Federico Fellini's film, La Dolce Vita, perfectly captured an era in Rome's colourful history. As a result, the Via Veneto and the Quartiere Ludovisi became one of the most glamorous parts of the city. Now, although the fashionable crowd has moved on, the area is still an elegant and relatively peaceful corner from which to explore the Eternal City.
The Sofitel Roma is a few steps from the Via Veneto, but its location is not the only reason for its claim to connections with the film. Some scenes were filmed here, and Fellini favoured the seventh-floor suite, hidden from the paparazzi.
The sienna-hued palazzo was originally built in the late 19th century as an annex to accommodate guests visiting the magnificent Villa Ludovisi-Boncompagni. It first opened as a luxury hotel in 1890 and was called the Albergo Boston after the city where the owner made his fortune. In 2001, the hotel reopened following an extensive £5.7 million renovation and, judging by the results, it was money well spent.
If the idea of an identikit Sofitel style sends you shuddering, you'll be pleased to hear that this is also the first of the company's hotels to benefit from its new approach to design. The interior reflects the surroundings and is decorated in the opulent Roman neo-classical style. Polished marble and frescoes abound, and the reception is dominated by a sweeping staircase. Even the floor of the lift is adorned with a reproduction of a typical Roman mosaic found in sites such as Domus Aurea of Nerone. The hotel's restaurant is underneath a vaulted ceiling in the basement, where the stables used to be. Mention must also be made of the roof terrace with its spectacular views over the Roman skyline.
Location, Location, Location
One side of the hotel commands views of the gracious gardens of the Villa Borghese, the other the gardens of the French Academy. Via Lombardia 47, Rome, (00 39 06 47 80 29 58, www.sofitel.com). For UK reservations call 0870 609 0964.
Time to international airport: Fiumicino Airport is around 40 minutes by taxi, which should cost around €45 (£30).
Are You Lying Comfortably?
There are 113 bedrooms, four of which are suites. Rooms are decorated in the neo-classical style. My room had subdued yellow walls and voluminous peach silk curtains, set off by plenty of marble, walnut and gold. As the hotel also likes to bill itself as a deluxe hotel at four-star prices, you are also afforded extra luxuries such as crisp linen sheets. The suites occupying the sixth and seventh floors have their own terraces and wonderful views.
Bathrooms are smartly decked out in the true Italian style of marble, mosaic tiles and shower heads the size of pizzas.
Freebies: Roger & Gallet toiletries.
Keeping in touch: Each room is equipped with satellite television and three telephone lines.
The Bottom Line
Double rooms cost from €347 (£216) per room per night.
I'm not paying that: At the nearby Villa Borghese (no, not that one – this one is a hotel) at via Pinciana 31 (00 39 06 853 00 919), double rooms cost €180 (£112).Reuse content