My partner and I were contemplating between a couple of hotels (good location, good reviews, etc) when we decided to revisit Rome a couple of weeks ago. In the end, we decided to go with this lovely hotel, Aldrovandi Villa Borghese, and the decision is right.
I would not say that this hotel is perfect in all senses but it has its merits and these merits overweighed its limitations. If the hotel could address these limitations, I'm sure they would get more excellent reviews.
First impression counts
The doorman, porter and staff at the reception were excellent. They were very polite and prompt with their service. All of them spoke good English and most happy to assist you when you needed help. Samantha, the front desk staff, who was attending to us during our check in, was very friendly and professional. She briefed us thoroughly on the hotel facilities such as gym and restaurant, the shuttle bus services (told us to book in advance because it's a 7 seater) and the complimentary services that came with our room package.
The lobby and room
It's rather strange to display three mannequins right in the centre of the hotel lobby. I guess it must be some arrangement the hotel had with some fashion retailer. I would have prefer to have a table and some floral arrangements rather than three mannequins dressed in some summer clothing (and it's winter season when I'm there). The hotel exudes a little old time charm, however, some areas look a bit old. At times, the look and feel is rather inconsistent (some areas have old time charm and the restaurant looks rather modern). We visited another Leading Hotel of the World in central Rome and this other hotel looks better and more contemporary, mainly because it's more consistent throughout the hotel.
The room (Room 531), which we were assigned to, looks dated too but it's clean. The front door faces the lift directly but we didn't mind it. The only thing that we didn't like it that much is that the centralised air conditioning was off (winter) and the individual heating system would only be turn on when requested. We would have preferred that each room has its own individual control. During the night, we had to open the window and draw the thick curtain so that the room temperature remained within a comfortable range yet allowing some fresh air to enter the room. The room needs to refurnish a little (it looks dated when compared with some of the pictures other reviewers have posted). I'm not sure whether the hotel is progressively updated the look of all its rooms.
However, we are very pleased with the Molton Brown toiletries. They are good and the housekeeping staff replenished them during the turn down service as well.
Turn down service
The turn down service could be improved further. Yes, the housekeeping staff replenished the toiletries and prepared the bed. However, they did not offer any complimentary bottles of water. We do not require huge bottles of water but two small bottles would be nice (for each side of the bed). It's tough to go hunting for water in the night especially when there's nothing much within the vicinity (you do not want to take from the bar because of the price).
The thing that stood out about the breakfast service is that the staff is extremely attentive and friendly. I must compliment the restaurant manager, Aldo. Aldo saw me taking pictures in the restaurant. He quickly helped me to "enhance" my photos such as topping up the ice in the champagne bucket and ensuring the table has all the cutleries. Either he knew that I was going to write a review or that he just wanted my pictures to look nice. Aldo also educated me on the origin of the sparkling wine that they served during breakfast (yes, they serve sparkling wine at breakfast). On a separate note, Aldo heard the clicking of my camera when I left the restaurant. He was very proactive to show me the vintage lift in the hotel. Once again, he told me about the heritage of the lift. Thank you very much, Aldo. I have some great pictures :)
There are not that many items at the breakfast service (about 4 different pastries, another 4 types of bread, 2 types of cakes, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, yogurt, juices and a couple more items). Though the selection is limited, it is compensated by the excellent service provided by the restaurant staff. I reckon the way to enjoy the breakfast is to sip some Italian sparkling wine after the main course and be intoxicated by the elegance of the dining room (no pun intended).
Gym and pool
We did not use the gym or the pool. The pool was closed as it was not heated during winter. As for the gym, it has all the basic equipments.
Shuttle Bus service
During our stay at the hotel, we had no problems boarding the shuttle bus (even on occasions when we did not book in advance). However, I wouldn't recommend you do that. This is because it can get rather crowded during peak hours such as 545pm and 615pm (on the return leg from Spanish Steps to the hotel). Bear in mind that this is a 7-seater mini bus. But the bus is very well maintained and looks very new. The driver was very friendly too.
Michelin Star Chef
We did not try the restaurant. But the restaurant does look very contemporary. On one occasion when we visited the restaurant, it was about 70-80% filled. I guess it must be good, otherwise, it would not be patronised by the locals.
We will definitely return but we hope to see some improvements at the hotel so that the experience could be better.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Perched above the Eternal City in Rome's exclusive, residential Pinciano neighborhood, Aldrovandi Villa Borgheseis a palatial retreat that feels a world apart from the crowded piazzas of the Italian capital, although within walking distance of many highlights of the Eternal City. Overlooking the gorgeous greenery of Rome's Borghese Gardens, Aldrovandi Villa Borghese takes center stage in the Eternal City's poshest neighborhood. A former convent, this grand 19th-century ivory villa is dressed in marble and dripping in chandeliers. With its MYTHA SPA state-of-the-art fitness suite featuring the latest equipment, the one -Michelin-star restaurant Assaje, secluded garden with outdoor pool and palm tree-lined terrace, and a private shuttle to whisk guests straight to the Spanish Steps, this urban retreat offers all the perfect luxurious amenities. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Aldrovandi Villa Borghese Hotel Rome
- Aldrovandi Palace Hotel Rome
- Aldrovandi Palace Rome