Rome doesn’t lack for spectacular locations, but there’s something extra special about pulling up to the curb on the elegant Via Veneto with its wedding cake neoclassical buildings and expensive boutiques. The Villa Borghese is right in front of you, the Spanish Steps just down to the left and all of Rome spread out below. At the Baglioni Hotel Regina, gloved doormen will usher you under the art nouveau glass awning into the gilded lobby, accented by marble pillars and Murano glass chandeliers, and up to the mahogany front desk. For a Roman holiday of classic luxury, this is the place to be — even on a family vacation with two four-year-olds in tow.
Luxury begins and ends with service, and what service! Everyone from the bellboy to the concierge seemed delighted to see us when I checked in with my husband and two daughters, even if my little darlings were dragging their backpacks across the immaculate marble floor. (Italians genuinely love kids, which makes staying at posh hotels and going out to dinner decidedly less fraught than you might imagine.) And when we got up to our adjoining rooms on the fifth floor and I got a look at the easy-to-open casement windows in the kids’ room and had a parenting panic moment, the manager swept in and had those shutters closed in a trice. Yes, it may have made the dark room feel like a cave, but at least it was one with a large king bed and triple-plush carpet.
The 118 rooms are traditional without being fussy, with art deco touches and neutral tones, and the marble baths are deep and wide — just try telling two four-year-olds it’s time to come out and put on their pajamas. Many of the suites on the upper floors were recently redone, and the new Roman Penthouse spans the entire eighth floor and has a wide, wraparound terrace with 360-views of all of Rome, from St. Peter’s to the Palatine Hills to the Colosseum. The hotel’s location atop one of Rome’s seven hills can’t be beat, especially since it’s just a few blocks from one of the few playgrounds in the center of the city, at the Villa Borghese.
Dining at the Brunello Restaurant & Lounge may not make your most memorable dinners list, but it has a kid’s menu and patient waiters. And the bartender makes an absolutely marvelous Negroni, and what could be better than sipping a classic Roman cocktail while your kids make hash out of a fried chicken cutlet. La dolce vita, indeed.