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Hotel Highlights

  • Central setting, but peaceful and private
  • Luxurious apartment feel
  • Informed concierge

Overview

Set across two neighbouring, three-storey revamped palazzos, hotel Babuino 181 exudes a reserved elegance that's rare for a spot with such a prime Rome address near the Spanish Steps. Return from the Eternal City’s lively streets to soothing earth-hued suites that feel like your own high-end apartment. The city-savvy concierge will ensure the best of Rome is just a beck or a call away.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Babuino 181 with us:

A bottle of Franciacorta (sparkling wine from Lombardy)

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Babuino 181

Early booking rate 2014-15 Mid-week offer: 10% off

Facilities

View Gallery
Babuino 181 Hotel – Rome – Italy

Need To Know

Rooms

24, spread out over two neighbouring palazzos, including six suites.

Check–out

11am, but can be later for €100. Earliest check-in, from 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $237.35 (€177), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of €2.00 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates exclude a Continental breakfast buffet of home-made pastries, local cheeses and cold cuts, hardboiled eggs, fruit salad, fresh juice and tea or coffee (€20 a person, free for under–10s).

Also

Close to the hotel is the eponymous ‘babuino’ – one of Rome’s 'talking statues', nicknamed ‘the baboon’ for its grotesque appearance. The fountain is next to the Chiesa di Sant’Atanasio dei Greci, on Via del Babuino.

At the hotel

Free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock, minibar and Nespresso machine.

Our favourite rooms

Rooms are similar in terms of furnishings and facilities; what distinguishes them is location. Room 105 is a Deluxe Suite on the corner of the building, with views of both Via Margutta and Via del Babuino. Room 302, the Babuino Suite, is fit for families; with two rooms, a guest toilet and a lounge area with space for two single beds.

Packing tips

Leave your washbag at home – bathrooms are stocked with sensual Comfort Zone products in big bottles. Don’t worry if you forget your adaptors; the hotel has some you can borrow.

Children

Little Smiths are welcome here. Cribs can be added free; extra beds are €50. The hotel can organise babysitting for €25 an hour (with half a day’s notice).

Read more

Food & Drink

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Babuino 181 Hotel – Rome – Italy

Hotel Restaurant

There’s no restaurant or bar, just a host of local eateries to choose from, spanning casual pizza joints and Italian fine dining. The rooftop terrace serves Continental breakfast, and guests can pick a free cocktail each from the extensive menu after 6pm.

Hotel Bar

None, but plenty nearby – try the Art Studio Cafe (+39 06 326 09104; www.artstudiocafe.it) at 187a Via Dei Gracchi. Alternatively, raid the minibar for plonk and snacks if you want to stay in.

 

Room service

Stock up on in-room treats from the local delis, as the hotel doesn’t offer room service.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Euro-flash: cashmere and silks in capuccino and chocolate hues.

Local Guide

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Babuino 181 Hotel – Rome – Italy
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Ask the hotel to book tickets for the Borghese Gallery, housed in the Villa Borghese (www.galleriaborghese.it). The paintings, sculptures and antiquities date back to Cardinal Scipione’s 17th-century collection, and deserve at least an afternoon’s browsing. Save time for the villa’s gardens, which give the art a run for its money. Via del Babuino connects Piazza del Popolo to the Spanish Steps – visit both to tick some tourist boxes. This street is also one of Rome’s shopping hotspots, with all the designer outposts present and correct: Prada, Chanel, Valentino, Tiffany & Co, Armani, Iceberg and Diesel.

Local restaurants

Have lunch at Nino, a traditional eatery just five minutes away at 11 Via Borgognona (+39 06 679 5676; www.ristorantenino.it). It’s been going strong since the 1930s, and is popular with the locals, so book your table. Food is simple but delicious, from home-made soups (try the cannellini and pasta version) to heavenly tiramisu. Due Ladroni at 24 Piazza Nicosia (+39 06 686 1013; www.dueladroni.com) is a more glitzy affair – expect to paparazzi-dodge on your way in. Since its doors opened in 1945, a loyal crowd of well-connected diners has flocked here for the fresh fish, seafood and Neapolitan-inspired dishes. The restaurant is of a nocturnal bent, staying open until 1.30am.

