The vine-covered facade at Hotel Raphael in Rome suggests an elegant residential building rather than a luxury hotel on a cozy piazza. Part of the luxury Relais & Chateaux group, the hotel is filled with art and sculptures, a wonderful first introduction for kids to Rome’s historical treasures. It’s elegant and comfortable at the same time — an excellent choice for families who want to walk out the front door to sightseeing highlights in the morning and be welcomed back home by a friendly doorman in the evening.
It’s always a challenge in larger cities to find a hotel that is well located in the thick of the action yet quiet enough to rest at night. This is one reason that Hotel Raphael is such a gem for families. It’s around the corner from the famous Piazza Navona, on a tiny, leafy piazza with a restaurant in front, yet at night the murmur of diners’ voices is the only sound (shutting the window or balcony doors takes even that away). Our room faced the piazza and we had no noise issues beyond an occasional city siren.
There are 51 rooms and suites in two distinct styles: traditional decor in reds and yellows, or newer Richard Meier-designed rooms and suites with light wood and subdued red and yellow accents. Families have the option of large suites with a master bedroom and a second sleeping area for kids; adjacent side-by-side rooms with a master suite door that closes for privacy; or Richard Meier suites, which feature a king bed plus two comfortable twin rollaways on request.
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Richard Meier suites have large bathrooms and closets; even with two rollaway beds, there is ample storage in the room. Because it’s a historical building, each room style comes in various configurations, and some may have tiny balconies while others have larger windows. Parents should note that the bathroom has a sliding opaque window screen that opens into the suite, which you’ll want to keep closed.
Hotels in the heart of Rome don’t have pools, so the next best amenity with kids is a terrace or patio. At Hotel Raphael, the rooftop terrace is an oasis at the end of a hot day of sightseeing. Whether for dinner or a drink, it’s a magical site — especially at night, when the cupolas and rooftops glow with sunset rays and city lights. It’s an experience not to be missed during a stay or visit to Rome.
An extensive breakfast, including make-your-own fresh juices, is included with the room and served indoors, but you can always take a cappuccino up to the terrace for a beautiful start to the day.
Editor’s Note: Kristi received a media package from Hotel Raphael in order to review the property for families. As always, our opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Kristi Marcelle.
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