Rome’s Legendary Via Margutta in Pictures

It’s singularly profound that in William Wyler’s 1953 classic Roman Holiday, Gregory Peck’s conniving journalist Joe Bradley in the end chooses honor over remuneration – ultimately refusing to profit from a deceptively procured story about Audrey Hepburn’s starkly naïve Princess Ann. Bradley, by the way, lived at Via Margutta 51.

Seven years later, Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita would decisively contend that Bradley’s war was a lost one, and that celebrity journalism would careen unstoppably towards the ends of crassness and avarice. Fellini himself lived with his famous actress wife Giulietta Masina at Via Margutta 110.

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Ironically, 1953 also saw the launch of one of the earliest contemporary art fairs, the still annually presented 100 Painters on Via Margutta, which is currently on from this weekend through May 6. And as we are now all too keenly aware, art gatherings have irreversibly coalesced with celebrity culture – cementing Fellini as a modern prophet, of sorts…and inevitably closing the circle.

But the Via Margutta, surely one of the most ethereally beautiful places in the known world for a contemplative stroll, has still somehow managed to exist beyond it all. Here, stylish design hotels share a street address with old-fashioned, ivy-draped inns, and chic but independent boutiques are still decisively outnumbered by classically cultivated artisan workshops.

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Yet celebrity and fashion still mark its existence. As night falls here, the elegant Osteria Margutta draws sophisticated locals and Hollywood stars looking for something beyond the same old cacio e pepe: and at the far end of the street, hip vegetarian eatery Il Margutta morphs into a late night stylish dance party. (Unlike NYC, it’s legal to dance in restaurants in Rome.)

One of our fave places to stay in Italy’s capital also calls this street home, the aptly named Hotel Art, which flaunts a sort of futuristic, 23rd Century modernism. To wit, stark white egg pods act as reception and concierge desks, and Pantone hallways make getting to one’s room a bit of a hyper-sensory, sci-fi adventure. But its lobby and bar are fascinatingly fitted into a spectacular, deconsecrated 17th Century chapel – an extravagant reminder of the Via Margutta’s varied and unparalleled history.

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New York Opening: Antica Pesa Williamsburg

In many ways, Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood is not unlike Williamsburg, a former working-class neighborhood eventually overrun with hipsters. So it’s only appopriate that Antica Pesa, the restaurant that’s been open in Trastevere since 1922, opens up in America, Brooklyn, NY, right in Williamsburg. The name: Antica Pesa Williamsburg. Very fitting.

And just like the original, the new restaurant is a cozy, rustic space (designed by Brooklyn’s BArC), complete with a working fireplace, and serving elegant and simple Roman classics (Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe, Tortellini Di Manzo, Baccala Alla Romana). The Trastevere Antica Pesa counts celebs like Colin Farrell and Matt Damon amongst its fans–so expect a Fellini-esque buzz on Berry Street.

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Rome Opening: Gran Melia Rome

This sexy new Gran Melia Rome hotel is an instant magnet for those seeking a truly contemporary luxury experience in the Italian capital. It’s something of an urban oasis, as much a resort as a hotel, with sprawling grounds boasting a river and a serenely located swimming pool. Rooms are done up in classy, muted color schemes, and each floor represents a different classically- inspired art theme.

But Gran is also aiming to seriously up the epicurean quotient of the Eternal City’s hotel scene, with Michelin-starred chef Alfonso Iaccarino helming the Vivavoce gastronomic Mediterranean restaurant, in addition to a more casual poolside eatery and lounge, and a gorgeous panoramic roof garden. A YHI Wellness area offers personalized training and beauty services, as well as a dip in the "Vitality" pool.

Color Your World: Our Top Five Art Hotels

There’s something to be said about surrounding yourself with great works of art. Take advantage of the fact that more and more hotels understand this, and are eschewing the generic sunset watercolor that’s long been a hotel staple, for more refined pieces. Here are the top five hotels who take art seriously. 

If you dream about Renaissance elegance: The Rome Cavalieri, owned by Waldof Astoria, sits perched over the hills of Rome, and while it plays up the palatial atmostphere, it’s the $700 million dollar art collection that will truly have you feeling royal. Works from the old masters abound, from the lobby to the spa. But things get more modern with Andy Warhol originals adorning some of  the rooms.

If you wish you could dive into a David Hockney: Popular with both Los Angeles natives and those looking for a quick SoCal weekend escape, Shutters on the Beach has a lot to recommend: the prime Santa Monica real estate has easy access to the beach and the pier, as well as an award-winning restaurant serving fresh California cuisine. But it’s the all-American art collection, including luminaries like Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, and Frank Gehry, that really gives the property a sense of style, as well as a sense of place.

