Elegance in the Eternal City
After a long, hot walk to the Colosseum, I can’t think of a nicer place to kick off your sweaty gladiator sandals than in this light and bright five-star hotel, which is a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Lifestyle Collection (www.preferredhotels.com).Just wait until you’re in your bedroom, as you wouldn’t want to mess up the freshly buffed marble floors, or get grit on the bright red seating in the entrance foyer.
Despite its modern interior, the building is an Art Nouveau palazzo and former post office, which only opened as a hotel last year. Of the 177 rooms, the front-facing ones boast a view of the front garden, which includes a section of defensive Servian wall, built in the 6th century BC. For a more expansive view, head to the fifth-floor, 6,460 sq ft rooftop terrace, where you can sip an Aperol Spritz at one of the two cocktail bars (the other is on the ground floor) and feel all smug while you watch stressed-out people running across Cinquecento Square to Termini Station. Ha, ha (I mean, poor things, hope they catch their trains/buses).
Budget or boutique?
It’s luxurious and palatial, but there’s a pared back, comfortable and functional feel to this place. Although there are stylish twists in the smart furniture and light-fittings, it’s a hotel to suit the tasteful minimalist. No swags, gold taps or orange marble.
Our fourth floor front-facing Premium Room was cool, soundproofed and lovely. Everything is pitched really well, from the Goldilocks-friendly bed, to the grey-slate-tiled and ergonomic designer bathroom. This is fancy not fiddly, so it won’t take you half an hour to work out how to switch on the rain shower or fill the large tub. There’s plenty of hanging space for clothes, and wardrobes with an automatic internal light – handy when you’re rummaging for your specs at 3am (it happens). Should you want to watch some Italian telly, there’s a huge one. And there’s a table flanked by two velvet-covered chairs, for those who don’t want to eat the cakes they’ve bought from a nearby pasticceria in bed. No judgement if you do.
Wining and dining
Carb-lovers will adore the continental-style breakfast, with all sort of mini delights from which to choose, including cream buns, tarts, doughnuts and cakes, as well as breads, pizza and focaccia. There are also cheeses, salamis, hams, cotto, tacchino and other cold meats, as well as yogurt and dried fruit.
Although we didn’t try it on our visit, dinner is served in the same space as part of their Grand Tour restaurant, which focuses on Italian and international dishes.
Worth getting out of bed for
For those wanting to explore the Eternal City, this hotel is ideally located, with a 20-minute walk to sites including the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Colosseum, Villa Borghese and Pantheon. It’s even nearer to the Teatro dell’Opera, and just next door to the less-touristy area of Monti, where you’ll find little boutiques, good gelato at Fatamorgana (gelateriafatamorgana.com), and an array of restaurants including the lovely Sciue Sciue (sciuesciueroma.it/en). For strong espresso and emergency pizza slices, Mercato Centrale Roma inside Termini couldn’t be handier. As it’s right beside the station, this hotel is ideal if your holiday is going to consist of more than one pit stop, or you want to include a day trip. Napoli is just over an hour away by train.
A midday check-out was much appreciated. Also, we loved the addition of their own in-room product range which, apart from the usual shampoos and shower gels, included a hand cream and face mask. Our boudoir also had a Lavazza coffee machine with pods, lots of teas, a kettle and a selection of tea-bags. For those suffering from blood sugar drops, there’s a sweet station at reception, where you can fill a cone with sweeties and jellies from a couple of jars. The staff are so lovely, they’ll turn a blind eye if you make more than, say, three visits here a day.
Guest book comments
Perfectly located, tastefully decorated, a lot of attention to detail, a true five star hotel.
Rooms from €290 (based on two adults sharing). NH Collection Roma Palazzo Cinquecento, 90 Piazza dei Cinquecento, Rome (+39 06 492221, www.nh-hotels.com, www.PreferredHotels.com)