In central Rome it doesn’t get much more stylish than the Via de Borgognona district; and this is where Small Luxury Hotels of the World has one of its most elegant properties, the historic Hotel D’Inghilterra. This once palatial residence offers a fine dining restaurant, including a smart Roman alfresco terrace; a cosy bar, and opulent drawing rooms.
By Andrew Forbes
Remember the scene in Wyler’s movie, ‘Roman Holiday’ where Gregory Peck ‘accidently’ meets Audrey Hepburn on the Spanish Steps? Such a lovely movie. Well Hotel D’Inghilterra is seductively close to those romantic Spanish Steps. In fact, if you’re heading to Rome, then this is the neighbourhood where you’ll probably want to be based.
It’s close to the most romantic and iconic sights of the city and from the hotel it’s also feasible to walk to the Colosseum, and the Pantheon; however a taxi or public transport is needed to cross the river to get to the Vatican.
The hotel has an aristocratic heritage, dating back to the mid-sixteenth century, when it was a noble residence offering accommodation for the palace opposite.
Since the era of the European Grand Tour when British nobility and international elite would visit Rome, the hotel has been an established place of elegant hospitality, and a favourite with the British, a history reflected in its name.
Now surrounded by designer stores and chic boutiques Hotel D’Inghilterra is very much an international hotel, with an upscale, decadent and extravagant feel – they rightly say it’s where
where Italian opulence meets boutique charm
The lobby and public rooms are of modest dimensions and give the place a boutique mansion house feel rather than that of a grand hotel.
A gilt coat of arms sits high above the front desk adding a distinct aristocratic air, whilst antiques and dark woods like ebony and mahogany, together with gilt framed artworks, book cases filled with leather bound antique tomes, and softly lit table lamps together create a chic, classic style for the hotel lounge spaces. Plush sofas in green and amber and rich fabrics like velvet and chiffon complete the luxury ambiance from a by-gone era.
The area in front of the hotel is cobbled and offers space for cars to draw up in front of the hotel without holding up the traffic – so arrival is not a hurried experience as in some city centre properties.
The uniformed doorman took my cases from the taxi on arrival and arranged for them to be delivered to the room. No other guests were at front desk so my check in was swift.
I was personally taken to my room and the main features of the space were explained to me – nice touch and certainly one I expect from a 5 star hotel.
Waiting for me in the room was a table laden with treats – a chilled bottle of Prosecco and a selection of handmade chocolates from the hotel’s pastry chef. A wonderful way to start my stay.
Hotel D’Inghilterra offers a variety of guest rooms and suites. The theme is definitely classic, although some are more traditional than others. The different floors of the hotel have been renovated at different times, so the rooms displayed on the website might not relate to the room you are allocated. So do check this when you arrive.
My room was on the fourth floor which has in recent years undergone a renovation with rooms given a slightly more contemporary feel with brighter carpets, fabrics, and modern art yet maintaining the classic theme of the hotel with crystal chandeliers in the bedroom and living space and dark furniture. My suite was also completely carpeted in dark red – there was no shortage of colour, so the white walls provided an important balance.
The suite was divided into two spaces – the living area with small sofa, and a desk with chair; whilst opposite was the sleeping area with built-in wardrobes and the bed with over-sized damask bedhead.
The space was light and colourful and the welcome amenity was splendid but the room lacked just a few elements of attention to detail. It would have been good to have seen an orchid or a flower stem in the bathroom, as shown on the website, and maybe a few magazines or a handback book in the living area to make it more welcoming.
Complimentary mineral water was provided.
In addition to the safe, minibar and free Wi-Fi, other expected amenities included contemporary TVs were in both the bedroom and sitting area.
The room benefited from twin windows but they overlooked a neighbourhood patio and the backs of old apartment buildings so I didn’t have a romantic view of narrow Roman streets – confirm the orientation of your room at check-in.
I enjoyed the space – the living area was idea to enjoy that bottle of prosecco and get in the mood for an evening out in Rome.
However I struggled a little with the lighting controls in the room, and also I missed having electrical outlets beside the bed – I’m accustomed to having my phone at hand. I think it would be good to have dimmer switches for the chandeliers as they are very bright.
A standard turndown service was provided without the need to request it. Slippers and a thick cotton robe were placed out and the room and bathroom tidied.
The marble bathroom was cavernous with large bathtub with cascade-style faucet, and additional shower rose. The generously appointed bath and body products were by Penhaligons.
The 4th floor hallways are very elegantly presented – charming and classic yet with a modern monochromatic touch.
Cafe Romano – this is the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, which offers a classic Roman menu by Chef Antonio Vitale.
The restaurant has an alfresco terrace for dining on Via Borgogna – overall a very elegant and sophisticated ambiance.
Bond Bar – this is the hotel’s intimate bar, decorated with period British prints, echoing the hotel’s popularity since the era of the Grand Tour. Here I tried appetisers including exceptional fried courgette flowers filled with ricotta – a real classic. Food was very good and service from the team responsive and friendly.
Address: Via Bocca di Leone 14 00187 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 06 699811