Elizabeth Unique Hotel, Rome

Rome is such a special city full of natural beauty and stunning architecture, so it feels fitting to stay in an equally beautiful hotel when you are in this city. Elizabeth Unique Hotel is in a beautiful 17th-century restored palazzo and is located in an artistic area of town, just minutes away from the famous Spanish Steps and within walking distance of many other landmarks.

Elizabeth Unique Hotel, Rome

Art and design is very much at the heart of this hotel, an impressive selection of modern artwork from Italian artists hangs dramatically on the walls in all of the common areas, many of the pieces are for sale or available to buy on request.

Elizabeth Unique Hotel, Rome

There are 33 rooms at the hotel (including 8 suites) and bedrooms are decorated in a similar theme, with ornate decorative wallpaper, grand beds, and stylish contemporary furniture. We were incredibly comfortable in our pretty Deluxe bedroom, it was cosy in feel but plenty big enough for a city break home-away-from-home. Despite being conveniently in the centre of town, the hotel was wonderfully quiet at night and we slept blissfully in the wonderful bed.

Elizabeth Unique Hotel, Rome

The bathrooms at Elizabeth Unique Hotel are kitted out with all the modern amenities and some technological features, like the bubbling bathtub, which I was excited to discover. We were delighted with the big fluffy bathrobes and fragrant toiletries. If you are lucky enough to be staying in one of the top suites you may even get a private sauna in the room!

Elizabeth Unique Hotel, Rome

There are thoughtful touches throughout the hotel and quiet corners to relax with a book. In the bedrooms, guests will be delighted to discover the complimentary minibar, stocked with a wide selection of drinks including speciality local soft drinks and delicious snacks.

Elizabeth Unique Hotel, Rome

The hotel restaurant is a lovely place to enjoy a hearty a la carte breakfast, an afternoon aperitif or a romantic evening dinner. The relaxed eatery showcases high quality Italian produce in sophisticated and delicious recipes. We relished our morning coffee and breakfast here, giving essential sustenance before a day exploring Rome’s finest sights.

During our 24 hours at Elizabeth Unique Hotel I felt completely at home. We couldn’t have found a more lovely place to rest our heads in the iconic Italian capital.

I stayed at Elizabeth Unique Hotel, Rome as a guest of the hotel, more information and book a room here.

How to Host with Airbnb

Like many people, I decided to try being an Airbnb host after some great experiences being an Airbnb guest around the world. I live in a small but cosy two bedroom flat in London with my husband. We found that our second bedroom was completely empty and unused. Hosting guests in the room has enabled us to earn a bit of extra money and to make friends with lovely, like-minded travellers from all over the world.

In this blog post I hope to dispel a few misconceptions and worries that potential hosts might have, while also highlighting some of the best bits about the experience.

Find out more details about being a host here.

This post is sponsored by Airbnb.

Airbnb

  • Anyone can be an Airbnb host

Whether you have an entire empty property or just a small bedroom to fill, you can be an Airbnb host. When I first posted about our second bedroom I assumed no one would want to stay in our area, sharing a bathroom, but Airbnb helped us position our offering so it was geared towards the right audience. Airbnb also offers a recommended price to help your property get more guests.

  • Who will come and stay and what will they be like?

This is the aspect I was most worried about prior to becoming a host on Airbnb, but I needn’t worry at all. The rating and reviewing system on Airbnb means you can always see what has been said about guests interested in staying at your property. You can also ask potential guests questions to ensure they are the right fit for you. We usually welcome single guests, but have also had couples. Some guests stay for just 2 nights, while one Australian couple stayed with us for over 2 months. We always welcome guests into our flat and find out a bit about them when they first arrive but also give them the peace and quiet if they wish to just chill out. Within 24 hours you’ll become aware of what kind of interaction your guests are after.

  • Will the guests be respectful of our home?

Over the last four years, we have never had a guest mistreat our home. After clear explanations at the start of the stay about how to lock up, and use the bathroom and kitchen, we have found that every guest has been clean and conscientious. Guests who stay for a short time are usually out for the majority of the time exploring the city. They barely use the kitchen, and the bathroom has been easy to share. If a guest hadn’t treated our home appropriately it is easy to review accordingly on Airbnb, and their profile will be updated with those details for all future hosts to see.

