Rome’s Best Hotels For Business And Pleasure

While the allure of Rome may make tourism its principal industry, it is also a major international business center whose travelers require as much modernity and efficiency as they do the traditional comforts of a city that can be mindbogglingly difficult to negotiate. These travelers also may regard being slightly out of the way from Rome’s tourist maelstrom or as near as possible to exit options as virtues during a short stay. Here are some diverse hotels that fill those requirements splendidly.

GRAN MELIÁ ROME 
Via del Gianicolo, 3
+ 39- 06-925901

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The new Gran Meliá Rome (above) boasts a marvelous panorama on the great city, preceded by a short ride up a winding hill, removing you from the traffic miasma below. Indeed, the sprawling manor seems more like a country resort than a city hotel with public spaces wider, broader and longer than most others in Rome, and a very young staff, fluent in several languages who try very hard to make your stay according to what your personal ideals of service might be. Still, though you seem remote, you may walk to Trastevere and the Vatican in five minutes and to the Piazza Navona in fifteen.

This makes the best of both possible worlds — very old and very new — the theme throughout the hotel, with its outdoor pool surrounded by the city’s first botanical gardens, themselves worth a leisurely stroll. The indoor pool more resembles what a wealthy Roman of 50 AD might have kept all to himself. The naturally lighted spa is by Clarins and includes a relaxation area, sauna, Turkish bath with chrome-aromatherapy, sensorial showers, external vitality pool, private Turkish bath, and fitness area with a personal trainer service.

My favorite public room is the Library, set in what was once a 19th century church, where you can relax, have cocktails or a snack, also available at the casual glassed-in Nectar Bar.

More upscale dining is in Vivavoce, whose chef consultant is the great Alfonso Iaccarino of Don Alfonso near Naples.

The premises were once the site of the Villa Agrippina, home to emperor Nero’s mother, overlooking the Tiber. We stayed in a premium double room with a city view (left), the sleeping area, above whose bed is a stunning life-size faux mural capturing a section of a Renaissance painter’s masterpiece, was not particularly spacious, although the glassed-in bath and shower were larger and more California in style than you’d ever expect in Rome. 

BAGLIONI HOTEL REGINA
Via Veneto, 70/A
+39 06 421111
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Who doesn’t want to stay on the Via Veneto — the fabled winding street bound by the Villa Borghese and the Piazza Barbarini? The Baglioni Hotel Regina, now within the Baglioni empire, has maintained and refreshed its effusive art déco exterior, with its fanned out glass and metal awning, the polished marble lobby and bright, very comfortable, modern rooms, all well-wired for the contemporary traveler, including 60 international TV channels. Our suite was done in black and off-white colors and buffed marble floors, heavy patterned draperies, antique desks and mirrors.

The Regina’s desirable location within easy walking distance to Maria della Vittoria church, the Spanish Steps, and Via Sistina gives it a centrality and access to all Rome’s transportation, including the subway and train station.
The Regina’s Brunello dining room has the restraint of studied elegance and is neo-classical in décor, with a glimmering Venetian chandelier in the lounge area and appointments in the color purple, which once distinguished the Roman senatorial class. Our meal was a fine marriage of Roman, Italian and Mediterranean elements, including springtime goat’s cheese stuffed zucchini flowers with just a hint of anchovies; risotto with salted codfish, yellow and green peppers and a dusting of black sesame powder; red shrimps with a foam of yogurt and granita of passion fruit; and paccheri pasta (above) with basil sauce on cherry tomatoes extract, buffalo mozzarella flakes and Tuscan olive oil, as well as several marked vegetarian options.

MASSIMO D’AZEGLIO
Via Cavour, 18 
+39- 06 4870270

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Just a block away from the Termini train station, the Massimo d’Azeglio is easily the most accessible and luxurious hotel in the neighborhood. It is owned by the Bettoja family, which also runs the Mediterraneo across the street, and is done throughout the public rooms in fin de siècle décor, rich in reds and golds, with a distinguished collection of paintings from the Risorgimento period of Italy’s unification, including a self-portrait of painter-statesman Massimo d’Azeglio himself.

With 185 rooms, the hotel is a particular favorite for business meetings in rooms outfitted with state-of-the-art tech equipment. The bedrooms are fairly basic in décor, though with excellent large bathrooms adding to the comfort.
There are two restaurants, the main dining room (above) at street level, and below, a charming, rustic wine cellar trattoria (top), at its best when guests are at their most romantic. We dined upstairs in a room that has admirably remained unchanged for decades, except for better lighting, hearkening back to days when dining was intended to be relaxing and enjoyed at your leisure, quiet enough for business, lovely enough for lingering. It would not be an idle thought to close your eyes and imagine Gregory Peck seducing Audrey Hepburn at a well-set table here with its flattering pink linens and red flowers, over a glass of Frascati and dishes from Piedmont, like codfish with polenta; meat ravioli with scallop sauce, and a bollito misto of boiled meats.

Published: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-mariani/romes-best-hotels-for-bus_b_10812900.html

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