September 28, 2022
Tablet is your source for discovering the world’s most exciting boutique hotels — places where you’ll find a memorable experience, not just a room for the night. For over twenty years we’ve scoured the earth, evaluating hotels for every taste and budget, creating a hand-picked selection that’s proven and unforgettable. Now, we’re the official hotel selection of the legendary MICHELIN Guide.
Here are the top 10 boutique hotels in Rome, Italy.
You wouldn’t believe how hard it is not to resort to clichéd phrases like “La Dolce Vita.” See, there we’ve gone and said it again. But it’s hard to see what the alternative is — life in a posh Roman villa is indeed sweet, and if ever there were a hotel that perfectly exemplifies the genre, it’s the Villa Spalletti Trivelli, on Quirinal Hill around the south side of the Palace.
Forget the bustling Rome of zipping motorbikes and carabinieri sirens — this corner of the city is steeped in an aristocratic tranquility. And there’s no trace of design-hotel modernity; this place looks every bit its age, which is about a century. All of the fourteen rooms and suites are capacious and elegant, with antique furniture and up-to-date amenities, and they look out over either the Palace’s gardens or the Gardens of the Spalletti Trivellis — sorry, there we go again. There’s just something about this place that puts you in mind of a classic film set.
Florence and Capri aren’t exactly easy places to open a world-beating high-end boutique hotel. But by comparison, Rome is the big leagues. You can see why the minds behind JK Place wanted to wait until they could be assured of getting it right — and get it right they most certainly did.
Michele Bönan’s designs may be some of the most recognizable in the business, but they’re always tailored to the location — here they’re stunning as always, a little more sober than the nautically inspired JK Capri, and a bit more vibrant than the very restrained Florence edition.
Like most interesting pairings, the Hoxton, Rome is a bit of a stretch — what was once a post-industrial East London phenomenon feels very different when adapted to a verdant, upscale Roman neighborhood, and while Rome is no stranger to cutting-edge boutique-hotel style, it doesn’t usually come at so affordable a price, or with so accessible and inclusive an atmosphere.
The location — in Salario, to the east of the Villa Borghese — is just central enough to provide easy access to all the essential attractions, and just peripheral enough to feel like an authentic slice of contemporary Roman life. It also affords space for nearly 200 rooms, ranging from “Shoebox” to “Biggy,” all decorated in a fresh-yet-familiar style that pays generous tribute to mid-century Italian modernism.
As the old saying goes, you take the rough with the smooth. It means something rather different when the rough in question is G-Rough, the Roman sequel to Venice’s high-design PalazzinaG. Here, aside from some raw textures and finishes, the rough side very rarely comes up — and the concept, outfitting a 17th-century building with Italian design classics from the Thirties, Forties and Fifties, is the very definition of smooth itself.
Here we’d ordinarily be tempted to make some sort of Dolce Vita reference, but the fact is that G-Rough defies those clichés, or any clichés, really. There’s no simple word for the clash of disparate styles, as “eclectic” doesn’t do it justice. The effect is of a hotel whose every detail has been carefully chosen not only for its intrinsic interest but for the contrast it creates with its surroundings. This tension of textures is proof that you can’t have rough without smooth, or smooth without rough.
Tucked down an unassuming side street in the heart of Rome, practically right around the corner from the Pantheon, is a hidden gem: Hotel Scenario stands behind the façade of a well-worn 17th-century palazzo, but its interiors are pure 21st-century design-hotel chic. That is, 21st-century Roman-style — designers Studio MORQ have installed contemporary-luxe fixtures and furnishings, and reorganized the hotel into clean-lined, modernist spaces, but they’ve left intact plenty of antique elements, like frescoes, columns, timbered ceilings, and weathered stone staircases.
The result is a glamorous jumble of the old and the new, just like the city itself. Acqua di Parma bath products and a full complement of high-tech amenities place these rooms in luxury-boutique territory. Though mostly monochrome, its interiors feature dramatic contrasts between light and dark; the spa is a particularly transformative space, which suits its purpose well. The residential atmosphere is underscored by the fact that there’s no hotel restaurant — but not only are you quite literally surrounded by the best that Rome has to offer, you’re a ten-minute walk from Hotel dei Barbieri, the Scenario’s sister, which features a small and stylish restaurant of its own.
Hoteliers in Rome seem to feel the pressure of thousands of years of civilization — most hotels strive to be as monumental as the city they serve. A place like Crossing Condotti, by contrast, shows there’s wisdom in keeping things relatively understated. It’s not your typical hotel, but these nine swanky accommodations in a townhouse just off the Spanish Steps are probably truer to the notion of contemporary Roman luxury than any number of marbled, colonnaded grand hotels.
