Sitting on a high hill above the splendour of the city, the Waldorf Rome Cavalieri turns out to be a great base for spending time in this hectic, marvellous, romanic city
High on a hill in Rome, Waldorf Astoria’s Cavalieri is a stylish oasis sitting high above the bustle of the city. In the heat of summer it’s a real treat to head up to this haven surrounded by fifteen acres of greenery; and the view across the Vatican City, St Peter’s Basilica and the expanse of the eternal city is truly memorable.
The hotel attracts a jet set crowd of international guests, as well as Italians, so it retains a local flavour that many luxury hotels would envy. Although Rome is naturally a great sightseeing draw, the hotel could be a destination in itself – you can easily lose yourself in its spa, indoor and outdoor pools, restaurants, and comfortable bedrooms for a few days.
Interiors at the Cavalieri also retain plenty of local character thanks to the accents of gold and marble, and wealth of Italian artwork. Remarkably it is home to almost 10,000 paintings, tapestries, and antiques. One of the highlights is the grand 17th century Giovanni Battista Tiepolo triptych in the lobby, which provides the backdrop for afternoon tea.
Even the smallest bedrooms and accompanying balconies are generous – each of the 345 bedrooms and 25 suites has its own private balcony, although you can choose less expensive rooms that face the hillside rather than the city. To ensure a really good night’s sleep there are pillow menus, and serious blackout blinds that keep out both light and noise. When they are lifted, the sound of church bells in the distance is a wonderful morning greeting.
If you want to take indulgence to the next level, the suites are extremely opulent. Some of the treasures that you might find within include original Warhols, furniture designed by Lagerfeld, or a private rooftop Jacuzzi. They also come with access to the Imperial Club where you can help yourself to drinks and snacks all day if you get peckish in between meals.
Further relaxation after sightseeing is available thanks to the palatial but soothing Grand Spa. The Roman-themed spa covers over 25,000 square feet of swimming pools, baths and saunas, treatment rooms and fitness facilities, as well as two tennis courts. The treatment menu is extensive as you might expect, featuring exclusive La Prairie products with their decadent range of facials.
If you can peel yourself away from the relaxation, then you can book in for a tour of the artworks with the in-house art historian, or head outside for a drive on the Super-Car Experience in a Ferrari California or a Maserati convertible. If you have a pet in tow, the Very Important Pets programme offers an animal boutique, dog cleaning services and walking services.
For all the wonders of the Cavalieri, the jewel in its crown is undoubtedly La Pergola. Against some very stiff competition it is one of the most celebrated restaurants in Europe, and the only restaurant in Rome to boast a three-star Michelin rating.
Even as a resident of the hotel, you need to book well in advance for La Pergola. The sublime tasting menu is theatrical and divine. Not only is the food flawless but the presentation is tantalising for every dish. Your lobster might come in the guise of a miniature golf course with the seafood tucked underneath a ‘grass layer’ of herbs, a pudding may arrive in a curious edible sphere of iced pomegranate, or petit fours concealed in a dinky treasure chest. Not only is there a remarkable wine list, but more unusually an encyclopaedic choice of salt and mineral water.
This top floor restaurant is the kingdom of internally renowned German chef Heinz Beck, who creates a spectacular experience in intimate surroundings. Surveying the eternal city from its roof terrace is a magical experience. It’s a showstopping Roman feast – a fitting way to finish off your trip.
Nightly rates at Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, start from €285 / £223 per room, per night, including VAT & breakfast in L’Uliveto Restaurant. Via Cadolo 101, Rome, 00136. www.romecavalieri.com /www.tasteofwaldorf.com