Situated at the Piazza del Popolo end of chi-chi shopping street Via del Babuino, the De Russie is within easy walking distance of the [node:169860], the Via Veneto, the Villa Borghese and Flaminio metro station.
The luxe contemporary décor is ravishing, and the bathrooms are both stylish and functional with hot water at the turn of a tap, marble tubs and serious rainhead showers. This said, some of the street-facing rooms are frustratingly viewless, and in one or two of the rooms that haven't been refurbished, some of the paintwork and detailing is looking a little scuffed and worn ten years on. If you can’t afford one of the suites, like the stunning Picasso Suite, it pays to choose carefully: my top choice in terms of value and aspect would be a deluxe double with garden view.
The lounge and library areas are straight out of coffee-table interiors book. The hotel maintains its contemporary vocation by organising regular art exhibits in its main boutique-lined corridor. But its most compelling communal area is the verdant terraced garden behind. This now includes a butterfly oasis, developed in association with the local branch of the WWF.
Eating and drinking
The Stravinskij bar is one of the few hotel bars in Rome that Romans like me (okay, I’m not a Roman born and bred, but I’ve been here for over 25 years) frequent on a regular basis. The garden backdrop is enchanting and the cocktails (especially the various Martinis and the Cosmopolitan) are among the best in town. On the garden terrace above, and inside in playfully elegant dining room, the Le Jardin de Russie restaurant does serious creative Italian cooking at serious prices. Since 2008 the seasonally-changing menu has been overseen by one of Italy’s top chefs, Fulvio Pierangelini.
A small but very stylish Wellness Zone offers a raft of his-and-hers treatments, and works a lot better now that the hotel itself has taken it back from the company that used to run it. There’s also a well-equipped gym.
Though they can look at first glance like the celebrities they often serve, the sharply-uniformed staff are helpful and go out of their way to solve problems. And the concierges are second to none for their in-depth knowledge of everything from the best wine bar for a romantic soirée to the best personal shopper for that hard-to-please Park Lane princess.
Who stays there
Apart from the aforementioned celebs, pretty much anyone who wants to be in what is still, ten years after opening, Rome’s most happening luxury hotel.
It’s bracingly expensive here, but don’t be stingy: the entry-level Classic Doubles are not large and can be frustratingly viewless. Do take time to trawl through the many special offers and packages.
- Business Centre
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Culture vultures
Pros & Cons
- The gardens are ravishing
- The Stravinskij bar is the best hotel bar in Rome
- A small but serious spa with some talented masseurs and beauty specialists
- It’s Rome’s most stylish luxury hotel, perfect for people-watching
- The WiFi is expensive even by luxury hotel standards
- You need to be careful which room you book, as some of the cheaper street facing doubles can feel poky and viewless
- Some of Rome’s highest room rates