Where to stay in Rome

Choose from Rome's most aristocratic luxury hotel, or a contemporary boutique hotel a stone's throw from the Spanish Steps.

Villa Spalletti Trivelli Hotel

This hotel is the ancestral home of Giangiacomo Spalletti Trivelli, who decided to turn it into a hotel in 2004. Stuffed full of family heirlooms, the place is so rich in Rome's culture and history that the library is recognised by the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture. Stay here and it's easy to pretend you are a duke.

This is Rome's "most aristocratic luxury hotel", says The Daily Telegraph. The service is so excellent, you start to feel as if you own the place. "They don't just answer questions and arrange transfers here, they go out of their way to meet your needs and requests." For example, if you've forgotten your laptop, they'll lend you one. The bedrooms are "warm and welcoming", with rich fabrics, pastel walls and complimentary mini bars.

Breakfast is a "huge spread with plenty of just-baked pastries", there's an honesty aperitivo bar and dinner can be arranged for you if booked in advance.

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A double room costs from €432 per night including breakfast. For more informationa visit www.villaspalletti.it or call 00 39 06 4890 7934.

Babuino 181


This boutique hotel opened last year and is the third addition to a collection of small hotels in Rome owned by Rome Luxury Suites. The company has shown a flair for converting historical buildings into luxury hotels with its other two properties Mario de Fiori 37 and Margutta 54. Babuino 181 is no exception. This is an ancient palazzo that has been carefully renovated to an excellent standard. It is also just a stone's throw from the city's famous Spanish Steps.

"In this 19th-century palazzo, all the amenities of contemporary living are at your fingertips, from iPod dock to flat-screen television," says Amanda Ruggeri in The Guardian. The decor is "contemporary and clean-lined, but with elegant Italian details, from fresh flowers to marble-and-mosaic bathrooms." The rooms are spacious at 26 square metres with king-size beds and walk-in wardrobes. "There's also old-school romance on the hotel's rooftop terrace, where you can look past boxes of flowers to the view of the Spanish Steps neighbourhood."

The hotel has no restaurant or bar, but there are plenty of local eateries to choose from, spanning casual pizza places to top-class Italian restaurants.

Doubles from €220. For more information or to book visit Mrandmrssmith.com or call 0845-034 0700.

What the travel writers are saying

Here are four of the best hotels in Britain with outdoor heated pools, as picked by The Times's Tom Chesshyre:

The curved outdoor pool at Bishopstrow House, Wiltshire, is surrounded by terracotta pots filled with flowers and overlooks the grand country-house hotel's beautiful grounds. "It feels as though you're in the courtyard of a Roman villa." There's a hot tub at the shallow end and an adjoining spa with an indoor pool, sauna and steam room. B&B doubles from £135 (Bishopstrow.co.uk).

The sunken pool at Tylney Hall, Hampshire is "a calm place, tucked behind neatly clipped hedges, with well-tended flowerbeds ad gates leading into 66 acres of rolling gardens". The 19th-century hotel is "grand without seeming pretentious". Doubles from £220 B&B (Tylneyhall.co.uk).

The pool at The Grove, Hertfordshire, is in a walled garden with modern scupltures. It has wicker loungers and a pool bar in a gazebo. "Behind the gazebo is a field in which kids can kick around footballs (apparently a few older guests do too)." The hotel is popular with footballers playing at Wembley. B&B doubles costs from £310 (Thegrove.co.uk).