Hotel Review: Hotel De Russie

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Trip Report Index:

Introduction
Getting There
Hotel Review: St. Regis Rome
Hotel Review: Hotel De Russie
Hotel Review: The Westin Europa & Regina
Visiting Venice
Hotel Review: St. Regis Venice San Clemente Palace (previously reviewed)
Driving around Lake Garda
Hotel Review: Hotel Sirmione
Day in Sirmione
Hotel Review: Hotel Ideal
Night in Verona
Lake Idro
Lake Iseo
Lake Maggiore & Day Trip by Train
Hotel Review: Sheraton Milan Malpensa

The Hotel De Russie was originally designed in the 19th century by the same architect who redeveloped the nearby Piazza del Popolo. It has been through many changes, and was once the head office for the leading Italian TV channel.

Turning off the tiny dusty street into the hotel, we were welcomed warmly at the door by a bellman.

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Our suitcases were brought in swiftly and he motioned for us to go to the left where check-in was.

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To the right was a large lobby waiting room.

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A few people were around, but it was nice and quiet compared to the St Regis in Rome we had just come from.

There was a a table in the entryway that was filled with beautiful flowers and glittery crystal candle holders. Up close, I could see that all the flowers were fresh.

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On the property there is over half an acre of of terraced gardens with roses, palm trees, and yews. The heady smell of roses filled the air.

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I stood there and just took a couple deep breaths.

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Since the first floor had many different areas, it was helpful to find signs.

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I had booked a Classic Room as a redemption under the Leaders Club program. Rooms during the time of my visit were over 800 EUR!, which made it an excellent choice.

When we arrived, they had a room available but it didn’t have a view. They kindly offered the option to wait for another room that had a courtyard view, which sounded good. I said that it was important to get a quiet room, and they said it was the quietest room type they had which sounded great!

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In the meantime, they said to please enjoy some drinks at the Le Jardin de Russie, right in the middle of the Secret Garden.

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After devouring some potato chips and olives, we decided to order drinks and some lunch. Perusing the menu, I chose a drink called the Pujehue with Pisco, Lime, Mint & Cinnamon, Chocolate Liqueur and Egg White. It was a warm day and the cool drink was refreshing, though I was surprised to find that the cinnamon was on the outside of the glass instead of the inside.

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A big bottle of cold Acqua Panna arrived shortly thereafter. I started doing a bit of work, but had trouble with the internet connection. I went back in to concierge, who worked for about 15 minutes to figure out the problem. Eventually they restarted the router and then it worked great.

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The air outside smelled of citrus and faintly of roses.

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A small pigeon took shelter in the shade under the chair and hoped for a few potato chips to fall. I obliged, and he stayed put afterwards since the plates of food were set down just then.

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Remembering the fantastic lasagna I had eaten at Antonio’s, I ordered one here.

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lt was delicious with those super thin sheets of pasta, though not quite as amazing.

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After finishing every bite of the meal, I was informed that the room was ready. We had been expecting to pay for the food, but the entire bill was waived which was a very nice gesture. The total would have been about 80 EUR.

Taking the elevator up to the 5th floor, I turned to the right and found the room immediately beyond a second elevator. I don’t typically like to have a room anywhere near an elevator due to possible noise issues, so I was wary when entering the room. Sure enough, I could immediately hear a whooshing noise as the elevator whizzed past.

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I called down right away to reception and voiced my concern, and they reassured me that it was the elevator that went only to the spa and that it would automatically get shut down at 8:30pm when the spa closed. Satisfied, I thanked them and hung up.

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The room was 322 square feet which was a bit small for my liking. However, everywhere I looked there were luxurious materials used and the room was bright and clean. Soft sheets, fresh bedspread, and and velvety chair coverings.

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There was a place to hang suits and lay out a suitcase, and there were thoughtfully placed reading lights positioned over the bed.

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The TV was a bit small but I didn’t use it while I was there anyhow so that didn’t matter.

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The large windows with the garden just outside gave the room a calm feeling, and I loved the green accents in the room decorations.

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Heavy drapes could easily be pulled in front of the windows when it was time to block out the outside light.

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I would have liked a King bed but this room only came with a Queen. There were four large pillow though, in addition to the three decorative ones.

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There was a closet just inside the door, but because we were only there for one night the rack near the bed was more convenient.

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A small fridge held water and assorted drinks.

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There were minibar snacks as well.

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A real plant near the windows added a homey feel.

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There was a desk in the corner that had just enough workspace.

