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Rome Cavalieri, Italy
Rome 00136, Italy
Tel: 800 445 8667 (toll-free), Tel: 39 06 3509 1
Recently dropping "Hilton" from its name as part of its Waldorf-Astoria Collection rebranding, this 1960s classic on lofty Monte Mario may be a fair hike from the sights (a 20-minute taxi ride to the Vatican, for instance), but there's regular shuttle-bus service, and the payback is the amazing view over the centro storico—plus the city's largest hotel pool, attached to a huge spa and fitness center. The 370 rooms are lushly decorated, all with balconies, and even the standard Deluxe doubles feel spacious. But for the full luxury experience, check into one of the 25 suites, or any of the Imperial Rooms on the top two floors; the latter feature more opulent decor, choicer fabrics, a dedicated Imperial Club bar and breakfast room, and even a separate elevator, which whisks guests straight up past the plebs—and as you'd expect, the penthouse is pretty spectacular, too, with some of the best views in the city. The owner, Angelo Guido Terruzzi, is an art collector, and many of his purchases are scattered around the hotel. They include a cycle of paintings by Tiepolo in the lobby, for which Terruzzi paid $8 million in May 2006. The eighth floor hosts La Pergola restaurant, fiefdom of German super-chef Heinz Beck.
Gladiatori Palazzo Manfredi, Italy
Rome 00184, Italy
Tel: 39 06 7759 1380
This pretty pink palazzo, with its foundations in the Ludus Magnus (ancient Rome's gladiator training school), is about as close as you can sleep to the Colosseum. In fact, deluxe rooms have an unimpeded view of that iconic monument. More prosaically speaking, this 16-room five-star endears itself to travelers who prize a central location and boutique comforts (coffee-makers, a mini gym, in-room massages, and contemporary-classic decor) despite the thundering traffic (even soundproofed windows don't muffle it entirely). Five luxuriously appointed apartments, all with full hotel services but without the Colosseum view, allow groups of up to five travelers to opt for a self-catering stay. A big selling point is the view from the rooftop bar and restaurant, which is, quite simply, stunning.—Lee Marshall
Portrait Suites, Italy
Tel: 39 06 6938 0742
In Milan and Florence, fashion designers long ago extended their operations into the hotel sector. Rome, on the other hand, had to wait until 2006 to get its first fashion hotel, courtesy of Salvatore Ferragamo. Located above the flagship store on chic Via Condotti, the design house and architect Michele Bonan modeled Portrait Suites on a London gentleman's club. Vintage fashion photos and sketches from the company archive line the walls of public spaces. In the rooms, a soothing neutral color scheme is interrupted by dashes of lime and pink, and curtains are subtly decorated with the Ferragamo logo. If you tire of the gourmet eating options in the surrounding centro storico, you can cook in your private kitchen, complete with dishwasher. The roof terrace, where breakfast is served in good weather, followed by apertivi in the evening, has spectacular views over the neighborhood.
St. George, Italy
Tel: 39 06 686611
Hotel Hassler, Italy
Tel: 39 06 699 340
Perched at the top of the Spanish Steps, the classic Hassler has spectacular views and—with more gold and brocade than a Palm Beach dowager—a timeless, stately elegance. Bigger rooms come with ornate moldings and ceiling frescoes, and a family-owned atmosphere still prevails. To make sure you get your money's worth, ask for a city-side view. The Hassler also has a restaurant worthy of the hotel's august reputation: stylish rooftop perch Imago, helmed by talented young chef Francesco Apreda. Oenophiles should consider staying at the adjacent Il Palazzetto: four intimate suites above a wine school, restaurant, and bar that are run by the hotel (39-06-699-0878; www.wineacademyroma.com).