If you’re sad you missed out on the Chelsea Hotel’s glory days: The New York art scene has always been transient in nature, with talent coming to feed off the city’s creativity. So it makes sense to capture that spirit in hotel form. Ian Schrager’s Gramercy Park Hotel was designed by artist Julian Schnabel (himself a fixture on the downtown art scene) and is adorned with pieces from provocateurs like Damien Hirst, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Richard Prince, as well as serving as a clubhouse for the new class of creative types and those who love them.

If you wish you could do contemporary art like a Chinese mogul: Design in Hong Kong is an integral part of the city’s fabric, from the attention paid to feng shui in the business district, to the museums and public art that have grown along with the city’s presence on the international art circuit. Hotels have followed suit, creating art and design-focused hotels from the small (like the boutique Upper House, centered around Hiroshiwata Sawada’s atrium piece, “Rise”) to the Langham Palace Mongkok, a massive 42-floor tower housing more than 1,500 pieces of contemporary art—there’s a free iPod tour to help you work your way through the collection as you move about the hotel.

If you’d rather step inside the artist’s studio: The James Chicago has fostered local artistic talent since it opened about a year ago, with works like the wall installation by Demarcus Purham in the lobby, and the installation “Room 28” by Joel Ross in the permanent collection. They’ve also been collaborating with the Monique Meloche Gallery to find work to rotate through the hotel’s other public spaces. Most recently, that was done through an artist-in-residence program, where five young artists competed against each other to come up with a work for the hotel’s collection. Winner Kristina Estell took the mandate to find inspiration in the hotel literally, sealing leaves from the hotel’s shrubbery in tape, and incorporating them into a work between two panes of glass.

What Makes A Hotel Memorable?

What makes a hotel stay truly memorable?  That’s a question we think about a lot, as we try to sort through the waves of hotel news arriving daily. Eileen Ognitz penned a beautiful piece this week about some of her most memorable hotel experiences, from the lavish (enjoying cocktails on the rooftop of a hotel in Rome) to the once-in-a-lifetime (camping in a tent on the way up to Kilimanjaro) and everything in between. It’s worth a read for the reminisces of a lifetime spent traveling around the world, as well as for a few useful tips on particular hotels.

But is there consensus? Is there something that makes a hotel not just a place to sleep? As trite an answer as it may seem, the answer truly is that people make the difference. Whether it’s because a hotel served as a home base for a memorable experience in your life with a loved one, or because the hotel itself welcomed you with open arms and went above and beyond to ensure your experience  was an excellent one, setting up shop in these temporary homes away from home is more than a functional act—it’s a place where you make your memories.

The Best Hotel Spas

Australia: One of the largest spas in the Southern Hemisphere, the Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat offers an extensive array of treatments and specialty therapies. Consider the signature Dusk Indulgence, an innovative treatment lasting over two and a half hours and incorporating a body polish, foot soak, massage, and facial using all organic products, in keeping with their focus on health and wellness.

USA: The massive Montage Deer Valley spa complex enjoys views of the pristine Utah mountains — perfect for early-morning yoga before hitting the slopes or a post-ski treatment like the The Après Ease, a detoxifying mud wrap and hydromassage. The spa’s gym, four-lane lap pool, indoor hot tub, saunas, steam rooms, and plunge pool are a great complement to a ski vacation.

Europe: One of Rome’s grandest hotels, situated on a high hill overlooking the city, the Hotel Rome Cavalieri’s spa is a visual treat as well as a physical one. Decorated with the hotel’s extensive collection of art and antiques, the Grand Spa boasts four swimming pools, hydromassage and whirlpool, themed massages incorporating techniques from around the world, a Technogym gymnasium, an ornate Turkish bath, and La Prairie products used throughout all spa treatments.

Caribbean: The elegant Viceroy Anguilla is one of the favored Caribbean getaways for discerning travelers, andthe two-story spa villa is an integral part of the experience. The treatment suites’ private terraces open onto a saltwater infinity pool and a soothing ocean view, and inside, signature treatments like the World Traveler combine an anti-aging facial and reviving leg treatment to ease you into your relaxing vacation.

Africa: The Royal Mansour Marrakech is just one of many beautiful luxury hotels that have opened in Marrakech in the last few years, but its giant spa pavilion sets it apart. The complex includestwo full hammams, a vast glass-enclosed indoor pool, and a Pilates studio, as well as treatment rooms. The traditional hammam is an essential experience for any traveler to North Africa for a scrubbing and cleansing unlike any other, but the signature treatments, incorporating authentic local ingredients, are just as indulgent.

Mystery Chef Revealed: Exquisite Corpse at Le Grand Fooding NYC 2011

You know that mystery chef we mentioned — the blind recluse opening a 52-hour popup restaurant in Chelsea next month? Well, he doesn’t exist. Or rather, he does exist, and his name is legion. That’s because he’s a culinary amalgam of 13 for-real superchefs, all contributing their talents and grub to 13 individual seatings for Le Grand Fooding NYC 2011. You would be well advised to buy from our special allotment presale tickets, available as of right now. But who exactly makes up the exquisite corpse of the mythical Nikoalan Nselurfueymardcora?

