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Hotel Lord Byron
Hotel review, history, design and photos

Article added on January 31, 2006
 
Whenever one arrives at Hotel Lord Byron in Rome, one can expect to find a few new pieces of art. In comparison to my last visit a year ago, two new French Art Déco sculptured lamps from a Parisian palace in the library intrigued me. They were placed on the large console, a work by Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann (1879-1933).

Hotel Lord Byron with its 32 rooms and suites in a former patrician villa of the Art Déco age offers exclusivity and discretion in the exclusive Parioli district of Rome with the Belgian embassy on the other side of the street and the Danish Embassy around the corner. The hotel's policy is best described by the very British motto: "We don't discuss our clients". Only in the library one gets a glimpse of the illustrious people who estimate the hotel and its restaurant (which was closed during my visit in January 2006, check the review in German of my 2005 visit), where photos are on display showing hotel owner Amedeo Ottaviani with the Italian Presidents Cossiga and Ciampi as well as with former Primer Minister Andreotti.

Amedeo Ottaviani studied medicine and was supposed to become a doctor. His father ran a small luxury hotel in Florence called Hotel Regency (review in Germany). From him, as well as from his grandparents, who lived in a castle in Umbria, where they received many guests, Amedeo learned the meaning of hospitality. Therefore, one can truly say that the cultivation of ospitalità runs in the blood of this Italian family. Incidentally, Amedeo Ottaviani is the president of ENIT, the Italian state tourist board.

Rome's Hotel Lord Byron is not an ordinary accommodation, but a luxury private residence, where guests feel at home in an Art Déco ambiance. Amedeo perpetuates his father's concept of receiving people in an intimate space rather than in a heavy and anonymous hotel structure.

Front Office Manager Melita Mavrak will know you by name, not only because it my say so on her computer's client information entry, but rather because the hotel is small enough to have the staff know their guests, who often are regular visitors. The Lord Byron attracts in particular individualistic travelers who are looking for excellence in a hideaway which puts emphasis on understatement, service and discretion.

Built in the 1930s by an unknown architect, the Villa Lord Byron was owned for many years by a rich engineer, who helped financing the restoration of the Basilica San Francesco d'Assisi. The facade is typical for the 1920s and 1930s. The Italian variant of Art Déco is characterized by plain and elementary forms (sobrietà). The facade is made of bricks, covered by white limestone. Hence the hotel's nickname, the "White House".

Unfortunately, in 1959, Amadeo Ottaviani took over an empty house with no Art Deco furnishings. From 2003, he started redecorating the entire hotel in this 1920s and 1930s style. Today, the redecoration is complete. The bathrooms offer Carrara statuario marbles and the beds are covered with linens. The summit of happiness are the suites on the 5th and 6th floor with their view of the Parioli residential area and the Villa and Park Borghese. The Penthouse Suite 603 offers a small bedroom. However, guests get most compensated in summer by the huge terrace. In a separate, flat building to the right hand of the hotel entrance lies the Garden Suite with a Romanesque atrium and a spacious terrace.

The Hotel Lord Byron distinguishes itself by its central but quiet location. With a stroll through the park of Villa Borghese you can reach the Piazza di Spagna on foot. This time however, I was lazy and only took five minutes down to the Museo d'Arte Moderna.

From 10am to 7pm, a complimentary shuttle bus brings hotel guests every 30 minutes from the hotel to Via Veneto and  Piazza di Spagna and back. On request, a limousine service - for the price of a taxi - picks you up and brings you to one of Rome's airports.

Last but not least, let's not forget Jean-Luc Fruneau at the Restaurant Sapori del Lord Byron (review in German from my last visit in 2005), which was unfortunately closed during my stay in January 2006; the room service however functioned normally. He always has a few vegetarian dishes on his menu. The Wine Spectator honored the hotel's wine cellar in 1999, 2003 and 2004 with the "Award of Excellence".

My only complaint about the hotel in January 2006 was that the TV in room 405 was tiny, not suited at all for watching football games, and that Hotel Lord Byron does not offer Sky TV. However, owner-manager Amedeo Ottaviani assured me that all rooms will be getting large TV screens in 2006 (as in room 301) before the Soccer World Cup in Germany.




Photo © Hotel Lord Byron, Roma.


Photo © Hotel Lord Byron, Roma.


Photos © Hotel Lord Byron, Roma.
 


The entrance by night. Photo © Hotel Lord Byron, Roma.




Photo © Hotel Lord Byron, Roma.


The Ruhlmann console with the two sculptured lamps in the library.
Photos © Hotel Lord Byron, Roma.


Photo © Hotel Lord Byron, Roma
 
Deutsch Politik Geschichte Kunst Film Musik Lebensart Reisen
English Politics History Art Film Music Lifestyle Travel
Français Politique Histoire Arts Film Musique Artdevivre Voyages

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© Copyright www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.