Since opening in 1963, the Rome Cavalieri, a Waldorf Astoria resort, has become synonymous with glamorous Italian luxury.
Royalty, Italy’s moneyed elite and everyone from Fred Astaire to George Clooney and Brad Pitt have flocked here to escape the chaos of the city, be pampered and enjoy the best view in Rome.
With 15 acres of landscaped grounds and wooded parkland, a sumptuous spa, three pools, a helipad and a restaurant said to be the best in Italy, the five-star hotel offers a seriously luxe take on the city break
Perched on Monte Mario, the highest hill in Rome, the Cavalieri is 20 minutes outside the city and its unique location is both its trump card and only drawback. With the whole city spread out below you and the dome of St Peter’s glittering in the sunlight, the views alone are worth checking in for though that means the city’s famous sights are definitely not within walking distance. Instead, the Cavalieri offers a free hourly shuttle bus, but I found jumping in an Uber more convenient than sticking to a timetable.
The hotel itself is pure old-school opulence: regal gold and marble at every turn, sweeping staircases, gleaming chandeliers and walls adorned with the largest private art collection in Europe. More than 1000 antique sculptures, paintings and furniture include costumes from ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, signed Andy Warhols, a sofa designed by Karl Lagerfeld for his own Paris apartment and three prized Tiepolo tapestries in the lobby worth an eye-watering $28 million.
Understated luxury is not an option. Rooms boast sumptuous thick carpet and dramatic heavy curtains in gold and royal blue, antique writing desks, balconies and wall-to-wall marble bathrooms. But it’s the little touches that make it feel really indulgent: the clever soundproofed double doors, the extensive pillow and soap menus and the vast array of Salvatore Ferragamo bath products including everything from facial mist to eye cream.
If you really have cash to splash, treat yourself to the decadent Penthouse Suite, where Leonardo DiCaprio lived for several weeks while filming Gangs of New York. You just might lose interest in city sightseeing once you see its private bar and wine cellar, Swarovski crystal taps, walk in dressing room, huge chromo-therapy bath and secret staircase leading to a huge terrace, outdoor dining area and hot tub with astonishing views across the whole city skyline.
Set yourself up for a long day in Rome by hitting the extravagant breakfast buffet with tables groaning under fruit, freshly baked pastries and cakes, Chinese food and even a Nutella corner.
Elsewhere, the poolside restaurant L’Uliveto serves a Mediterranean menu while those staying in Imperial rooms can drop in to the club lounge for complimentary refreshments all day including a delicious afternoon tea, frozen yoghurt counter and cocktails and hors d’oeuvres to enjoy as the sun sets. Book very early and you can rub shoulders with Rome’s glitterati at the top floor La Pergola, the only restaurant in the city with three Michelin stars helmed by iconic chef and Michelle Obama favourite, Heinz Beck.
Things to do
Of course, Rome needs no introduction but there’s so much to do in the hotel itself, you could (almost) be forgiven for never leaving.
Head to the tennis courts where Venus Williams and Novak Djokovic have both been spotted, try gladiator school or sign up for the hotel’s Super-Car Experience to take a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati or Aston Martin for a spin. I sampled the superb Ancient Rome-themed spa instead, with its heated glass domed pool, sauna, Turkish bath and La Prairie treatments. Not exactly your average city break then.
Nightly rates at Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Resort start from 323 Euros (approx. £277) in a Deluxe Room, double occupancy. For reservations and enquiries, please visit www.romecavalieri.com or call +39 06 35091.
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