I heard about Palazzo Montemartini from a local in the know. Word is it’s an exciting recent addition to the luxury hotel scene and it’s near the Termini Station, which makes it super easy to get everywhere, including the airport.
Housed in an imposing 1800s palazzo close to the piazza dei Cinquecento, it is ‘the only hotel in Rome crossed by the Servian Wall,’ and has a graceful driveway and a modern interior: light and bright with a slick decor and imposing high ceilings.
There’s a library on our right as we enter, the full wall lined with glossy coffee table books and plants. It’s tempting just to sit down and have a rest right there, but the room awaits. After a friendly and helpful check in (where we’re given maps, and all the usual tourist instructions), we head up to the third floor with the duty manager, who tells me a bit about the building.
It used to be the Ministry of Transport, and many of the 85 rooms were employee’s offices. Fascinating! This must have been the good old days when clerical workers had offices to themselves – Don Draper would have been happy with an office the size of our bedroom, and the same goes for our friends’ room around the corner.
There’s a large bed, a view of the one of the National Museums and an edgy design for the bathroom: it’s a glass room with curtains inside, and separate glass doors for the shower and the loo. Once you’ve got used to the doors, it’s an elegant solution and it’s well stocked. The wardrobe is ample for our long weekend luggage, and there’s a safe, hairdryer, mini bar, though no iron (you can send out for a pressing service). Complimentary water bottles are accompanied by a selection of pastries that have us rolling our eyes to the heavens: ah yes, this is one of the reasons we came to Rome. What food!
Breakfast also delivers the goods, in fact we are still trying to work it off in the gym. Mini doughnuts, pastries, scrambled egg and a very moorish, salty fried pancetta; fresh fruit, muesli, and oh goodness there’s some Prosecco… Well, when in Rome. We hardly see or hear from fellow guests when we are in the lifts, rooms and corridors, but at breakfast we observe an international collection of visitors from America, Europe and South East Asia – mostly couples, one or two families.
We are among the few Brits, so feel like we’ve stumbled upon a bit of a hidden secret. We especially feel this when we head up to the rooftop on the Friday evening, after a day of sightseeing. It’s a glorious terrace with a view of Rome and a very civilised selection of cocktails: I enjoy a pomegranate infused concoction while watching the sun go down before strolling out to dinner. The concierge recommends a fabulous restaurant, though note that if you ask for ‘relaxed’, it may still be pricey. There’s also a restaurant, a wellness spa and small gym on site – you can add a spa pass to your room package.
Later, we come back with the intention of falling straight into bed but are lured by the sight of fashionable people with clipboards in front of the hotel bar. A party! Citing our residential status, we manage to blag it in and join a group of chic Romans who seem keen on cigarettes and less on colour: I stand out like a turquoise beacon in a sea of black. Nevertheless, they are a friendly bunch and we gather it’s some kind of club night (the DJ was also a clue). It’s fun to have a bit of local insight – and more is on hand via the concierge whenever we need it.
Palazzo Montemartini is a characterful five star hotel in an historic building and a handy setting. The prices aren’t bad, either, so we leave even more sold than when started.
Tell me more about Palazzo Montemartini
Room rates start from €250
Largo Giovanni Montemartini 20 00185 Roma
Tel.: +39 06 45661
Fax: +39 06 45661661