Built in 1881 as a residence, Palazzo Montemartini also acted as Rome’s transport HQ before being converted into a five-star hotel in 2014. Last year, it joined the Radisson Collection, the new “premium lifestyle” brand from Radisson Hotel Group that includes the May Fair in London and the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. Italy is a key focus for the brand: a Venice hotel was added in spring 2018 and a new Milan property will join the portfolio next year.
What's it like?
The property sits next to the remains of an early Roman city wall and features a pale-yellow stucco exterior, with a mix of classical and contemporary Italian design inside. In an “L” shape with a central tower, one half of the property retains many of its original features and is referred to as the “Noble” section, while the other is ultra-modern and minimal. The two are skilfully connected with contemporary furniture and the same natural colour palette.
Where is it?
Its recessed location is just across the street from the Termini rail station in the centre of Rome. A direct rail link to Fiumicino airport on the Leonardo Express takes about 30 minutes and an Airport Shuttle Bus about 45 minutes. From Ciampino airport the train takes about 30 minutes while the Airport Shuttle Bus takes about 40 minutes
The hotel has 82 rooms and suites in nine categories over five floors. They range from entry-level Collection rooms, measuring 24 to 29 sqm, to the 300 sqm Penthouse suite. Facilities include a flatscreen TV, free wifi, two bottles of water, a Nespresso machine, a well-stocked minibar and a snack cupboard. Caschera toiletries, fluffy white robes, slippers and flip-flops are in each bathroom.
My second-floor 29 sqm Superior Collection room was located in the modern half of the hotel, overlooking the Termini station. It was bright, spacious and peaceful with a comfortable king bed sunken into a taupe leather frame, a stylish chaise longue and a chunky circular cherry wood table. The high coved ceiling was covered in gold leaf, beautifully framing the modern sculptural glass light fittings. The long, narrow bathroom featured a shallow trough-style double sink hewn from a huge slab of stone, and a large walk-in shower that could also be used as a Hammam.
Noble rooms are all Junior suites or suites and feature original carved wooden ceilings and hand-painted frescoes, but the décor and colour scheme echoes the hotel’s modern style.
Food and drink
The ground-floor Senses restaurant and bar is beautiful, in a room graced with majestic square marble columns and a central water fountain that cascades from the ceiling into a black high-gloss table. It has a small courtyard next to the remains of the ancient city wall – a good spot for an aperitif. I tried the signature “Americanruba”, a twist on classic Italian bitter flavours with an unusual blend of Campari, rhubarb and orange.
If you want to push the boat out for dinner, the tasting menu can be customised, with four courses from €75. I started with antipasti of mixed cured prosciutto and salami, then anchovy arancini caponata with sweet and sour onion – a Roman staple – followed by a meltingly tender braised veal cheek with orange and thyme. The Affogato, a hot espresso poured over vanilla ice cream, was a simple but delicious finale. Complimentary breakfast is also served here.
Spaces include a futuristic Infinity room for 180 guests, and a Penthouse suite with a large roof terrace.
The spa has a hydrotherapy pool, a salt room, sauna, Turkish hammam, a chromotherapy and Finnish shower, and a small gym.
BEST FOR: Soaking up the atmosphere of ancient Rome surrounding the hotel
DON’T MISS: A Roman gastronomic dinner in the majestic Senses restaurant
PRICE: Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in May started from £273 for a Collection room
CONTACT Palazzo Montemartini Rome, a Radisson Collection Hotel, Largo Giovanni Montemartini; tel +39 645661; radissoncollection.com