Hotel: Hotel de Russie
Address: Via del Babuino 9, 00187, Rome
TraveLife Ranking: Five Stars
Room rates: $700+
Awards: One of Travel&Leisure magazine’s top 500 hotels and a Conde Nast magazine Gold List selection.
Highlights: In one of Rome’s most fashionable neighborhoods, Via del Babuino, opposite the statue-filled Piazza del Popolo and not far from the Spanish Steps, you will find a jungle garden that has grown up around the chic Hotel de Russie’s famous patio restaurant called, not surprisingly, Le Jardin du Russie. It’s a place which allows you to escape the chaos of Rome’s legendary streets and relax in a peaceful tropical setting while being served up the best this hotel has to offer, which is quite a feast for both the senses and the eyes. The garden, which features a butterfly oasis, has walkways that snake to the top of the hotel’s property. It leads visitors to the world famous Villa Borchese Gardens which run along the top of the hotel’s terrace.
History: The property the Hotel de Russie now occupies was once a palace. It was transformed into a hotel 200 years ago and the revitalized two years ago by the Forte Group.
Interior highlights: The lobby would fit under the minimalist category. But the rest of the public areas are quite beautiful and homey, especially the reception room off the main entrance. Hallways are decorated with Greek frescos and statues fill the lobby and garden areas.
In the next room: The chic Hotel de Russie was the place where Oceans 12, the sequel to the hot movie of a few years ago, Oceans 11, was filmed. George Clooney and the rest of the all-star cast stayed here and told lots of their Hollywood friends, who have been showing up ever since.
The rooms: Russie’s bedrooms exude a unique charm and offer some exciting views of the surrounding area. Think simple but sophisticated. You get either a view of People’s Square, the hotel’s exciting gardens or the rooftop landscape of Rome. The rooms are bathed in soft colors, thick drapes, luxurious beds with linen sheets, ensuite bathrooms tiled with stylish mosaics and all the latest amenities. Regular rooms are a bit on the small size but very charming.
Amenities: One thing the Hotel de Russie offers that others in Rome only wish they could is a spa. And what a spa! It offers all the latest treatments but the two favorites, according to quests, are the stone therapy massage and the Tibetan massage. Wireless, high-speed Internet is accessible in the hotel's public areas including the restaurant and bar (wireless cards are available at the front desk). A children's program offers welcome gifts, bath amenities, a special children's menu, and babysitting services.
Restaurants: The hotel’s main restaurant is ruled by executive chef Nazzareno Menghini. His dishes are colorful and fragrant and are inspired by the ingredients and the aromatic smells of the Mediterranean. Not surprisingly, many of his dishes include fish. The garden terrace restaurant is used for breakfasts and lunches. What a way to start the day!
Shopping: Europe’s top fashion houses are just down the street opposite the Spanish Steps.
Close By Stepping outside the main doors of the hotel, you feel immersed in the atmosphere of the Eternal City – the Spanish Steps are just a short walk away and within an easy stroll are some of Rome’s other key attractions like Vatican City, Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain. As mentioned, the statue filled Piazza del Popolo and its Roman history is right across the street.
Tips: If you’re in a shopping frame of mind, make the Russie your headquarters in the summer months, when its best deals are offered and the high-end shops down the street are slashing prices by as much as 80 per cent. The secret garden and the butterfly oasis makes this a great place for kids.