Instead it’s a glamorous little pied-à-terre with five contemporary rooms and a single junior suite, all with generous touches like L’Occitane bath products in the bathrooms; the master room and junior site come with their own LED-lit chromatherapy hamam for a singularly relaxing experience. Paintings and antique furniture from the owners’ private collection add an unusually sophisticated touch of homeyness.
For all the things there are to love about Rome, its most unique feature has got to be the way the many eras of its thousands of years of history remain standing side by side today. Palm Suite’s setting is a fine example — an 18th-century building containing five colorful, contemporary suites, it’s got views of no less notable a landmark than the Colosseum, and is surrounded by the ancient remnants of the Roman Forum.
It’s the smaller sister hotel to Palazzo Manfredi, which is located a few minutes’ walk away, just around the other side of the Colosseum. And while the Palazzo’s got a bit more opulence, the Palm Suite has a more residential vibe and a low-key atmosphere — it’s more apartment house than hotel, with the traditional services like the bar and restaurant available only at Palazzo Manfredi.
All cities are unique, to a point, but no place offers a greater number of absolutely singular experiences than Rome. Palazzo Manfredi is as fine an example as any: this luxury hotel occupies a 16th-century villa which stands on the site of what used to be a training academy for gladiators — and, as befits the site’s original purpose, also boasts an unmatched front-row view of the Colosseum. We’ve seen monastery hotels, castle hotels and all the rest, but the day gladiators’ academies become a hot hotel trend, we’ll officially hang up our laptops.
While a lesser hotelier might festoon the walls with spears and shields, the Palazzo Manfredi’s proprietors stick with the sort of crisp contemporary elegance that carries the day in Rome’s smartest-looking small luxury hotels, in this case thanks to designer Maria Renata Fimiani. The fourteen rooms and two suites are full of subtly whimsical design details, as well as thoughtful comforts like Bulgari bath products and B&O home theatre systems. And in the best Roman style, while the accommodations are eminently private, there’s a social aspect as well — in this case the terrace-top Aroma bar and restaurant, where the good life is served up with an utterly unique Colosseum view.
Rome has glamorous hotels, opulent hotels, luxurious hotels. But it doesn’t have many hotels that are in the top tier when it comes to pure style. Maybe the Eternal City is focused on timeless concerns, leaving matters of fashion to Milan. Whatever the explanation, Hotel Chapter Roma is an illuminating exception. Maybe the difference is that designer Tristan Du Plessis was respectful of the hotel’s 19th-century digs, but not worshipful — add one part dark and moody industrial modernism, one part gem-toned Art Deco-inspired swank, and one part irreverent street-inspired art and you’ve got yourself a hotel experience that’s literally unforgettable.
The rooms are a similar mix of post-industrial patina and high-gloss elegance, and all feature designer furnishings, Marshall Bluetooth speakers, and La Bruket organic bath products. They vary in size from the compact Solo Pad up to the 35-square-meter Suite, but all are comfortable and spacious enough by local standards. There’s an art-adorned Lobby Bar, and light fare will be available at the Market, soon to open — fear not, though, for in addition to the art galleries and boutique shops of the surrounding Regola district, you’re in the very heart of Rome, which means an extraordinary meal is rarely more than a minute’s walk away.
You won’t be surprised to hear that we’re partial to proper, full-scale hotels, but if there’s one city where apartment life holds a particular attraction, it’s Rome. Especially when the apartments in question are as fashionable as those on offer at CasaCau. Here, in the midst of one of Rome’s most heavily traveled neighborhoods, success depends on the personal touch — and if there’s one kind of touch these six totally individual, totally unique apartments are eminently capable of delivering, it’s the personal one.
Of course this depends less on the (not inconsiderable) visual personality of the five inspiring apartments, and more on the actual, literal personalities of the knowledgeable and discreet staff. Shopping and dining recommendations flow freely, and they’ll even bring in some supplies if you’re determined to cook your own meal — your apartment comes with a little kitchenette of its own.
When it comes to a romantic spot for a special occasion in Rome, we would urge you to consider the following boutique hotels.
The Fifteen Keys Hotel
Villa Spalletti Trivelli
Hotel Locarno Roma
Visiting, or at least walking by, the Colosseum is one of the must-do activities in Rome. The following boutique hotels have a location just nearby:
Hotel Palazzo Manfredi
Villa Spalletti Trivelli
HN Collection Roma. Fori Imperiali
You’ve come to Rome to gaze upon the Eternal City like an emperor. The following boutique hotels have some of the best views in the city:
Hotel Palazzo Manfredi
The First Roma Arte
Villa Agrippina A Gran Melia Hotel
Anantara Palazzo Naiadi
47 Boutique Hotel