Luxe Roman Pools
As Rome heats up over spring, I've noticed that the traffic already flows a little easier on the weekends. The minute that the puffy coats and long boots are packed away Romans begin to evacuate the city, escaping to nearby beaches to get their fix of seafood by the sea. If you don't want to get caught up in the traffic getting there and back - "il gran rientro", the next best thing is a day at the local park or pool. There are many budget, family-friendly and sporty options close to the center of Rome with olympic-sized swimming pools. But for those times throughout the long Roman summer when you'd prefer to spoil yourself with a luxurious day poolside, here are my top five!
Rome Cavalieri (Daily 8am-8pm)
Close to my neck of the woods is the glamorous Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. It’s a short drive from the Vatican to the top of Monte Mario to enjoy fabulous views over the city of Rome and the ultimate day poolside. You’ll discover it’s much more than a pool, but rather a luxurious spa experience just like the ancient Romans must have enjoyed! Think body massages with chocolate, honey and even caviar. There's a reason the Rome Cavalieri won 2017 World's Best Fitness Spa & Italy's Best Resort Spa (Haute Grandeur Global Spa Awards).
I recommend arriving early at the pool to select your sunbed on higher ground with some natural shade provided by the Aleppo pine trees. A smartly dressed pool attendant will help you make up your sunbed with an abundance of lush white towels and you can relax with your morning cappuccino before it gets too busy. After your first dip and perhaps one of their special club sandwiches, you’ll want to switch to a champagne cocktail and people watch for the afternoon! Also worth noting is that the children’s pool is separate.
Prices for day visitors include complimentary access to Gym and Spa (Roman baths, relaxation lounge and indoor pool). Going midweek has its benefits!
May to July - Monday to Friday: Adults €55, Children 6-11 years €27; Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: Adults €115, Children 6-11 years €57
August and September - Monday to Friday: Adults €40, Children 6-11 years €20; Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: Adults €80, Children 6-11 years €40
Via Alberto Cadlolo, 101. Tel: 06 35092950
Palazzo Naiadi (Daily 10am-7pm)
For an incredible ‘spa treatment plus pool’ day, look no further than 5-star Palazzo Naiadi (formerly known as the Boscolo Exedra Roma). You’ll be warmly welcomed by Jennifer or a member of her team who are on hand in Fusion Spa from 10:00 am to midnight every day of the year! If you’re feeling active, start with a personalized gym session overlooking the stunning fountain in Piazza Repubblica or perhaps a run through the nearby Villa Borghese gardens. Then spoil yourself with a glorious spa treatment using all natural marine-based products. A woman of style herself, Jennifer’s attention to detail in choosing the décor and accessories is obvious. Exclusive to her spa is a divine perfume called "Osang" - inspired by Saint Gennaro, patron saint of Naples. Naples is urs sanguinium (City of Blood) and protected by Saint Gennaro. Three times a year his dried blood is presented to the people of Naples. If it liquefies, all will be well with Naples. Miracles are normally spontaneous but at least once a year the miracle occurs. As I write this, I’m still thinking about the bottle of perfume with its top inspired by a bishop’s mitre. The perfect accessory for a bathroom inside the Swiss Guard Barracks perhaps? We’ll see if my husband reads my blog!
Speaking of my husband (and the spa)… there are ample spaces for couples’ massages either together in the same room or with a spa in between adjoining rooms. How romantic! I’m looking forward to trying the ‘Jet Lag body massage’ after my next trip away. Then for the best part, relaxing on a sun bed on the hotel terrace taking an occasional dip in the bluer than blue plunge pool, overlooking the historic center of Rome. Give me a cocktail and I’ll happily move in!
50 minute massage and pool access €150
60 minute facial and pool access €160
45 minute reflexology and pool access €150
Piazza della Repubblica, 47. Tel: 06 48938465
Aldrovandi Villa Borghese (Daily 10am-7.30pm)
When you’re looking for a relaxing oasis only minutes from the city center, the Aldrovandi Villa Borghese – The Leading Hotels of the World, is a very select property for a very select clientele. Space is limited and well distributed around the pool in pairs or small groups of sunbeds - perfect for a romantic day at the pool. Do call ahead to be assured of a sunbed. The hotel is justly intent on keeping an exclusive atmosphere for hotel guests and visitors alike. When you descend from the hotel’s elegant reception hall to the pool area, the overhanging palms and lilac details in the décor immediately make you relax.
