A Roman Holiday at the Grand Hotel Via Veneto

The Grand Hotel Via Veneto is a showcase of understated luxury on one of Rome’s most famous thoroughfares By: Monica Poling
The terrace of the Grand Hotel Via Veneto’s Royal Suite overlooks the Via Veneto and the Villa Borghese. // © 2010 Grand Hotel Via Veneto
The terrace of the Grand Hotel Via Veneto’s Royal Suite overlooks the Via Veneto and the Villa Borghese. // © 2010 Grand Hotel Via Veneto

The Details

Grand Hotel Via Veneto

Insider Tip
At a cost of $45, the breakfast is a bit pricy, but well worth the expense. The hotel has some packages that include breakfast, so agents should be sure to check if the rates are breakfast-inclusive.
As is the way with many first-time visitors to Rome, my first trip to the city was as a cruise passenger who had chosen to extend her stay in order to explore one of the world’s most famous destinations. My knowledge of Rome was limited, mostly learned by watching Audrey Hepburn motor around the city on a scooter, in the 1953 romantic comedy “Roman Holiday.” Armed with this less-than-extensive research, I booked the first hotel recommended to me, the Grand Hotel Via Veneto.

Only after I made the reservation did I turn to the Internet to see what I could learn about the hotel at which I would be staying. My research turned up very little, mostly confirming what I already knew — that I was staying in a five-star property located on of Rome’s most famous streets. The sad reality is that, had I done my own research before I booked, I most likely would have opted to stay in one of the other, more “famous” brand hotels located nearby. Fortunately, in this case, my procrastination paid off.

The Grand Hotel Via Veneto, which opened in April 2009, is simply the finest hotel I’ve had the pleasure of staying in, at least for quite some time. The property is comprised of two buildings, one facing Via Veneto and the other facing Via Sicilia, that date back to the 1880s.

The service, of course, played a large role in making this a top-notch experience. Due to international connections, I arrived at the hotel early in the morning, but it was no problem for the staff to check me in and me to the room immediately. Moreover, the package, which included daily breakfast, even allowed me to enjoy breakfast on the day of arrival.

Breakfast at this hotel was truly a culinary adventure. The self-serve portion wasn’t so much a Las Vegas-style buffet, as it was a very elite selection of handmade delicacies. None other than the chef himself had created the hand-cured Italian salamis and homemade cheeses on display. Beyond the buffet, guests could also order hot, made-to-order foods from the kitchen, and my scrambled eggs were served with what had to have been a dozen pieces of bacon.

Because I had breakfast somewhat later than usual, the restaurant was relatively empty. Our hostess was a delightful companion, both telling tales of growing up in Italy, while assuring me that I really did need a third cappuccino before I could face the day.

I was fortunate enough to have been upgraded to a gorgeous corner suite with windows opening onto both Via Veneto and Via Siclia. The suite’s airy windows made the space feel less like a hotel room and more like a 24-7 cinema show about Italian living. It was a joy to watch life unfold on the streets below, watching small Italian cars navigate the narrow streets, while listening to businessmen on their way to work and eyeing the super-huge pigeons as they staked their claim on the ledge outside my window.

When I could tear myself away from the outdoor sights, my second favorite location within the suite was the huge bathroom, appointed with Carrara marble and complete with a rain shower and Bulgari toiletries.

The Grand Hotel Via Veneto is located at the very top of the Via Veneto, just across the street from the Villa Borghese, Rome’s second largest-public park. Although it is within walking distance of Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps (about 20 minutes), the hotel is just far enough away from the main tourist fray, giving visitors the sense that they have entered a serene Italian retreat.
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