Residenza in Farnese (Hotel)
Via del Mascherone 59
Rome , Italy
With its billiard table, pot plants and chessboard floor, this discreet four-star resembles a colonial club in the tropics. Housed in a 15th-century palazzo it has 31 rooms spread over two floors. No two are exactly the same but the style is classic so expect period furniture, parquet floors and wall-length curtains.
It might no longer be de rigueur to dress for dinner but this is the sort of place where you might. Gentlemen in black tie would play billiards over brandy while bejewelled ladies chatted behind their fans. Unfortunately, though, the 19th-century billiard table is for show only, the centrepiece of the lovely Art Deco reception rooms. Upstairs, rooms are on the 3rd and 4th floors – the 2nd is used by resident priests. If possible go for one of the rooms with views over to the Michelangelo-designed Palazzo Farnese (now the French Embassy) and Palazzo Spada. Pick of the bunch is room 309 which retains its original 15th-century frescoed ceiling.