Steps from Rome’s famous Spanish ones, Hotel Vilòn is an elegant, art-filled boutique retreat in the shadow of the Palazzo Borghese. Esteemed neighbours aside, this former boarding school has been transformed into a small-scale hotel with just 18 rooms. Several of them overlook the Palazzo’s secret gardens; nab one with a furnished terrace suspended over them. The all-day bar extends out to the courtyard in fine weather, and you don’t have to wait for the bell to ring for the fun to start (first orders are taken at 10.30am). Don’t be fooled by the bistro’s Adelaide moniker: there’s nothing Antipodean about this seasonal Roman fare.
A three-course dinner for two with wine (selected by the sommelier)
In the know
Also need to know:
The hotel is suitable for wheelchair users – all communal areas are accessible and there is a specially modified room on the first floor that can be reached by the lift. Calling all Wes Anderson fans: if the purple staff uniforms look familiar, it’s because they were inspired by The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Bring trendy tomes to brush up your design knowledge in these incredibly chic surroundings; and stylish yet comfortable shoes (if that isn’t an oxymoron) for conquering Rome’s endless tourist checklist.
Bust out the Valentino in homage to the city’s most famous designer.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this boutique hotel in Italy and unpacked their gladiator sandals and artisan leather goods, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Hotel Vilòn in Rome…
Hotel Vilòn may have started life as a boarding school for girls, but today there’s no hint of any draughty halls, meagre meals and homesick children. Instead, you can expect to find a buzzing bistro serving seasonal Roman fare to the city’s beautiful people, private terraces looking out over the peaceful Palazzo Borghese gardens and an all-day bar where it’s always spritz o’clock. The elegant decor complements the heritage building, with rich-navy soft furnishings, polished wooden floors, spacious marble bathrooms and perfectly positioned artworks. The expansive original windows of this mansion mean that it’s almost always aglow in hazy sunshine, making the lounge and the internal courtyard the spot to settle into with your morning ristretto. The hotel is in the city-centre Campo Marzio neighbourhood, close to the Via del Corso, Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, but chances are you’ll want to stick around here, pretending it’s your personal palazzo. Just as well the headmistress has moved on.
Via dell'Arancio 68/69, Rome, Italy, 00186
0.7 mi / 1.1 km from city centre
- Aerobics instruction
- Internet services
- Complimentary in-room coffee or tea
- Room service
- Onsite laundry
The Adelaide restaurant champions seasonal Roman and Mediterranean ingredients. Vegetarian and vegan options are on offer, as well as healthy takes on local dishes. The bistro complements its historic setting – don’t forget to check out the ceilings and floor. Breakfast is served in the bar; expect a spread of pastries, cakes, cereal, fruits, charcuterie and cheese.
Out on the patio if it’s sunny – and in Rome, it probably will be.
Breakfast hours are a leisurely 7am to 11am. Lunch is available between 12.30pm and 3pm, and dinner is from 7.30pm until 10.30pm. The bar is open all day until late.
A selection of dishes from Adelaide and an additional shortlist of pastas, soups, sandwiches and salads are available around the clock.
Italy’s famous cocktail exports, from the Bellini to the Negroni, are mixed to perfection here in the lounge bar. It is open from 10.30am (it’s never too early for a spritz in our book). Sandwiches, salads and charcuterie are served here too.
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