Wait a minute, this place looks like a museum. It might as well be. The five-star First Hotel Roma houses so much art, it could easily be mistaken for a gallery. Like a jewel box brimming with treasure, the hotel holds more than 100 works by Italian and international artists, both emerging and established. Moreover, the restored, 19th-century neoclassical palazzo building boasts a stellar address. It lies just a pizza’s toss from the Spanish Steps, a stairway built with funds bequeathed by a French diplomat in the early 18th century.
What’s the vibe? Stuffy? Not at all. Bridging the attentive service of a grande dame hotel and the chummy attentiveness of a boutique property, The First manages to dole out personal, warm-hearted assistance across the board. You’ll feel the staff actually care about your day and nobody will chastise you for taking your photo in front of the artwork, as they might in an actual museum.
What should I expect from the rooms? These are the sort of guest rooms that make you feel like a fashion editor in the Eternal City for a photo shoot. Just being in the sleek, contemporary, art-adorned environsmight actually make you more smart and beautiful. I swear. Pick of the rooms? The Jacuzzi Suite, with its own hot tub on an ample terrace overlooking the rooftops of the Italian capital.
I do love a view.In that case, extract yourself from the jacuzzi and head upstairs to AcquaRoof, possibly the sexiest rooftop bar in Rome. With a garden and panoramic views, there is no better place to dawdle over a long, Roman lunch or indulge in aperitivo as the sun sets.
Now that you mention it, I think I’ve heard of the restaurant. Possibly, everybody’s talking about it. Acquolina. Here, Michelin-starred chef Alessandro Narducci serves seafood and locally sourced ingredients, the menu taking guests on a playful gastronomic journey where things may not be what they seem. Olives that explode in the mouth, rocks made of cheese and deconstructed bruschetta, to name a few.
Can the hotel help with tours and Roman adventures? Absolutely. The First Roma works with Access Italy, a high-end tour company that designs experiences such as a visit to the locked rooms of the Vatican, an exploration of the catacombs normally inaccessible to tourists, a pizza-making class with a famous chef, or a yacht trip on the Mediterranean.
What’s the damage? Rooms begin at €450 (US$530) for an advance booking, which is non-refundable and doesn’t include breakfast or the €7 per night city tax.