Indulge at an Italian spa, where treatments include orange blossom, olive oil and sea salt, or take to the baths like the emperors of old at these restorative Roman retreats.
The Romans basically invented the concept of restorative bathing, so it’s apt that the Italian capital’s modern-day hotel scene excels at brilliant spas. From huge, cavernous spaces that borrow columns and mosaics from the emperors of old to chic, modern-day spas you can duck into for a glow-inducing facial – these healing hotels are just what Caesar ordered after a particularly tough day at the Colosseum. Here’s where to repair on your next city break in Rome.
Set on the fringes of Rome’s leafy Villa Borghese park, with its genteel stately home full of art, Aldrovandi is a class act. As well as a serene outdoor pool that’s a godsend in steamy Mediterranean summers, its Mytha Spa is a petite oasis, with a hydrotherapy pool, steam room and sauna, as well as results-driven facials using Biologique Recherche products. Hedonism is encouraged here, as evidenced by the hotel’s “by night” spa sessions, complete with candles and prosecco. Yes, please.
This elegant old villa has an eternally chic, wood-panelled spa with an enormous, marble-clad sauna at its heart. Nip down from its palatial, mansion-style bedrooms for a workout in the airy, mirrored gym, then book in a sumptuous body treatment or high-spec facial. Want to get out in the fresh air? Continue the spa fun on the rooftop, where there are two fizzing hot tubs sunken into its deck.
The Cavalieri’s palatial halls and world-class facilities make it a favourite with athletes from all over the world – this is where Serena Williams met her husband. As well as three outdoor swimming pools and two tennis courts where you can take advantage of the Italian sunshine from spring to autumn, its super-luxe, expansive indoor spa is inspired by the ancient Romans: all stone pillars, sculpted fountains and flickering fireplaces. Be aware that this hotel has US-style “resort fees”, so spa access isn’t instantly included for guests.
On the west side of the Tiber River, close to Vatican City, Villa Agrippina is slightly out of the tourist crush, so the perfect setting for a spa break. Its all-white, orchid-dotted Clarins Spa is a real treat, with a full suite of thermal areas: saunas, steam rooms, sensory showers, an ice fountain and a vitality pool. Book its Melting Honey Hot Stone Massage to dissolve a few days’ worth of sightseeing fatigue.
This hotel’s leafy restaurant terrace and candy-striped bedrooms are every bit as invigorating as its spa, with a sexy, low-lit indoor pool and relaxation lounge, as well as several treatment rooms. Its pampering sessions draw on global traditions from Indian Ayurveda to Indonesian jamu: try the Java Delight ritual for several treatments packaged up with a traditional spa bath, including a coffee-based scrub.
This palazzo is Thai brand Anantara’s first hotel in Italy. Set beside Rome’s main station, Termini (so brilliant for short breaks), the iconic crescent-shaped Neoclassical palace is a real show-stopper. Hidden in its depths is an incense-scented Anantara Spa, with gilded Buddhist art, a steam room and a jacuzzi. Work up a sweat before your spa session in the hyper-modern Technogym.
In a swish location just off Rome’s luxury shopping avenue, Via del Corso, this cream-coloured townhouse hotel has one of the city’s best hotel gyms – certainly its most modern – with running tours around the city, an open-air workout option and personal trainers on hand. Show off your trim physique on the hotel’s glam rooftop, with a white marble bar and potted shrubs.
Close to the Spanish Steps, this five-star’s spa is a stylish, earthy number with unpolished concrete walls and basket lanterns, lit with the luminous glow of its indoor pools. Its Sicilian product range means this is one of Rome’s most Italian-infused spas: breathe in great lungfuls of orange blossom, olive oil and sea salt during deeply cocooning treatments, or be massaged by hot rocks from Mount Etna.
One of Rome’s most upmarket, fashionable hotels, Hotel de Russie’s underground spa is a photographer’s dream – all bright cobalt mosaic and pounding water jets around its skin-nourishing saltwater hydrotherapy pool, with a wave-effect floor and boat-shaped white recliners to lounge on. That said, you won’t be taking phones down to its treatment rooms, where head-to-toe olive oil rituals and posture-fixing Thai massages ensue. Finish off with a neat French manicure – you’ll need it for posing in the elegant hotel courtyard at aperitivo hour.