With the weather in Rome giving off a tropical vibe, it is time to consider the inner city daycation- an in-town time-out where travel is just an after thought. My favorite choice is always Spa, since living in Rome from May through October means an increasing need to escape the balmy and days, overstimulated chaos even for just a few hours.
The world of spas and “spa-ing” is vast and diverse. In Rome, every variety of spa is accommodated- ersatz-Turkish, Thai, Maylasian, Chinese and Roman baths, baths built in and around actual ancient Roman sites, simple bath houses (i.e. sauna) and finally luxury baths whose ambience range from minimalist chic to grandiose. When dedicating your time to a spa daycation, ambience must be the primary requirement. Additional fundamentals include: Distance, no more than 20 minutes, in traffic, from the city center and Mirage: location must give the illusion of “elsewhere” or else why go?
For my most recent spa daycation, I was looking for “Lap of Luxury”, and thus immediately headed to the Rome Cavalieri at the top of Montemario, rightly boasting the most beautiful of the entire Rome panorama. Approximately 15 minutes from the city center, Cavalieri is Conrad Hilton’s dolce vita creation from the 1960s: complete luxury in its 370 rooms (42 with private balconies), 3 swimming pools, clay tennis courts, multi-million dollar private art collection and Rome’s only 3-star Michelin restaurant, La Pergola. But down to business, my only concern was the Grand Spa and all its amenities.
As a non-resident guest, access to the Grand Spa is granted with an appointment for a treatment from the very banal eyebrow (or chest) waxing to the Grand Spa’s signature treatments— a delectable range of facials (using La Prairie products), massages, holistic treatments et al. Key to enjoying the Grand Spa and its treatments is to bask in its grandeur in its entirety– meaning that you should plan to arrive a few hours before your treatment.
My usual program? A dip in the indoor pool- thanks to its glass cupula, I enjoy natural light in any weather. And then relaxation to the caldarium and saunas– the Turkish baths. And then my favorite part of my daycation: an hour reading — preferably a period piece–on the heated chaise in the very imperial lounge. In a sporty mood, I would have popped into the palestra. Note to the all-business, all the time crew: there is a small, wifi-adapted caffè in the Grand Spa
Treatments and Aestheticians: the aesthetician staff in the Grand Spa are very polite, professional and well-informed on latest techniques, dos and don’ts and customer service. The staff is multi-lingual and very helpful in making sure your experience is exactly what you are desiring– there is no pressing need to hurry you or their service, an unfortunately feeling I’ve had at other spas. One of the treatments I chose was the Ritual Treatment, an 80-minute almond oil, cocounut oil and karitè butter massage which relaxed every muscle and my brain. After the massage, my aesthetician shared some aromatherapy scents and invited me to a refreshening hot tea. Overall, it was a multi-sensory experience that left my mind rejuvenated and my entire being recharged for my reintro into Rome. Though I had only disappeared a few hours, it felt like months.
Transport Tip: The Cavalieri Rome is located in the Montemario area of Rome, between the Prati and Stadio neighborhoods. Though Rome’s public transport will take you within short walking distance to the hotel, I would suggest budgeting in taxi fare for your trip home after your luxe treatments.