“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” Pablo Picasso said. In February 1917, he visited Rome with his friend, the poet Jean Cocteau, while planning the staging of a ballet. They stayed at the Hotel de Russie, and, legend has it, leaned out of the windows of their adjoining rooms to pick oranges. Today, that same hotel is a member of Rocco Forte Hotels and continues to host a plethora of A-list clientele.
The rooms speak openly of the aristocrats who used to sleep in them. The Nijinsky Suite bears the name of the talented Russian ballet dancer and choreographer; the Picasso Suite speaks for itself; the Popolo Suite references the Piazza del Popolo, which it overlooks with a view words cannot describe; the Vaselli Suite brings to mind the Italian identity of the hotel, its location at the heart of the bustling capital.
Choosing accommodation here is, in effect, like choosing portraiture. But choose wisely: The Nijinsky Suite is a luxurious bedroom-bar-library-salon donned in royal purple; the Picasso Suite, with its separate office, is a combination of work and play; the Popolo Suite offers complimentary buffet breakfast on its wraparound balcony; the Vaselli Suite offers an unparalleled walk-out over the Secret Garden. So will you be getting glammed up inside the Nijinsky’s mosaic bathroom, reading a book by Picasso’s window, or dancing onVaselli’s terrace on your wedding night?
trDinner is served at Le Jardin de Russie amid roses and orange blossoms. The restaurant’s two-Michelin-star Chef Fulvio Pierangelini is himself a storyteller when it comes to langoustines, pasta, Ossobuco with Crispy Saffron Risotto. In his 2014 Mad Symposium speech, he underlined the necessity of “sensorial semantics” in cuisine—the cook’s responsibility to form a language with his dishes, a conversation—and today that same conversation Chef Pierangelini extends to the guest.
Drinks are served at Stravinskij Bar, a popular meeting spot for locals and foreigners alike with its own private piazza. The bar has a menu of signature cocktails—Lapsang Martini (Bombay Sapphire gin filtered on Lapsang Souchong tea flowers and softened with orange essential oils), Pochito Picante (Tequila Ocho infused with ginger and cucumber, lime juice, passion fruit, and smoked paprika), and Stravinskij Spritz (Prosecco, passion fruit, wild berries, and orange slightly spiced) are just a few—in addition to homemade iced tea to quench that hot-Roman-night thirst and a “simpler” food menu to go with the drinks (“simpler,” of course, means a lavish spread of seared Mediterranean prawns, veal tartare, and lobster) and then there’s the setting.
Up the stairs from a walled courtyard where people chat in lantern light, await 2,800 square meters of terraced gardens designed in the early 1800’s by Guiseppe Valadier—the same architect who redeveloped the Piazza del Popolo. If there are places in the world that act as entryways into fairytale realms, this is one of them: Stone steps flanked by moss and green vine wind through palm trees, yews, and white roses, then disappear. There’s a reason the Hotel de Russie is a favored wedding destination.
Guests can get the best of both worlds: rare photo opportunities at locations like the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Saint Peter’s Basilica, plus the intimacy of a private ceremony. A professional wedding planner will handle the table settings and the timeline while Chef Pierangelini records the lovers’ vows in a personalized menu. Then De Russie Spa can tame the nerves with its salt water hydropool, Finnish sauna, steam room, relaxation suite, hair beauty corner, state-of-the-art gym, and six treatment rooms. Washing “away from the soul the dust of everyday life” happens daily at the Hotel de Russie—a tiny canvas of large, colorful narratives.
For more information: roccofortehotels.com/hotels-and-resorts/hotel-de-russie