It’s a family affair at Hotel de la Ville in Rome, another hit brought to you by the fabulous Fortes: the design, spa products and business nouse are all the brainchild of one of the clan. These hotelier heroes have done it again, with a top-of-the-Spanish-Steps setting, super spa and buzzy rooftop bar that’s possibly the best place for terracotta-tile fans to admire the local buildings – as well as the major monuments parading in front of you. The rooms are colourful and cosy, with textured wallpaper, carved mirrors and emperor busts, along with a supersize terrace if you’ve booked wisely.
Noon, but flexible for a fee. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £467.15 (€528), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €7.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates usually include an American buffet breakfast.
The hotel is the latest in the Rocco Forte family, a stylish sister to Verdura Resort in Sicily and Masseria Torre Maizza in Puglia.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, gym. In rooms: smart TV, air-conditioning, minibar, free bottled water, tea-making kit, Illy coffee machine and Forte Organics bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Some of the rooms overlook the inner courtyard, so if a room with a (Roman) view is a dealbreaker, be sure to book a street-facing suite. We rate the Deluxe Room with Panoramic View batch, mostly because you can see most of the major monuments just by gazing out of your window. If you’ve got a budget to blow, go for one of the suites with a super-size terrace; the Roman-rooftop vistas are worth every extra Euro.
The orange-blossom-scented De la Ville spa is a slice of Sicily in Rome, mostly due to the organic botanicals plucked straight from sister property Verdura Resort’s farm on the Italian isle. There are six treatment rooms, a rasul mud room, a salt room and an ice fountain, as well as hydrotherapy and plunge pools. Personal trainers are available, and regular fitness classes are held.
This may be the home of the handmade leather shoe (the entire landmass is shaped like a knee-high stiletto, people), but you’ll be better off bringing your Supergas for hitting these landmark-studded streets.
All communal areas can be accessed by wheelchair and there are some specially adapted rooms.
All ages are welcome. Extra beds and cots can be added to all rooms, and several can interconnect for families. Babysitting is available with three days’ notice for €25 an hour (three-hour minimum) for two children. The hotel has a handful of pushchairs.
Choose a corner table at Mosaico for the most privacy; and watch the (stylish Roman) world go by from a window table at Da Sistina. At Julep, sit up at the bar to watch the masterful mixology taking place.
It’s Italy, where effortless style is in people’s DNA – if in doubt, go for black.
Mosaico has a Michelin-starred chef at its helm, cranking out Roman classics, such as artichokes a whole lot of ways (raw, fried, pickled), along with dishes like fava beans with lemon cream, aubergine, chickpea and mint dumplings, and deep-fried baby prawns – and a wood-fired oven for freshly baked focaccia. The parquet-floored Da Sistina takes its cue from a trad trattoria: expect more Roman favourites (tripe, veal), perfect pasta and a super-chic crowd.
Cielo is the hotel’s rooftop bar, where you can enjoy potent negronis and wide-ranging views of Rome, which sounds like la dolce vita to us. Back at base level, Julep has a whole host of vermouth, herbs and spices ready to mix up your dream cocktail.
Breakfast is served between 7am and 10.30am.
There’s a rotating series of menus (all-day, lunch, night) to order from in-room, along with a child-friendly one.
Hotel de la Ville is in the centre of Rome, at the top of the Spanish Steps.
Both of the city’s airports are within an hour of the hotel: Fiumicino is an hour away, and Ciampino 45 minutes. Hotel transfers start from €100 each way (to either).
Rome’s rail hub, Termini, is around 15 minutes from the hotel. From here, high-speed train services will whisk you to other cities, including Florence, Milan, Venice and Naples. Hotel transfers in a Merc cost from €100 each way.
Driving in Rome is for the seasoned, swear-word–happy driver only and you won’t need wheels with a setting this central. Valet parking at the hotel costs €60 a night.
Worth getting out of bed for
The Eternal City and its walking museum of tourist-approved big-hitters (the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and co) are on your doorstep – and if you’ve wisely opted for a terrace-enhanced room, you’ll be able to glimpse a couple of cupolas without even leaving it. And if you haven’t, there’s always the rooftop bar. This is a city of sightseeing hits, whether you want to pretend to be Russell Crowe inside the Colosseum and Roman Forum, whizz around on a Vespa à la Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain to ensure your return to Rome or just flex some plastic in the designer boutiques of the Via Condotti. The Villa Borghese gardens and museums are just behind the hotel. The world’s tiniest principality might be teeming with crowds during the day, but on Friday evenings between April and October you can tour the Vatican and Sistine Chapel with hopefully fewer people by night.
What do you get when you cross a traditional taverna with a half-British, Italian-born chef? Meet Dillà, a charming restaurant on Via Mario de’ Fiori, where classic Roman dishes are given a little English influence. If you’ve called in for lunch, swing by neighbouring sister bakery La Buvette to stockpile pastries for the afternoon lull. On Via del Politeama in Trastevere, try Taverna Trilussawhere you can enjoy typical Roman fare (bonus: lots of it is deep-fried) in a lively, local-populated setting. Work up an appetite shopping in the salumeria, deli and wine cellar at Rosciolion Via dei Giubbonari, before settling down for a supper of burrata from Puglia, fried anchovies, house-made foie gras and baby squid with garlic and cauliflower mash.
Head to the tiered Le Jardin bar on Via del Babuino for aperitivo hour in a magical setting where the greats have got tipsy before you (Hemingway, Diaghilev and Picasso are former patrons).
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this luxury hotel in Italy and unpacked their cacio and pepe, a full account of their European city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Hotel de la Ville in Rome…
The Forte family have heavenly hotels in their DNA and the latest addition to the fold is yet another hit. Interiors queen Olga Polizzi has waved her magic wand to create sumptuous suites with jewel-coloured, strokeable armchairs, candy-stripe cushions and textured wallpaper – lots of which show off the city’s sights from their arched windows. Many have mega-terraces with a view so impressive, you probably could get away without leaving your suite. The spa (with organic products created by Irene Forte) is a sanctuary in a hectic city, but if you really want to let your hair down, head to the rooftop bar for aperitivo hour with Rome’s coolest crowd. This palazzo at the top of the Spanish Steps may have been knocking around since the 18th century, but we reckon its best days are yet to come.