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Blog, Italy, Rome

JK Place, Rome – STAY

February 8, 2016
JK Place Rome

I’ve stayed or at least seen a number of Rome’s best hotels.  From a room with a view (of the Colosseum) at the Palazzo Manfredi, to the fashionable and modern Portrait Suites, to the grand Hotel de Russie (with that incredible garden).  And then suddenly, JK Place Roma (which opened mid-2013) caught my eye, the third to join the JK properties (others being in Capri and Florence).  On Instagram and in travel magazines it looked bright and contemporary, and very chic.  And so during my recent visit to Rome, I checked it out.

JK Place Rome

JK Place is my kind of hotel.  Despite the large and beautiful building it’s in (an old university building), it’s small, with only 33 rooms.  It’s grand but homely.  I could easily curl up with a book in their divine cream coloured library.  Their ‘lobby’ is more like a seriously over-sized sitting room, with the light pouring in from above, and a mixture of greys and blacks and creams, contemporary furniture and quirky art.  It may not be to everyone’s tastes (my father didn’t like it), but I was very happy sitting there, sipping a delicious espresso.

JK Place RomeJK Place RomeJK Place Rome

The bedrooms vary in size, and if you want a fourposter bed (of course you do), go for the Superior rooms and up.  Their beds really are to die for, with engraved pillowcases and the crispest linen.  My favourite room was the Deluxe, spacious with wonderful green walls.  The bathrooms tend to be quite small and lack bathtubs, but you can expect a lot of beautiful Italian marble and mega power-showers, so there’s no room for complaint.

JK Place RomeJK Place RomeJK Place RomeJK Place Rome

Their New York style Bistro ‘JK Cafe’, is worth having lunch or dinner at.  I loved their use of rich colours and textures, lots of bold greens and yellows, combined with velvet and polished wood. They offer a weekend brunch to non-guests, and for EUR 50 per person you can eat as much as you want.  They also serve a laid back dinner, with burgers and such like.

JK Place RomeJK Place RomeJK Place Rome

The staff were utterly charming, and Marina doubles up as concierge and booked us Taverna Trilussa for dinner. An excellent recommendation (blog to follow soon).

In short, I highly recommend this beautiful hotel in the heart of Rome (literally around the corner from the Spanish Steps).

JK Place Roma

Via di Monte d’Oro, 30

Rome

Blog, Italy, Rome

2016: Travel Plans

January 9, 2016
Rome

I’m excited about 2016 and all that’s in store, especially on the weekend break side (my favourite).

Here are my trips planned for the first half of 2016:

January – Rome, Italy

My favourite city. Despite having lived there, visiting this city never gets old.  This year I’m going with my father and sisters, and we’re staying at this lovely new Airbnb behind Piazza Navona. Incredible location and the perfect base.  I will be checking out boutique hotel JK Place, as have been hearing a lot of good things about it. F&B wise, I want to go for a cocktail at speakeasy the Jerry Project (my Dad agrees to come along as you can smoke inside). Apart from that I will most likely be visiting La Quercia for lunch (an old favourite of ours) as well as the wine bar La Vi, trying out Marzepane for dinner, and going bar hopping in Trastevere of course.  For more tips of Rome check out my Italy page (and Rome tab).

Colosseum, Rome

February – Prague, Czech Republic

While I did a day trip to Prague when I was about 12, I have not been back since and this time I want to do a proper weekend break there.  I will be staying at the wonderful Mandarin Oriental, which is just across the river on the South side, and walking distance to all the sights. It looks so beautiful, I’m excited!  Here, apart from visiting all my main highlights (the castle etc), I’ll be checking out the Mucha museum (as the friend coming with me is an artist).  I still need to do a lot of research into where we’re going to eat and drink, so any tips are welcome!

prague-winter-pink-sky

End of March/April – The Keukenhof, The Netherlands

I’m Dutch and while I’ve of course driven past the phenomenon that is the Keukenhof before, I’ve never properly visited. So that’s what we’re doing. For those who have not heard of it, the Keukenhof is where you can find hundreds of thousands of tulips, beautifully laid out. They tend to bloom in March and April (though who knows what will happen this year). It is a real sight to behold.

Keukenhof

First Bank Holiday May – Bologna, Italy

An Italian city I have never been to, but which has been on my list for so long. I can’t wait to explore the beautiful city of Bologna, in the province of Emilia Romagna.  Known for the oldest university in the world, it’s stunning red tiled roofs and home to spaghetti bolognese, I look forward to this foodie and carb-heavy weekend.

