There’s a reason why millions of people visit Rome every single day, the allure to experience this culturally rich, effortlessly fashionable city is an undeniable force. My first visit was quick, incredibly special and one that I will never forget and I could not possibly have stayed in a more perfect choice from all the five-star hotels in Rome than Hotel de Russie.
“The Top Hotel in Rome”
Awarded by Travel and Leisure the distinction of “The Top Hotel in Rome” for 2017, Hotel de Russie is one of eleven boutique luxury properties in the Rocco Forte Hotel group. Hotel de Russie is joined by sister hotels in Edinburgh, London, Brussels, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Florence, Sicily, St. Petersburg and Jeddah. Each property has its own flair and personality, but there is a common thread of distinct appreciation for the cities they host visitors in and a beautiful blending of old and new, creating the ideal opportunity for guests to have an authentic experience in each city.
There are 88 rooms, and 33 suites to choose from at Hotel de Russie. Each decorated in a classic, contemporary style with the help of designer Olga Polizzi, whose whimsical touches and attention-to-detail keep your heart light and make you feel right at home. Four of the suites are themed and very special, including The Picasso Suite, paying homage to the eccentric painter who stayed at Hotel de Russie for three months in 1917.
Every room and suite has a generous offering of space and amenities with the deliberate invitation for it to feel like it is your home away from home. My Classic Suite was no exception, the 65 square metre suite felt like home the moment I checked in and it was hard to leave, even with the city calling me from my window. The Roman-style mosaic marble bathroom, generous king-sized bed, adjoining seating and in-room dining area were appreciated luxuries. I was welcomed with a beautiful array of ingredients to enjoy a “make it yours” aperitif, and accompanying snacks.
Fine Dining in a Secret Garden
The secluded courtyard terrace nestled on the property of Hotel de Russie is a destination not only for out-of-town visitors, but for Roman locals alike. It feels like discovering a secret piazza when you step into it for the first time, which is one of the many reasons why celebrities are drawn to this special hotel in Rome. This private piazza is home to Stravinskij Bar, and just beyond, the fine dining experience of Le Jardin de Russie on an upper terrace on the skirts of the secret garden on property.
Both offer a delicious alfresco experience with a feast appeasing all five senses. The garden scents of rose, orange blossom and fresh boxwood greens surround you and shut the bustling city out. Locals and visitors from around the world provide great people watching as guests linger, locals meet and network, and even small business gatherings take place in this space. It is quiet and private during the day and softly animated in the evening.
I enjoyed this cool respite very much during my stay in Rome. The midday and early afternoon light lunches and aperitif were a great way to recharge before adventuring out. Each morning’s breakfast at Le Jardin de Russie was my favourite because my table overlooked the secret garden and I felt like a princess in her very own Roman castle.
Dinner at Le Jardin de Russie is a reminder that the simplest ingredients are all that you need to create beautiful classic Italian dishes. Celebrity Chef and Director of Food Fulvio Pierangelini and his Executive Chef Nazzareno Menghini have mastered the art of discerning simplicity in their menu offerings here. The Ravioli “Cacio e Pepe” a Roman specialty, was my absolute favourite.
De Russie Spa
The De Russie Spa is in-keeping with the generosity of the property, it is a luxurious space with a salt water hydropool, 6 treatments rooms, a Finnish sauna, a steam room and a full hair salon. This urban retreat is the destination for many locals as well as guests. One of the unique aspects of this spa, and all of the Rocco Forte Spas, is the Forte Organics product line which is made in Italy with organic and natural ingredients from Sicily. In addition to the spa treatments of skin care and massage, Hotel de Russie has an extensive menu of special programs which cater to the guests who desires extra pampering. Whether you want to detox, overcome jet lag or celebrate your upcoming wedding, there are offerings for each.
From Fitness and Fashion
If fitness is on your agenda while visiting Hotel de Russie, you have access to the on site personal trainer Danilo Palmucci, an Italian Ironman and Triathlon legend. Whether you plan a personal fitness session in the hotel’s fitness centre or schedule a morning run or bike ride with Danilo, you have his expertise at your disposal during your stay.
Each suite stay at Hotel de Russie comes with a complimentary “Avenue of Style” experience, which means that guests have access to a private tour of the behind-the-scenes and exclusive space of eleven top international fashion icons in Rome. These fashion houses include: Giorgio Armani, Bottega Veneta, Fendi, Valentino, Acqua di Parma, Bulgari, Brioni, Ermenegildo Zegna, Damiani, Pomellato, and VHERNIER. While I would love to experience each designer’s space, I knew instantly that I wanted to visit Bulgari, the epitome of Roman fashion design.
My private tour of Bulgari lasted about an hour, and took place at the original Bulgari location, still there since 1905. The polished travertine stone, green African marble and bronze details sparkled and are constantly polished by the staff waiting to serve. Newly renovated a few years ago by American architect Peter Marino, the space reflects the style and sexy nature of the clients who shop there.
I was so pleased to learn about, and experience some exclusive things that made this a once-in-a-lifetime world-class experience. I loved learning about the Taylor Room, named after Elizabeth Taylor who spent time with Gianni Bulgari while she was filming Cleopatra. It is now a private haven with sliding doors and velvet sofas where special clients can spend time making their Bulgari selections. The “secret” door that Audrey Hepburn and Kirk Douglas used in the 60’s to elude paparazzi was fun to see, and I was given a special tour of the private collection of Bulgari jewels on the top floor of the store, not open to the public.
But mostly I was inspired to learn that Sotirios Voulgaris, the company’s Greek founder, created the very first designs of what is now the trademark and often imitated Bulgari look based on inspiration he got from everyday things like the way curb cobbles fit together and palazzos are designed. He was a true talent for finding beauty in his surroundings and immortalising them in jewellery he crafted with his hands.
I was so happy to adventure on my own through the streets of Rome before I left. With 280 fountains and more than 900 churches as well as some of the most incredible ancient structures and sites, I made a short list and visited the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and Colloseum which were all accessible from the hotel with opportunities to have gelato, pasta, pizza and get happily lost along the way.
Hotel de Russie
Via del Babuino, 9, 00187 Roma, Italy
The Fit Traveller was a guest of Hotel de Russie for this stay. As always, the opinions, words and images are authentically our own.