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Hotels, reel and real, in Rome

Updated on September 26, 2014

It is with good reason that Rome has acquired the epithet of 'The Eternal City'. With its imposing ancient architecture, its continuing cultural legacy and its breathtaking vistas and piazzas, the city seems to be insulated from the passage of time.

Hotel Art - Via Margutta
Hotel Art - Via Margutta

Stepping into this old, magnificent city is like stepping through a portal into a timeless space that has remained untouched by the vagaries of the modern world. Once you are in Rome you realize that time has definitely stood still for this beautiful city. If you are plan a Roman holiday do make the time to visit or stay in hotels that have a lot of history attached to them.

Time Traveling in Rome

There are many ways in which this city can make you travel back in time – its art, fine architecture, delectable food and rich history, being just a few. Whether it is to the recent past, or to decades back in time, one unique way you can time travel in this city is by touring its hotels.

Yes, hotels! Rome hosts countless grand, opulent, magnificent hotels that are heritage structures and architectural marvels in themselves. But that is not the only reason they deserve a visit. Through decades, these properties have also served as a picturesque backdrop to some fascinating films from around the world, providing the perfect, great Italian setting. Their beautiful, luxurious interiors have been captured on camera and reel, in a sense freezing them in time and adding to their realms a touch of the eternal - just like the city that these spellbinding buildings belong to. Here is a lowdown on a few hotels that are worth a stay or a visit.

Hotel Art

If you have watched the classic, cult status Hollywood hit The Roman Holiday, starring the legendary Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, chances are you have already visited this unique hotel, if only through your eyes, and through the film. Hotel Art, with its intriguing blend of antique and modern architectural styles, stands out in the memory, with its old fashioned columns, modernist common areas and minimalist interiors.

Westin Excelsior Hotel Via Veneto
Westin Excelsior Hotel Via Veneto

Once a chapel, the structure is now a unique architectural landmark in the city. Located at the Via Margutta with its famous antique shops, this four star hotel is located a stone’s throw away from the Spanish Steps, in the heart of the city. In The Roman Holiday, Gregory Peck’s character, Joe Bradley, lives in this beautiful hotel, with its stain glass windows and high frescoed ceiling.

Westin Excelsior Hotel

Nestled in one of the grandest stretches of Rome, the Via Veneto, is the lavish facade of the Westin Excelsior Hotel. What has made the imposing hotel even more famous is the fact that many scenes of Fellini’s 1960 classic film La Dolce Vita were shot in this hotel.

Over the years, this luxury hotel has hosted and toasted some great film legends, including the cast of the epic historical drama film Ben Hur, while the film was being shot in Rome in the year 1959.

Hotel Majestic Rome

This is a grand structure, the earliest hotel to have opened its doors to guests on the historic stretch of Via Veneto, in the year 1889. The hotel offers a beautiful view of the Piazza Barberini. The architecture of Hotel Majestic Rome truly lives up to its name. In the early 1900s, this hotel was the city’s hotpsot, where the world’s richest and most famous gathered to meet and greet. Guests like Bob Dylan, Luciano Pavarotti and Madonna have graced this hotel with their presence.

The Hotel Majestic Rome has been captured on celluloid in the 1960 comedy-drama film La Dolce Vita.

Hotel Eden

In recent times, one of the films that was richly inspired by the city of Rome was Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love. The city is the dominating character in the film, the muse that stirs Allen’s creative enterprise. In this film, Rome progresses from being simply a beautiful backdrop, and instead becomes the life of the film itself.

Allen carefully showcases his most favorite parts of the great city, and of course a romantic hotel gets some screen time. The five star Hotel Eden, with its exclusive and expensive top floor bar, is the backdrop for a scene in this film. Located on Via Ludovisi, this hotel offers a breathtaking view, over the Villa Medici gardens, across quaint rooftops, straight to St Peter’s – this hotel is definitely worth a visit.


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