The Grand Tour has been reborn with 21st-century flair as the Maalot in Rome brings old-world charm with a bold modern style to the heart of the Eternal City. And all with easy reach of sights like the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and Pantheon. Known as rooms above a restaurant, this former home of 19th-century opera composer Gaetano Donizetti is a visual – and foodie – feast.
Traveller: Nardia Plumridge
Room: Deluxe Room
Address: Via delle Muratte, 77, Rome, Italy
Date: October 2022
Price range: from €450
Best for: Trendy travellers who want to be in central Rome and close to all the attractions yet appreciate a boutique and discreet hotel
Smack bang in the heart of Rome, on one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares. Just off Via del Corso, the main street that runs through Rome from the ostentatious Emmanuelle II monument to Piazza delle Popolo. Meaning you have the Eternal City literally on your doorstep.
Within a short walk you can find
Trevi Fountain is literally meters away, making for a midnight or early morning view to avoid the crowds. From Via delle Muratte, you can walk to Rome’s most marbled attractions. Including the Pantheon and Spanish Steps, with Via dei Condotti and its high-end fashion stores at your disposal.
Claim to fame
The former home of 19th-century opera composer Gaetano Donizetti, today Maalot is best known as rooms above a restaurant as the hotel doesn’t have a formal entrance. Instead, look for a restaurant setting with alfresco seats outside to enter to find a discreet bar and study, which acts as the hotel reception. Upstairs are 30 modern and stylish rooms over four floors that serve as a sanctuary from the crowded streets below.
The gilt-framed pictured room of the Don Pasquale Cucina and Bar is the hotel’s heart, where guests enter on arrival. It’s the perfect mix of old world meets sleek contemporary styling: velvet banquettes and walls filled with gold-framed pictures of tongue-in-cheek takes on classic Baroque paintings. A central chandelier is a piece of art in itself handing overhead in what was originally the palazzo’s original inner courtyard.
My Deluxe room was light and bright, with a window overlooking Via Delle Muratte dressed with fushia pink touches and a bold monochrome headboard on the Queen-size bed. Rooms have custom Italian furnishings including a tailor-made, walnut wood, walk-in closet. The Arabescato Corchia marble bathroom boasts a large walk-in shower. The HD flatscreen TV, complimentary minibar, and free WiFi, plus hotel real keys over cards, all add a nice touch.
Beyond the rooms
On ground level the Don Pasquale Cucina and Bar buzzes all day long. A small library off from the bar is a little reading sanctuary. In the basement you’ll find a full fitness room. And not forgetting, the heady heights Rome on your doorstep.
Dish to dine for
Don Pasquale Cucina & Bar is named after an opera by former resident, Gaetano Donizetti. And it’s bar is ripe for a pre-dinner drink. Then sink into one of the red velvet banquettes under the vaulted Crittall glass ceiling to sample the simple yet elegant Italian cuisine. Classic pasta dishes of carbonara and amatriciana are everpresent, as are more refined plates by chef Domenico Boschi. Though start with the Suppli trio. Lightly crumbed bite-sized rice croquettes filled with the classic tomato filling, a cheese, pepper and mint combination, and creamed prawn.
Grab a drink in Don Pasquale Bar, which has one the largest rum collections in Rome. They also have a decent Italian wine list and make a delectable Spritz. Don Pasquale Cucina serves until late. Round-the-clock room service and the complimentary mini bar, adds an extra reason to stay firmly in bed.
Maalot is in the centre of Rome’s action at any hour, and the Concierge team will happily suggest and make reservations to the many nearby venues. Including restaurants with a similar feel – modern, chic, yet classy.
Rome is bustling again after two years on the down low, and the Maalot is based on one of the busiest streets in the Italian capital. The high season now runs into October; summer months are sweltering. So, if you can visit in the cooler months, you’ll be rewarded in many ways – not just better hotel rates.
A generous breakfast is served in Don Pasquale Cucina until 11am. With homemade cakes and bread served on a tiered platter alongside cereals, yoghurts, fresh fruit, juices, and barista-strength tea. Dogs can stay in any room in the hotel for €50 a night, which includes a kennel, water bowl and food. Book ahead and prepay to save 10% on room rates.
The family factor
Maalot is for more for independent travel – solo or couple – however can cater to small families of three in their larger suites. While staff can arrange a babysitter on an hourly charge.
It was positioned on a different street. Although I adore every inch of this property, exiting onto this frenetic Roman strada is less inviting than being positioned on a quiet laneway just meters away.
I wish I could take home
One of the prints of the cheeky-toned old-world paintings by artist Stanley Gonczanski hanging en masse in the restaurant.
V&T expert rating
9/10 – It’s a heady mix of old meets new; Maalot is a discreet stay in the heart of Rome. Impeccable Italian charm and service meet stylish adobe to offer the perfect home in the Eternal City.
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