There’s a plethora of outstanding hotels in Rome, but Parco dei Principi is unquestionably amongst the finest. The exclusive property has played host countless luminaries since it opened in 1964, including The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Brigitte Bardot and most recently the President of China. Woody Allen took up residence in the Royal Suite in 2012 for three months while filming To Rome with Love, and had a treadmill hoisted up to his sun terrace. It still remains there today for future guests to work up a sweat while admiring the panoramic views.
Overlooking the spectacular Villa Borghese, Parco dei Principi is located in the Parioli district—one of Rome’s most refined neighborhoods—and is the perfect backdrop for a romantic weekend, a business stay or a luxury vacation. It characterizes itself as an urban resort, and it certainly lives up to the label, with grounds and facilities that are unusually expansive for a city hotel.
The property features an outdoor courtyard garden with a large heated pool (open during the summer season), and an almost 27,000-square-foot fitness area and spa. There is a huge, state-of-the-art gym, which offers yoga classes alongside Marine Corps style workouts, and a kick-boxing room. Adjacent to the gym there is a sleek juice bar, where the barista concocts post-workout personalized protein shakes for her clientele. The majestic Prince Spa houses a semi-Olympic ozone pool, massage pool, steam room, sauna and an ice fountain. The amenities are world class, and the spa has won numerous awards since it opened in 2010.
Architecturally, Parco dei Principi is a 1960’s classic with a boxy exterior belied by the opulence of the interiors and the beauty of the lush gardens. Designed by Italian architect and interior designer, Gio Ponti, the majestic lobby has plush seating, sparkling chandeliers and rich artwork. Each of the 179 bedrooms has its own private balcony and the smallest is a generous 215-square-feet. Rooms are traditional in style with crisp white bedding and sumptuous upholstery.
The style is pampered opulence, especially in the suites, which occupy the top floors. If that Eternal City panorama is a must (which it should be), make sure you opt for the Villa Borghese View room. Marble bathrooms, replete with Etro toiletries, are finished with crown molding and jetted shower/tub combos.
The hotel houses one of Rome’s best known restaurants, the Pauline Borghese, which is housed in an enchanting room overlooking the Italian-style garden. The menu is based on the traditional flavors of Italian cuisine, and are given a contemporary twist. Another option is to hop in the free hotel shuttle to the Hotel Splendide Royal (which, along with Parco dei Principi, is part of the Roberto Naldi stable of hotels) to dine at Mirabelle. Surveying Rome from its rooftop perch, Mirabelle is one of Italy’s leading restaurants, and the fiefdom of Bruno Borghesi, the renowned restaurant manager. It’s as bracingly high-end as you might expect and should be booked in advance even if you’re staying at the hotel.
Above all, it is the quality of the service that truly sets Parco dei Principi apart. It is truly excellent, from the can-do approach of the head concierge right through to room cleaning and the turn-down service. It is easy to understand how this became Woody Allen’s home while in Rome.