That would be Andrew Carmellini (Locanda Verde and The Dutch in New York City); Hugue Dufour (M. Wells in New York City); Kobe Desramaults (In de Wulf, of Dranouter, Belgium); Armand Arnal (La Chassagnette of Arles, France); Ana Ros (HiSa Franko of Kobarid, Slovenia); Sat Bains (Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham, UK); Blaine Wetzel (Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Washington State); Fulvio Pierangelini (Hotel de Russie, Rome); Brooks Headley (Del Posto in New York City); Mauro Colagreco (Le Mirazur of Menton, France); Adeline Grattard (Yam’tcha in Paris); Corey Lee (Benu in San Francisco); and Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy).

Quite a lineup, brought to you by sponsor dollars from the lines of Veuve Clicquot, Mastercard, and San Pellegrino. Now you can only buy tickets for the 9/24 and 9/25 seatings via our link, but you only miss out on Carmellini; everyone else is working round the clock on the other days. There’s only a handful of tickets available for each one, so act fast.

14 Sexy Penthouses Around the World

For that desirable combination of unbeatable luxury and city access, you can’t top the penthouse. What better way to enjoy panoramic skyline views, concierge service, and lush interiors fit for a mansion? From the retro chic to the ultra modern, from bustling metropolises to the serene tropics, we’ve compiled a list of some of the sexiest penthouses in the world.

1. Presidential Suite, Intercontinental, Hong Kong: One of Asia’s most spectacular penthouses, this 7,000-square-foot dream space boasts five luxurious bedrooms, a 2,500-square-foot terrace with an infinity swimming pool overlooking Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong, and all-glass walls that enable you to enjoy the skyline no matter where you’re sitting. For the detail-oriented, the bathroom sinks were carved from single slabs of Fujian marble and the television cabinet is solid mother-of-pearl. Sure, it’s $11,215 per night. But it could be money well spent for one hell of a swank party.


2. Skylofts, MGM Grand, Las Vegas: The 6,040-square-foot Skylofts in MGM Grand, designed by world-renowned architect and designer Tony Chi, are bringing some much-deserved attention to this classic Vegas hotel. For $10,000 a night, you can bask in the sleek, ultra-modern bachelor pad, and enjoy an unbeatable view of the Vegas skyline. Before you retreat to one of the three decked-out bedrooms, check out the Infinity Edge spa tub with “champagne bubbles” technology and the capacious “immersion chamber” steam shower.


3. Royal Suite, The Carlyle, New York City: This classic, elegant duplex, designed by Alexandra Champalimaud, captures the essence of New York style for about $6,000 a night. The original hardwood floors, luxurious fabrics, inspiring artwork, and Steinway piano will place you at the pinnacle of city sophistication. Don’t forget to admire the city that never sleeps with an inimitable view of Central Park and that famously picturesque NYC skyline.


4. Apogee Penthouse, Miami: As its name suggests, Apogee is the self-proclaimed top dog of Miami penthouses. The 6,583-square-foot space lets you to enjoy all the splendor of the Miami sunshine with over 11,000 square feet of outdoor living space. If you are even a little deterred by the $22 million price tag, check out the private pool on the roof, with its 360-degree view of South Beach.


5. Perivolas Suite, Perivolas, Santorini, Greece: You’ve probably never seen anything like this before. The 1,500-square-foot Grecian grotto is nestled cozily in the cliffs of Santorini. Featuring sleek white-washed walls and arched interiors, this cavernous hideaway exudes Mediterranean elegance. Don’t be fooled by the idyllic decor, though. This $1,586-a-night pad is stocked with fine amenities: the steam room, hydrotherapy massage tub, and indoor-outdoor swimming pool should be more than enough to keep you busy.


6. One Hyde Park Penthouse, London: This penthouse has yet to be completed, but it’s already one of the sexiest in the world. In fact, at 100 million pounds, the One Hyde Park penthouse, slated for completion later this year, is the most expensive in the world. The coveted property will boast bullet-proof windows, purified air systems and…panic rooms? Here’s to hoping you don’t need to spend much time in those on your honeymoon. Instead, be sure to stop by the communal spas, squash courts and private wine-tasting facilities. And just who can afford this record-breaking price tag? Why, the A-list stars, oil barons, Saudi princes, and Russian oligarchs who have already claimed their own One Hyde Park flats, of course.


