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December 2006

Crown Jewel of the Via Veneto
by Bonnie Carroll

Westin Excelsior HotelThe historic Westin Excelsior Hotel on the Via Vittorio Veneto in Rome is still the favorite home-away-from-home to all the rich and famous, including kings, queens, film stars and politicians. The exterior and interior elegance of this hotel built in 1906 has only been enhanced by a renovation that brought the latest in technology services to their guests.

When entering the hotel lobby for registration it is such a nice experience to be so warmly welcomed by the extremely professional staff. The masters at the concierge desk, the bell captains, and the executive staff are all ready to serve you. The Italian salutations are continuous, as is their need to provide every comfort to the Westin Excelsior guests.

The ‘Westin Workout’ is a new program being offered in many of the Westin hotels, and it gives travelers an ongoing exercise program to follow while they are visiting different properties. The Spa offers some wonderful treatments, including the hot stone massage, and there is a pool where award winning shoppers can relieve their Onice Barsore muscles after walking from designer shops to tourist destinations in the ‘Eternal City’ all day. The hotel is conveniently located near everything, and the concierge offers walking maps to help you find your way.

The Onice Bar is a lively art deco roaring twenties inspired meeting place for cocktails before dinner, or late night rendevous, and attracts a crowd of very beautiful people who enjoy live entertainment. Dinner at Doney, the hotels signature restaurant, is the highlight of the end to any day in Rome. This is one of the most historic dining institutions in the city, and is newly renovated. The inside dining room is graced with an exquisite Italian glass chandelier that hangs like a beautiful halo over guests savoring their culinary surprises. The outside café style setting is great fun, and merges your spirit with the excitement of Rome after dark. I so enjoyed dining at a table next to the Via Veneto.

seafoodChef James Foglieniravioli

The general manager at Doney is entertaining, and the chef is extremely talented. Chef James Foglieni presents a seafood collection in a wooden basket that is spectacular, and the veal dishes are everything you would expect from a star chef in Italy. The ravioli pasta with pumpkin and shrimp sauce is a specialty that he has become renowned for. From beginning to end the menu is excellent, and the servers strive to please.

vaticanBreakfast is also quite pleasant, and it is so easy to slip out the door after your sumptuous buffet starter to once again begin your quest for the perfect designer bag to match your Ferragamo shoes or get to the Vatican on time to be blessed by the Pope.

At the rooftop level of this icon hotel is a suite that is palatial in design, concept and space. I was escorted there by the assistant manager, and could hardly believe my eyes, or ears. The Villa Cupula has seven terraces above the Via Veneto, a library/study and a sound system by Bang and Olufsen. This is their version of the Presidential Suite. However, I think it’s really right for Queen Elizabeth or perhaps the King of Saudi Arabia. The fresco ceilings, tapestry window dressings, and blue with white Italian marble Jacuzzi, along with a priceless art collection make this the stuff that sweet dreams are made of. Just thinking about this suite makes me feel light headed.

For some strange reason I never think I will return to Rome, and when to my surprise I do return it makes me relish every sound, every person I see, every wonderful plate of food I eat. I dearly love Italy, and appreciate everything about it, especially places like the Westin Excelsior Rome that overflows with a hospitality that continues to make history today.

For reservations or information please visit: www.westin.com/excelsiorrome.

The Westin Excelsior, Rome
Via Vittorio Veneto 125
Rome 00187
39 06 47081


© 2008 Bonnie Carroll, All Rights Reserved