One of my friends, who owns a boutique travel agency in Italy, told me that finding four star hotels in Rome is difficult. She said there are great options at the five-star high-end level and at the economical end but there are too many four-stars that are really a three- star at best.
Enter Le Méridien. The Starwood Group recently added the Visconti Hotel to its portfolio. The hotel officially reopened this June after a twenty million dollar renovation.
I had the opportunity to stay at the hotel for two nights. Before my stay I read reviews online because I’m anal. The reviews were very good except for two things, the air conditioning and the WiFi.
Given my stay was happening during one of the worst heatwaves in history and I had several work deadlines, I was concerned.
They must have fixed these issues as I’m happy to report I had no problems. In fact the A/C was so strong I had to turn it off. My fellow Americans, you know that NEVER happens in Italy.
The hotel is located in Prati. It’s a few minutes walk from Piazza Cavour and in the other direction (a slightly longer walk), Piazza del Popolo. I think it’s a perfect location. You’re near the Historic Center but not smack in the middle of it and the prices reflect this. The area is centrally located as Piazza Cavour is a major bus hub. For those who like to walk, you can cross the river and be in the heart of the Historic Center in ten minutes.
The roof terrace is fantastic. Sometimes there are annoying loud seagulls who like to wait for people to leave and then dive in for the food. The waiters are on top of it though. Seagulls 0.
Service was great. Granted some of the employees at the hotel have seen me a few times but that wasn’t the case with the check-in. I thought they were friendly. There was a small line when I arrived but it moved quickly.
Location, price, design, of course all these things matter but when I stay in a hotel there are two things that are extremely important to me. Cleanliness. I cannot stand clutter and dirty bathrooms or kitchens freak me out. I don’t want to step into a hotel bathroom and see hair in the drain. Just typing that made me feel queasy. The other thing is the bed. It must be comfortable.
My room was spotless and the bed was excellent. The toiletries are Malin & Goetz. I was so geeked out to see them because no retailer in Rome sells these products. I checked the website and there is a store in Milan that carries them. I muust remember this important information for my next trip.
The interior design has mid-century touches that also speak to the hotel’s location in the Eternal City. The head designer was Harry Gregory of the firm, ara Design International. They wanted to create something timeless.
I adore the pared down use of marble, a material synonymous with Italy and Rome. I think too much marble can make an interior feel cold. At the Le Méridien it’s warm and dramatic.
The neutrals of grey, black, and white, with splashes of color, are relaxing and chic. The Longitude 12 Bar and Bistrot is a great place for a coffee during the day and for cocktails at night. The Bistrot also has a delicious lunch and dinner menu and starts serving wine around noon.
In the Bistrot there’s a communal table that has outlets for your laptop and phone adapters.
Downstairs, there was a wide selection for breakfast, including American bacon. I repeat, there was American bacon.
The hotel has an eclectic art collection, from abstract to figurative pieces, created with different materials. These artworks are from the private collection of the Toti family. Their collection focuses on Italian artists from the 1980s. When people think of Rome they often focus on classical art. It’s wonderful to see some contemporaries pieces as well.
The gym is small but well-equipped with Technogym equipment. Did you know Technogym was an Italian company? I saw this brand in high-end gyms in New York City and Los Angeles and had no idea until I moved to Italy. Mind blown.
I stayed at the hotel in early August but have been stopping by since April. This is not official market research but it seems to me that the hotel is very popular with couples, families, business travelers, and friends traveling together. I didn’t see too many solo vacation travelers but I’ve always felt welcomed thanks to the friendly service.
Photos: Me and my iPhone.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of the hotel. However, opinions and thoughts are my own.