History abounds in Rome, and that truism is equally applicable to the Eternal City’s many historic hotels. Unfortunately, like the city itself, many of these storied houses of slumber are looking a little tired and rough around the edges these days. Savvy travellers, however, know that the city is also home to a burgeoning range of sleek, sexy design-savvy hotels. Here are five boutique properties to check into next time you’re enjoying your very own Roman holiday.
A stone’s throw from the iconic Spanish Steps, Portrait Roma is a swanky secret tucked above ritzy Via dei Condotti. A favourite of the Mr and Mrs Smith collection, this property gets serious designer cred from its owners – that would be the Salvatore Ferragamo empire – and a sophisticated aesthetic created by Michele Bonan. Opulent furniture and stylish black, white and grey tones adorn all 14 suites, along with quality linens, a well-stocked kitchenette, flatscreen TVS. The beautifully old-school Carrera marble bathroom come stocked with – what else? – Salvatore Ferragamo amenities. But, as always, it’s the little things that count. There are conscientious staff offering highly personalised, discreet service. Guests have iPads filled with very local sights, shops and restaurants to inspire their Roman holiday. And there’s even a sun-drenched rooftop offering a decadent breakfast buffet and bespoke aperitivos with sweeping views over La Citta Eterna.
Boho-chic Monti, an up-and-coming neighbourhood sandwiched between the Coliseum and the Termini train station, plays home to an elegant townhouse property masterminded by owners Sara Ferrajoli and Vincenvo Mirisola di Torresanto. Ring the bell and step into a bright, urban retreat where aesthetics by Antonio Girardi blend 21st century luxury with gorgeous vintage fittings – think old-school Dudebike bicycles for guests. Each of the 15 rooms are dressed in calming colors, and come with exposed brickwork, goodie-filled minibars, USB points, and Malin + Goetz toiletries. Book the Terrace Blue Room so if you can’t get down to the alfresco courtyard you can at least enjoy breakfast on your private balcony.
A former diplomatic enclave occupying prime position on historic Via Veneto, the Grand Hotel Palace is still fit for the most high-ranking statesmen. A member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, the 1920s-era property effortlessly blends refined, classic style with touches of whimsy. Marble and Murano chandeliers are nonchalantly juxtaposed against quirky furniture and splashes of pink. And then there are the 87 Art Deco-esque rooms dressed in candy-strip wallpaper and fitted with flatscreens, designer furniture, and huge marble bathrooms with amenities by New York’s C.O Bigelow. Nab the 5th floor corner Executive Suite and you’ll also find extra lounge space and a sunkissed terrace.
Start your mornings with a lavish breakfast amidst the gorgeous Guido Cadorin frescos at the elegant Ristorante Cadorin, and end your days with aperitivos on the terrace of Pieros Bistro. If you find time, take a dip in the saltwater pool, and indulge in a massage at the Thai-inspired Kami Spa.
Hidden on a sidestreet of super-swish Via dei Condotti, this boutique beauty feels like crashing at your impossibly chic Roman friend’s apartment. Only, with the added benefit of extremely knowledgeable (almost 24/7) staff. With eight rooms tucked into two floors of a luxe centro storico building, this Mr and Mrs Smith property has a decidedly B&B feel, but with the sophistication and service of a much bigger luxury hotel. True to the building it occupies, aesthetics here blend antiquity and modernity with original 19th century tallboys with mod-con technologies and exposed wood beams with arty lamps. Each cozy room is dressed in shades of grey, beige and white and comes with personal touches like old family portraits and L’Occitane amenities. Check into the Vittoria Master Room – one of the suites in the two-room apartment upstairs – and you’ll also get an iPad, a full-range kitchenette, and a bathroom sporting an indulgent chromotherapy shower.
Like Rome itself, what G-Rough lacks in trussed up polish it makes up for with character to spare. Fitting, since it’s a member of Design Hotels. Hidden behind bustling Piazza Navona, this hipster-friendly hotel is a tribute to easy, breezy deconstructed Italian style. The décor here incorporates original features like sloping wooden roofs and patina walls and vintage Italian furniture by designers like Ico Parsini. Bursting with irrepressible flair, the 10 suites here all feature separate lounges and glamorous bathrooms, but for a super luxe experience, treat yourself to the Romantic Suite Rome which comes complete with an original Gio Ponti bar, a 40s-inspired mirrored-tile bathroom by Seletti, and a cozy private terrace. Knowledgeable lifestyle managers will share the best of local Rome with you, and when you come back, grab a drink at the G-Bar wine gallery where you’ll find niche Italian wines and art installations curated by Guendalina Salini.