Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

JAN-FEB 2018

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Page 49 of 139

48 Inside, public and private spaces demonstrate the familiar hallmarks of opulent elegance common among beloved grand hotels throughout Europe: wood parquet and gleaming marble floors; paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries; fine furnishings from the Louis XVI, Arts and Crafts, Victorian and Biedermeier eras; finely executed frescoes and friezes; and ornate tapestries. e air may seem rarified, but the aura is much more relaxed. In the Art Nouveau-style Winter Garden for instance, you can sit on chairs designed by famed Italian architect Ernesto Basile (1857-1932). e same chairs can be found on display in the Musée D'Orsay in Paris, where they most definitely may not be sat upon. My room, No. 114, boasted a massive terrace with balustrade overlooking the water. Hand-painted walls and a perfect hodge- podge of antique furnishings lent the impression that I was lodging at the home of an affluent, eclectic nonna rather than a hotel, which is a purposeful intent. "When guests arrive, there is a strong feeling of being welcomed into a family home, because we treat each salon and bedroom as if it were a room in a house," said Fiorentino, an affable and approachable host who took the reins of the family business in 2010. Since then, he has set forth on an ambitious plan to further elevate the property's stature by obtaining a Michelin star, adding a new poolside restaurant and champagne bar, reducing the number of hotel rooms from 97 to 84, adding serviced garden apartments for extended stays, and converting a 19th century greenhouse on property to La Serra Spa. Of the 84 rooms, 42 are suites, with six of those being one- of-a-kind accommodations. e Caruso Suite has been maintained in the style of the 1920s, and retains Caruso's piano, photographs and writing board. Other suites are either named for famous guests– Princess Margaret, Luciano Pavarotti and Italian singer-songwriter Lucio Dalla–or have had famous guests (Sophia Loren stayed in the Aurora Junior Suite in 1984 while filming Qualcosa di Biondo). While posh enough for a princess, the true heart and soul of the property is its top-notch staff. Serving as a figurehead of sorts is head concierge Antonio Galano, who, although he doesn't look it, has been employed by the hotel for forty years. His friendly "ciao bella" sendoff as I left for my excursions each day never failed to put a little extra pep in my step. The dining experience at Excelsior Vittoria is a thing of beauty, beginning with breakfast, which is served American buffet-style beneath a 19th century frescoed ceiling, which makes you feel as though you are dining in the nave of a basilica. You can enjoy pizza perfection poolside at The Orangerie bar and restaurant (open April-October). At night, the spot transforms into a chic tapas-style dining concept with specialty cocktails and an energetic soundtrack. Deluxe Suite

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