There are times when less just simply isn’t more. Bored by minimalism and modernity, we’re hankering after the kind of extravagance that would make a maharajah blush. We’re talking grand beds with marshmallow-plump bedspreads and squashy silk cushions, lofty ceilings with ornate frescoes, walls bedecked with paintings of stirring scenes and haughty miens and bathrooms so seductive, you’ll be tempted to forsake dry land for a lifetime of bathing bliss. Right now, only a Roman palace will do – luckily, our Hotel of the week, Residenza Napoleone III (owned by a bona fide principessa) fits the bill.
Why this week? Play at being regal Romans for less – the Residenza’s boutique hotel offer means that you can stay for three nights, and only pay for two (leaving all the more euro for living la dolce vita).
Our favourite bits Firstly, there’s the setting: vibrant Via Condotti puts guests right in the fashionable heart of Rome. Then there’s the privacy: just one apartment and one suite to choose from, so you get heaps of luxury and don’t have to share it (making the Residenza a perfect Italian honeymoon hotel). Finally, the unabashed glamour: we’re utterly seduced by the apartment’s two ravishing reception rooms and the master bedroom’s silk-draped canopy bed. Two of Residenza Napoleone III’s six huge oil paintings are housed in the apartment: one is the bedhead, and another is the entrance to the exquisite marble bathroom. Though there’s no restaurant or bar, the apartment has a kitchenette and minibar, and bookings can be made for you at local restaurants.
Mr & Mrs Smith say ‘Waking early in the morning at Residenza Napoleone in Rome, for several minutes I thought I was still dreaming. And that’s not exaggeration, or metaphor, but simply the absolute truth, and possibly the only way I can convey what an extraordinary experience staying here is. I opened my eyes and found I was lying on a vast bed, so comfortably I felt I was floating; drawn around me were heavy silk canopies, and in the dawn light I could just make out, six feet above my head, two vast wrought-iron candelabras suspended on thick ropes from an ornately carved double-height ceiling. And then a sleepy arm reached out from across the bed, and I realised that this was not, in fact, a night-time princess fantasy but a real-life princess experience.’
Read our full anonymous review of Residenza Napoleone III