The Chinese chain Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, which is controlled by New World China Land, bought the massive building that used to host the Italian State mint in the Rome posh district of Parioli and will turn it into an extra-luxury hotel.
The project envisages around 200 rooms, restaurants, convention center, swimming pool, spa, as well as about 50 private residences.
BACKGROUND/1 Luxury in Rome
What wouldn’t be a remarkable event for cities like Paris and London represents a big thing here in Rome, probably one of the world’s top city destinations with such a shortage of luxury hotels.
Italy’s capital has nearly no business clients, since its mostly a church, politics, international organizations and diplomacy centre. Underinvestment in the existing luxury hotels due to the city’s financial weakness is a major feature of the Rome accommodation scene with too few suites, not beautiful enough for world standards. But high development risks and a shortage of available sites linked to archaeology findings and heritage preservation are also major factors.
The city of Rome is seldom associated with the concept of luxury. Even its historical Dolce Vita area, Via Veneto, no longer coincides with the branded/luxury district which is in the surroundings of the Spanish Steps.
Recent investments in luxury hotels in Rome were around the Termini railway station, which has nothing to do with the kind of atmosphere expected by very wealthy clients.
The only high-end hotel in the Parioli area is the Aldrovandi Palace. Parioli is a pretty central area with expensive shops and restaurants where rich Romans love to have their house if they don’t like downtown Rome. This also explains why Rosewood there also wants to invest in the residential sector and not just into a hotel.
Another prospective investor in the Rome luxury hotel sector should be the Qatari Emir Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani.
BACKGROUND/2 China in Rome
Direct flights with the main Chinese cities are growing at an impressive rate in the last few months and this bodes well for an increase of Chinese visitors and a rise of their average spending in the Eternal City. The latest addiction was the Guangzhou – aka known as Canton – flight (with a technical stop in Wuhan) by China Southern. And Rome FCO Intercontinental airport has the only official Chinese Welcome Award out of mainland China.
The cultural and language role played by China in Rome has also been recently expanding with the Confucius institute more and more active and the renowned state high school Lucrezio Caro encompassing Chinese language in its curriculum.
The Rome Chinese community is mostly located near the Termini station but they celebrate their New Year in Piazza del Popolo, which is not far from the former Mint in Piazza Verdi.
What if a second, high-end mini-Chinatown, also revolving around the nearby Chinese Embassy and Consulate, soon arises in the area?