When one refers to a five star hotel as ‘historic,’ speaking to its long, illustrious history and its high-profile clientele, one thinks ‘Grand Dame.’ It is possible, however, to be both historic and posh, to be both a grand dame in the most positive sense of the expression and an intimate, evidently family-run property. It is indeed possible to have bellmen in tailcoats and top-hats but whose personalities and demeanors exude contemporary luxury, none too stuffy, none too extravagant. A stunning indoor pool, an extensive spa, plush, oversized rooms, (some with enviable wrap-around terraces), and the most fabulous interior garden in all of Rome… well all of this is possible if one is referring to Hotel de Russie.
Romans are decidedly decisive people. They make up their mind about something- whether it be the recipe for pasta e ceci, their favorite caffe bar, or where they fancy parking their car (at an angle in the middle of the street or otherwise half on the sidewalk), and that is that. So when one sees a constant, steady stream of Romans at a non-Italian-owned luxury hotel, one must assume it is for good reason. In fact, the interior garden at Hotel de Russie, located just off of Piazza del Popolo, is one of the most popular addresses in town for morning caffe meetings, lunches al fresco, aperitivi, or private events.
The “Secret Garden,” ensconced in roses and orange blossoms, is an oasis in the center of the vibrant city, its verdant ‘wall’ stretching all the way up to the adjacent Villa Borghese Gardens. Guests with garden views feel as though they have truly encapsulated a proper ‘Roman Holiday,’ in that they are in the heart of the urban center but are surrounded by Southern Italy’s lush flora and park views. The signature grapefruit-pink building is a little bit tropical Florida, a little bit tropical Roma, and its azure shades are nearly identical to the city’s omnipresent blue skies.
Our oversized room was decorated in elegant fabrics and feminine lines. A beautiful chaise lounge begged to be given company, especially with its prime position next to not one, but three balcon-ettes overlooking Via del Babuino and Piazza del Popolo. The hotel’s suites, with their extraordinarily large terraces, are perfect for those who dain to feel as if they indeed call Hotel de Russie home. The size is quite spacious enough to take up residence for a decent amount of time, and the terraces large enough for wedding parties and birthday bashes. Imagine waking up in your penthouse apartment at Hotel de Russie and stepping out onto the treetops of Villa Borghese, for this is indeed the feeling. Might I underline the terraces once more? Where else in Roma will you find such expansiveness?
This was my first experience in a Rocco Forte hotel, and because it is a brand with a number of properties under its name, I assumed the experience to take on the ambience of a ‘larger’ hotel. Quite the contrary, the property feels as intimate and familial as one with just 10 rooms. The service is superlative, the personalization and recognition is incredible (literally in-credible; I was quite blown away), and the impression that one is left with is that of a truly winning team. Everything at Hotel de Russie, every last detail, is personal to the owners. Storied past or not, illustrious clientele or otherwise, it does not make a lick of a difference. Hotel de Russie is a glittering, ever-present property, which continues to win the partiality of celebrities, international travelers, and yes, Romans alike.