Hotel Savoy’s Duomo Presidential suite is dominated by turquoise hues, with cushions by Timorous Beastie
Escaping to Italy from DC is a luxurious breeze thanks to Alitalia’s new nonstop service to Rome and Rocco Forte Hotels’ expanding properties.
To visit Italy is one thing. To do so by jetting via Alitalia’s Magnifica class and staying in the exquisite style of Rocco Forte Hotels is quite another. The latter is a family-run brand founded by Sir Rocco Forte and specializing in unparalleled, effortless luxury. Six of its properties are in Italy (including Villa Igiea, opening in Palermo in June 2020). In Florence? Hotel Savoy (suites from $1,132 per night).
Sitting pretty on the Piazza della Repubblica, the property reopened in 2018 after a renovation (it debuted in 1893). There are 80 rooms, including 30 suites, all of which bear the whimsical yet sophisticated style of Director of Design Olga Polizzi (sister to the namesake). This spot gets exquisite flair via a collaboration with Florentine fashion house Emilio Pucci (select pieces are sold here too).
The Piazza della Repubblica was formerly the old market square and today is a fashionable hub
Suites have punch and panache. The Duomo Presidential suite occupies its own wing and boasts panoramas of Brunelleschi’s cupola. All suites have Irene Forte Skincare toiletries, unpacking and packing services, and complimentary breakfast in-suite or at Irene Bistro.
And a stay here should involve at least one visit to the restaurant. Sit on the terrace, and you’ll see Pucci’s silk scarves in pink or turquoise encased on the glass tables while you dine on regionally sourced Tuscan fare, as well as Sicilian tomatoes with a firm yet chewable skin that gives way to ripe, juicy flesh. (They are a passion of famed chef Fulvio Pierangelini, who creates the menus at all RFH restaurants.) Lunch might sing with a lasagna that’s stacked with richness; dinner with a refreshing sea bass crafted in an Asian preparation.
Hotel de Russie’s courtyard is frequented by locals and travelers for meetings, snacks and drinks; while known as the sommelier to the stars
It’s easy to want to spend all your time at the hotel, but its partnerships allow for excursions. Visit the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella for a private tour. (The Savoy also has an in-house shop that bowed in the spring.) Founded by Dominican friars around 1221, the label is one of Florence’s finest, with the iconic Acqua di S.M.Novella - profumo (created for Caterina de Medici) among its creations. You could also learn the art of pasta-making and vino pairing via Filippo Bartolotta, wine educator and professional sommelier of MamaFlorence. A visit may uncork Amets Extra Dry Prosecco Treviso in the courtyard and have you crafting stuffed cappelletti.
Filippo Bartolotta makes guests feel comfortable
Then there’s a custom tour with Sun in Tuscany, run by Tayu Vlietstra and the disarmingly funny Chiara Becchetti. Their programs linger—a lunch on their balcony overlooking the Arno or a visit to secret places arranged only because of who they know.
As for a Roman holiday? Hotel de Russie (executive suites from $2,580 per night) and the new Hotel de la Ville beckon (executive suites from $1,550 per night), as will Rocco Forte House, when it opens this month. They are steeped in ancient tradition, yet each bears its modern character thanks to Polizzi and architect Tommaso Ziffer.
Hotel de la Ville’s Julep Herbal & Vermouth Bar
The 120-room de Russie is between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo, and feels akin to a botanical oasis amid the city. The destination wraps around a scenic Secret Garden to offer respite from the bustle of Rome. Fittingly, woodland-inspired greenery abounds throughout, with suites bearing pastoral wallpaper from Lewis & Wood among other tranquil accents. The suites are titled for those whose history has intertwined with the hotel—the Picasso suite draws on the artist’s stay in 1917. The Nijinsky suite was inspired by the famed Russian dancer (the hotel gets its name from the members of the Russian Imperial House and romantic painters who stayed here) and has a bathroom bedecked in marble and mosaic. Many of the suites look out on the garden and Le Jardin de Russie restaurant, where guests dine alfresco during the warmer months, and a caviar menu bursts with Oscietra Royal for those who want to kick it up a notch.
The spa, too, delights, with its blue-hued saltwater hydropool, sauna and Turkish steam room. The new 104-room de la Ville also bears a two-story iteration, complete with a Mediterranean salt room, infrared chairs and a mud bath. It’s one of the stately details at the latest property, which opened in May following a 2 1⁄2-year renovation. The facade dates back to the 18th century, when European nobles used it as their Italian travel hub during the Grand Tour. And that’s where Polizzi and Ziffer drew inspiration, reinterpreting the concept in a contemporary way.
The Savoy’s lobby is bright and white, but designs by Pucci, paintings by Luca Pignatelli, Il Bronzetto furnishings and more accent the space
A stay in the Suite de la Ville is supreme—a private elevator whisks you up to your dining room, two outdoor terraces and more. To gild the lily are multiple restaurant concepts—from Da Sistina to Mosaico to Cielo Bar to Julep Herbal & Vermouth Bar, which delights the eyes with its frenzied opulence, and the taste buds with its rare menu of cocktails and infusions that draw on the 13th century spice route that began in Venice.
What makes a visit to either property even more captivating is their locales—steps to the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and a short trip to hailed restaurant Pierluigi, where George and Amal Clooney, and the Obamas have feasted on fresh fish (sea bream, please) and experienced premier Italian hospitality. It is a superior way to end our travels too—a final flourish on a trip that could only be described as la bella vita.
Alitalia’s A330 airbus
Alitalia, Italy’s largest airline, recently launched direct nonstop service between Dulles International Airport and Rome–Fiumicino International Airport. And the flight is made exemplary for clientele in its Magnifica long-haul class from your first step inside the airport. Seat from $4,700
ARRIVAL AND LANDING
Magnifica class guests are treated to dedicated check-in and security lanes, priority boarding and access to Casa Alitalia lounges, complete with catering, Wi-Fi, showers, a live cooking area and a bar with professional mixologists.
Passengers are spoiled with flat-bed Poltrona Frau seats that recline 180 degrees and have a massage function; personal LCD TVs; a Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kit with body lotion, Tuscan fragrance, a sleeping mask and more; and an Italian blanket and pillow for sleeping.
A splash of prosecco arrives prior to takeoff, and an edible journey in the sky awaits via multicourse seasonal meals with optional wine pairings from Italy’s finest wine-producing regions created in collaboration with Gambero Rosso. There are dishes like an artisan fromage plate and orecchiette in salsa di broccoletti. There’s even a healthier menu option with courses such as thin-sliced cod in a Jerusalem artichoke sauce.
Photography by: ROCCO FORTE HOTELS; ALITALIA