In Beautiful Rome
Establishment: Hotel De Russie
Published: September 30, 2008
Photos By: Robin Roth
Story By: Robin Roth
Editor: Mark Lewis

Hotel De Russie

Rome is known as a lively and beautiful city steeped in history and the Russie is in the heart of it all. I loved this charming remarkable hotel, laced in luxury with an understated contemporary elegant décor and lavish surroundings. The Rocco Forte Collection experience shines brightly at the Hotel De Russie, a magnificent five-star hotel that has raised the bar for every other hotel in the city. This hotel defines the meaning of "Location, location, location," as it is situated against the Pincio hill in the heart of Rome between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo on the Via del Babuino, Rome 's most theatrical squares. The hotel is within easy walking distance of the city's most famous attractions such as fashion houses, the Via Condotti, the Piazza di Spagna, the Vatican City, with St. Peter's and the Sistine Chapel, Piazza Navona, Pantheon on Via del Seminario, the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, many legendary museums and the Trevi Fountain (Don't forget to throw in a coin standing backwards and make a wish). This brilliant location not only saved me time to venture around, but easy access to explore this amazing city making Hotel De Russie even more of a treasure.


As I walked into this unique and deluxe hotel, I noticed in the lobby an enormous silver-gilded mirror that reflects and enhances the curving reception counter and high-back loveseats of the lobby. The well-designed, low-key, yet handsome lounge is credited to Mrs. Polizzi's signature hue greige, a subtle neutral tone that works beautifully with the cream and ebony décor which brings about a warm and comfortable ambience. Outside the hotel, I was awestruck by the gorgeous, picturesque and renowned, terraced gardens studded with classical statues. It was quite ironic to be relaxing in this awesome, tranquil, sanctuary right in the heart of the bustle of central Rome . Right outside my room, I was able to oversee this storybook vision that resembled a romantic movie set. Many years ago, even the legendary Picasso enjoyed the soothing ambience of the hotel's surrounding secret gardens and rare Butterfly Oasis, its 30,000 feet of landscape, as rich and manicured as a theatrical backdrop with palm trees, yews, climbing roses, Roman ruins, and, in the distance, the Villa Borghese gardens. Here, as I did, guests will also dine and experience wonderful memories for years to come.

Whether visiting Rome for pleasure or business, (FYI, there is free 24-hour internet available) Hotel De Russie is celebrated for its class, discreet and personalized impeccable service, by a dynamic team of young, friendly, international, professionals who gave me a complete escape to experience the very best of Rome. After many hours of travel and feeling completely exhausted, it was such a pleasure to feel undisturbed, at ease, and home by everything from the service to the comfort level and amenities of the hotel.

Distinguished for its refined, unpretentious, understated décor, all 122 spacious (air-conditioned) rooms offer the ultimate in luxury and boast state-of-the-art entertainment systems, modern amenities and appliances, massive mosaic-tiled bathrooms, and comfy beds with linen sheets. The gracious guest rooms eschew the standard-bearer baroque design so familiar hereabouts in lieu of chic, subdued contemporary decor. From the bedrooms I was able to see first hand, some are conservative, with traditional furniture, while the remaining are more simple and unassuming, with a stark, striking style. Each is equipped with every conceivable high-tech amenity and offers lots of deeply upholstered comforts. Many rooms offer city and or garden views. There are 33 special suites, including the Nijinsky Suite and each come equipped with large terraces where private parties can be held. If you're lucky as I was, you might get the chance to listen to music drift up from the Piazza below and look over the terrace to enjoy seeing it all as well. It was all so very romantic, even if I was alone...


Hotel De Russie and the Stravinsky Bar in particular, with its elegant and chic sophistication and cosmopolitan guests have made the ideal setting to enjoy the authentic cocktail much loved by the famous double-07. Elegant Romans stop at the bar at the end of the day, or relax over a drink in the gardens.Prepare to pamper yourselves in a setting of absolute style and total privacy as do the international celebrities. The hotel is well-known for hosting most of the rich and famous A-list Celebs and royalty including: Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and several other members of the cast of "Oceans Twelve", Jessica Simpson, John Mayer, Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon,Leonardo Di Caprio, Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg, and many others. While you won't catch today's Picassos and Cocteaus, you might catch your favorite models and film stars loafing in the lobby or library. This hotel is unquestionably Rome's "it" hotel of the moment, as the celebrities keep on coming to enjoy the crème-de-le-crème of hotels and to escape the energetic buzz of the Eternal City.


As far as dining is concerned, it was obvious to me that the Hotel De Russie strives for the combination of great food and atmosphere. I noticed this attracts both hotel guests and the local community which I found made for a more authentic dining experience. The Jardin du Russie restaurant presents both indoor and open-air receptions (I, without a doubt, enjoyed the open-air). The Mediterranean, gourmet, Italian cuisine was mouthwatering, memorable and created by the celebrated chef, Nazzareno Menghini. He has also given the restaurant a reputation as being one of the best in Rome . He places emphasis on using local produce and the very best Italian ingredients to produce a sumptuous menu. I recommend the deep fried zucchini flowers and king prawns for starters or the lasagna with seafood. For the entrée I say go with the lobster with aubergine cream or the fillet of beef with Swiss chard. Seriously, however everything is the best here. As for breakfast, they have a huge display of every breakfast food imaginable. Although, I am not a breakfast person, this was one of my favorite memories at Hotel de Russie. I have to say that just sitting outside, amid the famous garden, early in the morning, feeling a gentle breeze while sipping cappuccino and eating one of everything offered was spectacular.


The hotel spa which is the only luxury spa in all of Italy , offers many treatments. It also has a gym and personal trainer, hydro-pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, Turkish steam bath and beauty treatments. Furthermore, there is a special program for children available. Pets are not allowed on the grounds.

With a historic past that goes back more than a century, it would be remiss of me not to write about it. Designed by Giuseppe Valadier, this property began its life as the famed Grand Hotel de Russie et des Iles Britanniques in the 19th century. Very little of that era remains except for Valadier's treasured terraced gardens. Since opening, it has consistently attracted a loyal and fashionable fan base. The hotel most likely got its name from Russian luminaries who hid out here... everyone from Igor Stravinsky to the Ballet de Russie and the Romanoffs. In World War II, it was used by the Italian government as a secret military center for spy secrets.

I realized immediately, that I had arrived in an exclusive place with a special atmosphere rich in history and a past where elegance is never opulent, but instead, creates around each guest a sense of harmony and well being. The fascination about Rome is endless, and for me, there is no finer place to call home while discovering it than at the Hotel De Russie.Bravo.

Rocco Forte & Family ( Rome ) S.p.a. Sede legale: Via del Babuino, 9 00187 Roma Reg. Imp. n. 88259 Cap. Soc. EURO 4.839.120 i.v. C.C.I.A.A. Roma/C.F./P. IVA 05502661001