Where to stay in Rome

A grand new hotel and a self-catering apartment in the Italian capital.

JK Place Roma

What's so special

The imminent opening of the JK Place Roma in July a new five-star hotel that will be a sibling to the popular JK Place hotels in Florence and Capri is causing quite a buzz. It certainly boasts an envious location, just off Via Condotti, near the Spanish Steps and next to the Palazzo Borghese.

How they rate it

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The hotel "is set in a grand old building that was formerly the home of the Architectural School of the Sapienza University of Rome", says Cond Nast Traveller. "The 17th-century exterior has been preserved. Inside, 30 bedrooms and suites have canopied rosewood beds, a darker palette and wood-panelled walls, and bathrooms of Italian marble." If your budget can stretch to it, go for the 50 square metre Master Room, which offers "ample space in this jostling, crowded old city a rare thing indeed".

The menu

By summer a rooftop bar will be open to all. So even if you're not staying here, come in for a drink on the roof "and see all glorious Rome laid out before you".

The cost

The hotel is taking bookings for July onwards. Doubles cost from €700 per night. For more information, visit www.jkroma.com, or call 00 39 06 4890 5766.

Casa Giulia, Ponte


What's so special

If you are fed up with hotels and want to see a different side of Rome, try an apartment at Casa Giulia you can live more like a well-heeled local. The touristy sites (Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon) are 25 minutes' walk away, but on your doorstep lies Via Giulia, home to old palaces and churches and one of the city's earliest examples of urban planning. Away from the tourist centre you'll find excellent local restaurants.

How they rate it

"Beyond traditional terracotta walls and fancy double doors lies a surprisingly swish, designer space with coffee-coloured dcor, stylish fittings and sweet little windows overlooking the cobbles," says The Sunday Times Travel Magazine.

The apartment has two double bedrooms and a sofa bed, so a family of five could fit in comfortably. The kitchen is "small, but thoughtfully kitted out" and there is a large dining table that "everyone can gather round over joyful spoils" from Campo de'Fiori's daily food market", a ten-minute walk away.

The menu

Head to nearby La Campana "for the kind of proper Roman cooking that most visitors never find".

The cost

From £220. Visit www.leisureinrome.com, or call 00 39 645 543 820.

Three luxury resorts in Portugal


An hour's drive from Portugal's capital, Lisbon, takes you to Areias do Seixo Povoa de Penafirme (pictured), a "low-impact luxury property tucked behind sand dunes above Praia do Seixo", says Katie Monk in The Independent. All 14 rooms and four villas combine driftwood, stone and glass with metal and polished concrete to striking effect.

Doubles start from €265, including breakfast. See www.areiasdoseixo.com.

Foodies will love Vila Joya Albufeira, says Monk, as it boasts a two-Michelin-starred restaurant run by Dieter Koschina, an Austrian-born chef. With an Asian-inspired spa to boot, "Vila Joya represents escapism of the highest order". Situated above Praia de Gale, "amid tropical gardens and bougainvillea, it contains 12 luxury rooms and eight suites, all of which face the crashing Atlantic waves".

Doubles from €315, including breakfast. See www.vilajoya.com.

"Wild swimmers will rejoice" at Casa do Rio Vez Couto, says Monk. This peaceful riverside hideaway is at the entrance to Peneda-Geres National Park. As well as an outdoor swimming pool and natural lagoons, "the crystal-clear river Vez runs right through the garden". The former olive press turned boutique B&B offers four contemporary rooms and a self-catering loft with large windows overlooking the wooded riverbank.

Prices start from €68 for a double room, including breakfast. See www.casadoriovez.com.