Local cafés

The Smith-approved Hotel de Russie, just a few doors down from Babuino 181, is perfect for an afternoon coffee or apéritif in the beautiful gardens (+39 06 328 881).

+ Enlarge
Bustling Via del Babuino

Babuino 181

via Babuino 181, Rome, 00187

Planes

Rome Fiumicino airport is 22km from the hotel (www.adr.it).

Trains

Termini station is 2km away. Freccia Rossa (www.freccia-rossa.it) runs regular services, connecting Rome to Florence, Naples, Milan and Venice.

Automobiles

There’s no parking at the hotel, and carparks are few and frustrating in between.

Reviews

View Gallery
Babuino 181 Hotel – Rome – Italy

Anonymous review

by Sarah Maber , Media marvel

‘Tutt’ a posto? Everything good?’ our waiter asks, refilling our glasses with yet more perfectly chilled Frascati. Frankly, things couldn’t be any more a posto. Mr Smith and I are on honeymoon in Rome – staying at luxurious hotel-meets-private-apartments Babuino 181 in the upmarket Tridente district – and dinner has been a lovely, post-nuptial reminiscing sessio…
Read more

Babuino 181

Anonymous review by Sarah Maber, Media marvel

‘Tutt’ a posto? Everything good?’ our waiter asks, refilling our glasses with yet more perfectly chilled Frascati. Frankly, things couldn’t be any more a posto. Mr Smith and I are on honeymoon in Rome – staying at luxurious hotel-meets-private-apartments Babuino 181 in the upmarket Tridente district – and dinner has been a lovely, post-nuptial reminiscing session. By the time dessert has arrived, we’ve already dissected the wedding speeches, laughed at the awkwardness of the first dance and argued passionately about whose relatives were the most embarrassing.

Rome, we’re finding, is a city very much to our tastes. So far, we’ve browsed the boutiques of Via Sistina (me) and gazed longingly at the football kits and flags on display in the AS Roma store on Piazza Colonna (Mr Smith). The romantic, foliage-festooned Otello alla Concordia, tucked away down a tiny cobbled sidestreet off Via della Croce, suits us both perfectly, though. The fresh pasta is perfectly al dente; the saltimbocca meltingly tender; the service attentive and impeccable. Even the espresso is sweet, thick and reassuringly jolting.

We wander down the linguine-thin Via del Babuino, which connects all the throng and bustle around Piazza di Spagna to the only marginally less hectic Piazza di Popolo, and pass high-end jewellers, fashion outlets and appointment-only antique dealerships en route to our home for the weekend. Babuino 181 isn’t the sort of hotel that has a doorman, bellboy and room-service menu. If that’s what you’re after, Rome has plenty of other five-star grandi signore that will tick your boxes. But if, like me, what you really want from a stylish stay is a luxury home-from-home in which you can relax in elegant surroundings without being pestered by over-zealous cleaning staff, and where you feel free to hang your clothes off the end of the bed and walk around in your underwear, this is the place for you.

A discreet entrance leads into a smart, marble-swathed lobby where two friendly concierges sit behind a desk. They direct us into a futuristic-looking glass lift that glides up two floors to our room. With a wave of our keycard, the door clicks open and we’re confronted with a wall-mounted iPod-style control panel, which glows eerily blue in the darkness, and allows us to adjust the temperature and lighting to our exact requirements. Mr Smith prods inexpertly at it for a minute (I hope this isn’t a sign of how things will be now we’re married), and then our luxury suite is illuminated. Spread before us is a huge open space, decorated in a sophisticated mix of pristine caramels, creams and browns. Diaphanous drapes hang down over floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the boutique-browsing below, while warm woods and beaten copper form the contemporary artworks on the walls.

In one corner of the room sits a circular, walnut table and inviting-looking chairs – our dining area, should we wish to invite any Romans back for supper – and, just to the right of this is the most enormous flatscreen TV that I’ve seen outside of MTV Cribs. In the middle of the room is a Vatican-sized bed, surrounded by a suede banquette, and beyond this the honey-coloured, marble-and-mosaics bathroom – home to a giant bathtub, deep, side-by-side sinks and a shower that’s big enough for four (just in case, I suppose, we want to invite any more Romans back).

