It took some navigating of car and twisting and turning the city map trying to discover the discrete signage of Residenza de Ripetta. But once located after driving past it for at least three times, it was well worth the effort.
The former monastery turned 5 star hotel now part of the deluxe Royal Demeure Hotel Group, has a lot going for it so little wonder that it was fully occupied, most surprisingly, at the end of September.
Firstly, the location is minutes from the famed Piazza Del Popolo and Piazza di Spagno. And then there’s the entrance to this 15 century former monastery. It is so cool Roman-chic yet still with major old guard grandeur -a hard combination to make work, but this hotel has done it.
To one side of the lobby there’s a perfect, well used, serenely decorated, quiet library with shelves of books and deep, comfortable chairs and well chosen artwork. However, the nearby bar is obviously a trendy hang -out for the well dressed- to -the -hilt trendy, obviously wealthy Roman youths who love to laugh and, of course, talk and talk and talk.
One evening at least 150 ‘twenty somethings’ were there for an engagement party and suddenly the sophisticated area would have had the monks rolling in their graves as the group grew larger, louder and happier. There was no way the hotel staff could do anything about it, this being a pre- reserved party. La Dolce Vita is alive and well in Roma. It certainly had a few New Yorkers, who should be used to boisterous activity, bothered to the point of complaining to the sole receptionist. But a bit after midnight all was as it should be…complete quiet and nicely grand again. I saw this as a manifestation that the Italians, of any age, still love to have fun. Financial problems be damned!
This baroque building is up on modernity and convenience with all the necessary up to date needs from air conditioning to non smoking rooms and internet accessibility. However,I’ve never seen so many young people smoking on the streets and in any open area as I saw during my stay in Roma.
Within the confines of the hotel there are enough sights such as grand ancient sculptures and a superb garden with ivy (fake but looking like the real thing) neatly trimmed around all the windows of the rooms that overlook the garden, to enjoy. Brunch on Sunday is a hard ticket to get. It’s so civilized to see casual chic locals as only Romans know how to do, line up at the well ladened buffet table discussing the offerings. Food seems to be second only to opera, a constant part of conversations.
The garden bar section has colorful pillows on dark rattan sofas under a canopy and the area near the restaurant, also covered, has tables and chairs suited for eating. The taupe and beige linen place mats and napkins should be on sale, they are so stunning.
Now to initial impressions of the rooms. I must admit that on first sight of my down- the-hall, hidden away room, I wondered how Residenza could this be a five star rated hotel. Happily, the best part is the space was painted and decorated in white. Any pattern would have made this small ‘cell’, really confining. Had it been for two very tiny people or one slightly large person, it would have sufficed. The size was one obstacle, then the surface of the cupboard doors could have produced a handful of splinters if rubbed and to complete this dismal picture, the bathroom was so small that if you tried to swing a cat,it would be headless and the shower stall was akin to what one finds in most roadside motel rooms.
On the other hand when I visited my daughter’s suite, I couldn’t believe we were in the same hotel. Here I was standing in a lovely, elegantly decorated large suite. Bottom line? Just stunning. So what was the reason? No vacancies. I just happened to get the ‘runt’ of the litter. Apologies given by the staff, were profuse, and we were offered another room. However, since it was the last night, the thought of repacking after two weeks of packing and unpacking, didn’t seem worth the effort. My daughter loved every minute of her stay, her room, the food, the bar, the garden, the staff and everything else that was within sight. And except for the room, I concur with all her conclusions.
Residenza Di Ripetta is a most conveniently located, stunning building, accessible by walking to almost every city treasure and shopping areas and for me, worthy of another stay.
Just thinking of sitting in the perfectly manicured garden and dining in their restaurant where we did have one of the best meals in Rome, (and that’s a mouthful of credit since almost every restaurant is wonderful) is a stamp of approval for this fine grand residence.