What a shame it would be to be on business in Rome and not do so in style.
The Rome Cavalieri hotel is thoroughly stylish, from balconies with hilltop views overlooking the city to reams of art on display to a club level with perks for premium travellers.
About 40 per cent of the hotel’s visitors are there on business, and the Cavalieri won World Travel Awards as Italy’s best business hotel in 2012, 2013 and 2014. It often hosts medical or financial conferences and in May was home to the World Arabian Horse Racing Conference, under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour.
The hotel sits in parkland at the top of a long driveway, about 5 kilometres from the city centre.
The Cavalieri’s seventh and eighth floors are the club levels. These offer access to the Imperial Room lounge, with sofas, newspapers, food and beverages on demand and private check-in and check-out.
My club-level room with city view was 42 square metres plus an 8 sq metre balcony. It cost €630 (Dh2,598) a night for single occupancy and €655 for double, including taxes and breakfast. Similar rooms on the lower levels go for about €290 a night for single and €305 for double.
My room had plenty of plugs for a traveller’s electronic devices. The bed was firm with a touch of suppleness you could melt into. There was also a pillow menu, should you require, say, a pillow made of Kapok flakes.
As a test of the hotel’s service I dialled downstairs for toothpaste at 10.30pm. The knock on my door came in two minutes – very impressive.
The Cavalieri has two business centres, one on the seventh floor and a larger one below ground level.
One surprise was that Wi-Fi is not free. The cost for basic service was €14.95 a day. Really, a luxury hotel should not be charging guests to use the internet. The Cavalieri’s Wi-Fi is, however, free in its public areas, and is high-speed.
In all, this smoothly running hotel provides a relaxing base for the business traveller. But do bear in mind that it is at a slight distance from Rome’s core.
See a gallery of the hotel here.
q&a Sorry, no free wi-fi
Alessandro Cabella, the managing director of the Rome Cavalieri, tells Rob McKenzie more about the five-star hotel:
What do business travellers want?
Definitely everyone is looking for efficiency in technology – efficiency in technology means not only a correct internet connection and a proper speed, but every single element composing a successful meeting or conference – the right temperature in the meeting room, the right audiovisual support.
Why isn’t your Wi-Fi free?
First of all, the policy on the internet is very much related to corporate policy. It is generated and dictated by the corporate. Personally, I think this should be offered free, completely free. I don’t want to say the internet connection is as vital as the oxygen we breathe, but everything is moving on those lines. I hope that next year we will be able to offer Wi-Fi for free.
What is becoming less important to business travellers?
I have to say that food and beverage is becoming – I don’t want to say less important, however when compared to the past, the number of food and beverage services requested during a conference is diminishing.
What is the most important way the luxury market is evolving?
The wealthy individual segment is increasing. There is the need to satisfy this market segment that is so strategic for all of us. The priority for us is the refurbishing of our suites. The suites are products that are very much in demand. We are re-engineering different parts of the hotel to have our master plan completed by the end of 2018. We are going to change furnishing, decorations, colour schemes. The traditionalism will be kept.
The hotel opened in 1963 as a Hilton. It has been under the banner of the chain’s Waldorf Astoria brand since 2008. The Waldorf Astoria grouping also includes properties in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah.
The Rome Cavalieri has some 8,700 sq m of conference and meeting space. It has 345 rooms plus 25 suites.
The 25-metre outdoor swimming pool is a buzzy gathering spot for Rome’s beautiful people – and is also pretty nice to swim in.
An hourly daytime shuttle bus brings guests into Piazza Barberini. Limousines are also available.
For dining, the hotel is famous for La Pergola, which has three Michelin stars. I was surprised to learn from Mr Cabella that La Pergola does not receive many business travellers, though there is the occasional board of directors’ dinner.
The hotel’s L’Uliveto is a Mediterranean-themed restaurant with seats available outside overlooking the pool, which sparkles blue at night. Dishes include red prawn carpaccio with fennel, red orange and fleur de sel (€33), Amatriciana-style pasta (€29) and, for dessert, Sicilian cassata surprise (€13).
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* The writer was a guest of the hotel.