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Toscana

Bella Toscana

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Rooms with Views: Hotel de Russie

Not only is Rome’s Hotel de Russie fashionable, it is a tranquil oasis in the middle of all the action of La Dolce Vita…

Rome has many hotels to choose from depending on your design wants and luxury needs.  There are opulent styled rooms and hip boutiques and of course location is key. The Hotel de Russie just off the Piazza del Popolo not only has one of the best locations, it has effortless style and grace. Very polished and design forward yet without all the coldness that can bring with it. Instead the hotel is warm and welcoming, extremely comfortable not to mention remarkably quiet considering the usual noise of Rome’s trafficked streets. And of course the big draw is the enchanting garden space right in the center courtyard. All with the rest of Rome at your feet just out side the door.

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Artistic touches throughout…

From the minute you step inside  the glamorous Hotel de Russie it all feels quite zen covered in luxurious touches. The dramatic flower displays done by in house florist Sebastian Flowers are works of art themselves. Alongside the floral art are actual artistic pieces throughout the hotel. Contemporary sculpture mixed with classic roman styled pieces show what the hotel is about, the city of Rome, a city that is ancient, modern and transcending. At one point the famed painter Pable Picasso stayed here and they even have a suite to comemorate that fact. Perhaps it gives off creative vibes? But my eye moves past all of that to the light terracotta and green colours of the courtyard calling to me… “Come sit and have a prosecco…”

IMG_9935.JPGView of the center courtyard and garden

 

But first to the room which was upgrades to a Junior Suite which gave me a little added sitting area. Calming contemporary decor in warm neutral colouring that was immediately inviting and cozy. The bed was heavenly and so comfortable, I slept like a Roman goddess to be sure. And the bathrooms were spacious, with a luxurious size bathtub to soak in, and a well lit sink area. Housekeeping kept the place immaculate and managed to always clean and pick up before my return to the room. Always a BIG plus for me. The room came with a pretty good view of the Piazza del Popolo to my right, and sweeping views of Via del Babuino below.

 

What makes all good hotels exceptional is always the service. The Concierge desk was excellent, being able to arrange tables and transport for me. I did not require tickets to many of the sights but I am sure they could have done if I had asked. Importantly their restaurant suggestions did not go off a rehearsed list of recommendations for tourists but rather were well thought out depending on the criteria given. They were knowledgeable about what was worth going to and what was new. The public spaces were impressive and service, like all Rocco Forte hotels was flawless.

The hotel boasts a restaurant, bar, and spa. The breakfast buffet can be taken in the garden during warmer months. The fashionable bar is popular among Romans as well especially the garden terrace. But I did also enjoy the indoor bar which was very stylish and the bar is also known for its exciting cocktail menu.

IMG_9936Inside the bar

I was very impressed by the Hotel de Russie and count my stay there as one of my favourites. While Rome can be an assault on all the senses, this hotel gives you a place to relax while still having all that Rome has to offer outside your door. It is easy to walk to shopping down Via de Babuino and not far from the Spanish Steps, while the charming Via Margutta is less than a minute walk from the front door. For a bit of Dolce Vita the famed Bar Canova and Piazza del Popolo is just to the right as you go out. But lets face it, if you really want to live La Dolce Vita then you need to stay at the Hotel de Russie!

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Please note I paid for my own stay at the Hotel de Russie and my review is based on that stay.

Hotel de Russie Via del Babuino, 9, 00187 Roma, Italy

 

 

September getaway…

Once the tourist crowds have left September becomes Summer’s last hurrah!

If you’re like me, you are itching to go away again somewhere by mid August. But that is the busiest time of year for so many European destinations and the last thing you want is to be body checking your way through a sea of people. So if you can hold on just a while longer… long enough for families to return, kids go back to school and high season prices to go down, a September getaway might just be the prefect tonic to get you through the colder months ahead. Here are some suggestions to get you started…

Madrid – A sophisticated metropolitan city with sunshine and more importantly tapas bars! The appealing historic center and the open spaces makes it a great combination of culture both indoors and out. Whether it be taking in a museum or taking in the sun at the Plaza Mayor with a glass of sangria, Madrid makes for a warm cultivated break.

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Seville – A two hour train ride from Madrid takes you to the quintessential Spanish city of Sevilla. Decorative tiles, romantic architecture and colourful streets capture the true spirit of Spain alongside its breathtaking cathedral and Plaza de España. Have drinks and tapas at El Rinconcillo before taking in a flamenco show.

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Ostuni, Puglia – Sea breezes touch this white washed hill town. Puglia is where Italy meets Greece sharing that same blue Aegean sea. And not far from this sea, surrounded by olive trees is the White City of Ostuni, an almost fairy tale like town with charming small cafes and mystical winding streets. It is quiet, laid back yet stylish. The boutique hotel Relais La Sommitá offers a chic stay with a wonderful fine dining restaurant Cielo that makes it easy to sit back over a glass of wine and look out to the sea in the distance.

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Taormina – A perfect late summer escape with the temperatures still quite warm, the seacoast and a charming town to walk in. For cooling off, excellent granita can be found at Bam Bar or an aperitivo on the piazza. Enticing restaurants and choice local wines make it a substantial getaway for foodies, while a selection of refined hotels make it easy to keep everything within walking distance.

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Rome – is always a good idea but in late September when the Italians have resigned themselves that beach days are over and normal life continues there is a relaxed hum of people getting about their business just not too quickly yet. Yes there are still tourists but a few less so the line for gelato at Giolitti is not as long if you want an afternoon treat. The weather still allows for a lazy afternoon prosecco in the gardens of the Hotel de Russie while autumn fashion fills the shops in anticipation. A bit of both worlds and changing seasons.

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