Ed.: Welcome to Italy Magazine’s new and more holistic coverage of hotels around Italy. Keep an eye on this series as it continues to grow, and check back for more vetted-by-us properties when you’re planning your next trip.
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Why we love it
The “secret” garden might be Rome’s worst kept secret, but it’s still a blissfully verdant oasis in the heart of the city.
What to expect
This five-star hotel is a favorite of A-list celebrities, but the staff treats normal people like VIPs and VIPs like normal people, which is one of the reasons why guests keep going back. In the warmer months, the Stravinskij Bar in the courtyard is the place to be and the restaurant is popular among locals and visitors. The hotel recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, but far from resting on its laurels, it’s constantly upgrading elements, from the garden to the suites.
Located in a building designed by Giuseppe Valadier, who also designed the nearby Piazza del Popolo, this hotel has lived many lives. In the early 20th century, it hosted luminaries like Picasso and Jean Cocteau, then served as offices for RAI, before once again becoming a hotel, this time under the Rocco Forte Hotels group.
Location, location, location
Just off Piazza del Popolo on Via del Babuino, the hotel is in the heart of Rome’s chic shopping area. The Spanish Steps are about a 10-minute walk away. The Flaminio metro stop is nearby, but guests who can afford to stay here are more likely to take a taxi.
Where you'll sleep
Rooms and suites are tastefully decorated with modern furniture and Roman-inspired decor, such as mosaic tiles in the bathrooms and busts inspired by ancient sculptures. The bath products by Irene Forte are made using ingredients that grow on the family’s Sicilian resort. The top suites are named for illustrious past guests, including Picasso and Nijinsky. Some rooms have a view of the garden while others look out at the piazza, so if you have a preference, specify it when booking.
Dining and drinks
The all’aperto Stravinskij Bar is the place to see and be seen. It has an extensive list of Martini variations, but you also can’t go wrong with a Stravinskij Spritz, made using the hotel’s take on Aperol. The restaurant, Le Jardin de Russie, overlooks the bar and has a laid-back, romantic atmosphere. The menus were created by acclaimed chef Fulvio Pierangelini, who prizes simple recipes made using the best ingredients above all else. Try the ravioli cacio e pepe or the spaghetti al pomodoro.
The staff here are consummate professionals, and many of them have worked here for a decade or more. I visit the restaurant and bar frequently and am always greeted warmly. Hotels at this price point can sometimes feel stuffy, but the staff here are happy to chat and joke with guests.
I haven’t personally used the spa, but it has an indoor pool and Finnish sauna. Massages and facials incorporate beauty products by Irene Forte. There’s also a hair salon and a nail salon that offers manicures and pedicures.
You should know...
The hotel’s resident florist, Sebastian Flowers, is responsible for the beautiful displays in the lobby and creates bespoke bouquets for special occasions like anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, and weddings. The concierge team has all the contacts you need for experiences ranging from guided Vespa tours to exclusive access to the Sistine Chapel.
The hotel has an elevator and ADA-friendly rooms and bathrooms.
Features & amenities
- City setting
- Free WiFi
- Fitness room
- Pets allowed
- Family friendly
Hotel de Russie
Via del Babuino, 9 - Rome
Tel. 39 063288839