Every hotel, even the bad ones, are unique in their own way but if it there's something that makes this extremely good Rome hotel unique, as per its moniker, it's the fact that with its delicate, pleasingly feminine tonings, it feels rather more Parisian in style than Roman. Most of us, your reviewer included, adore both cities so it's a best-of-both-worlds delight to settle into this handsome boutique-style hotel built in the historic heart of the Eternal City.
Elizabeth Unique Hotel, a member of the Design Hotels group, is positioned between Via del Corso and Via della Frezza, mere steps from the Spanish Steps, where these days officious tourist police constantly blast their whistles at errant visitors flouting Rome's recently-introduced policy to restore decorum to the city's major sights. You are warned, though knowing travellers tend to eschew the Spanish Steps which rate as one of Rome's more underwhelming attractions.
The 33-room hotel is built inside both the gracious Palazzo Pulieri Ginetto, an erstwhile Roman mansion, and a seven-room annexe across the street. The main and almost invisible entrance is tucked away in a street behind Via del Corso, one of Rome's most popular shopping strips. Inside, with the overall design inspired by the aristocratic grand tours of Europe of centuries past, the tapestry wallpapered walls of the well-lit public spaces are adorned with contemporary art. Each of the works are provided by the city's well-known and nearby Galleria Russo, as part of a special collaboration with the gallery and the hotel.
Your reviewer's beautifully decorated spa suite has a light colour scheme of whites and greys offset by fetching metallic gold details. This level of rooms start from 43 square metres - huge by Rome standards - and each is a work of art in its own right, featuring original black and white wallpapers inspired by the aforementioned grand tours. From a separate living area with a sofa bed and fireplace, the bedroom is reached through an arched entrance with a king-size bed. Some of these suites, which are adorned with stunning gold-plated sculptural lighting fittings, have whirlpool bathtubs and even private saunas. Most of the rooms overlook busy Via del Corso.
In a city with no shortage of superb dining opportunities, a hotel's restaurant will need to be of a high standard to encourage you to eat in-house. The curiously-named Bar Bacharach Bistrot, with its modern Italian menu, duly qualifies, particularly considering it includes an inviting outdoor terrace, an echo of the City of Light with the hotel's surrounding salmon and white coloured walls and brick buildings. Of course, should you prefer not to be confined to these luxurious quarters, the endless gastronomic possibilities of one of Europe's great food capitals awaits you the moment you step from the hotel door.
The neighbourhood around the hotel is a maze of narrow streets and laneways lined with restaurants, including trattorie and shops, while beyond the tourist-filled though attractive area surrounding the Spanish Steps is the magnificent Piazza del Popolo. The name of the piazza, which is dominated by an Egyptian obelisk dedicated to the pharaoh Ramesses II, translates as the "people's square" but as ever in Rome, the people-watching is every bit as engrossing as the attractions.
In a city that boasts relatively few quality small design-style hotels, this superb, and superbly-situated, establishment is a true beauty in every sense of the term.
Anthony Dennis stayed as a guest of Elizabeth Unique Hotel, Rome, Design Hotels and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
OUR RATING OUT OF FIVE
Five out of five
The elegant interior design and attention to detail throughout are exceptional
If you're arriving on foot the hotel's tucked- away entrance can be tricky to locate.