Review: Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel, Palazzo Dama, Rome
From the minute you arrive at Palazzo Dama you’re awestruck by its beautiful interior design and met with wonderful service. For me, these are two of the most important factors when choosing a hotel for a holiday; here, I’m not disappointed. Straightaway the staff showed us to our room, an immaculate Junior Suite. I was particularly pleased to find Tyrrells crisps in the minibar and I loved the amazing coffee-table books that were scattered around throughout. The reading material was a great touch and I often found myself leafing through – you could tell that each tome in the collection had been carefully handpicked. Our bathroom was classic in style with cute little white tiles and I liked having a window, so you could peep to see the bustling streets of Rome and glimpse the city’s goings-on.
Palazzo Dama is right by the River Tiber, a great location near lots of fun restaurants and famed sights. It’s about a five-minute walk from the Piazza del Popolo, and from there onwards you’re just a further five-minute walk from landmarks such as the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona and the Pantheon. However, the hotel is next to a main road, which, while not desirable, does make acquiring a cab super easy; ask the concierge to order it for you to make it easier still… The hotel’s exquisite design had already impressed me, but nothing prepared me for the salon where breakfast is served. You’re welcomed into a space crammed full of more art and fashion literature than you can possibly read in the time it takes to sip a morning cappuccino. The hotel was designed by architect Antonio Girardi, and his salon and bar, filled with gold lamps, cream-velvet banquettes, tall palm trees and elegant black-square tables was my highlight. You couldn’t help but admire it – and it’s ideal for both breakfast and a cosy, post-dinner cocktail.
Breakfast was included in our room rate; the coffee was rich and delicious, but I would have liked a little more choice in the buffet. It consisted of cakes, yoghurt, fresh fruit, cured ham and a little cereal, which was fine, but some eggs and bacon (practically de rigeur in an establishment of this quality) would have improved the spread. However, I’m aware that Italian breakfasts can be a little sparse (to make room for late-in-the-day carb-loading) and the waiters were always friendly and willing to help wherever they could.
The salon doors led out to the hotel’s pool – an asset as rare and desired as gold dust in the hot summer months. I was there in mid-March and the weather was sunny, so we took full advantage of the terrace. I’m a bit of a sun-worshipper and in Rome it shone down from about 10am till 5pm so I couldn’t have asked for better weather. When you’d spent half the day walking around sightseeing it was a total dream to know that you can come back and chill poolside with a tea or coffee in the afternoon. Despite being in the centre of a busy city, the hotel garden was peaceful; you really could relax and read a magazine amid the olive and lemon trees. If you’re seeking some serious ‘me-time’, then take your pick from the wide range of in-room wellness treatments the front desk will happily organise for you.
Palazzo Dama’s new chef had just started in the kitchen before we arrived, so the evening menu had been revamped causing the restaurant to become a destination in itself. We dined in the special salon yet again (as you know I couldn’t get enough of it…). In the evening the dining space’s tone changed, with dimmer mood lighting, and the bar came as classic jazz piano began to play; the soundtrack to glamorous punters sipping Aperol Spritzes and prosecco. I wish I’d hit the private club downstairs, but I was with my mum, and it didn’t seem like quite her scene – as it turns out, it was also closed in the week. I imagine it’s a lively spot when you arrive back late and a little merry from a restaurant and want a nightcap followed by some shimmying – just not with mum in tow. The space is just down a grand sweep of staircase leading to the basement, so if you’re visiting on the weekend then go somewhere a little more lavish, maybe with a few more velvet chaise-longues and crystal chandeliers, possibly with a thudding Euro pop soundtrack.
On the last night we ordered mint tea up to our room; it arrived on an elegantly arranged tray with silver teapots and biscotti. It was the perfect end to a busy day, and our suite’s heavenly beds with pretty, light-green velvet headboards made it all the better. A stay at Palazzo Dama is worth every Euro you spend on it; its owners and staff have worked hard to create a glamorous environment of gold and velvet, creating a classic Italian beauty, who I fell head over heels for – grazie mille bellissima!
Lungotevere Arnaldo da Brescia, 2, 00196 Roma, Italy
+39 06 8956 5272