Concierge.com's insider take:
When the historic De Russie reopened in 2000 after extensive renovations, it was the first in a new generation of Roman hotels, a neoclassical landmark with refreshing, Deco-tinged contemporary design, courtesy of Rocco Forte's sister Olga Polizzi and Italian architect Tommaso Ziffer. Rooms mix Robert Mapplethorpe flower photos with crisp white chaise longues; the best have long, thin terraces that overlook the rooftops of nearby Via Margutta. Right off Piazza del Popolo, the 125-room property's real trump card is its magnificent garden, which rises up the slopes of the Pincio hill on a series of palm-shaded and statue-strewn terraces, home to a butterfly sanctuary. The elegant Stravinskij Bar (martinis are a specialty) moves outside in summer, complete with cheesy pianist. Owen Wilson, George Clooney, and Julia Roberts are among the stars who have chosen the De Russie, but be warned: Rates are punishing, rooms for mere mortals are often on the small side, and service can go into meltdown at peak times.