Bologna

Second Bank Holiday May – Istanbul, Turkey

The minute Soho House Istanbul (the photo below is theirs) opened I knew I’d found my excuse to return to Istanbul for the fourth time. Soho House is the perfect base to explore the city, and the weather should be good by the end of May (I’m hoping the Bosphorus outdoor clubs will have opened by then too)!  I’m going with some Turkish friends so I hope they’ll take me to some off the beaten track places.  Apparently the best place for a proper authentic kebab is Sehsade Erzurum Cag Kebabi, and I’ll definitely be going back to my favourite bar 360 for a cocktail at sunset with fantastic views.

soho house, Istanbul - this is their photo

June – Hvar, Croatia

One of my best friends is getting married here, so I couldn’t say no to returning to Hvar for the second time. I loved it the first time (7 years ago now!) so can’t wait for my return, and revisiting old haunts like Carpe Diem, Hula Hula bar and the super affordable but delicious Marinero restaurant .  Here’s the blog I wrote about it in 2012, I’m wondering how much has changed.  We’re all staying at the raved about Amfora, so it should be a really fun few days, and a magical place for a wedding!

Hvar

July – Sicily

Every year we do a family holiday to Italy, last year was our highly successful trip to Puglia (highly recommended), which will be hard to beat. While we spent some time in the north east of Sicily a few years ago, and visited towns like Taormina, this year we’ll be exploring the South East, relatively tourist-free and filled with incredibly beautiful Baroque towns like Ragusa (photo below fromwww.permesola.com), Modica, Noto and Scicli. We’ve rented the beautiful Villa Carcara and I’ll be starting my research soon! If you want to be inspired, Conde Nast Traveller wrote a beautiful article about the area in their January issue, or read about the cuisine here.

Ragusa, Sicily

Apart from that I’ll be returning to Paris for a weekend, and staying at the beautiful Westminster Hotel off Place Vendome. And who knows what else 2016 has in store!

Italy, Rome

Palazzo Manfredi, Rome – STAY

June 7, 2015

Palazzo Manfredi is a small, homely boutique hotel in a 16th century palazzo.  This charming Relais & Chateaux hotel is a great option if you want a (semi) affordable five star hotel in Rome (rooms are from about £350 per night).  It’s location is truly unique: right next to the Colosseum, and some of its rooms boast incredible views of Rome’s most iconic sight.  I loved the service here; so personable and attentive.  The concierge loved giving us tips of where to eat and drink.

palazzo man

Their roof top restaurant – and where you have breakfast – is perhaps the most special thing about the hotel: un-interrupted views of the Colosseum and great food.

The rooms can be on the small side, but it’s the perfect place to use as a base.  Expect marble bathrooms, warm lighting and quirky wallpaper, which all add to the character of the hotel.  While you are a bit further from some of Rome’s other highlights, everything is still easily walkable.

Palazzo Manfredi

Via Labicana, 125

Italy, Rome

Portrait Roma, Rome – STAY

June 7, 2015

If you like art, fashion and modern interiors, then Portrait Roma (formerly Portrait Suites) – part of Salvetore Ferragamo’s Lungarno Hotel Collection – is the place for you.  Aptly located just off Rome’s top designer shopping street, the Via Condotti, this is one of Rome’s best boutique hotels.  All the rooms have their own individual design, many of them with white or black walls and colourful, unique art and photos.  Formerly Ferragamo’s atelier, expect a lot of shoe-related art work.  All rooms are fitted with the latest mod cons, from Bose speakers to I-pads.

portrait2

The Penthouse suite is drop dead gorgeous, with a beautiful terrace and views of the Spanish Steps.  It doesn’t get much bettter than that.

The hotel’s rooftop terrace (with honesty bar) is ideal for an evening drink, with sublime views of Rome and an outside fire should it get chilly at night.   Sadly such places come at a high price (from £400 a night).

portrait 3

Portrait

Portrait Roma

Via Bocca di Leone, 23

Italy, Rome

Stravinskij Bar, Rome – DRINK

June 7, 2015

Hotel de Russie’s Stravinskij Bar is a big must when visiting Rome.  If you can afford it, I’d recommend staying at Hotel de Russie, as it’s a stunning hotel and wonderfully located by the Spanish Steps.  If £350 plus a night is a little more than you want to spend on your accommodation, then make sure you still visit the hotel for a glass of wine instead.

While it’s pricey, the main draw of the Stravinskij Bar are its gardens where you can sit and enjoy the greenery and peace and quiet, despite being in central Rome.  It’s a very special place.  The service is old school and charming and I can guarantee that you won’t want to leave.  We also had lunch here, which was excellent.

