The best available non-restricted rates
A welcome bottle of Lilliano Chianti Classico
For stays of two nights or longer, a fruit basket and 2 p.m. late checkout, when available.
From Andrew Harper
Two opulent suites housed within the spectacular 16th-century Palazzo Ruspoli. Grand marble staircase lined with antique marble busts of Roman emperors leads to the recommended Napoleone Suite, which comprises three sumptuous rooms with parquet floors, antique furniture, 16th-century tapestries and hand-stenciled walls. Grand master bedroom holds large canopy bed fitted with luxurious Italian linens and velvet pillows. Wrought-iron chandeliers illuminate the carved ceiling. Two salons feature huge oil paintings hung on gold damask-covered walls; swagged green silk curtains frame tall double-glazed windows. Modern amenities include large plasma TV, DVD player with a movie library, Wi-Fi and a Bose iPod dock. Small, marble-faced bath provides tub/shower. Breakfast provided.
From the Hideaway Report
Many times through the years, I've found myself peering into the courtyards of Roman mansions and fantasizing about staying in one of these magnificent places. So it was with a mixture of excitement and curiosity that we arrived at the Residenza Napoleone III, a two-suite "hotel" within the spectacular 16th-century Palazzo Ruspoli. This is located on the Via Fontanella Borghese, which becomes the famous shopping street, the Via Condotti, on the other side of the Corso.
The charming Beatrice Ziello, personal assistant to owner Princess Letizia Ruspoli — the Ruspoli family still occupies a large part of the palace — was waiting for us before the huge wooden doors, and we followed her up a grand marble staircase lined with antique marble busts of Roman emperors while a butler attended to our bags. We had been assigned to the Napoleone Suite, so named because French Emperor Napoleon III lived there in 1830. We had expected it to be grand, but nothing could have prepared us for its astonishing opulence.
Recently restored to its original splendor, it comprised three sumptuous rooms with parquet floors, antique furniture, 16th-century tapestries and hand-stenciled walls. Six huge oil paintings hung on the gold damask-covered walls of the two surprisingly inviting salons — which I'd feared might be more museum-like than comfortable — and heavy, swagged green silk curtains framed the tall double-glazed windows.
The master bedroom was equally grand, with a large canopy bed made up in luxurious Italian linens, piled high with velvet pillows, and draped with silk hangings. Overhead, two wrought-iron chandeliers illuminated the carved ceiling. Despite the period splendor, creature comforts were not lacking. The air-conditioning was extremely effective, and modern amenities included a large plasma TV, a DVD player with a movie library, Wi-Fi and a Bose iPod dock. Although the bath was a little small, with a shower over the tub, it was faced with white marble and stocked with Bulgari toiletries.
Before leaving us to unpack, Ziello inquired if we were in need of restaurant reservations. Her recommendations later proved to be excellent. A few minutes after her departure, a maid arrived with two glasses of freshly squeezed blood-orange juice and a glass pitcher of mineral water on a heavy silver tray lined with embroidered white linen.
The patrician experience of staying in the Napoleone Suite was a rarified pleasure. Indeed, it often brought to mind the genteel world of novelist Henry James, whose fictional portraits of Rome and the Romans, as well as his wonderful travel book "Italian Hours," are almost as accurate today as they were more than a century ago. However, I would not recommend the alternative Roof Garden Suite to anyone over the age of 30. Despite having a 600-square-foot terrace with fine views, its bedroom is down a flight of steep spiral stairs, as is the tiny bath.
Before my arrival, I wondered whether the level of service at a palazzo could possibly be comparable to that at Rome's grand hotels. But Ziello gave us her cell phone number, and staff were on hand to deliver breakfast and attend to other requests. The Residenza Napoleone III may not be ideal for anyone visiting the city for the first time, but it will delight those who know it well and who wish to experience authentic Roman aristocratic grandeur.
Roof Garden Suite, from $950; Napoleone Suite, from $1,820.
Rates include taxes, daily continental breakfast served in room and Wi-Fi.
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