Sitting at my desk on a pretty gloomy Amsterdam day, its hard to imagine that a few days ago I was in Rome, attempting not to melt in an average temperature of 41°C! I visit Rome on average probably 3 times a year, but this is the hottest I have known it. Apparently they have been having daily average temperatures in the mid to late 30s since July. While it’s nice to experience as tourists for a couple of days, I think the restauranteurs and wait staff are desperate for a break in the heat!
On this trip to one of our favorite cities, we took it easy and did less sight seeing than normal, heading out later in the afternoon, as at times it was just too hot. And not just for English people.. I saw a couple of Australians wilting as well! Of course, then, there’s nothing to be done but pull up a chair at a nearby ristorante and watch the world go by over bruschetta and a nice Chianti.
Where we stayed
The Hotel Lord Byron, Via Giuseppe de Notaris
This was our first stay at this hotel – a departure from our usual choice of the Boscolo Exedra (one of the Marriott Autograph collection – which I’ll review in another post).
The Lord Byron is a 1930s villa which has been refurbished to an incredible 5* standard, with gorgeous Art Deco style furnishings, sculptures and detailing. The first thing we noticed is how quiet the area is – at the Northern side of the Villa Borghese park, in a quiet enclave opposite the Belgian Embassy.
The entrance to the hotel not so much screams but firmly states that this is a place of luxury. The wrought iron gates, with travel quotations on both sides, give way to an immaculate carpeted stairway to the main door.
The check-in experience was welcoming and efficient, and we were presented with our huge brass antique-style key to the room. Whenever we left the hotel, we left the key at reception as suggested, since it would be clunky to carry around. We were only given one key to the room, but I’m sure you can request another if needed.
The lift in the hotel is just as antique & Art Deco as the rest of the building – beautifully designed but tiny and slow. Expect to be waiting a while if you’re on a higher floor!
Our room had been upgraded to what I think was a junior suite, with a separate living room and walk in wardrobe. It was beautifully presented, spacious, with a gorgeous bathroom, incredibly comfortable bed and most importantly, very efficient air conditioning! (this isn’t always the case – even in upscale hotels. It’s either too hot or too cold for me). Once we set the temperature we were able to just leave it ticking over. With soaring temperatures outside, the room was our oasis of cool decadence.
Any decor which includes pictures of Audrey Hepburn gets the thumbs up from me!
The housekeeping was efficient, and as with the best hotels, obviously performed by actual fairies. When we came back to our room after dinners in the evenings, a magical turn-down service had taken place, with slippers laid out and the room tidied. This hotel really respects the privacy of its guests.
Location & transport
We organised a private car transfer from the airport via email to the concierge prior to travelling. The car was on time and efficient, costing €80 each way.
The hotel is a nice 10 minute walk into the actual Villa Borghese park. Turn left out of the hotel, then right onto Via Adolfo Cancani. You’ll walk past the British School and the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea.
Both because of the location at the North of the park, and because of the heat, we mainly used taxis to get around. If you visit in cooler temperatures, you may prefer the walk, taking in more sights on the way. To give an indication – the hotel would be around a 30-40 minute walk to Piazza Navona or the Pantheon.
The reception staff will have a taxi for you within 2 minutes outside the hotel, so there is no need to book in advance. Taxis around Rome are reasonable (around €8 from the hotel to Piazza Navona) and for the most part, the drivers know exactly where they are going!
We didn’t use the local trams to get around but the concierge or reception staff can provide you with all the details and are very helpful. There is a tram stop a short walk from the hotel.
The only slight issue at the hotel was that the pin machine didn’t accept an ABN AMRO bank card from the Netherlands, which had been accepted all over Rome. The Lord Byron have said that they will look into the issue and try and resolve it with their bank. I’ll update you on this on our next visit. Just to be aware, especially if you’re travelling from the Netherlands, you may need to carry some extra cash in the meantime.
Overall, this hotel comes highly recommended for a luxurious and decadent stay in Rome in a beautiful and peaceful part of the city.
We booked the Hotel Lord Byron for 4 nights through lastminute.com
I’ll let you know about the restaurants I visited in the next part of this post.. coming shortly..