With a history spanning over 2,500 years, it’s no wonder that Rome is known as the Eternal City. It’s the city of Caesar’s … romance … la dolce vita. Add the endless churches, crumbling palaces and medley of museums to the great gastronomy, superb shopping and fountain-filled piazzas and this sensational setting simply has to be seen to be believed.
Blessed with a wealth of antiquities, from the remains of its imperial glory days to the Renaissance, Rome is also bursting with Baroque and classical riches. It’s a glorious architectural patchwork where you stumble across the city’s characteristic quarters’ treasures, hidden corners and wonderful viewpoints by simply strolling around. The capital has been a backdrop to many a Hollywood film – rich in heritage, the history here is unsurpassable, making the city the perfect film set.
Hot hotels for sensational stays
Authentic accommodation, from the intimately chic ’n’ stylish to the ostentatiously and seriously sublime, is abundant here. Deluxe apartments, villas and townhouses include fashionistas’ faves, designer Portrait Suites, with a roof terrace overlooking Rome’s prime shopping street. Numerous boutique and classic majestic spa hotels perfectly marry traditional design with contemporary style and 5-star comfort with 24-hour concierge/butler service … High-end homes-away-from-home after a roam around Rome.
J.K. Place Roma
Housed in what was once Rome’s School of Architecture, J.K. Place Roma offers a tranquil haven in the heart of the city. The original classrooms have been transformed into boutique bedrooms with interiors that are both classic and cool. Adorned with antique furniture, sculptures and marble, enjoy a laid-back take on la dolce vita, within minutes of Rome’s chicest shops and sights.
The Pantheon Iconic Hotel
This new kid on the block offers 79 contemporary rooms with modern interiors inspired by traditional Roman materials, like marble stone, brass, porcelain, wood, with indirect references to the Pantheon. The panoramic sixth-floor Divinity terrace bar is the coolest hang-out in town.
Palm Suites by Palazzo Manfredi
Fusing colourful, vintage and exotic designs with a sense of timeless charm these exciting new suites are a fashionista’s dream abode. The Palm Suite collection lies in the heart of the Eternal City with a super cool central location overlooking the imperial Roman forum.
The award-winning accommodation of choice for the world’s elite, boasting panoramic views from the top of the renowned Spanish Steps. Everyone from The Beatles to the Beckhams have made a beeline to this historic hotel … Charlie Chaplin, Pablo Picasso, Prince Charles and Princess Diana and no fewer than four 007s (Daniel Craig, Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore), the list of A-listers goes on and on, and it’s more a case of who hasn’t stayed here and dined under and among the stars in the grand gourmet restaurant.
Check out Rocco Forte’s Hotel de Russie’s nearby ‘secret’ garden for jet set company, while the former InterContinental is now also part of the Rocco Forte collection and has been renamed Hotel de la Ville. Opening in May 2019 just above the Spanish Steps, Hotel de la Ville will be Rome’s most exciting new luxury destination. Inspired by the era of the Grand Tour, the hotel elegantly marries eighteenth-century architecture with contemporary luxury.
Hotel Eden has the last word in modern luxury for European royals and film stars, its illustrious guest list drawn to its grandeur and its roof garden’s perfect panorama. Take in the domes of Rome from Palazzo Naiadi’s rooftop bar and floodlit pool. An art deco dream combining neoclassic opulence with a minimalist cool, its spa featured in Oceans Twelve, and third-century Diocletian baths lie visibly preserved in this marble-and-mirrored temple. The Champagnerie, meanwhile, offers a corner of calm for bubbly with a view.
Aleph Rome Hotel
Aleph Rome Hotel, now in the Curio Collection by Hilton, makes for another trendy hip-hotel-of-the-moment stay.
Hotel Majestic Roma
Hotel Majestic Roma has welcomed royals, high-society members and showbiz stars since 1889, dishing up divine gourmet cuisine on its terrace overlooking the bustling Via Veneto below.
Hotel Splendide Royal
Hotel Splendide Royal presents phenomenal Villa Borghese Garden views from its swish terrace restaurant, while high-class art deco boutique hotel .
Baglioni Hotel Regina
Enjoy exquisite surroundings in the centre of ancient Rome. The beautiful period building was once home to Queen Margaret of Savoy and boasts fabulous private terraces with breathtaking views over the city.
Hotel Bernini Bristol
Offering all the glamour and decadence of a bygone era with modern comfort, Hotel Bernini Bristol is frequented by royals and VIPs hosting lavish parties and banquets.
Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese
Neoclassical décor transports guests to the capital’s heyday at restored prestigious palace Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese. Its fashionable lounge bar and upscale English-style library serving scrumptious afternoon teas make for a very grand affair.
Parco dei Principi Grand Hotel & Spa
Elegant establishments elsewhere in the city include celeb-frequented Parco dei Principi Grand Hotel & Spa, boasting Rome’s best spa for those with a passion for pampering.
Hotel Lord Byron
Tucked away in the upmarket Parioli neighbourhood, home to many of the city’s wealthier citizens, lies art deco-style boutique Hotel Lord Byron.
