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Less is more ... rather than overwhelming you with volumes of travel tips, here is a specific list of exclusive recommendations with Mr & Mrs Crystal's stamp of approval.

hotels

Aleph

Hotel Aleph is a provocative hotel that is a home away from home smeared in devilish red. The building was once a bank, and its super urban spa is vaulted in the hotel’s basement to maximise relaxation and seclusion. The contemporary themes allure the sunglassed crowds fascinated by this playful design concept. Expect spacious rooms boasting lavish Italian fabrics, window blinds adorned with strings of metal beads and prevailing technology at every angle. Aleph is sexy hotel decadence Roman-style.

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 View Map ... di San Basilio 15, Rome, Italy
Casa Howard

The phrase “mi casa tu casa” rings true at Casa Howard - a quirky pair of intimate guesthouses with individually designed rooms in a central historic Roman “palazzo”. The experience is truly homely with an honesty bar, homemade jams and your own front door key. Indulge in a private hammam bath and let the welcoming staff spoil your every whim. Casa Howard is a classic gem popularised by word of mouth. It is almost always fully committed as the secret is out.

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 View Map ... Via Sistina, 149 Rome, Italy
Crossing Condotti

One way to shake off the tourist shackles in Rome is to stay at Crossing Condotti which is in an exclusive location just a few steps from Piazza di Spagna. Intimately styled with elegant furnishings, this beautifully restored ‘piccolo’ residence has just five cosy rooms and effortlessly exudes Roman charm. Forget the need for the fuss of room service, just check-in to Crossing Condotti, grab your house key and feel right at home in the heart of Rome.

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 View Map ... Via Mario de' Fiori, 28, 00187 Rome, Italy
Daphne Inn Veneto

The intimate Daphne Inn Veneto is thoroughly romantic. Its 8 rooms are superbly cosy and very comfortable. The enthusiastic staff of this boutique residence will make you feel completely at home, and will provide you with a personal hotel mobile phone so you can contact them at any time should you need assistance (eg. where is the nearest enoteca/ hairdresser/ Prada store?) It is chic, stylish and absolutely tailored to your needs.

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 View Map ... 55 Via di San Basilico, Rome, Italy
Hotel Art by the Spanish Steps

An artistic blend of old and new, this alluring hotel perches itself on the slightly hidden Via Marguita. Walking into the boutique frescoed lobby is a unique experience. A vaulted reception of gleaming white marble, two egg-shaped pods and a bar lit by white candy floss hanging lights, appeals to the designer and artsy crowd. Despite its eclectic modern look, Hotel Art retains the glory of its typical Roman building and offers a comfortable retreat for its guests in the form of 46 cosy rooms and a charming courtyard bar.

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 View Map ... Via Margutta, 56, Rome, Italy
Hotel de Russie

The Hotel de Russie is perched on the cosmopolitan Via del Babuino not far from the Spanish steps and overlooking the dignified Piazza del Popolo. Behind a decidedly inconspicuous façade lies a superb luxury hotel with beautifully adorned rooms all elegantly decorated and thoughtfully equipped with every modern amenity. It offers a complete culinary package with an award winning chef and the legendary “De Russie Martini” served with caviar. The hotel’s oversized courtyard is more like its own piazza, and is the perfect place to retreat from the mayhem of inner-city Roma.

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 View Map ... Via del Babuino, 9, Rome, Italy
Portrait Suites

Sitting above the flagship Ferragamo men’s store on Rome’s famed Via Condotti, Portrait Suites is both a treat and a retreat. There are 14 elegantly spacious suites in this 19th century townhouse, which is located only a handbag’s throw away from Piazza di Spagna. One of the hotel’s most lusted after features is its rooftop lounge where guests can shake a cocktail from the honour bar at sunset, or enjoy a sublime breakfast served on fine linen with sweeping views of the Spanish Steps. The esteemed Lungarno crew have succeeded again - offering a contemporary, understated, home-away-from-home allowing guests to enjoy ‘la dolce vita’ like the locals do.

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 View Map ... Via Bocca di Leone, 23, 00187, Rome, Italy

what we think

For as long as most people can remember, Rome has featured on the list of must-see cities in Europe. This vibrant city is littered with architectural landmarks - the Colloseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and so many more. The local Roman takes the inspiring architecture and prized art galleries in their stride, sometimes appearing impatient of culture standing in the way of a morning espresso or a spot of Louis Vuitton shopping. The streets of Rome are its greatest theatre, full of the relentless buzz of Vespas and raucous Italian babble. Rome is the set of the acclaimed “La Dolce Vita” and in true “sweet life” style, even the traffic wardens are beautifully groomed by Armani. Spoil yourself in the many fabulous boutiques, savour the taste of glass of vino, and you’ll be answering your phone with “pronto!” before you even realise!