Luxury Hotels

ROME – 5

Elodie Lacroix, above, is quite a gal. Born in Cannes to a family that seemed to produce only sons, apart from her, she studied Mandarin for five years, was somewhat coerced into specialising in finance as a career. She managed to divert, via a careers day, and landed a job with Accor. Now, some years later, she’s in her first GM role, in charge of Sofitel Villa Borghese, Rome.

This is an interesting hotel, on via Lombardia, one of the three parallel streets running from via Vittorio Veneto southwest to via di Porta Pinciana. Someone will probably open one of the two glass front doors but if that person’s otherwise occupied push the door, to enter a wonderland of colour. The lobby is not large but it’s a riot of colour. Designer Jean-Philippe Nuel – he who was comparatively subtle at Hotel InterContinental le Dieu Marseille – has here gone the ‘how many colours are in my paintbox?’ route.

The building, now transferring to new owners, Extendam, has seven floors with 78 rooms. Take an elevator, or 141 stairs, up to the top floor. Terrace Suite #701 was really lovely, with all-wall glass doors opening to  a 16sq m terrace that overlooked Villa Borghese.  It had a jacuzzi, covered because of the winter weather, and trees in pots and ample seating.

Inside, it was practical, stylish, with wood floors and all-white walls. In the sitting area a 1.5m-high mirror was elaborately framed in undulating white. An alcove near the front door had minibar, safe and storage. A half-bath just inside said front door complemented the main shower room – the pair of mottled grey sinks in there had sloping bases, which left somewhat minimal storage for bits and pieces. A royal blue yoga mat came in handy on the wood floor.

Highlight of the suite were the ceilings. Both rooms had white ceilings with full-colour cartouches framed in elaborate white moulded frames. The cartouches show an amalgam of bits of the Sistine Chapel. Wake up and look up.  Another key take-home was the do-it-yourself Campari try, with detailed instructions. Campari, Prosecco, ice and orange were provided. What a colourful drink. It fitted so well into the kaleidoscope of colour that is Sofitel Villa Borghese Rome. See below – and tomorrow.