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There was one thing about the desk that was unusual though. Can you spot it?

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Yep, that’s right. A sculpture that was reminiscent of a section from Michelangelo’s David, which might be sliiiightly distracting if trying to work with my laptop right there.

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Pablo Picasso once stayed at the hotel, with poet Jean Cocteau. According to the story, they had adjoining rooms and leaned out the windows to pick oranges from the garden.

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The courtyard from lunch was below and it was a beautiful area. It is not common to find such a large courtyard with foliage right in Rome.

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The bathroom was compact but beautifully done in marble.

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A colorful mosaic had been applied in the wall of the bath.

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The shower/tub had one of those half walls of glass, but the water pressure was great and the temperature was good too.

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The sink itself was large and had beautiful shimmery tiles on the backsplash. I didn’t have enough room to put more than our toothbrushes on the counter area though.

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Two pairs of slippers peeked out from under the sink, with the hotel’s logo stitched on.

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Toiletries were in bold red containers, and the brand was by a famous perfumer.

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Two thick bathrobes were hung on the door hooks.

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Special attention had been paid to the toilet paper roll.

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We went out in the evening and returned later on. The lights in the property had been dimmed a little, which seemed to bring the artwork to life.

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Back in the room, the slippers had been unwrapped and placed near the bed.

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Some cards had been placed on the bed along with the shoeshine/laundry bags.

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Two large bottles of still water were bedside.

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The phone was well labeled, though there was a light  in the middle that curiously didn’t want to turn off. I finally figured it out, and then all was nice and dark. The air conditioning was silent but efficient so the room was the perfect sleeping temperature.

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After getting in bed, I realized that the pillows had just the right amount of fluff. The linens were amazing too, and must have been very high quality. I should have looked to see if there was a tag on them to find out what kind they were. I loved them, they were so dreamy! Unfortunately, after lying there for a few minutes we could clearly hear the elevator go whooshing up and down. It was about 11pm, so the spa should have closed hours ago.

Groan. I called down to reception and said that I thought the elevator was supposed to be shut down when the spa closed. They didn’t know what I was talking about, and said that it was just a regular elevator that would be going wherever the guests needed it to. There was also no way to shut it down, and I didn’t really feel like getting up and changing rooms at such a late hour. 12am, 1am, 2am….Thankfully as the time passed there was less and less elevator movement in the wee hours of the morning, but neither my husband nor I slept well. Disappointing.

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We were headed out early, so didn’t have time to enjoy the breakfast or see the spa.

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This was a beautiful property, and a spot of respite in such a busy city. I loved the quaint courtyard, lunch was excellent, and the linens were amazing. Redeeming a free night, there was no upgraded room even as a (general) member of Leading Hotels. I would have liked to have had a King sized bed and larger room, but King beds were only available in rooms that were 2 categories higher.

The only real negative is that the room we were given was next to the elevator, when I had even requested a quiet room. The staff was warm and friendly and I know that the property was full so I would definitely try another stay here, but only if I could confirm that the room would NOT be next to an elevator.

Next time I’d try to take some time to walk around the gardens too, try the breakfast, and perhaps get a corner suite that overlooks one of the piazzas or the gardens.

Hotel De Russie

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Good To Go

+ Ideal location. Piazza del Popolo is right outside the door, and the Spanish Steps is an easy 5 minute walk
+ Rooms with courtyard views are the quietest, with absolutely no street noise at all
+ Bed linens are wonderfully high quality

Good To Know

- Internet is not free unless you are a Leading Hotels of the World member
- Unless you get a Deluxe Room or higher, you'll get a Queen bed instead of a King
- Elevator next to room made noisy whooshing sound that made it difficult to sleep

How many Magic Stars did this hotel stay earn?

 4/5 Magic Stars
  1. Bill
    Reply

    So compared to the St. Regis Rome, where you stayed the night before, which do you prefer–dollar for dollar? Any why–or why do you think one would prefer the one over the other?

    • Melinda
      Reply

      Bill, I prefer the Hotel de Russie over the St Regis Rome. An upgraded room at the St Regis Rome and a different time of year might have given me a different impression, but even though the hotels were similar in total room number (122 Russie vs 161 St Regis) the Hotel de Russie felt like a more intimate property. With the Hotel de Russie about 1.75 times the price of the St Regis Rome, I’d still lean towards the Hotel de Russie because it was a step up in terms of both overall service, hard product, and location. All in all though, both properties offer great redemption value.

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