Luxury Hotels

ROME – 7

Francesco Roccato is a Torinese with a jolly lot of joie de vire. We’re going to have fun, he announced, while posing in front of distorting mirrors at De La Ville Roma, a Rocco Forte Hotel at via Sistina 67/69. He’s the boss.

It’s said that the building was a whorehouse at one time long long ago – if true, lucky ladies of the night, working 30 metres from the top of the Spanish Steps. Two adjacent buildings were here from the 17th century and they were also various papal and monasterial. In the third quarter of the 20th century this complex was a 193-room Intercon, and it ran as such until a demolition party on 19th September 2017 invited the guests literally to pick up sledgehammers and have fun.

The hotel re-opened 2019 as a 104-roomer. It’s gorgeous, designer Olga Polizzi at her best. Behind the conciergerie a lemon wall holds a collage of plaster moulds. Next to it a six-metre walkway is lined with the truth-defying fairground mirrors. Walk to the Irene Forte Spa via a florist’s display area. Further on there’s more lemon, an entire withdrawing room, with 18th century prints ‘hanging’, or rather printed, right to the high ceiling. One elevator, in the stairwell of the original 191-step staircase, is panoramic. All the others have different floral or leaf interiors.

Top floor suite 702, The Canova Suite, immediately says ‘this is Rome’. There’s a terrace, about 25sq m total, with blood-cream umbrellas and seating and a view, to two o’clock as you look straight out, own the Steps. The sunset that night was brilliant.  See below. Inside, both the sitting room and bedroom reflect local colours, terracotta and soft pine. At least a dozen new hardback copies of P.G. Wodehouse’s divinely-written books, Bertie Wooster and friends, are scattered about. Would that there was time – later, Girlahead starts Frozen Assets, hangs on every word but is asleep within two minutes. (Thank goodness for here eye mask as it is more than a little difficult to work out which light switch controls what) And that’s the end of another lovely day in paradise, or at least Rome….