An oasis near Rome’s famed garden
A 19th-century convent that was converted to a hotel, Aldrovandi Villa Borghese has carried a certain panache for years. And though property ownership switched from the Ossani family to the Doğuş Holding Group at the beginning of 2016, we expect the tradition of resplendence to continue, even after renovations later this year.
Another special aspect of this hotel, which sits on the edge of the Villa Borghese garden, is that all of its antique furniture and wall tapestries are somehow balanced with a sense of playfulness near the pool, at the spa or by the candy table. The duality is dynamic and wholly Aldrovandi.
Nothing speaks to Aldrovandi’s two-sided brilliance more than its address. Situated near Villa Borghese’s Bioparco di Roma zoo and Galleria Borghese museum, the Rome hotel lets you plan for a day of serious contemplation in front of some of Raphael and Bernini’s most important works or opt for some monkey business with the chimps. If you want to stretch your journey even farther, make a day of exploring the vast gardens, or hop on the hotel shuttle — you can faintly hear the critters as you wait outside — and have the driver escort you about seven minutes away to the iconic Spanish Steps.
Aldrovandi Villa Borghese’s grand decorative intentions are clear from the moment you set foot in the building. The reception area welcomes you with wooden columns, marbled floors and delicate wall fixtures. While no design touch ever crosses into ostentatiousness, the pursuit for subtle opulence is obvious.
From mirrored walls to chevron hardwood flooring, every room has a personal distinction. What smaller units such as the Premium and Prestige rooms lack in square footage, they make up for with bathrooms coated in Italian marble and lovely bedside views overlooking the private gardens.
Five styles of suites (Junior, Aldrovandi Signature, Deluxe, Executive Deluxe and the 1,620-square-foot Penthouse) offer living spaces filled with velvet-covered furniture and fulfilling vistas of greenery and the gorgeous pool.
Aldrovandi Villa Borghese’s pool area, surrounded by plants and tan chaise loungers, is the ideal space for adults in need of relaxation after a long day on the Roman streets or families longing for somewhere to take the kids that has nothing to do with lions and elephants across the street.
But the good times don’t stop in the water for children. Just past the reception desk in the main lobby is a candy bar. Though a sign on the snack table reads, “A sweet welcome for our little guests,” nibblers of all ages have been known to dip their hands into the jars.
Bigger kids can expect to have their fun at La Mer Spa, the brand’s first sanctuary in Italy. A bit on the smaller side (three soft-colored treatment rooms), the facility more than makes up for any shortcomings in size with a slate of facial and body services employing the famed Crème de la Mer formula.
The Food and Drinks
With much of the luxury hotel playing to different moods, it makes sense that you would find alternating feels around meals, too. If you have a hankering for a casual bite, stop by The Grill for a sandwich or salad.
When you need to make an impression around dinnertime, however, the hotel’s rebranded restaurant, Assaje, wins over those at your table with beef-tail-stuffed tortellini pasta, steamed white sea bream or other Mediterranean plates.
After you’ve put the children to bed, make your way over to American Bar, the aptly named lounge that feels like a vintage New York tavern with backlit shelves filled with Yankee-approved pours.