The pool and surrounding gardens are lovely as they are now but at the end of 2018 they’ll receive a complete overhaul. The pool will be much larger and the gardens will double in size! Hotel Manager Francesco Mussinelli was excited to tell me that they will also be redeveloping the spa area and internal pool which will grow to over 1000 square meters. For now I’m happy to pamper myself in the sauna and steam baths and curious to try their exclusive ‘Leg School’ treatment – Hollywood’s best secret now available in Rome (and on Capri at Capri Palace). See you at the pool after my magical leg treatment!
Pool access for day visitors €80
Via Ulisse Aldrovandi, 11 (Parioli), Tel: 06 3223993
Aleph Rome Hotel (Daily 8am-8pm)
There's just something about a rooftop terrace with a pool and bar in sight of the Martini sign, one of the most recognizable icons of Rome's exclusive Via Veneto. The Aleph Rome Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton was given a full facelift last July and the results are stunning. The former bank headquarters has been transformed into a luxurious hotel boasting two rooftop terraces. You can even have your own private terrace with sunbeds by taking a suite on the 4th floor. One staycation coming up! From designer olive oil to signature Aleph cocktails, and from Vespa selfies to an indoor lounge bar for cigar smokers - something unique in Rome, there are lots of reasons to visit.
Hotel guests are already enjoying the sleek outdoor pool with city views which will officially be opened with a party in mid-May. From then on we can look forward to regular evening pool parties. Watch this space! And watch out for the newly appointed General Manager Stefan Bauer who will be the young man ensuring every detail is perfect. You might see him trimming the lemon trees or checking the fireplace (lit every night!) and more than likely he'll personally come over to see that everything meets your expectations.
Roof top pool pricing: 2-hour pass Mon-Fri €85, 2-hour pass Sat-Sun €115, per person
Via di San Basilio, 15. Tel: 06 4229001
Parco dei Principi Grand Hotel and Spa (Daily 9am-7pm)
The Parco dei Principi Grand Hotel and Spa is a stone’s throw from the beautiful Villa Borghese gardens and gallery, and the perfect luxury escape from the daily stresses of Rome. Being part of the exclusive Roberto Naldi Collection means it’s a family-run 5-star property. This gives it an added dimension of Roman warmth and hospitality on the part of employees, from the marketing VP Matteo who showed me every inch of this unique urban resort, to Mauro on pool duty who makes every guest feel like a VIP. Obviously the locals feel the same way because the hotel offers a range of very popular pool, spa and gym memberships. The new Prince Spa is a 2,000 square meter wellness center with more treatment rooms than I could count and the inside ‘ozone-sanitized’ pool is as large as their outdoor one - a great fitness or relaxation option open until 10pm daily. The pool and spa areas have spectacular color therapy options throughout. If you don’t have the energy for a swim, you can rest in the relaxation area overlooking the pool. Perhaps you’ve already worked out in the full-size fitness center, complete with boxing ring for a real fight club amongst guests, workers and locals. That’s my kind of lunch-break!
Day visitor access to the almost olympic-sized outdoor pool is from the hotel reception via the pretty ‘secret garden’ passageway. I can vouch for it being the perfect spot for an afternoon spritz under the gazebo of the pool. The pool kitchen and bar even has its own herb garden. Wander up the stairs next to the herbs and find the secret garden within the garden, where you’re completely surrounded by nature overlooking Villa Borghese. You’ll be imagining excuses to throw a party up there. Anyone getting engaged soon…?
Pool access for day visitors:
Monday to Friday: Adults €40, Children 2-16 years €35; Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: Adults €80, Children 2-16 years €45
Via G. Frescobaldi, 5. Tel: 06 854421 (06 85442886 - direct line for the outdoor pool)