Artful elegance in the heart of Rome
Late architect Marcello Piacentini’s résumé reads like an anthology in Italian design — Reggio’s Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia, Genoa’s Arco della Vittoria and Brescia’s Piazza della Vittoria are three of his more revered works — and one of its standout chapters, Grand Hotel Palace, sits in the heart of Rome. Standing ever so confidently at Via Veneto and Via Liguria, the property commands your attention with its curved shape.
Once inside, your eyes are drawn to 1920s frescoes, 1970s colors and odd-shaped furnishings that could have come from any decade in between. With its bold eye for fashion, an internationally influenced spa and vibrant culinary flavors, Grand Hotel Palace is a feast for the senses.
As soon as you walk through the wrought-iron entrance into the main reception area, you can sense that you’re in for a stimulating journey. With all of the obvious art deco nods on the wall and in the boldly colored chairs, you’d think you were in a funky Parisian salon — were it not for an elegant chandelier hanging in the middle of it all.
The 87 rooms and suites do even more captivating, this time in the form of pink-and-gray-striped wallpaper and curvy benches found in the Superior, Deluxe and Deluxe Executive units.
Suites add a post-modernist touch with black-and-white-striped furniture in their living areas. The largest room, the Signature Suite, may have more space (721 square feet) than them all, but its green-walled bedroom and black-marbled floor ensure it still beats to the same creative drum.
Just when you think you’ve got a somewhat decent handle on the overall aesthetic at the luxury hotel, trek down to Kami Spa and have your notions turned on their head. More like a Zen-filled sanctuary you’d find in Indonesia than some radical art statement in Italy, the three-room facility calms with deep-wood wall paneling, a large Jacuzzi and exotic Asian statues placed strategically about.
If your body needs more help transitioning to a Far Eastern state of calm, a treatment menu highlighted by services such as the Balinese palm massage and hot stone therapy will certainly take you to another place.
Though art plays a vital role throughout the Rome hotel, it is the undoubted centerpiece of a dining experience at Ristorante Cadorin & Lounge Bar. The spectacular Guido Cadorin-drawn frescoes capture a Roman high-society function. We don’t see what’s on the menu at the gala immortalized in the work, but we’d wager that whatever it was couldn’t match the dishes coming from this kitchen.
The breakfast spread may consist of standard morning fare like fresh fruit, pastries and cold cuts, but at dinnertime, things gets a bit more polished at Cadorin with green-apple-stuffed guinea fowl, gnocchi with chestnut and taggiasca olives, and other refined Mediterranean dishes.
Between those two courses, opt for an alfresco lunch at Pierre’s Bistro, the smart address for people-watching opportunities on Via Veneto and a scrumptious burger, fries and a cocktail from the bar.