Parco dei Principi Grand Hotel & Spa

Parco dei Principi Grand Hotel & Spa combines modern urban sophistication with classical Roman grandeur – against a surprisingly verdant backdrop

“Rome is a city where art and business collide in a beautiful mess of fashion-soaked sidewalks and blaring car horns,” says Daniele Saladini, General Manager of Parco dei Principi Grand Hotel & Spa. “And then there is this expanse of calm in the centre, where birds can sing and flowers can grow. There is no better location for a hotel.”

Parco dei Principi was designed by Italian modernist architect Gio Ponti. “Outside you are met by this 1960s concrete building,” says Daniele. “Whenever I walk through the doors, the contrast amazes me. Inside you are overwhelmed by the classical style, the luxury and detail of each room. The bright colour scheme pays homage to the ancient Roman villas; and pieces of art create drama on every wall. Entering the hotel is an event in itself.”

The hotel is located right next to one of Europe’s largest and most famous urban parks, the Villa Borghese (named after Pauline Borghese, Napoleon’s sister). This lush stretch of park land, which Daniele likens to “a renaissance fresco”, is dotted with temples, fountains and statues. There is even a zoo nearby. “Looking out of the hotel window it feels like you’re in the trees,” says Daniele. “Spending time here transports me to the Tuscan countryside. It is strange to remember we are in the middle of a city.”

Guests can enjoy views of the garden while dining on exquisite food at the hotel’s Pauline Borghese gourmet restaurant. Parco dei Principi recently recruited one of Italy’s top chefs who specialises in both Japanese and traditional Italian cuisine. Daniele waxes lyrical about the results of this fusion of expertise. “There is excitement in every bite,” he says. “The classical Italian flavours fill me with nostalgia, yet the point of view is shifted; they become something new.”

For guests in the mood for dining alfresco, another option is Le Parc Bar and Grill, where you can eat à la carte or from the grill – but under the stars. There’s also the fashionable La Pomme Bar, perfect for guests wanting an aperitif or a cocktail and perhaps a snack before dinner; or a nightcap before they retire to the luxury of their rooms.

After a lengthy business meeting or a day’s shopping on the famous Via Condotti, guests can take a refreshing dip in the hotel’s outdoor pool; or languish in the restorative surroundings of the spa, where they can take advantage of an array of invigorating treatments and relaxing massages. The spa also has its own indoor pool, illuminated by a ceiling of stars. “Looking up is like floating through the night sky,” says Daniele. He adds that the hotel and spa’s state-of-the-art facilities often make it the choice of visiting football and rugby teams. “Athletes feel at home here,” he says.

The Roman oasis has several awards to its name, including the Condé Nast Johansens Award for Best Hotel Spa in Europe and the Mediterranean, which it won in both 2016 and 2018. “We do everything we can to make this the perfect environment for visitors to Rome,” says Daniele.

That can’t be too difficult a job, in an iconic modernist building set in the heart of one of the world’s most romantic capitals, flanking the most beautiful botanical gardens imaginable. “If you listen closely,” says Daniele, “you can almost hear the city.”