If Italian design is your (bespoke leather) bag, get ready to gesticulate passionately… G Rough, Smith’s new boutique hotel in Rome, is furnished with more mid-century modern statement pieces than seven series of Mad Men.
Created by Emanuele Garosci – the kind of Italian bon viveur who makes socks and sandals an aphrodisiac – this design museum-cum-luxury hotel (for those who prefer something less polished than Venetian sister property Palazzina G) requires a devil-may-care dapperness, so rumple your blazer, loosen your tie and scuff up your loafers before we take the grand tour of G Rough…
IT’S BEAUTIFUL INSIDE AND OUT Interiors celebrate the 20th century, but G Rough’s 17th-century shell nods to Rome of old. Crumbly and charming, the building’s Latin inscription reads ‘big enough to feel secure’, so staying here feels like being embraced by a centurion. Its Piazza di Pasquino setting is famous for its ‘talking statues’ (take note light sleepers, the ‘talking’ refers to written protests only); Menelaus holding Patroclus’ body (above left) is the mouthiest – it hasn’t shut up to this day.
IT HAS A BAR And a handsome one, too. Lined with bronze Seletti tiles (mirrored for covert lipstick touch-ups and hair-slicking), outfitted with Fifties sofas and lit with Giò Ponti pendant lamps, apéritifs here have a touch of Sean Connery-era Bond film about them. The wine list comprehensively sweeps from a pale Blanc de Morgex of the northwest, to a deep rosso from Sicily’s Graci vineyard. And its martini and Aperol-laced cocktail list is a fine read.
YOUR SUITE ALSO HAS A BAR Book into the Suite Plus and you can hold court – and get acrobatic with the cocktail shaker – behind this Giò Ponti-designed beauty (above right), accentuated by a Reggiani cascade lamp. Add elegantly angular furniture by Vittorio Dassi and Guglielmo Ulrich, the curvaceous Murano glass vases by Seguso and sketches by Nicola Pecorara (one of the owners’ artist friends) and you have a space set for seduction.
SPEAKING OF… We’d happily hop into the original Silvio Cavatorta and Vittorio Dassi beds in lower categories, but Pasquino Suites have particularly romantic boudoirs, where antique Puglian frames are used as pseudo pillow haloes, and vintage Stilnovo night-lamps cast a soft glow. Scuffed-up walls add a delicious touch of dishevelment and reveal layers of history (architect Giorgia Cerulli ensured the building wasn’t too roughed up during its revamp).
THINK OUTSIDE THE BED The Pasquino Suite Plus is a chandelier-swinger* of a honeymoon hideaway with a vintage tub for baths à deux, and sofas for two to snuggle on. This was the apartment of co-owner (and racing driver) Gabriele Salini, so it’s sharply dressed too: installations made of salvaged wood from a Sicilian church, tables by Ico Parisi and Paulo Piva, and photographs by Massimo Vitali, make this the essential Italian socialite pad.
* Please do not swing on the chandelier – it’s Murano glass, and it’s very important.
UN POCO GOES A LONG WAY Guglielmo Ulrich wardrobes, coolly disguised kitchenettes by Leftover: suites offer much to coo over; look closer and you’ll notice the considered details we love in a Smith stay: TVs tastefully hidden behind Guendalina Salini’s Fine wall-hangings, graffiti from the hotel’s restoration party (above left) and key fobs emblazoned with Marco Raparelli portraits – they may be blink and you’ll miss them, but like the hotel as a whole, they leave a lasting impression.
ROUGH CUT: MORE DECONSTRUCTED DECOR WE LOVE
• STORY HOTEL RIDDARGATAN Exposed concrete, torn posters, graffitied furnishings – Story Hotel in Stockholm ripped it up and started again when devising their edgy style – rebelling against polished Scandi minimalism.
• THE WATERHOUSE AT SOUTH BUND Rooms may be sleek and sexy, but the reception hall’s scarred concrete walls, a dishevelled façade and a weathered rust-hued roof terrace reveal a rougher underside to this brilliant Shanghai stay.
• AREIAS DO SEIXO Our favourite rooms at this coastal Portuguese stay are the ones that look a little unfinished, where beds perch on reclaimed-wood pallets, piles of logs are gathered under the floating fireplaces and whittled tree limbs lounge around looking pretty.
Noguchi, your curves are damn sexy; Le Corbusier, we like you leathered up, but Mamma Mia here we go again – we’ve fallen for the clique of aesthetically pleasing Italians at G Rough – book a stay in Rome and it’ll steal your heart too…