Last Updated on March 9, 2022
Luxury, Art and More in Rome:
Now that Covid-19 restrictions are lifting across Europe it seemed like the right time to travel again. I wanted to brush up on my Renaissance painters, Caravaggio, Raphael and Michelangelo in particular, so a trip to Rome to stay at the Aleph Rome was the order of the day. There are still some restrictions in place. At the moment Italy requires travellers to have a Green Pass to access restaurants, museums and galleries but Brits can use their Covid Booster dose QR code on the NHS app for this purpose. When I went you also needed to wear an FFP 2 mask for travel and entertainment options, fill in a standard passenger locator form and take a Lateral Flow Antigen test before flying. But it’s a small price to pay for a slice of La Dolce Vita and an escape from the British weather.
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The Aleph Hotel – Hilton by Curio
We were lucky enough to be staying in 5-star luxury, reviewing the multi-award-winning Aleph Hotel from the Hilton by Curio Collection. The Curio Collection is the Hilton group’s upmarket range with each hotel retaining its own style and branding. The hotel combines an intimate ‘boutique’ feel whilst having all the luxury features that you would expect from a 5-star property. It’s just a short hop by cab from Termini Station and so is easy to get to from Fiumicino Airport which connects to Termini via the regular Leonardo Express trains.
The Aleph Rome Hotel is well positioned, with the stylish Villa Borghese Park and the iconic Galleria Borghese to the north and the opera at La Scala and the sensational shopping of the Via Condotti to the west. Rome’s historical centre – the ‘centro storico’ – with the super-instagrammable Pantheon and Trevi Fountain being just a short walk from the hotel.
The 1930s building used to be a bank and has stunning marble interiors combined with modern features and all the facilities you might need. The lobby is perfect for an informal get together over a coffee and some pastries or even something stronger…
Talking of which the ground-floor Onyx Bar is the go-to place for a cocktail or an aperitivo. With its signature onyx marble panels, globe filament lamps and matching banquettes and chairs you can see why it has become a destination for Rome’s smart set.
With suave service and delicious nibbles on, we loved our cocktails, the classic Roman bitter notes of the Dolcevita and the sweeter, refreshing Passion Collins; and for cigar connoisseurs, the Cognac Lounge is one of Rome’s few spots to enjoy an indoor puff with a glass of something special.
The Hotel has 88 rooms, 4 suites and 10 junior suites one of which we were staying in. With elegant white marble floors, the rooms are subtly furnished in shades of ecru and ivory with a playful backlit organically shaped ceiling light feature. The bed combines firmness with comfort and there’s even a pillow menu for the most discerning of necks! There are plenty of charging outlets (so essential these days!) as well as a Nespresso machine, two TVs and a free minibar.
And our junior suite had plenty of room for elegant lounging
The marble bathroom, kitted out with sweet-smelling Acqua di Parma toiletries and matching dressing gowns and slippers, has an immersive walk-in rain shower which was perfect for washing off the cares of the day.
Le Caveau Spa at the Aleph Rome Hotel
If wellness is your thing then you need to check out Le Caveau Spa. It used to be a bank vault and still has its amazing signature security door as a feature.
There’s a well-appointed gym, a Hammam, a pool with jacuzzi, a Finnish sauna and 2 treatment rooms. The skilled staff use ELEMIS products in treatments such as the Crystal Pro-collagen Age Defy and Illuminating Skin Soother as well as offering Biotec facials, manicures and pedicures.
I started off in the pool that has a variety of sitting and lying jacuzzi zones – perfect for relaxing after a hard couple of days pounding the tourist trail. There is also a fantastic waterfall shower that pounds the back into pleasurable submission. After the pool I had a fabulous full-body destressing massage – the masseuse was very skilled and all my aches and pains and little niggles were smoothed away and I felt properly rested and ready for some more dolce vita!
Talking of which, in the warmer months the hotel opens its Sky Blu outdoor terrace with a rooftop pool. It has become quite the destination for evening drinks and there’s even an outdoor Shisha corner if that’s your thing.
