Stay the night: NH Santo Stefano, Turin

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

A businessman's hotel in a businessman's city. But this one is a cut above the rest, thanks to its design, says Adrian Mourby

Despite appearances to the contrary, Turin's NH Santo Stefano is a new-build. After many years as a Second World War bombsite (RAF pilots were looking for the Fiat factory) and then as a car park, this isolated spot in the city's historic centre was turned into a hotel for the 2006 Winter Olympics.

The architect is Roberto Gabetti of Gabetti and Isola, a local firm that has led the retreat from acontextural (and sometimes just plain nasty) Italian modernism. His creative flourish was to build the hotel's lobby as an echo of the red-brick Roman Porta Palatina opposite, but instead of filling in the floors above reception, Gabetti left the tower empty save for a spiral staircase that winds gradually up towards the fifth floor.

Up here there is an open-air "Vista Panoramico" offering a splendid view across the city's exposed Roman remains, the campanile of the cathedral and the Italian Alps beyond. It's a dramatic touch that may well have cost the hotel 10 bedrooms, but the impact is well worth the loss of income.

The rest of the hotel is arranged around an inner courtyard known as the Cloister, which is filled with white garden furniture in anticipation of warm summer evenings. Santo Stefano is very much a businessman's hotel in what is very much a businessman's city, but its designer flourishes raise it well above the norm. The bar looks like a library and has books in glass cases that you might want to read. The spa is based around a Moroccan-style hammam with a timetable explaining which nights are misto and which women-only.

For cultural tourists Santo Stefano's great advantage is its proximity to the major sights. The cathedral with its world-famous Shroud is two minutes' walk away. Beyond that, several royal palaces and Teatro Regio are just round the corner.

The rooms

There are 125 rooms spread across five floors. The fifth is definitely the best, with lofty rooms under steep wooden eaves. Room lighting is provided by freestanding Tisettanta or Flos lamps made in Italy; great for atmosphere but switching each one on when you get back in can take a while. Most of the furniture is also locally sourced; sturdy beds by Altrenotti and armchairs and curtains by Rostagno. Bathrooms favour grey Italian marble tiles. Toiletries are NH's own Agua de la Tierra brand.

The food and drink

The ground-floor restaurant looks on to the Cloister and does an adequate buffet breakfast, but the decor is bland and doesn't encourage lingering. For lunch and dinner there is a menu dégustation of three courses, water, glass of wine and coffee all for €28 (£25). The bar provides snacks from 10am (when breakfast ends) to 1am and is much better on ambience. A chicken salad costs €10. Piedmontese wine (very good reds, indeed) starts at €14 a bottle.

Expect to pay €42 a head without wine for a meal if you're not opting for the menu dégustation.

The extras

Use of the hammam is €34 during the week and €38 at the weekend. There is free internet access by cable in all rooms, but the connection is variable.

The access

There's good access throughout the hotel for guests with disabilities; both lifts will accommodate wheelchairs. Children and small pets are welcome. There is a €20 charge per stay for pets. Children up to the age of 12 years stay for free if they share their parents' room.

The bill

Double rooms from €164 B&B. There are discounts for anyone aged under 30 or over 60. However, be warned, your passport will be checked on arrival to make sure you qualify.

The address

NH Santo Stefano, Via Porta Palatina 19, 10122 Torino (00 39 011 5223311; nh-hotels.com).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas