Design and arts Luxury Hotels

ROME -1

From one difference to another. Windstar prides itself on being the cruise company that is 180° from the norm. Six Senses Rome is unique – OK, each Six Senses property is a one-off but this one is way off any template.

Look at its entrance, above left  It looks more like an extension of its neighbour, the Church of San Marcello al Corso, than a hotel. There’s merely a discreet sign by the main door to what was Palazzo Salviati Cesi Mellini. In the 17th century architect Tomaso De Marchis tweaked a 200-year old building here. Now, over the last couple of years, it’s been tweaked again, by Milan-based Spaniard Patricia Urquiola (warning, this is a woman who doesn’t do soft or subtle – she loves Travertine limestone, as much as possible which means bathrooms of what is now a 96-room hotel bear certain resemblance to what Ed Tuttle did at Park Hyatt Milan).

The hotel’s owned by Gruppo Statuto , and this is Six Senses’ first urban resort. Unlike some resort brands that venture somewhat unsuccessfully into the city arena, this one works. Go in the front entrance and walk 100 metres – up eight steps at the far end – to a street parallel to Via Corso. Along the way there are irregularly-placed oases with living trees, lots of seating everywhere, a chess board here. The area to the right of this walkway is ceiling-free. The wall can be shuttered back. The resulting open-air courtyard is very attractive, and does great business when the weather allows. The courtyard is, by the way, partly held together by massive iron girders painted the colour of Tuscan soil.

Inside, along the arterial walkway, on the right there’s also a semicircular bar with such skilful lighting you are almost obliged to patronise. Further on, on the right, glass walls looks into the signature Six Senses Earth Lab, which plays a weekly starring role during Sunday brunch. Brunch, and all meals, are in a flexible space to the left of the artery. There’s a central kitchen, with Josper Grill, open 360° to eating and buffet and meeting-space areas.

Girlahead dined in one of these areas and it was really fun. It was casual chic, served by chic youngsters in coppola flat caps – just like Francis Ford – and white sneakers. First came an old grains pizza, topped with truffle and mushroom.  Next, courtesy the Josper, a local fish, Corba rossa del Gargano, with more mushrooms, and a really tasty beetroot salad. This all went remarkably well with a Sassotondo Lady Marmalade Rosato, a Sangiovese and Ciliegiolo Rosé from Tuscany.

There’s one more highlight along the artery, by the way. In front of the Earth Lab a circular window in the floor, about 1.5 metres diameter, looks down to ancient ruins, a 4th century baptismal font. Later, Judit, a charming Togo-born Italian, was able to show the hotel’s citrus-forested rooftop, and, from summit to below-ground, to take a picture down by that font. See below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

and finally, pop in to the church for a Sunday morning service