Ritzy Rome Cavalieri projects pure panache with plush design in a parkland setting. There’s a super spa, outdoor pool surrounded by cypress trees and Rome’s only three-Michelin-starred restaurant.
Aldrovandi Villa Borghese
Golf lover? Rome is home to no fewer than 14 courses! Book a room a short putt away from the fairway at the Aldrovandi Villa Borghese. Oozing refined opulence in private gardens with an inviting pool, its marble bathrooms add dashes of grandeur and grace – golf widows won’t be disappointed!
Cappuccino … espresso? Coffee’s a ritual in Italy and a sophisticated café society ensures glittering cafés a-go-go. Kick off with a gran caffè speciale at Caffè Sant’ Eustachio amid the locals and famous faces or chill out in lively Piazza della Rotonda’s, Piazza Navona’s or Piazza di Spagna’s hot coffee pit stops.
Ice-cream and chocolate
Don’t miss a scoop of glorious gelato at historic landmark Antico Caffè Greco (former haunt of Keats and Casanova), Ciampini or Giolitti – the coolest ice-cream parlour in town. Try the legendary tartufo ice from I Tre Scalini. Chocoholics delight at historic chocolate-makers La Bottega del Cioccolato, while Babington’s tearoom serves a fine English cuppa alongside the Spanish Steps.
Join the city’s buzzing aperitivo scene and work up an appetite at Harry’s Bar, Via Veneto, which gained international fame in Fellini’s classic 1960 La Dolce Vita film. The photo museum offers vivid flashbacks to the golden era when famous faces flocked here, such as Sinatra singing at the piano.
Wine and Dine
Food is a serious subject for Italians, and pasta remains the mainstay of meals, with a type for every day of the year! Traditional Roman cooking is conservative, rustic and deceptively simple. Must-tries include gnocchi, spaghetti alle vongole (classic with baby clam sauce) and baccalà alla romana (fried salt cold), followed by Italy’s most famous dessert, a terrific tiramisu! Ideal for romantic candlelit dinners, the labyrinth of lanes of Testaccio vie with fashionable Trastevere’s narrow cobbled streets as the foodie’s place to eat and be seen.
Friday is fish day, so ‘seafood and eat it’ at one of Rome’s famous fish restaurants, steeped in culinary heritage. La Rosetta, reputed to be Rome’s finest, also serves superlative wines. The menu depends on the day’s catch. For riverside dining with celebrity appeal, high-class Assunta has a seriously stunning setting, while the aptly named FISH (Fine International Seafood House) enjoys rave reviews.
Restaurants in Rome are among the finest in Italy, with many open-air, top-class institutions set in the shadows of famous landmarks, providing alluring, unique al fresco ambiances for sampling national and worldwide cuisine in this gastronomic melting pot.
Aroma at Palazzo Manfredi
Enjoy Michelin-starred cuisine on a private terrace with some of the best views of Rome’s ancient Colosseum. Roman-born Chef Di Lorio has been Aroma’s head chef since it opened in 2010. Here you can sample quintessential Roman cuisine with contemporary influences and exquisite presentation.
Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
Savour decadent dining, the cityscape and over 53,000 wines at Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts’ three-Michelin-starred terrace restaurant La Pergola, presided over by German genius Heinz Beck.
Hotel Baglioni’s refined Brunello creates imaginative cocktails and dishes up delectable recipes.
Some others also worth a visit
Hotel Atlante’s smart roof-garden restaurant, Les Etoiles, affords unbeatable vistas. Sensational at sunset, the private terrace at Il Palazzetto is a hip ’n’ happening haunt. Dal Bolognese nearby offers upmarket northern Italian fare to a glamorous crowd.
One of the world’s greatest fashion capitals, where trends are set and exclusive boutiques offer the latest designer must-haves, whether you have a passion for fashion or a penchant for antiques, you’ll find high-end Italian and foreign retail outlets and trendy boutiques galore …
From luxury labels to the very best in jewellery, Via Condotti boasts more than enough big-name brands to keep even the most discerning shopper happy. The equivalent of Bond Street or Fifth Avenue for high fashion, after requisite stops at Valentino, Prada, Gucci or Cartier, you can give your credit card another workout on cutting-edge fashions in the ‘Trident’, where the three main shopping streets, Via Condotti/Via Borgogna/Via Frattin, meet. A short catwalk strut away, Via Veneto is also great for designer-wear, while Via del Corso is home to Swarovski Crystal, appealing to affluent young shopaholics.
Navigate narrow streets, meandering through the charming, cobbled microcosm of Monti, with one-of-a-kind boutiques showcasing everything from antiques to the avant-garde. Rome’s young fashion crowd hangs out here for jewellery, artisan-made shoes and bespoke fashion. Grand department store La Rinascente (based in both Piazza Fiume and Via del Tritone) is a one-stop-shop for upscale cosmetics, jewellery, clothing, gastronomy and home furnishings, and offers wonderful windows to Rome’s glorious history from its gallery.