Exploring Boutique Hotels in Rome
How One of the World’s Most Well-Known Ancient Cities Melds Historic Architecture With Modern Design
Rome is a city with unequaled historical significance in both the ancient and modern worlds. Travelers wishing to experience historic architecture flock to the city, famous for its ancient ruins, surviving monuments, cathedrals, basilicas, palaces, and more. However, this architecture is about more than just being a major tourist destination.
Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day
The saying may be trite, but the fact that Rome wasn’t built in a day actually has great significance when it comes to the various types of architecture that exist throughout the city. Arguably, the city is best known for the buildings built in the style of the ancient Romans, who spread that distinctive architecture throughout the Mediterranean region – and throughout much of the continent at the time – as the government conquered other regions.
Borrowing heavily from classical Greek architecture, the Romans favored columns, including caryatids, and atlases – or columns representing the human form. The familiar triangular porticos and dais platforms are another remnant of Greek design. However, as the Romans developed their own style, the “Roman arch” began to appear in the monuments of the time, such as the Colosseum, the Forum, and the Pantheon.
As time moved on, however, elements of Gothic architecture appeared in the city. Afterward, Rome became the center point of both the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the former producing the famous palazzos and basilicas, and the latter influencing the many Baroque squares and piazzas as well as yet another crop of palazzos. Finally, both World Wars and the rise of modern government led to the incorporation of Neoclassical architecture, as seen in many of the ministries, embassies, and other government buildings.
How Roman Hotels Embrace and Eschew Traditional Architecture
Perhaps no industry is as deeply ingrained into the diversity of Roman architecture as the hospitality industry. From classic buildings constructed to become hotels from their inception to traditional buildings restored to their original glory and converted into hotels, Roman hotels showcase a large variety of the most beautiful architecture in the world. Traditional hotels especially embrace the aesthetic of the buildings that house them, with design that often nods towards the external features.
However, many of the most up-and-coming boutique hotels in the city make an effort to feature elements of modern and contemporary design, with the traditional palazzos that house them serving as a contrast in sensibilities. It’s a school of thought that can be seen throughout Rome, as its modern inhabitants live among the ancient architecture and utilize it in fresh new ways that successfully meld historical beauty with modern functional design. As the boutique hotel movement truly comes into its own in Rome and throughout the world, however, it’s clear that the boutique art hotels now so prominent in Rome are among those at the forefront of the movement where old meets new.
Boutique Hotels in Rome
Rome has an extensive boutique hotel community and features a broad array of properties that meet the needs of nearly any traveler. We feel that the boutiques listed here represent the new face of boutique in Rome and leverage the wonderful architecture of the city in a unique way.
While the entire city of Rome has, by necessity, excelled at merging multiple design and architectural sensibilities, the boutique hotel industry provides travelers with a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with architecture and design alike. This list of boutique hotels showcases just how expertly designers and hotel owners have handled this fusion.
1First Roma Dolce
Via del Corso, 63, 00187 Rome, Roma RM, Italy
+39 06 4542 7861
This property is one of Rome’s newest boutique hotels with an opening date of March 1, 2019. It is a part of The Pavillions Hotels & Resorts family, a Hong Kong based company founded by Gordon and Danielle Oldham. Design firm Studio Marincola’s spacious interiors, modern design, and luxury amenities were conceived to meld the 19th century palazzo housing the property with a patisserie theme. The building also features VELO, a pastry and full English tea restaurant that truly lends the property its sweet touches – guests receive pastries upon check-in and the rooms each receive treatment with “the art of pastry” in a unique, luxurious way. As part of a partnership with sister hotel The First Roma Arte, guests can experience complimentary Rolls Royce chauffeur service, as well as a host of Rome-exclusive experiences.
Image Rights to First Roma Dolce
2Hotel Palazzo Manfredi
Via Labicana, 125, 00184 Roma, RM, Italy
+39 06 7759 1380
Hotel Palazzo Manfredi is housed within a 17th century palace redesigned as a hunting lodge for the Guidi family, but the history of the area expands far beyond. In fact, the surrounding buildings formerly held barracks and a training school for ancient gladiators. Now, however, the palazzo is home to a five-star luxury hotel founded by Count Goffredo and Countess Enrica Manfredi, two of the most notable figures in Roman hospitality. As part of the Manfredi Fine Hotels Collection, guests will find fine dining from the property’s Aroma restaurant, priceless 16th century art, and Italian luxury that truly evokes the sentiment of a contemporary palace.
Via dell'Arancio, 69, 00186 Rome, Roma RM, Italy
+39 06 878187
Named Rome’s best boutique hotel upon its opening – and simultaneously praised for its departure from the typical Roman luxury hotel – Hotel Vilon embraces its setting in a way that truly ingratiates itself into the neighborhood it occupies. As one of Rome’s many palazzos, the structure has lived many lives as a home to the Borghese family as well as a group of French nuns. Now, with scenographer Paolo Bonfini’s design, its nods to 50s and 60s Rome, as well as true Art Deco, the property is truly transformed. Guests can enjoy lunch at the in-house bistro, shop at the nearby boutiques, or sightsee with places like the Piazza di Spagna and Villa Medici within minutes.
Via di S. Maria de' Calderari, 47, 00186 Roma, RM, Italy
+39 06 8993 5351
Located within Rome’s Regola district, Chapter Roma sits near a 16th century art gallery, a formerly-walled Jewish ghetto, and a host of new restaurants and nightlife. In keeping with the neighborhood, this boutique hotel mixes traditional architecture – the building was erected in 1880 – with modern art and a unique vibe. Owner Marco Cilia’s international hotel repertoire meets designer Tristan du Plessis’ sophisticated industrial style for a boutique hotel experience that epitomizes the old-yet-new Roman boutique movement. The hotel features notable art throughout, contrasted with original building elements that give each room, as well as a lobby bar, a touch of the precise unique flair the neighborhood is known for.
Image Rights to Chapter Roma
As one might expect, Palazzo Dama is housed within a Roman palazzo and features a beautiful back garden; however, that’s where the similarities with other palazzo hotels tend to end. Unlike most boutique hotels in the city, Palazzo Dama features a swimming pool in the garden area, just one of many features that truly set it apart. Designed by architect Antonio Girardi, guests will find luxurious, light spaces filled with art ranging from Warhol to Picasso as well as incorporation of the original art nouveau and modern decor. On-site is the L’Autredame Bar, as well as a full-scale restaurant by the same name.
Image Rights to Palazzo Dama