The Gran Melia Rome, within walking distance of the city’s most famous attractions, is perfectly situated for a fun-filled Roman holiday with kids. A relatively new luxury hotel, Gran Melia Rome is housed in the historic Villa Agrippina and pairs old-world charm with modern amenities, style and sophistication. The expansive garden and grounds, full-service spa and large resort-style pool combine the excitement of the city with the opportunity for total relaxation and rejuvenation. Spacious, well-appointed guest rooms, beautiful common areas and excellent restaurants make the Gran Melia a wonderful choice for families traveling with kids of all ages.
It’s rare to find a location that is central yet removed from the hustle and bustle of urban sprawl, but the Gran Melia manages to straddle both beautifully. The hotel is just steps from Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood, where the cobblestone streets are lined with restaurants, coffee shops and, of course, gelaterias; you can also retreat at the end of a long day of sightseeing to a cabana by the pool on the grand, lush grounds.
Those seeking refuge from the city can simply walk up the hill to Gianicolo Park, which offers a lookout with breathtaking views of the city below and ample space for little ones to run and play. The Gran Melia is also within walking distance to the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica — getting an early start to avoid the crowds is a breeze. Best of all, the hotel is only 30 minutes from Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, so you can refresh with a dip in the pool before heading out to explore.
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This majestic hotel possesses all the historic charm that you would expect on a Roman holiday, yet it has been meticulously renovated in sleek, modern and luxurious style. Once the ancient Villa Agrippina, home to the mother of Roman emperor Nero, the 116-room hotel resembles a grand Italian villa with meandering pathways, generous gardens and plenty of outdoor space both at the restaurant and the pool.
We stayed in a Junior Suite that was part of Gran Melia’s exclusive RedLevel category, which includes luxe amenities such as lounge access, private check-in, welcome gifts and more. Our suite was spacious and had a separate sitting area that made a perfect sleeping nook for the kids; the staff graciously switched out a sofa for two ultra-comfortable twin beds (not of the foldaway variety). The oversize bathtub and rain shower are large enough to fit the whole family and are fully stocked with Clarins products. The staff is well-versed in accommodating children and go out of their way to be sure they are comfortable, leaving chocolate treasures on their pillows at bedtime and a teddy bear tucked neatly under the covers.
TIP: Don’t be afraid to ask to view more than one room when checking in. Some rooms face an interior courtyard and receive very little natural light, while others have sweeping views of the city below.
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The hotel and grounds are expansive enough to give kids room to run or spread out a picnic, yet feature many cozier indoor and outdoor areas to curl up with a book or play a board game. The library is a favorite salon-style hangout with beautifully appointed furniture, large-scale modern art and tea service by the fireplace during the winter months. During the summer, the pool is not to be missed. Large daybeds and cabanas offer plenty of room for a family to relax, and the pool is big enough that it never feels crowded, even on the warmest of summer days.
Escape to the spa for some rejuvenation and enjoy the indoor/outdoor plunge pool, or hit the steam room and sauna. There is a gym onsite; however, it’s on the small side and does not have much natural light.
The casual RedLevel lounge in the Nectar Bar serves afternoon snacks and cocktails for the adults, as well as fresh juice and treats for tiny travelers. The concierge often roams the room and offers local tips about sights to see and local restaurants to check out.
The Gran Melia also offers laundry and dry-cleaning, but be warned that this service is quite slow and expensive.
There are several dining options at the Gran Melia, from casual bites poolside at the Liquid Garden to the more upscale, VivaVoce Restaurant offering Mediterranean cuisine artfully prepared by chef Alfonso Laccarino. Kids are catered to in the most exquisite way: a breakfast buffet just for them, filled with pastries, cupcakes and Nutella as far as the eye can see, leaving the adults to enjoy the breeze that blows through the room and relax amid the billowing white curtains. If you grab a snack by the pool, you’ll enjoy personal-size bottles of Prosecco while the kids choose from three flavors of gelato. It’s a perfect afternoon ritual for all.
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Editor’s Note: Photos by Nancy Deane.
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