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Shake off the blues

As the long summer evenings begin to shorten and the two-week summer holiday fades to a distant memory, your thoughts might just be turning to a weekend break as you set about recharging the batteries ahead of the dark winter nights.



If a little bit of walking, a lot of fine Italian food and a love of luxury is your thing, then look no further than the Eternal City and the Hotel Cavalieri, part of the ultra-plush Waldorf Astoria Collection. Situated in 15 acres of private parkland, the Cavalieri is the ideal location to rest your weary bones after a day exploring the many sights of modern and ancient Rome.

Offering breathtaking views of the capital, and only 3km from the Vatican City, from the moment we set foot in the door the staff tended to our every need, as the hotel's highly prized art collection peers down on you from every available wall space.

The art works include centuries-old paintings, furniture, a fountain and even a modern piece by no less than Andy Warhol.

We stayed in an Imperial room, some of which boast breathtaking views of the city, others of the lush gardens, from the private balconies.

All rooms have a big seating area, precious marble bathroom, 42" plasma TV and other mod cons, such as automatic shutters.

city buzz

While some travellers will prefer to base themselves centrally, to get that real city buzz, the Cavalieri's location on the outskirts of Rome shouldn't deter you, as they provide a shuttle bus that will have you in the centre of the city in 15 minutes, and even when the service winds down, at worst it is a €10 taxi journey to the majority of Rome's hotspots.

That said, while the Trastevere quarter of the city offers great value when eating out, there is no major requirement to leave the hotel in the evening, as there are plenty of culinary options to choose from in any of the six restaurants that the Cavalieri offers. In fact, if you want to sample some of the best cuisine in Rome, then the three-star Michelin-rated restaurant, run by head chef Heinz Beck, may just tempt you to go on a blowout on one night of your stay.

For a history buff, the city itself is magical. From the majestic structure of the Coliseum, through the flowing waters of the Trevi Fountain, to the preserved roadways and pillars of ancient Rome, it is virtually impossible not to be awestruck by the sheer magnitude of history around you.

Like sampling a pint of Guinness in Dublin, no visit to Rome would be complete without a trip to the Vatican, to a Wednesday audience with the Pope and to the Sistine Chapel. Decorated over a period of four-and-a-half years by Michelangelo, the detailed artwork on the ceiling is truly amazing.

luxurious

Because we were trying to cram as much as possible into four days, my wife Mairead was glad to have the option of visiting the hotel's luxurious spa every day.

Although I'm not sure if her visits there were to ease the fatigue in her legs, or to escape the drone of my voice and all the useless tourist information I was providing.

As a city break, I can't recommend Rome highly enough, and while the Cavalieri won't suit everyone's budget, for those looking to add that little bit extra to their stay in Rome, this hotel will tick all your boxes.