Airbnb

  • Make some easy cash

I was amazed by how quickly the sums added up when we started our journey as a host. It may only be a small amount per night but after just 1 month we had enough money to repaint several rooms in the flat and make luxurious changes that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford. This was a particular relief when I was out of work for a few months and we needed the extra income to pay the mortgage.

  • Flexibility

Unlike a permanent housemate, on Airbnb you have the flexibility to have guests as and when you choose. Block out dates when you need the place to yourself or have friends to stay, or lower your price per night if you have a particular need for the extra cash. It has also enabled us to Host in the entire flat (rather than just one bedroom) when we’ve been travelling for extended periods of time.

Airbnb

All in all, I can’t recommend being an Airbnb host enough. In the last four years we’ve had guests who have invited us back to stay with them elsewhere in the world, we’ve shared meals with lovely guests and we’ve spent many nights chatting about shared travel experiences. As a London writer, it has also been a great way for me to share my knowledge with keen tourists, so they see the best of the city.

Disfrutar, Barcelona

I first tasted a dish by Disfrutar at the OAD (Opinionated About Dining) Awards earlier this year in San Sebastian. The seafood recipe was inventive, intense in flavour and a marvel to look at. Then, a few months later, the 50 World’s Best Restaurants list was announced, and Disfrutar was one of the highest risers, being awarded a coveted place in the top 10. Needless to say, I fast-tracked it to the top of my to visit list and booked flights to Barcelona immediately.

Disfrutar

The restaurant is run by three chefs, Oriol Castro, Mateu Casañas and Eduard Xatruch, who all held important roles in the El Bulli kitchen. Prior to opening Disfrutar in 2014, the trio opened Compartir in Cadaqués on the Costa Brava, a more casual eatery.

The Dining Room at Disfrutar is simple and elegant, and foliage plays a leading role in the decor. The tables are left bare, giving no clues about the meal ahead.

Disfrutar

There are two multi-course menus to choose from… the ‘Classic’ menu, featuring favourites of the house and the ‘Festival’ menu, recommended to returning guests, with an array of new seasonal dishes. We opted for the Classic menu, an elaborate meal of 30 unique recipes, featuring the flavours of Spain in an entirely new and unexpected interpretation.

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The pace was quick and the courses were small, it was a perfectly composed symphony of culinary twists and turns, and I loved the excitement of it all. Many of the dishes are served or completed table side by the charming waiters, who seemed to be enjoying the performance just as much as the dining audience.

Disfrutar

I was delighted to sample a few of their most recognisable dishes – the miraculous Gazpacho in sandwich form, beautifully spherical bursting olives, and a favourite of ours, the macaroni carbonara – transparent mock pasta made from pork gelatine, served in a divine sauce of parmesan and cubes of bacon.

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Not every course was a bite to eat, some came in drink form… one section of our menu was dedicated to rabbit inspired treats, including a cold consommé with a hint of orange, it was like a meaty rich old-fashioned cocktail.

Disfrutar

Nothing is as it initially seems at Disfrutar and some of the most magical dishes deceive you on first glance. Towards the end of the menu we moved onto sweet dishes… two tiny padron peppers are made from thick and indulgent chocolate mousse, seasoned with a peppery hint.

DisfrutarDisfrutar

Sweets continued with cheesecake cornets – bite-sized cherry cones filled with sour cherry sorbet, Kirsch jelly and cream, a wonderful palate cleansing mouthful of deliciousness.

Disfrutar

It was great fun to receive our courses but also to watch the excitement unfold around the room, as other tables ooh-ed and ahh-ed at their imaginative dishes. One table nearby to us were receiving completely different dishes, when I asked the waiter about their meal he commented that they’d visited 3 times already so the kitchen were preparing a totally unique set of new experimental dishes for them… an indicator of the care and effort they go to for every diner, whether it’s your first or tenth time at the restaurant.

Disfrutar translates as ‘to enjoy’, and I can whole-heartedly say I enjoyed every aspect of this exemplary restaurant. An unmissable experience from start to finish, and a must for gastronomes visiting Barcelona.

More information and book a table at Disfrutar here.