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Roman Holiday

Roman Holiday

Howard Street's Mark Davidson found that there’s undoubtedly a touch of retro romance about Rome.  Think roman holiday and chances are that you’re already picturing yourself as a latter-day Audrey Hepburn or Gregory Peck, sipping a cappuccino on a pavement café or nonchalantly tossing three coins into the Trevi Fountain.

And the reality more than lives up to the dream.  Visiting this great city is rather like stepping onto a movie set: everything is just as you would wish it to be, from the stunning architectural remains of Ancient Rome to the bustling atmosphere of one of Europe’s most stylish cities.


Ever eager to ‘do it right’ I recently travelled to the Eternal City as a guest of Azure Collection, staying at the Aldrovandi Villa Borghese, one of Rome’s most exclusive and chic destinations.   Overlooking the gorgeous lush scenery of the Borghese Gardens, the hotel was originally the Cabrini Convent and the emblematic umbertine style palace became a famous and exclusive institution reserved for noble ladies of the Italian aristocracy.  

The characteristic of heritage and tradition were respected and preserved when the wonderful building was transformed into a supremely elegant hotel. Where Savoy Princesses and the daughters of King Vittoria Emanuelle III formerly went about their devotions, the world’s most exclusive clientele now visit.

And me.

Staying at this incredible property guarantees a holiday like no other.  From its stunning spa to its two star Michelin restaurant, the Aldrovandi Villa Borghese prides itself on providing nothing less than perfection, presented with understated elegance and true Italian charm.  If you want unique experience and memories to last a lifetime, look no further.

This is – clearly – a perfect base from which to explore Rome, giving its guests a wonderful sense of the history and artistic wealth of the city: an oasis of calm after sightseeing.

And what sightseeing! Rome is so packed with ‘must sees’ that a single visit is never enough.  Plan ahead so that you can take in the most popular attractions such as the Colosseum or the Spanish Steps in the early morning when it is cool and just before the rush of visitors becomes oppressive; take in a gallery or museum before enjoying a leisurely lunch then opt for a quirky take on this ever-surprising city: head to the Capuchin Crypt (Church of Santa Maria della Concezione) for example to see the bones of thousands of dead Capuchin monks and decayed skeletons weirdly presented in beautiful and decorative designs … or enjoy a wine tasting or an Italian cookery course … maybe plan an evening Vespa tour of Rome!

The Spanish Steps are just a twenty minute garden stroll away from the Aldrovandi, but the hotel also runs a courtesy minibus (seven seats so booking essential) every 30 minutes to the top of the Spanish Steps. 

The combination of luxury and convenience make the Aldrovandi Villa Borghese a great choice for honeymooners and anyone marking a special occasion or anniversary.  Its gardens, pool and facilities mean that you could happily spend a couple of weeks here, balancing the bustle of the city’s myriad attractions with uniquely relaxing ambience, but it also makes for a great short-stay and can be combined or why not make this part of a two-centre break, combining with a few days on the fabulous Amalfi coastline or heading off to the Isle of Capri?

I stayed in a Prestige Park View Room, which is not only stylish but also comfortable in size and floored in Tuscan Slate, which adds a nice cooling effect.  ‘Park View’ rooms are to front so I expected to some traffic noise and was relieved that this was no more than a subdued hubbub … what did surprise me (quirkily and in a nice way!) was the sound of the Lemurs in the nearby Zoo wakening up!

Fancy a Roman Holiday?  If so, please call in to chat with me at our Howard Street branch or call 028 9031 3311.

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