The city of Rome is one of those places that always seems to have existed. I suppose that explains the nickname the Eternal City.
I cannot remember the first time I heard about Rome. The first time I learned about the bloodied sweat of gladiators, those scalloped sky-reaching columns and that jaunty laurel-and-toga attire.
More than perhaps any other place on earth, the existence and influence of Rome, both ancient and modern, seems so ingrained, so permanent, so intrinsic a part of our psyche here in the “west” that it is hard, impossible even, to remember at time without it.
A first visit to the city is seldom forgotten.
Nor even a second or third.
But it took my fourth trip to the city of Rome to really see something I hadn’t known existed: its intoxicating skyline.
The Rome Cavalieri, part of the Waldorf Astoria and Hilton Worldwide network, makes for a gorgeous place to stay even without the view.
The rooms, decked out in cream and gold, are matched in opulence by the service and attention of the staff, accentuated all the more by the Imperial Club on the 7th floor.
It’s a large place, a village within a village, and it’s some way out of town. At another time in life, I would have longed to be in among the action, the sweaty, cobbled trattoria-lined streets of the beating heart of Rome around the Vatican.
Battle scarred by a succession of medical interventions, however, I couldn’t have been happier to find myself away from the hordes, in a sanctuary, with a breeze, on one of those infamous hills.
Rome’s hot summers have a magnetic effect upon tourists (2016 sees the completion of the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps renovation projects, while Pope Francis declared 2016 as the Year of Mercy, attracting even more pilgrims into town.)
Escaping the heat for a while becomes an overwhelmingly enticing suggestion.
The Rome Cavalieri offers one of Rome’s few outdoor pools, together with a poolside service of fresh fluffy towels and some help in rearranging the hefty sunbeds and parasols.
There’s an indoor pool and gym, too, awash with marble and a Roman nose, because, let’s face it, even Rome lives within Europe’s greyer winter climes.
I dined at the onsite L’Uliveto Restaurant, where the food was excellent, and the service sublime, although the atmosphere seemed on the quiet side. Perhaps it was the early time I ate. A crack of dawn flight together with pregnancy-induced migraines had conspired to curb my inner wild child on my first night in town, at least.
I tackled the basket of focaccia, walnut and olive bread with peppery olive oil and a first course of delicately spiced Roman rigatoncini “Amatriciana” pasta.
However, the suckling pork on a bed of lentils defeated me and I declined the option of dessert.
“You will need to change if you are to understand this country, “ the waiter told me. “We love to eat! Some days, that is all we do…”
The petits fours arrived whether I agreed to them or not… ;-)
The Cavalieri also houses La Pergola, the only restaurant with three Michelin-stars in Rome, but, as you’d expect, you need to book well in advance and the last minute nature of my trip didn’t give me the time to try it this time around.
There’s a rooftop terrace on the 9th floor that showcases that incredible view once more, but for me the best part, by far, was watching the sun set over Rome from the privacy of my own balcony on Room 761.
St Peter’s. The Colosseum. The shadowy curves of those historic hills.
I could have watched the changing patterns of the sky all night.
Barring time asleep, that’s exactly what I did.
Until daybreak came and it was time to head into town.
What I Loved about the Rome Cavalieri
That view of Rome. Really, truly, absolutely magnificent. A trip highlight in itself.
Excellent sound-proofing – an extra door between the corridor, the bathroom and the bedroom.
Heated towel rail within the room.
Option of rainshower and focus shower effect.
Vanity area in the bathroom
Thoughtful touches – such as a dedicated “wet bag” for swimwear so you can have a last minute dip before heading to the airport.
Pillow menu – excellent for those with allergies or musculoskeletal problems.
The welcome prosecco and rainbow macarons.
Extensive provision of toiletries. As it happened, this visit coincided with an assignment I was working on to do with lost luggage. Half my job was done by just opening the bathroom door.
The Imperial Club Floor – a quieter, calmer place to check in and out and catch up with emails (while still enjoying that view.) Complimentary breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and pre and post dinner drinks amid 18th century Venetian masterpieces.
What to Know About the Rome Cavalieri
The Rome Cavalieri doesn’t lie within walking distance of the main sights of Rome. A free shuttle bus operates every hour, more or less, with up to date details available from the concierge.
You need to reserve sunbeds (and pay extra depending on your room rate.)
Rome Cavalieri: The Specs
Find out more about the Rome Cavalieri over here.
I stayed at the Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria on a complimentary basis for review purposes. As always, as ever, I kept the right to write what I like. Otherwise, there’s no point for me and there’s no point for you. There’s not even much point for the hotel involved. Everyone needs to be happy for this to work, right?!