The best bit, however, is hidden behind shutters and more drapes. I draw these back and reveal a small but magnificent marble balcony, the centrepiece of the hotel and the perfect vantage point to people-, Vespa- and couple-watch while sipping a coffee from the in-room Nespresso machine – or, as Mr Smith and I do that evening, finish off a bottle of chilled prosecco while we wait for our 10-month-old baby to do the decent thing and go to sleep.

Mr Smith has noticed that there’s an Edward Hopper exhibition on at the Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, so, next morning, the three of us head over there for a spot of dark American realism. Being in a gallery with a baby that’s just learnt to walk, we find, is akin to taking a malevolent goblin to a funeral. Art-lovers’ legs are roughly tugged, each new painting is responded to with a high-pitched scream and alarms are triggered every few minutes, as Miss Smith lurches towards priceless artworks with the same enthusiasm she displays towards our cat at home. Thank God, then, for the Italians’ innate love of bambini. Even the armed guards who rush in to thwart a would-be art thief, end up clicking their fingers and waving indulgently at our gurgling offspring.

After all that, I decide I need a break. As the other two members of my family head off towards Villa Borghese in search of greenery and chaseable pigeons, I make my way to Via Condotti, home to the flagship stores of the most upmarket Italian ateliers. I’ve always known that shopping is as much a part of life here as blaring your horn in traffic jams and dancing to dodgy Europop, but I’m amazed at what a cross-generational experience it is. The bella figura is clearly alive and well, and 70-year-old women here sport the same manicured nails, glossy lips and designer jackets as their twentysomething counterparts. As I flit between Fendi, Gucci, Versace and Bulgari, I cluster around display tables with everyone from teenage girls to great-grandmothers. Fashion knows no age-limits in Italy and I leave, bag-laden, feeling truly inspired.

As I head back to Babuino 181 through a maze of cobbled sidestreets, in which stallholders hawk everything from fresh juice and cherries to magazines and jewellery, I pass a tiny salumeria. Inside is row upon row of the sort of items that, I know, make Mr Smith very happy indeed – aged prosciutto, fine parmigiano, snooker-ball-sized lumps of minced pork, studded with herbs and dusted with cheese – so I pop in to pick him up some pre-dinner delights. And for dessert? Well, he’ll have to wait to see what I’ve got wrapped up in tissue paper inside the La Perla bag that’s swinging from my arm. Tutt’ a posto, indeed.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Babuino 181 from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The guidebook written by the owner is an interesting read, giving great advice from a local's perspective. It's a small and private hotel with stylish decoration, and spacious. The reception/concierge staff was very friendly and helpful, and the rooftop terrace modern and relaxing. The location was good – walkable distance to main attractions yet in a quiet and charming neighborhood, close to great cafés, restaurants and shops.

Don’t expect

It would be nice if the free bottled water could be provided in the room without us asking.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the very helpful and caring staff, excellent position witha  lovely roof-terrace bar and lounging area, and the great bar manager, Dragosh, who couldn't have done more.

Don’t expect

It would be nice to have access to small platters of meats and cheese, etc, on the terrace.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the good location, nice room and great patio bar.

Don’t expect

There was no food and it was a noisy street.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The location next to the Piazza del Popolo was perfect. Great rooms, great rooftop bar, perfect for end of day drink. It's small, low key and basically all you need for a short city break.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We loved the hotel and liked the neighbourhood, which afforded easy access to restaurants, shops and, most important, all the famous sights. The front-desk staff were very helpful and the rooftop breakfast facilities were great. We particularly enjoyed the booklet provided by the hotel that helped us with the choice of restaurants. The room was spacious and extremely comfortable; great to return to after an exhausting day out. We found everything perfect.

 

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The room was just like the website, so no sad surprises. The position was excellent and the staff extremely helpful.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The staff were incredibly professional and helpful at all times. We also loved the centrality, yet the ability to go to the rooftop terrace and chill out for a sun downer away from it all. Really great hotel and location – highly recommended!

Don’t expect

The suite was great, but dark – not a lot of natural light as we were on the first floor facing the side road.

Rating: 10/10 stars