Hotel de Russie

Via Del Babuino 9

Italy, Rome

St George Hotel Rooftop Lounge & Bar, Rome – DRINK

June 7, 2015

I adore rooftop bars, and the rooftop bar of the St George Hotel is ideal for drinks at sunset.  This boutique 5* hotel offers a luxurious rooftop bar (and restaurant), where you can treat yourself to a delicious cocktail, and enjoy some of the most stunning panoramic views of Rome. Located on the enchanting Via Giulia (my favourite street in Rome), behind the Campo Dei Fiori and parallel to the Tiber river, I’d definitely recommend a stroll down this street after drinks.

St George Hotel Rooftop Lounge & Bar

Via Giulia, 62

 

Italy, Rome

Bar San Calisto, Rome – DRINK

June 7, 2015

If you’re looking for a truly Roman experience, this is the bar to be at. It’s cheap, traditional, a little greasy, and the ‘real’ Romans come here to argue about politics, culture and life. With little seating, this is not a place to sit comfortably and sip vino. Come here to mingle with the locals or at least experience a characterful night. It’s brilliant.

Don’t miss out on the sambucas the size of pint glasses. Beer is cheap here for Roman standards.

 

Italy, Rome

Bum bum di mel, Rome – DRINK

June 7, 2015

A memorable name for this very cute, small bar (more like a hole in the wall).  It doesn’t really have much seating space, so it’s best for a ‘take away’ drink.  They do amazing fruit blends with alcohol, which they make right in front of you.  Amble through the winding roads of Trastevere while sipping your drink, they are wonderfully refreshing on a hot summer evening but don’t underestimate the strength of their drinks!  Amazing value for money.

Bum bum di mel

Vicolo del moro, Trastevere

Italy, Rome

Freni i Frizioni, Rome – DRINK

June 7, 2015

This bar on the river bank of the Tiber in Trastevere (but only a few minutes walk from Campo Di Fiori) embodies Roman ‘cool’. A former garage, hence the name (which means ‘brakes and clutches’). Most people sit outside (especially in the summer), drinking huge glasses of Sambuca (€4) but even inside is quirky and the bar offers endless booze options. Super fun place to start your night.  One of my favourite bars in Rome, where I’ve had many a tipsy night.

Freni i Frizioni

4-6 Via del Politeana

Just across the Ponte Sisto (Bridge) take a left along the river bank and you cant miss it

Italy, Rome

Ice cream parlours, Rome

June 7, 2015

Obviously gelato is a must-eat when in Rome.  These are my favourites:

Gelateria Giolitti 

Uffici de Vicario 40, Rome, 00186

Near Piazza Colonna

Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn stopped at this famous Gelateria in a Roman Holiday. It’s also very popular at night, when the young crowds come here not only for the incredible ice cream, but also to socialise.

Via della Paneterria 42

Fantastic ice cream, using only the best biological products and keeping the flavour options new and exciting. €2.30 per scoop. Not your usual icecream. Totally worth it.

It’s a chain, so you’ll see Blue Ice everywhere in Rome.  Don’t be put off by its hideous branding, bright lights and tacky colours.  The ice cream here is delicious, and the prices low.  I’d recommend their yoghurt or passionfruit ice cream.  Try the Campo de’ Fiori (there are two on via dei Baularri) or Piazza S. Maria in Trastevere.

Italy, Rome

Roma Sparita, Rome – EAT

June 7, 2015

Tucked away in Trastevere, in a corner of a small piazza next to a lovely church, you will find this bustling restaurant. Book ahead to avoid being turned away.  The interiors are pastel, country-chic, and they have a proper sized-terrace outside.  While their menu is limited, you must try their house specialty ‘Agliolini cacio e pepe’, a delicious pasta, pecorino and black pepper dish served in a crispy parmesan cheese shell. It has made quite a name for itself. This will be one of the many memorable experiences of your time in Rome.

Roma Sparita

Piazza di Santa Cecilia, 24

 

Italy, Rome

Casa Coppelle, Rome – EAT

June 7, 2015

One of the highlights of my last trip to Rome was dinner at a newly discovered restaurant Casa Coppelle.  I can’t recommend it more.  Cosy, warm, trendy without being pretentious.  And comfortable.  The menu’s price-range, like many Italian menus, makes it accessible to all.  You can enjoy a courgette, soft cheese and saffron risotto for 10 euros, or try one of their homemade pasta dishes.  Equally if you want a good piece of meat (like I did) go for ‘Beef delights with sesame seeds and speck on a balsamic sauce’ (21 euros).  The Chef’s suggestions are all really good and don’t skip pudding: the panna cotta is to die for.  Book to avoid disappointment.  The wine bar next door is a delight if you don’t want to end the evening after dinner.

Casa Coppelle

Piazza delle Coppelle, 49

 

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