel; the yacht-sized kitchens are perfect for storing a bottle of wine or two and the indispensable Nespresso machines nestle in a corner of every suite.

 

 

 

Advisor Insight:

Heather Christopher of Classic Travel in Woodbridge, VA, is a Vacation.com Rome expert. “The best way for first-timers to experience the city is with a privately guided half- or full-day tour,” she says. “This ensures that clients see all the historical sights without wasting any time. We also recommend purchasing Skip the Line: Vatican City and Sistine Chapel passes.

“For accommodations, we love the Regina Hotel Baglioni. Clients will also be thrilled with dinner at Crispi 19 near the Spanish Steps. On their way back to the hotel, they can stop and throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain.

“For something different, a visit to Ostia Antica is a historical must.”

 

 

We especially liked the Deluxe Suite, which sleeps three. There’s a king-sized bed, a separate living room with sleeper sofa, dining area and two walk-in closets. The Deluxe can be connected to the Superior Suite, transforming it into a Roman family apartment. The Margutta Suite is the largest—it’s a combination of the Junior Suite and the Studio Suite, each of which can be booked separately. Together, they offer a full two-bedroom apartment with two workspaces and two royal bathrooms.

For the young and hip, Mario de’ Fiori, a villa built in 1658, is the obvious choice. Think Amsterdam canal house meets Italian contemporary architecture; it takes unusual spaces and turns them into high comfort zones. White, eggplant and lime blend to make the compact rooms appear more spacious—in another setting these rooms may seem small, but here they are very well-appointed nests. This narrow street, close to the Spanish Steps, has some fabulous boutiques where shoppers can find unique pieces that will add chicness to their wardrobes. One would never know that many, many years ago, this was the street of the brothels.

 

Mario de’ Fiori’s Studio Deluxe
Mario de’ Fiori’s Studio Deluxe. The hotel is close to the Spanish Steps and Via Condotti.

The rooftop suite, No. 325, is a cozy retreat with king bed, sitting area and a big bathroom consisting of tub, shower and private loo. A clever use of natural woods, metals and paint colors has achieved a contemporary city feel. Tip: The original beamed ceilings may be a tad too low for a pro basketball player, so steer your taller guests to another room. The Junior Suite No. 310, although smaller than No. 325, is expansive and modern, with wood, copper and travertine accents. There’s a separate tub, a glass shower and canopy bed. (Note: Moncada has a close relationship with the owners of Frette and their world-renowned bed linens grace all three locations.) We also loved the sliding bathroom doors, which have a white-linen layer between two sheets of glass. The Double Deluxe (No. 210) and a Studio Deluxe (No. 265), we discovered, make smart use of space and design.

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