We have stayed in a lot of hotels, and Villa Spalletti Travelli, across a very quiet street from the Quirinal Palace, is one of the most transporting ones. Dusty, cramped Rome completely dissolves when you are ushered through its front doors, which are always locked and opened only for guests. Until 2004, this was a private villa and a home of counts and countesses, and its transition to luxury boutique hotel removed none of its rarified extravagance—guests inhabit the common spaces as if this magnificent mansion is their home. The ground floor is a series of sumptuous drawing rooms and libraries, layered with antique tapestry, flights of books, and encrusted with precious art and furniture. They were once a salon and regular meeting place for the greatest thinkers of the early 20th century, including Indian-born Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore, but now, these are your private dwelling spaces. Pour yourself a drink of the top-shelf liquor and relax in front of the fireplaces—there are only 12 rooms, so your quiet time will go undisturbed. Breakfast (which continues until nice and late) is of the finest ingredients—do not miss the fresh mozzarella—and in good weather, the meal is taken in the garden as the gentry once enjoyed. Full dinner is not served; but in Rome, you're spoiled for choice among restaurants, and the Trevi Fountain is just a 10-minute walk away. Staff is flawlessly attentive as only it can be at such a tiny property. Even the smallest room is 270 square feet (25 square meters), which is ample, linens are of the highest quality, the minibar is free here, too, and the windows are equipped with original wooden shutters that slide into the villa's exterior walls. It's expensive but is indeed a rare hotel that understands that with such exclusivity should come impeccable treatment, and guests tend to be as respectful and exacting as the staff. Few hotels anywhere are as romantic, making it a strong choice for honeymoons and anniversaries.
- Jason Cochran