Hotel d’Inghliterra, an Intimate Roman Palazzo
by Geri Bain
Sipping the “welcome” Prosecco we were offered as we checked in, my husband, daughter and I had the sense that we were guests in someone’s elegant townhome, not a hotel in the heart of one of Rome’s most fashionable shopping areas. In fact, the hotel was originally built in 1660 to house aristocratic guests visiting the Palazzo di Torlonia across the street, whose gilded ballroom now hosts weddings and meetings for guests. Converted to a hotel in 1845, the Hotel d’Inghliterra was named for the British tourists who favored it, including romantic poet John Keats. During the Dolce Vita years, hotel guests might have spotted Elizabeth Taylor, Gregory Peck, Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway, all frequent visitors.
The hotel’s public spaces, a library, several intimate living rooms and the wood-paneled Bond Bar, felt far removed from the bustle of the Via Condotti and Spanish Steps, both just minutes away on foot. The public rooms have recently been redone as part of a multi-year renovation that is almost complete. Throughout the hotel, original antiques, huge baroque mirrors, period furniture upholstered with silk and damask, Chinese porcelain and modern art pieces have been individually selected for each room.
As in a private home, each of the public and guest rooms is uniquely sized and decorated so there is great variety even within the same room category. On the fourth floor, where we stayed, rooms tend to be larger, with spacious marble bathrooms that include a large soaking tub, in-mirror TV, separate rain shower, bidet and heated towel rack. Many have small balconies as well.
Second floor rooms tend to be smaller, especially the bathrooms, but have romantic high ceilings. The third floor had not been redone as of press time, but the ultimate accommodations are the terraced suites, which afford wonderful views of the city. The Penthouse Suite has working fireplaces as well as jasmine bushes, lemon and wild orange trees on its 200 square meter terrace, while one of the Royal suites has its own private sauna.
We enjoyed the generous buffet breakfasts at hotel’s Cafe Romano, which offers indoor and al fresco dining. Throughout the day, the restaurant also serves great homemade pastas and a changing menu of Italian specialties using farm-to-table ingredients at surprisingly reasonable prices, and one of our favorite parts of staying at the hotel was being able to walk to our choice of Rome’s historic attractions and landmarks, come “home” to unwind and dine, and then stroll over to the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps or Piazza Navona before returning to our intimate hideaway in the heart of Rome.