While Rome’s charms may be, as they say, eternal, it has never been a city particularly prized for its hotels. Until recently, luxury accommodation in the Italian capital usually meant a flamboyantly decorated stack meant to evoke the city’s 16th- and 17th-century palaces, replete with gilded furniture and vague nostalgia. Over the past year or so, a whole new breed of luxury hotel has emerged, paying homage to the modernist architects who rebuilt much of Rome in a rationalist style in the early to mid-20th century. The Bulgari Hotel, for example, opened last summer in a massive 1930s government building designed by the prominent Trieste-born architect Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo. And the Edition hotel moved into a bank that is partly attributed to Marcello Piacentini, the architect responsible for the EUR district, the neighborhood of massive edifices built under Mussolini. Other noteworthy new offerings take their styling cues from 21st-century Scandinavia, deftly combining Nordic design aesthetics with Italian Renaissance art and Roman artefacts. Here, a closer look at five new accommodations that break tradition.
Six Senses Rome
The first city hotel from a company best known for beach resorts and spas, Six Senses Rome opened last spring in a historic palace in Piazza San Marcello, a short walk from the Pantheon. Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola oversaw the design, preserving the graceful lines of the original structure while transforming it into a bright contemporary retreat. He housed the reception and lobby bar in a glass-topped atrium, filling the space with giant potted plants. In one section of the lobby, the glass floor reveals a glimpse of an ancient underground baptismal pool belonging to the neighboring church. For the 96 rooms, Urquiola finished the walls with cocciopesto plaster, a type of lime with crushed bricks, a building material as old as the city itself, while the furnishings, in soft pastels and rounded shapes, are decidedly modern. Then there is the spa, in many ways the centerpiece of the hotel. Rich in travertine marble, it includes five treatment rooms, a yoga studio, a series of indoor pools, a hammam and an area dedicated to biohacking treatments such as pulsed electromagnetic field therapy and LED light masks, for all the age-old wellness treatments don’t they cut quite a bit. Rooms from about $1,200 a night.
In the 1960s, Luigi Moretti, the Roman architect who designed the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., converted Palazzo Ripetta, a 17th-century Catholic school for poor and orphaned girls, into a residence and hotel. Ownership has remained in the same family ever since, but the 78-room property underwent a top-to-bottom renovation in 2022. A highlight of the newest iteration is the San Baylon restaurant, which reinterprets traditional Italian recipes. Here, for example, the classic vitello tonnato is served as a marbled hunk of veal resting on a dollop of foamy tuna sauce. The rooms also offer a sly twist on old conventions. The rooms — by Fausta Gaetani, the designer behind Hotel Le Sirenuse in Positano — are all slightly different in style, but have a similar theme: pale walls with classic molding, bold patterned wallpaper, abstract art and a rainbow of light fixtures from Murano glass. Rooms from about $600 a night.
Bulgari Hotel Roma
Since last June, the former headquarters of the Italian social security agency is now home to the newest hotel Bulgari, an offshoot of the luxury jewelry brand. Milanese architects Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel retained many of the decorative features found in Morpurgo’s original building, including mosaics depicting Roman myths that were shot several stories high on the facade. The decor for the 110 rooms nods to the company’s heritage, adopting jewel tones such as green peridot and yellow topaz for its color scheme and reproducing some of the historic house’s most notable scenes in mosaic form above the marble bathtubs, a nod to in the images of Morpurgo on the outside of the building. In terms of dining options, guests have plenty to choose from, including a restaurant and chocolate shop by three-Michelin-starred chef Niko Romito and, in the warmer months, a rooftop bar overlooking the mausoleum of the Roman emperor Augustus, which is just across the street. Rooms from about $1,750 a night.
The Rome edition
Located behind a quiet residential street just off the trendy Via Veneto, a quiet garden full of shady green foliage shields the 112-room new Rome Edition from the city at large, making the entrance beneath the 20-meter-high ceilings of the cavernous lobby feel even more dramatic. Inside, the most welcoming spaces are undeniably intimate. There is the 14-seat Jade Bar in the lobby, furnished with plush sofas and paved with emerald stone. And nearby, hidden behind a trifle door, is the Speakeasy-style Punch Room, with a fireplace carved from Rosso Levanto marble. The rooms follow a neutral palette, with walnut boisettes and parquet floors, white Carrara marble in the bathrooms and cream fabric mattresses that beautifully capture the morning sunlight. Rooms from about $1,750 a night.
Palazzo delle Pietre
When Patrizia Albano, a lawyer, and her husband, Carlo Mazzi, the former president of Prada, first conceived Palazzo delle Pietre, an eight-room hotel just off Piazza Navona, they envisioned it as an extension of their own home. The linens are Frette and the tableware is by Richard Ginori, just like theirs, while fragments of millennia-old sculptures and carved Corinthian columns from their private collection are placed almost haphazardly throughout the property. The hotel has been open since 2016, but last summer, it opened an extension called Appartamenti La Corte, two beautifully decorated apartments — one with two bedrooms, the other three — located on the upper floors of a neighboring building. Both are furnished with full kitchens, Italian-made furniture and a handful of the owners’ architectural artifacts. The larger of the two apartments, at nearly 1,300 square feet, also offers a rooftop terrace and private sauna. Rooms from about $650 a night. minimum two night stay required.