luxe - Leon's Place Hotel, Rome
Written by Martin Gani
Italian architects and interior decorators famed for their flairfor espousing the historical with the ultra- modern have done it again. They have th transformed a 19 -century aristocratic palace in central Rome into the luxurious Leon’s Place Hotel, adding a new member to the Design Hotels™ network.
Inaugurated in 2008, the centrally-located Leon’s Place has a brick and marble façade with embedded columns like many of Rome’s historical buildings. The hall, airy and bright with natural light, is a welcoming introduction. The white renaissance columns and arches spell Roman architecture; precious artefacts like crystal chandeliers say 21st-century décor. The adjacent lounges with velvet seating, flowing black curtains, and sparkling silver standard lamps evoke luxury with a neo-gothic touch. The 56 contemporary rooms are furnished in a soft pearl-grey minimalist fashion with luxurious French beds. Flat-screen TVs hang on the walls like paintings waiting to be turned on, and bathrooms sport elegant marble fixtures.
The Visionnaire Café cocktail bar is an explosion of light with refracting coloured mosaics greeting guests, adding a creative dimension to an otherwise monochrome interior. The restaurant carries more Roman details with naked bricks adorning a vaulted ceiling and a chess-board floor; pink upholstery uplifts the atmospheric but simple surroundings. The Italian and international classics are served in nouvelle cuisine style, while the degustazione menu (the Italian word for tasting a series of gourmet dishes in small portions) is a must.
Leon’s Place Hotel is close to Quirinale, the sumptuous palace where the president of the Republic of Italy resides. Although normally closed to the public, it can be visited when temporary exhibitions are held.
Villa Borghese, a ten-minute walk from the hotel, is a worthy museum housing 15th- to 18th-century art; it is set in a spacious, peaceful park where you can sit by the pond or even do some rowing before visiting the marvellous marbles sculpted by Bernini and Canova, as well as admiring paintings by Italian greats, Raphael, Titian, and Caravaggio.
Leon’s Place Hotel