Review: Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese


Originally the guesthouse of Italian aristocratic family Ludovisi Boncompagni, this converted 19th century palazzo has been a temporary home to more than a few film stars over the decades. It began life as the Albergo Boston in 1890, named in honour of the city where the wealthy Italian owner made his fortune. As the golden age of Italian cinema flourished, stars like Ava Gardner and Walter Chiari checked in, their presence in the hotel honoured in black-and-white prints that adorn the walls of the Sofitel.


Set next to Via Veneto, one of the most cosmopolitan streets in Rome, the hotel is within walking distance of the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and a bustling strip of high-end boutiques and restaurants. The property borders the Villa Borghese gardens – the perfect escape for a jog, leisurely stroll or even a horseback ride.

Look & feel

As the hotel is set in an historic building, the 81 rooms are noticeably smaller than other five-star properties. The trade-off is a luxurious and well-situated base from which to explore the surrounding city. Natural sunlight streams through timber-framed windows during the day, with views overlooking picturesque gardens. Inside, jewel tones combine with statement chandeliers and original design flourishes to give the hotel a contemporary, yet classically elegant, feel.

Eat in

La Terrasse Cuisine and Lounge is the hotel’s rooftop restaurant, offering fabulous views over the city and equipped with a retractable roof. The menu features Mediterranean cuisine with a French twist and chef Giuseppe D’Alessio’s specialties include truffle risotto with duck foie gras and red wine glaze. The breakfast spread is indulgent, with croissants and other pastries, homemade yoghurt, six types of local cheese, freshly pressed green juice and the most amazing deep red orange juice I’ve ever tasted.

Dining with a view

Treat yourself

There is no spa or fitness centre but the concierge will happily point you toward the nearest gym and wellness centre. If you’re looking for an indulgent afternoon, I would suggest a long rooftop lunch at La Terrasse, Aperol spritz in hand, of course.

Special touches

I was delighted to find my marbled bathroom stocked with Hermès amenities.

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