Rome’s 19th century Hotel Canada exudes my kind of quiet, understated elegance, comfort, and tranquility. More like a boutique property, it has just 72 rooms, all beautifully appointed and maintained with period furnishings. The hotel occupies part of an 1870 palazzo in Rome’s historic district. The place has the solid feeling of permanence and grace that I associate with the finest old English hotels.
These pictures show off my room, the view from my terrace, and the public areas on the ground floor, all confirming that the Hotel Canada in Rome ain’t a Marriott in Missoula!
Hotel Canada is a Best Western affiliate, but it’s Roman to the core. I love it for its beauty, comfort, and lack of pretension. Also because it is unique, not a chain hotel, despite being affiliated with one.
The dining room has a huge breakfast spread with every imaginable morning food item. It was included in my rate, as well as complimentary afternoon drinks and snacks in the equally elegant bar, all of which I enjoyed reaching on the ground floor via the marvelous, ancient birdcage elevator.
I never tired of the old birdcage elevator, a prism through which I flash on an earlier time in my life. In 1975-76, when I lived in Munich and worked all over the Continent, my company maintained a flat in Brussels in an ancient building with a similar birdcage elevator. I was very happy in that job (Manager of European Operations), a magic period, and I was regularly in temporary residence in that beautiful old Brussels apartment building. I used it as a base for our busy student charter flight operation in and out of Brussels.
Somehow I associated the Hotel Canada’s slow but reliable birdcage lift with the potpourri of memories I have of that place and era: bitter cold early mornings at the gritty Brussels train station open air bars watching Belgium businessmen with leathery faces in heavy wool topcoats chain-smoking harsh Gauloises cigarettes while gulping down multiple shots of cheap brandy on their way to work, the endless fields of brilliant red poppies blooming along the tracks of the train to the Brussels airport, the breathtaking beauty of the Grand-Place de Bruxelles with its medieval guild halls and the exquisite escargot served in the grand plaza’s outdoor cafes.
And many more fond memories. All reminding me why I like to travel in the first place.
But I digress. Why is a Roman hotel called “Canada,” for goodness sake? For a fascinating answer, see here.
Getting there is easy from Roma Termini (main train station). I took a cab to the hotel for €6. I had planned to walk, as the hotel is easily doable on foot from the station, but I had a nasty fall on my right knee in a dark passageway a couple of days earlier at the Villa il Poggiale in San Casciano (near Florence), so I was temporarily limping.
No one on either a business or a leisure trip will be disappointed in this hotel. What a bargain at $120/night including a huge breakfast buffet!
I miss Rome’s marvelous Hotel Canada. I don’t often say that about a hotel.