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Luxury hideaway hotel overlooking Rome

The Rome Cavalieri is an Italian institution, set in a sweep of private Mediterranean parkland, the lodging of choice for 60 years for royalty, the glitterati and the just plain famous. One of its principal features is one of the most impressive collections of fine art – from Andy Warhol to Tiepolo – you will find on public view in a hotel. The paintings, sculptures and antiques complement the Cavalieri's other impressive calling card, its three Michelin star restaurant.

The Rome Cavalieri has a majestic position and illustrious reputation in the Eternal City. It sits high on Monte Mario, with a serene view over some of the greatest of all historical sites, commanded by the Colosseum in the middle distance and St Peters Basilica and the Vatican City close by.

This Italian institution, set in a sweep of private Mediterranean parkland, has been the lodging of choice for 60 years for royalty, the glitterati and the just plain famous. One of the features that they, and any guest, can enjoy is one of the most impressive collections of fine art – from Andy Warhol to Tiepolo – you will find on public view in a hotel. The paintings, sculptures and antiques complement the Cavalieri's other impressive calling card, its three Michelin star restaurant.

With such a well-founded reputation, there is nothing obvious to improve up. Instead the hotel has recently made what it describe as “enhancements”. The principal feature is the newly-refurbished Imperial Club, where guests in the hotel's suites may take cocktails, snacks and hors d'oeuvre throughout the day, and enjoy the lavish afternoon tea of cakes and home-made gelato. To set the tone, just outside the club's entrance is a display of bejewelled costumes that belonged to ballet superstar Rudolf Nureyev.

The hotel's singular aspects include a floodlit Davis Cup-standard tennis clay court, a 800 m fitness trail within the hotel's grounds, a state-of-the-art gym, and the offer of a very superior guided walk, to the locations of the recent movie The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza), which was set in Rome.

The Rome Cavalieri, the original Waldorf Astoria property in Europe, is one of the most illustrious of Europe’s post-Second World War hotels. It was built in 1963, close to the Via Franciena, the pilgrims’ way from Canterbury, through France, to Rome. It pays homage by putting the word Cavalieri (rider or knight) in its name.

Its opening in 1963 coincided with the height of La Dolce Vita, the city’s golden age of film and the fashion industry. The hotel was designed by a leading architect of the period, Ugo Luccichenti. Its gardens were the work of landscape designer Maria Teresa Parpagliolo, a rare woman celebrity in a male-dominated profession.
The hotel’s La Pergola restaurant, under the direction of chef Heinz Beck since the 1990s has been gathering accolades. Today it is the only hotel in Italy with a three Michelin star restaurant.

It has an enviable reputation in the hotel trade, a place in that exclusive constellation of properties described as simply “one-of-a-kind'. This is further burnished by its art collection. The paintings acquired by the hotel include three works by the 18th Century Venetian master Giovanni Tiepolo, on display in the hotel's lobby. “Tea with Tiepolo” takes place there every afternoon. Other works on display in the public area include Andy Warhol’s 'Dollar signs – 1981”.

Other items in the hotel’s 1100 piece collection include 20 rare tapestries, ranging from 16th Century Flemish, to 18th Century Gobelins pieces and, in the Main Lobby, a 1725 Beauvais tapestry.

There are fine pieces in the La Pergola restaurant, and more antiques and contemporary works of art in the hotel's opulent Petronius Suite, which is also being relaunched this year (2017). Another feature is the Grand Spa Club, offering La Prairie Swiss treatments, and a Turkish bath decorated with Roman mosaics.

Suites are decorated with some splendid pieces of art and furnishings, including original Karl Lagerfeld sofas,18th-century antiques and Warhol and Robert Indiana paintings.

The hotel’s cinematic tour themed around the film The Great Beauty, is led by resident art historian Alexandra Massini. Stops on the tour include the marble fountain Fontana del Aqua Paolo, which features in the film’s opening scene, Bramante's Tempietto at San Pietro in Montorio, hidden courtyards, the private palace of Marquis Sacchetti and the Baths of Caracalla.

The hotel provides a regular free shuttle bus down into Rome, and it's inevitable that patrons would want make the most of one of the world’s great cities. But the Cavalieri expects that, once the sightseeing is done, guests will relish the return to Monte Mario, and will want to spend as much time as possible enjoying the hotel’s rarefied luxury, indulgence and pampering.


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