A one-off Fiat 600 Multipla from the 1960s, retrofitted by Lapo Elkann’s automotive atelier, Garage Italia, takes pride of place in the entrance courtyard at the St. Regis Rome.
The hotel car, which has been given a decidedly unique touch that includes a reproduction of The Triumph of Divine Providence on the roof’s interior and the upholstery, transports St. Regis guests around the historic centre of Rome. The relevance of the vehicle and the property in which it resides is a parallelism of sorts, as both car and hotel cast light on a new era.
The St. Regis Rome, originally opened in 1894 by legendary hotelier, César Ritz, has undergone a $45-million renovation. This restoration took more than three years to complete, with interior designer, Pierre-Yves Rochon, breathing new life into the historical landmark. And while the hotel is embarking on a new era of modern glamour, its old world splendour remains wonderfully intact with the original 19th-century elevator, said to be the first operating lift in the city, and the Ritz Ballroom, its ceiling frescoes gilded and restored by a team of master craftspeople. The Murano glass chandelier in the hotel’s monumental lobby where Lumen, the bar and restaurant, is situated, is a dramatic statement piece.
Just as impressive are the rooms and suites. The heavy brocades and dark colours are gone, with the hotel now dressed in creams, and pale and powder blues. The room to request is the three-bedroom Bottega Veneta suite; while neither the largest nor the most lavish (that title belongs to the Royal Suite), it features furnishings from the Italian fashion house’s home collection. Butler service is a hallmark of the St. Regis, and in Rome, the St. Regis butler is a hybrid of a personal concierge and a traditional butler. Come aperitivo hour, said butler will deliver a tray upon which champagne and stemware by Saint-Louis for St. Regis make for a most distinguished 5 o’clock drink.
This new St. Regis chapter includes its collaboration with IF Experience, an organization founded by an art historian couple, Filippo Cosmelli and Daniela Bianco, that offers astutely informed access to the hidden Rome—one that remains safe from the guidebooks and touristic droves that have overtaken the ancient city.
Fiat boss, Gianni Agnelli, once had a permanent suite at the property; Lady Gaga calls the hotel home when in Rome; heads of state, along with royalty, have made the St. Regis Rome their hotel of choice. The beautiful belle époque building itself is reason enough to plan a trip to the Eternal City.