Luxury Hotels

ROME – 3

It could have been a bit daunting arriving at Hotel Hassler Roma. This is a globally-recognised icon hotel, sitting, or rather soaring, above The Spanish Steps. It’s been in the Wirth family for six generations. How does a first-time visitor feel?

The answer is one word, welcomed. Thoroughly welcomed and at ease, from beginning to end. The hotel’s sleek people mover – like all luxury institutions in Italy, it seems, a black German, from Mercedes-Benz – glides through the hordes of tourists invariably milling around Piazza della Trinita dei Monti, in front of the hotel. A doorman in a camel-white coat is there to welcome, and push the gold-edged revolving door. The darkish lobby has masses of flowers. A black she-wolf sculpture is a reminder of the story of twins Romulus and Remus, who supposedly founded Rome in the year 753 BC.

Today the 87-room Hassler is sixth-generation run, by twins Roberto Jr and Veruschka Wirth – see below. He trained partly at Four Seasons in London, she at The Newbury in Boston MA. They are both in the office, their shared office, every day. Like many twins they share so much, including email. Their birthday is tomorrow and they will celebrate. With each other. And they may be a mere 32 but, honestly, word in the knowledgeable Roman street is that they’re doing a darned good job.

This is the kind of thoughtful place that, if you ask for a newspaper tomorrow they immediately ask if you’ve had today’s, and produce one. Up in suite 610 they seem to have thought of everything, including a knife sharp enough cut the fruit bowl’s mango – which is perfectly ripe of course. 610, apparently, is where Audrey Hepburn lived when shooting the 1953 classic, Roman Holiday, with Gregory Peck.

Every suite is different.  #503, overlooking The Steps, has a lifesize china Dalmatian (above) on its intimate balcony. In general, garden-facing rooms, facing away from the Steps, are not only more peaceful but they tend to be larger.

The Hassler can be summed up as the opposite to its name. It’s no hassle staying here. It’s peaceful, in a theatre that is larger than life.