While Rome’s charms may be, as they say, eternal, it’s never been a city particularly prized for its hotels. Until recently, upmarket lodging in the Italian capital usually meant an ostentatiously decorated pile meant to evoke the city’s 16th- and 17th-century palazzi, stuffed with gilded furniture and vague nostalgia. Over the past year or so, an entirely new breed of luxury hotel has emerged, one that pays tribute to the modernist architects who remade much of Rome in the Rationalist style in the early-to-mid-20th century. The Bulgari hotel, for example, opened last summer in a hulking 1930s government building designed by the prominent Trieste-born architect Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo. And the Edition hotel moved into a bank partly attributed to Marcello Piacentini, the architect responsible for the EUR district, the neighborhood of massive edifices constructed under Mussolini. Other notable new offerings take their style cues from 21st-century Scandinavia, deftly blending northern design aesthetics with Italian Renaissance art and Roman artifacts. Here, a closer look at five new accommodations that break with tradition.
The first city hotel from a company better known for its beach resort and spas, Six Senses Rome opened last spring in a historic palazzo on Piazza San Marcello, a short walk from the Pantheon. The Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola oversaw the design, keeping the graceful lines of the original structure while transforming it into a light-drenched contemporary retreat. She housed the reception and lobby bar in a glass-topped atrium, filling the space with giant potted plants. In one section of the lobby, glass flooring reveals a glimpse of an ancient subterranean baptismal pool that belongs to the neighboring church. For the 96 guest rooms, Urquiola finished the walls with cocciopesto plaster, a type of lime wash made with crushed bricks, a construction material as old as the city itself, while the furnishings, in muted pastels and rounded shapes, are unmistakably modern. Then there’s the spa, in many ways the centerpiece of the hotel. Awash in travertine marble, it includes five treatment rooms, a yoga studio, a series of indoor plunge pools, a hammam and a space dedicated to biohacking treatments, like pulsed electromagnetic field therapy and LED light masks, for when all the age-old wellness remedies don’t quite cut it. Rooms from about $1,200 a night.
In the 1960s, Luigi Moretti, the Roman architect who designed the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., remade Palazzo Ripetta, a 17th-century Catholic school for poor and orphaned girls, into a residence and hotel. Ownership has remained in the same family since then, 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 block of marbled veal resting on a dollop of foamy tuna sauce. The guest rooms too offer a sly twist on old conventions. The rooms — by Fausta Gaetani, the designer behind Le Sirenuse hotel in Positano — are all slightly different in style but follow a similar theme: pale walls with classic molding, brightly patterned upholstery, abstract art and a rainbow of Murano glass lighting fixtures. Rooms from about $600 a night.
As of last June, the former headquarters of the Italian social security agency is now home to the newest Bulgari Hotel, an offshoot of the luxury jewelry brand. The Milanese architects Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel retained many of the decorative features found in Morpurgo’s original building, including mosaics depicting Roman myths splashed several stories high across the facade. The décor for the 110 guest rooms leans into the company’s heritage, adopting jewel tones like peridot green and topaz yellow for its color scheme and reproducing some of the historic house’s most prized settings in mosaic form above the marble bathtubs, a nod to Morpurgo’s imagery on the building’s exterior. As for dining venues, guests have several to choose from, including a restaurant and chocolate shop by three-Michelin-star chef Niko Romito and, in warmer months, a rooftop bar that peers onto the brick mausoleum of the Roman emperor Augustus, located just across the road. Rooms from about $1,750 a night.
Set back from a quiet residential street just behind the fashionable thoroughfare Via Veneto, a tranquil garden stuffed with shady green foliage buffers the new 112-room Rome Edition from the city at large, making the entrance beneath the cavernous lobby’s 20-foot-high ceilings feel all the more dramatic. Inside, the most inviting spaces are decidedly intimate. There’s the 14-seat Jade Bar in the lobby, furnished with velvet sofas and swathed in emerald-color stone. And nearby, concealed behind an unmarked door, is the speakeasy-style Punch Room, with a fireplace carved from Rosso Levanto marble. Guest rooms follow a neutral palette, with walnut wood boiserie and parquet floors, white Carrara marble in the bathrooms and layers of cream-colored textiles that beautifully capture the morning sunlight. Rooms from about $1,750 a night.
When Patrizia Albano, a lawyer, and her husband, Carlo Mazzi, the former president of Prada, first conceived of Palazzo delle Pietre, an eight-room hotel just off Piazza Navona, they imagined it as an extension of their own home. The sheets are Rivolta Carmignani and the tableware is from Richard Ginori, just like theirs, while fragments of millenniums-old sculptures and carved Corinthian columns from their private collection are placed almost haphazardly throughout the property. The hotel has been around since 2019, but last summer, it opened an extension called the Appartamenti La Corte, two smartly decorated flats — 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, measuring nearly 1,300 square feet, also offers a rooftop terrace and private sauna. Rooms from about $650 a night; two-night minimum required.
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