Dining at the Aleph Rome Hotel
The adjacent Sky Blu Trattoria style signature restaurant was closed during our visit because of the time of year so we got to eat in the Onyx Bar where the restaurant’s chef was cooked us a fantastic meal. We were drinking a bottle of Sul Vulcano Etna Bianco, Donnafugata. Made from the white Carricante grape, it was full of minerality and herbal notes. We started with some delicious snacks; breadcrumbed mozzarella, a guacamole cigar, and a tuna tartare.
For our starters we had a light pumpkin flan on a rich chestnut puree with a gentle Gorgonzola sauce. This was a dish that was new to me and I loved it, with the sweetness of the pumpkin being offset by the earthiness of the chestnut and creamy piquant Gorgonzola sauce. A super fresh tuna tartare came topped with smooth guacamole and the crunch of artichokes salad with the sweetness of mango on the side.
“Gragnano” Spaghetti was perfectly al dente topped with a sweet Datterini tomato and an intense basil sauce.
A beautifully seared sea bass fillet was accompanied by crisp, fluffy polenta chips with a puntarelle salad. I loved the hot light batter of my tempura of squid, prawns, vegetables served which was with a lovely lemon mayonnaise.
To finish off, it had to be a Tiramisu – and this one was excellent.
Breakfast at the 1030s restaurant breakfast was a splendid collation of fresh pastries, cold cuts and hot dishes, with a featured Parmesan round and a fresh honeycomb. The coffee is fantastic and for those of you who are dairy-free – soy milk is very available everywhere, including at the Aleph Rome. There are freshly pressed juices and even a bottle of Prosecco to help you ease into your day.
Why Stay at the Aleph Rome Hotel?
The Aleph Rome Hotel is everything you want from a 5-star hotel and more. It’s luxurious, well-situated and has an individual sense of style that delights. The food and beverage offer is top-class and the staff are charming and well-trained. I would love to go back in the summer and enjoy the rooftop bar, restaurant and pool; but if you’re in Rome to see the historic sites and great art that graces the city, then travelling out of season is a smart move with queues being much smaller at the major attractions such as St Peter’s or the Vatican Museum, and the Aleph Rome Hotel will make a perfect base for your trip.
Via di San Basilio, 15, Rome, 00187, Italy
An Art Itinerary for Rome
For those travelling, like me to brush up on their Renaissance Art, here’s a recommended itinerary.
Camillo Pamphilj and his family filled this palace full of masterpieces by Caravaggio, Tiziano, Raffaello, Carracci and Bernini from the 17th century on.
The Pantheon started its life as a Roman temple becoming a Catholic church in AD 609. It’s famous for the immense dome with a hole at the top that allows light and rain to pour in onto the marble floor below.
The Palazzo Colonna dates back to the fourteenth century and is still inhabited by the Colonna family. It has extraordinary interiors and gardens as well as masterpieces aplenty, and the ending of the Audrey Hepburn classic movie Roman Holiday was filmed in its glorious Sala Grande Galleria
Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese commissioned and stole some of the greatest artwork of the Rennaissance which is housed in his grand palace situated in the Villa Borghese Park, also a great place for a stroll.
The French church is worth a visit for the gorgeous triptych of paintings by Caravaggio in the Contarelli Chapel.
There are wonderful portraits at the Barberini Gallery. Look out for La Fornarina, a picture of his girlfriend by Raphael, Hans Holbein’s Portrait of Henry VIII and Piero di Cosimo’s St Mary Magdalene.
If you are a fan of frescoes then the charming Villa Farnesina should be on your itinerary. Built in the early 16th C for a rich Sienese banker Agostino Chigi Venus and Psyche, there are works by Raphael, Sebastiano del Piombo, Giovanni Antonio Bazzi and Peruzzi.
St Peter’s is the spiritual home of Roman Catholicism and one of the world’s great cathedrals. Marvel at Bernini’s colonnade and the 130 metre high Buonarroti Dome.
Buy your tickets online in advance to avoid the queues. You get to see not only the star attractions such as Michelangelo’s awe-inspiring Sistine Chapel and the series of rooms featuring sublime Raphael frescoes but also one of the great world collections of art and historical artefacts.
We loved staying at the Aleph Rome – and have also tried another hotel in the group – the Fellows Rooms hotel in Cambridge. Check out our review