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The Best of the Best 2003: Hotels - Hotel de Russie

Maryann Hammers

Built in the early 19th century, the landmark Hotel de Russie—ideally situated on Rome’s chic Via del Babuino, near the Spanish Steps—drew a wealthy and royal crowd for more than 100 years before it was shuttered during World War II. Fortunately for travelers, it was rediscovered and renovated in 1999 by Sir Rocco Forte, who hired his award-winning designer sister, Olga Polizzi, to transform the property into what it is today: Rome’s most stylish retreat.

Guest rooms are decorated with an eclectic blend of modern, antique, and traditional elements—pastel-colored walls, sleek black lacquered media armoires, and green-and-white travertine marble bathrooms with mosaic-tiled detailing. You can draw aside the rich silk curtains and swing open the ceiling-high French doors of your suite to savor the sounds and sights of Piazza del Popolo.

The hotel’s Le Jardin du Russie restaurant, with its Murano glass chandeliers, is perfectly elegant. But if weather permits, be sure to dine alfresco in the terraced garden. Lined with orange and lime trees in oversize terra-cotta pots, and illuminated by twinkling lights along trellises, it has the feel of a private palazzo.

For a more intimate dinner (including discreet service by your private maître d’ and background music by a violinist), you can reserve the sixth-floor La Terrazza della Zarina. Lemon trees, white flowers, and twinkling Roman lamps surround your table, from which you have sweeping views of the Pincio, the lush Villa Borghese, and the Trinità dei Monti, the famous church at the top of the Spanish Steps.
 
Hotel de Russie, 800.323.7500, www.rfhotels.com

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