Rome’s jumble of historic palazzi are perfect for boutique hotels. Many of these characterful buildings, originally built as noble residences or civic edifices, are now exclusive accommodations with sleek interiors and first-rate facilities. Here are nine of the very best boutique hotels in the Eternal City.
The 10-suite G-Rough Rome, located near Piazza Navona, is set inside a historic 17th-century palazzo but it’s not all stuffy furnishings and overextravagant décor. Instead, the building has been stripped back, allowing more of its original features to shine, and kitted out with gorgeous Italian pieces from the 1930s to the 1950s. The design-led space feels modern and luxurious while the ‘unconventional experiences’ on offer, such as gladiator training or handbag designer for the day, only make the hotel feel even more exclusive.
As well as making sightseeing a breeze, Nerva Boutique Hotel’s location on the edge of the ever-so-trendy Monti neighbourhood perfectly suits its friendly but chic style. The 19 suites are organised over two floors and accented with geometric patterns, bold pops of colour and carefully selected artworks. The charming space continues in the breakfast room, where generous spreads of pastries, juices, fruits and cold cuts are served. A chauffeur driven Mercedes is also on hand to whisk guests away to their next appointment.
Designers at the Elizabeth Unique Hotel have tried to evoke the spirit of the Grand Tour in their choice of décor. Blending history, art and culture, the sophisticated interiors of this 33-suite hotel feature reproductions of antique prints, a rich colour palette and sumptuous fabric furnishings. The carefully curated artwork comes courtesy of a partnership between the hotel and Galleria Russo, just streets away. The on-site bar and bistro, named after crooner Burt Bacharach, showcases gourmet Italian produce.
Set in the grandiose palazzo that once housed the Architectural School of Rome’s Sapienza University, J.K. Place Roma is a gorgeously chic, design-forward hotel. Designed by Florentine architect Michele Bonan, the 30 bedrooms combine luxurious furniture, such as rosewood canopy beds, with bold splashes of colour and eclectic artworks. The common spaces – filled with marble sculptures and mid-century furniture – continue the theme of this cool pad.
Just like the Monti neighbourhood in which it’s located, The Fifteen Keys Hotel is effortlessly cool. Converted to a hotel in 2015, this five-story palazzo is comprised of 15 rooms decked out with modern minimalist furnishings that quietly hint at 1950s Italian glamour. The elegance continues in the bar, which features sumptuous Chesterfield sofas and is open 24-hours. A generous buffet takes place in the gorgeously retro breakfast room and extends into the leafy courtyard in warmer months. Vintage-style Dudebikes are also available, free of charge.
Owned by the Ferragamo family and situated above their eponymous store on Rome’s high-end fashion street, Via Condotti, Portrait Roma feels more like an exclusive townhouse than a hotel. It’s comprised of 14 exquisite suites, designed by Florentine architect Michele Bonan, and features subtle tie-ins to the fashion powerhouse – photographs from the company archives line the walls and original shoe designs are on display in glass cases. Attentive service comes courtesy of a dedicated ‘lifestyle team’ and, while there’s no restaurant, the stunning panoramic views from the private rooftop terrace more than compensate.
The Kolbe Hotel has over 70 modern, functional rooms featuring the occasional architectural detail, such as a brick archway or vaulted ceiling, that reveal this spot’s historic location. Partly housed in a 15th-century convent, the hotel sits next to the Palatine hill and Roman Forum and boasts some captivating vistas. Other rooms overlook the centuries-old olive and citrus trees in the hotel’s internal courtyard.
Suite Sistina is located just a short walk from the Spanish Steps yet still manages to feel relatively secluded. The 22 guestrooms are designed with couples in mind and are characterised by romantic details such as silk sheets, circular beds, soft lighting and in-room jacuzzis and bathtubs. Should more romance be required, guests can also request standard amenities, like breakfast in bed or a floral bouquet delivered to the room, or not-so-typical services, like a booking with a masseuse or live music courtesy of a violinist.
The Palazzo Dama, an 18th-century villa near Piazza del Popolo, was originally the home of the Malaspina noble family. It was opened as a boutique hotel in 2016 and its elaborate décor is a nod to its high society past – think lustrous gold edging, marble-tiled bathrooms and glittering chandeliers (which were taken from New York’s Plaza Hotel). The glamour continues with the garden swimming pool and the glittering L’Autre Dame bar. There’s even a nightclub in the basement (open Friday and Saturday) so guests can continue the celebrations till the early hours.