Compared to the ancient Colosseum or the Roman Pantheon, a decade-old monument in the heart of the Italian capital may at first glance seem unremarkable. But the Villa Agrippina Gran Meliá is a landmark of which international visitors to Rome would be well advised.
During the hotel’s reign over the Trastevere district, a decade is of course no small feat when many other accommodations were taken off the market by property rental companies, or forced to close due to the blunt impact of the pandemic on the tourism industry.
The hotel, which stands on the site of a former palace, however, only seems to look ahead. With stunning views, luxurious lounging areas and an outdoor swimming pool that overlooks the walls of Vatican City, it’s easy to see why the anniversary of its opening sparked much celebration in April this year.
Any seasoned city dweller will know that location really matters when time is of the essence – and Villa Agrippina would be hard to beat for those wishing to attend morning mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, or after a romantic stroll under the stars along the Tiber. The hotel is ideally located for visitors wishing to explore the Eternal City on foot, as it is just minutes from some of Rome’s most iconic sites.
With around 100 rooms and several suites, one of the only challenges guests will face when planning their trip is knowing which accommodation option to choose. Classic and Premium rooms boast sleek design, comfortable beds, ample office space for those into the digital nomad, and bathrooms worthy of their own reviews.
Be sure to book a room with a view and hope your en-suite has a circular bath with overhead shower – I promise this is the closest thing to Sandro Botticelli’s experience. The birth of Venus without jumping on a train to Florence.
Then there are the sequels. The Panoramic option proudly lives up to its name, with sweeping views of the city skyline and ample space for outdoor recreation, whether it’s a dip in the plunge pool or dinners at sunset. Sun.
The Garden and Pool Suites offer privacy for those wishing to enjoy the hotel’s green spaces and bathing offerings without being observed — I’m told they’ve been a hit with many Italian celebrities.
After a day of sightseeing or shopping, recharge your batteries at the hotel’s Clarins Spa. The tranquil space is light and airy, making it a perfect stop to rest, take a quick dip in the separate bathing area, or indulge in an exclusive treatment with expert therapists.
Or, if a period of complete relaxation is in order, spend the day by the pool – a rare find in the city. The deck has plenty of lounge chairs and daybeds for maximum comfort, as well as a smaller Jacuzzi, if floating around the star attraction gets a bit tiring.
Then you’ll inevitably need something to snack on – the Gala Pool Bar & Restaurant offers drinks, cocktails and light snacks that will do the trick until a feast begins at the Ossimoro Restaurant.
Executive chef Luciano Monosilio received a Michelin star at just 27 years old – and has since been colloquially crowned the “King of Carbonara”. Bringing a contemporary approach to the recipes and culinary traditions that Italy is famous for, diners can indulge in à la carte or tasting menus they won’t soon forget.
And since the Amaro Bar is just a small detour on the way back to the rooms, it would be unwise not to stop in for a mix of specialties or a classic cocktail. The converted church has had a colorful update, with plenty of plush perches from which to cool off and people watch.
To show creativity
A jewel in the growing treasury of this Spanish hotel brand, Villa Agrippina weaves closer ties to the heritage and history of Gran Meliá Hotel & Resorts.
The hotel has partnered with the Real Academia de España to exhibit the works of the institute’s residents, with pieces chosen to complement the hotel’s artfully designed interiors. Navigate at your leisure to immerse yourself in the creative currents of the city before exploring its world-famous galleries.
Rooms at the Villa Agrippina Gran Meliá start from £489 per night on a B&B basis; melia.com