7. Hugh Hefner Sky Villa, The Palms, Las Vegas: Anything with Hefner’s name on it is sexy (with the exception of…Hugh Hefner) and his one-of-a-kind penthouse fits the bill. What could be more Playboy than relaxing in an outdoor, cantilevered hot tub overlooking the Vegas strip? In addition to amenities like a media room, gym with sauna, and a spa-style treatment room, the Sky Villa features a glass elevator, a huge show tub, pop-up plasma TV, sunbathing areas, and, of course, a round, rotating bed. If ever there were a proper place to charm the pants off a damsel to the tune of $40,000 a night, Vegas is it.


8. Penthouse Suite, Cavalieri Hilton, Rome: If you’re tired of gazing at skyscrapers, check out this penthouse in Rome, where you can bask in the glory of St. Peter’s Basilica from the comfort of your own rooftop hot tub. Don’t forget to consummate the evening with a visit to the custom-stocked cigar humidor and wine cellar. And if security is of concern, take solace in the fact that this 7,000-square-foot luxury fortress features bulletproof glass and an elaborate fleet of surveillance cameras. For $8,998 a night, you can soak in all the beauty that old Rome has to offer—with nary a worry of a gladiator ambush.


9. The Gray, Milan: This unforgettable penthouse embodies all the lively eccentricities of a Milan fashion show. The lobby greets you with a pink velvet objet d’art (too bad they didn’t include one in the suite), the rooms are decked out in ostrich leather and crocodile, beds are suspended from the ceiling, and one of the staircases consists of cantilevered platforms rising up the wall. At 450 square feet, this penthouse may not be the largest of its kind, but you’d be hard-pressed to find an even remotely similar experience elsewhere. Oh, and at “only” $1,000 a night, it’s the most affordable penthouse on this list.


10. Luxuria Penthouse, Boca Raton, Florida: For $12.5 million, you can enjoy the Boca Raton coastline in style. Even before you enter the suite, the lobby showcases twin golden staircases and a floor-to-ceiling water wall. For the penthouse that already has everything you need, you’ll have access to a 24-hour valet service and on-site concierge. And, to keep you and your belongings safe, the penthouse boasts a state-of-the-art security system with thumb-print recognition and resident-only lobbies.


11. Endeavor Penthouse, Seabrook, Texas: The $3.6 million Endeavor Penthouse combines the comfort and security of indoor space with the charms of an outdoor setting. Make sure you check out the 500-square-foot balcony and the 1,200-square-foot rooftop terrace, where you can bask in the breeze while overlooking the still waters of Clear Lake. This majestic lake isn’t the only perk for water lovers: the space features features a hot tub, an infinity pool, and a resistance pool for fitness enthusiasts.


12. Penthouse Suite, Raleigh Hotel, Miami Beach: This classic penthouse personifies the suave sophistication of 1940s noir. Built in 1940 and overhauled in 2002, the Penthouse Suite at the Raleigh features an attractive combination of modern and retro tastes: low-slung sofas and floor-to-ceiling windows complement the nostalgia of the wood-paneled bar downstairs. Though it’s easy to get lost in the charm of the interiors, 2,000 square feet of this 6,000-square-foot beauty are devoted to the terrace, where a pool overlooks Miami Beach. The price tag, however, is anything but retro: $5K a night.


13. 2999 Kalakaua ave Penthouse, Honolulu, Hawaii: At $5.2 million, you can luxuriously soak in all the natural splendor—crystal-clear waters, verdant vegetation, blue skies—that Hawaii has to offer. This penthouse is renowned for its panoramic views of the surrounding tropical paradise. Newly renovated, the 3,445-square-foot space overlooks the Pacific Ocean and Diamond Head State Monument. A uniquely Hawaiian spectacle.


14.Central Park West Penthouse, New York City: We all know that living in New York is not cheap, but in this case, you may just get what your $47.5 million pays for. This lavish penthouse features 14-foot ceilings and over 5,200 square feet of space, not to mention a stellar view of Central Park. And what’s a lofty price tag without some sort of bonus? In addition to the penthouse, you’ll get a 1,222-square-foot ground-floor suite with private street access.


Garbage Is Latest Hotel Gimmick

We’ve seen a lot of hotel gimmicks in our time, from Pantone colors to lodging you pay for by performing. Now this: A hotel has opened in Rome made from 12,000 kilos of trash.

Euro trash get a token hotel in this publicity campaign by environmental group Save the Beach, which is trying to draw attention to pollution on Europe’s beaches. “It’s made of garbage,” said the hotel’s designer, H.A. Shult, “because where you go on this planet is garbage. We are living in the garbage time.” Prego?

The 12,000 kilos of trash used to construct the hotel are reportedly equal to the amount of rubbish found on three square kilometers of European beaches. The hotel has no room service or other amenities, but there are actual beds with sheets! The trash has been disinfected, which is probably more than you can say for most hotel duvet covers. No word yet on if there are plans to build an American counterpart constructed entirely of petroleum and broken oil well parts.