A new guesthouse in the heart of the city, Torre Colonna treads the line between chic and charming with great panache. Lovely, whimsically painted ceilings (horses and tulips in our rooms) are offset by fabulous modern paintings; for every cool, contemporary comfort – and there are plenty – there is a restored brick wall or slatted antique terracotta floor.
You know you’re in a tower, because there is only one room on each floor, reached by a cute glass-fronted elevator. Rooms are spacious enough, though, with large bathrooms – ours had a fun sunken shower and attractive blue tiles, creating a sumptuous Turkish-bath feel. There is a huge flat screen TV and a useful ante-chamber for your luggage, with a well-stocked mini bar. Rooms are lit by discreet bulbs reflecting off huge golden discs, like having your own personal sun.
Built in 1247 by the noble Colonna family as a defensive tower for their city estate, the hotel is at the pulsing heart of historical Rome. Piazza Venezia is on one side; Trajan’s Column and the Roman Forum are minutes away on the other. (Don’t worry, double-glazed windows mean the bustling city is no more than a faint drone.) Wind your way up the spiral staircase on to the sun-flooded roof terrace and let your jaw drop at the stunning 360° view, with all Rome’s headline attractions in sight.
Staff are sweet and helpful, and breakfast – a typical eclectic Roman jumble of fruit, cake, eggs, cereal, cheese and knobbly, organic-looking meats – is delicious. Take your excellent coffee into the morning sunshine on the terrace and read one of the many daily papers, or contemplate which famous sight you’ll stroll to today.
‘A special place’ says one recent visitor; ‘fabulous’ says another couple, who were biking around Europe. At such reasonable prices for so central a location, we have to agree.