Hidden in a shuttered former convent, a mere 30 seconds from the top of the Spanish Steps, the Gregoriana is a real find. The first-rate hotel is reasonably priced despite both its position in the priciest district of Rome and its emphasis on low-key deco luxury. A high-point is the welcome from wonderful head concierge Aldo Basso Bondini, in charge for the last thirty years. Ask him about his time at the Savoy in the Sixties and don’t leave without his recipe for pressed duckling. Anything you need to know about the Eternal City, Signor Bondini can tell you.
The 4-storey Gregoriana reopened in April 2005 after a total renovation. Gone are the deep pink carpets and ubiquitous bamboo. In their place understated decadence, monochromatic colour-schemes and well-hung prints. The rooms (three with private balconies) come with excellent Irish bedlinen, well-sprung mattresses and huge fluffy towels. Stairwells and landings have been refitted with inlaid marble; and the bedrooms lettered (not numbered) with Aubrey Beardsley-like illustrations by Erté. The balance between style and warmth is perfectly struck.
Croissants, great coffee and jams are served with a flourish in the rooms and a breakfast area has recently been added.