First timers might expect that Rome is a very big city like New York or Paris, but it’s not. It’s no less glamorous or exciting than those two iconic cities but in Rome, like in no other city, you really feel the centuries of existence cemented into buildings and roads.
Ancient ruins of extravagant proportions and importance are scattered through the modern city as if the layers of each era weren’t fully washed away before a new one began. A visitor to Rome gets a real life glimpse at a time only otherwise imagined while reading ancient history texts. Bring comfortable walking shoes; despite its reputation as a web of small streets and alleyways, Rome is actually easy to navigate on foot and by map.
Here are my two recommendations for Rome’s most well-located hotels urban-walking. They are totally different experiences but the main difference is in scale; both offer great location, flawless service and beautiful decor.
Fine dinning with a view
Palazzo Manfredi is a boutique hotel just outside of the busy part of the city. In its former life it was a private home with an historic elevator. Small and private with sincere and friendly service, the General Manager of this hotel, Bruno, is very involved in making sure every guest is completely satisfied with not only his hotel, but with their entire stay in Rome. He suggests nearby restaurants favoured by locals, the best streets for shopping and what might be worthy of your visit or what you might skip during your time in Rome. I quickly realised his recommendations were very valuable. Each room in this hotel is a little different in décor and size, but all are tasteful, comfortable and luxurious. What’s truly magnificent about Palazzo Manfredi, however, is its jaw dropping location. As you walk out of the hotel and look to your left, the ancient ruins of the Colosseum are in picture perfect view, right across the street. You never tire of seeing it. Every time you walk out of the hotel you’re reminded of how much magnificent history and culture this special city holds. The hotel’s neighbourhood has some great restaurants but you will want to dine at least one night at the hotel’s own rooftop Aroma restaurant among the most breathtaking Roman views you’ll see. This was the site of my most memorable meal in Rome.
One of Palazzo Manfredi’s 16 rooms
The St Regis is at the other end of the spectrum in terms of scale to the Palazzo Manfredi. Its 184 16th century-inspired rooms and suites are spread over four levels inside a beautiful historic building that was built on top of the ruins of the baths of Diocletian. The lobby, wide hallways, dining room and other common rooms are accented with gold and marble. I caught a glimpse of Penelope Cruz, in Rome to promote her latest movie, sashaying through the hotel’s grand lob- by. Located right in the centre of town, The St Regis is the choice of many of Hollywood’s most celebrated as it’s very close to Rome’s sights and the city’s best shopping and restaurants. One of the most popular suites has a 1940s old Hollywood-inspired design.