Travel Where to Stay

The old world is alive and livable in these grande dame hotels

A former palace, a repurposed 16th-century convent, and one that evokes Renaissance-era Roman villas. Italy has fantasy down pat in these not-so-modest arrangements
Vault Archives | Aug 29 2018

The Westin Excelsior RomeVia Vittorio Veneto 125 00187 Rome, Italy
Tel. +39 06 47081


Villa La Cupola Terrace View Official Website of The Westin Excelsior
Grand Luxe Suite Official Website of The Westin Excelsior

Established in 1906, this 281-room, 35-suite hotel exudes old world charm with its refined furniture, crystal chandeliers, and marble bathrooms. Located only 500 meters away from the Villa Borghese and the Spanish Steps, it is also known for the Villa La Cupola Suite, which seals the deal in luxury. It takes its design cue from Renaissance-era Roman villas and palaces and occupies 1,100 square meters. The suite has two floors, six bedrooms, a study, a spacious dining room, a personal fitness center, a Dolby-surround cinema that seats eight, a wine cellar, a private elevator, and a wraparound terrace. You can gaze up its 40-foot dome with hand painted original frescoes, and lower yourself in a Pompeian-style Jacuzzi reminiscent of an ancient Roman bath. Deluxe rooms start at EUR 361. The price for the Villa La Cupola Suite is available upon request.


The Four Seasons Firenze Borgo Pinti 99 50121 Florence, Italy
Tel. +39 055 2626

Duomo View Executive Suite Official Website of The Four Seasons Firenze
Frescoed Executive Suite Official Website of The Four Seasons Firenze ‚Äč

The Four Seasons Firenze is set in a 16th-century convent, within which lies one of the oldest and largest Florentine gardens. Called Giardino della Gherardesca, it covers 11 acres of giant trees, lush greens, and blooming wildflowers. The hotel is a short walk from the city’s cultural treasures like the Duomo and Uffizi Gallery, which houses Michelangelo’s David. Art and craftsmanship are evident in the 5-star hotel’s luxuriously appointed 116 suites, of which no two are alike. Its one Michelin star restaurant, Il Palagio, located on the ground floor and overlooking the gardens, features cuisine from the region and a diverse selection of 400 wines. Rates start at EUR 1,200 and go up to EUR 4,700 for a suite.


Hotel Danieli Riva degli Schiavoni 4196 30122 Venice, Italy
+39 041 522 6480

Palazzo Dandolo Hall Official Website of Hotel Danieli
Signature Suite Official Website of Hotel Danieli

Once a 14th-century palace called the Palazzo Dandolo, which belonged to a noble Venetian family, Hotel Danieli retains its historic grandeur in handmade Murano glass chandeliers, pink marble columns, antique carpets, gilded ceilings, and intricately carved wooden doors. Located beside the Palazzo Ducale and its ancient dungeons connected by the famous Bridge of Sighs, the hotel overlooks the city’s cobblestone streets and the Grand Canal. It has 225 rooms and suites elegantly furnished with antiques. The executive suites by French designer and architect Jacques Garcia are recommended. Rates start at USD 726 for a double and USD 1,036 for an executive suite.


Appeared in Vault Magazine Issue 5, 2012