A few months ago I was lucky to be whisked away to Rome on a romantic 40th birthday treat by my husband. On the rare occasions (thanks kids) we go on mini-breaks abroad, the hotel pressure is immense. We want somewhere lovely, but not stupidly expensive as we prefer to spend money on experiences than a room we’ll barely spend any time in. But, because I’m now 1) old 2) spoilt and 3) a bit contrary, my criteria is… challenging. I want it to be both central and secluded, luxurious but home-from-home (minus the lego, crumbs and general crap, of course) modern… with a vintage feel. See? Contrary.
Luckily, he found the answer through Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Hotel Lord Byron is an elegant art deco ‘Casa on a Hill’ (“Oooo ooo oo oo…” – thanks Ed Sheeran) perfectly positioned in the peaceful northern Parioli neighbourhood and bordered by the sprawling Borghese Gardens. It’s also, handily, a short, 15 minute amble from bustling central sights such as the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and shopping district, Via Condotti. With lemon trees growing outside the entrance, no noise and barely any traffic, we felt like we were in the Italian mountains, despite being in the city. And with an actual Embassy as a neighbour, it really is the perfect Roman Holiday retreat.
The rooms themselves ooze with old-school 1930s Italian glamour and are full of contemporary deco details – think marble bathrooms, luxurious claret-coloured velvet sofas and monochrome striped carpets – not to mention balconies with panoramic views, perfect for watching the sunset over the city.
This small, friendly hotel is proud of it’s city’s history and culture and we loved kicking back and relaxing here with a coffee after a busy day of wandering awestruck around the ancient city. The hotel staff were the perfect hosts and made us feel as if, for a couple of nights only, both the Casa – and the Eternal city – was our home.
Stay at Hotel Lord Byron £164 per night (two sharing) on a B&B basis
3 more of Rome’s boutique best
£500+ per night
Villa Spaletti Trivelli
Beautifully renovated villa has the feel of a grand palazzo close to the Trevi fountain. Stay for the epitome of Roman romance.
£300+ per night
An 18th Century Italian dynasty party pad turned boutique hotel on the banks of the River Tiber. Perfect if you’re looking for decadent glamour.
Under £200 per night
For the ulitmate come-as-you-please vacay, try these self-serviced apartments in a 60s inspired flamboyantly designed pied a terre.