Are all your travel plans leading to Rome? From art-filled pied-à-terres to gorgeous converted palazzos, the Eternal City’s best boutique hotels are the Roman Holiday-worthy escapes of your dreams.
In the end, it was this 16th-century townhouse’s imperfections that won over the heart of designer Gabriele Salini. Together with hotelier Emanuele Garosci, they transformed his family’s former palazzo in the centro storico into a 10-suite hotel that fuses old with new. Unrestored frescoes, exposed wood beams, and unfinished plaster walls are the backdrop for statement Italian furnishings from the mid-1900s, such as Sputnik light fixtures by Gino Sarfatti, a Giò Ponti bar cart, cast-iron bathtubs, and eye-catching contemporary art. The street-facing lobby bar, with its mirrored subway tiles, is the neighborhood hangout of choice for Aperol spritzes and people watching. Strike up a conversation with the staff, who can arrange off-the-radar (and often exclusive) experiences, like private dinners in a palazzo made famous in The Great Beauty or tutorials with a famous fashion designer.
This 1889 grande dame, from the Dorchester Collection, just underwent a massive revamp. Its 121 rooms were reduced to 98, so you can expect more room to spread out while still enjoying the same old-world ambiance it became famous for—albeit with added details like Murano lamps, marble baths, and too-good-not-to-pocket toiletries by Bottega Veneta. Two other additions we love: the spa, whose treatments incorporate products from cult Florentine label Officina Profumo–Santa Maria Novella (in business since 1612), and La Libreria, its gilded lounge awash with velvet seats and frescoed walls that conceal a secret piano bar.
The ground-floor’s exposed brick archways and centuries-old marble walls bearing religious inscriptions are all that reveals D.O.M. Roma’s former life as a monastery. The 24-room hotel it is today is both moody and masculine, with velvet bed frames and chairs, mirrored nightstands, and brass fixtures that add a dose of romance to its cozy interiors. In the downstairs restaurant, Warhol prints offset chandeliers dropping with crystals, but it’s the rooftop cocktail lounge (open during warmer months) you won’t want to miss with its view of the centro storico and Via Giulia.
J.K. Place Roma
J.K. Place’s go-to designer, Italian architect and interior decorator Michele Bönan, is known for injecting seriously upscale hotels with a magical residential touch. It’s his glam yet homey interiors—wood-paneled walls, midcentury furniture, brass doorknobs, and in the 30 guest rooms, canopied beds and wall-to-wall carpets—that make its Rome branch feel so luxuriously lived in, like the apartment of one of your wealthiest, artsiest friends. Make a beeline past the classical marble statues lining the lobby lounge to J.K. Café for a mix of authentic Italian dishes and cocktails.
A former party palace for Rome’s elite during the 18th century, Palazzo Dama now leads a far quieter—if still decadent—existence. The villa’s 30 rooms and suites are minimalist and modern, decked out in paneled walls, jewel-tone velvet headboards and drapes, and glass coffee tables topped with thick art books. The restaurant is equally lavish, with mirrored walls and a white-and-gold color scheme, while the neo-Rococo bar is far more daring with its black walls covered in 19th-century paintings and yellow banquettes. Two more highlights: the bordello-esque subterranean nightclub Raspoutine and the outdoor pool—rare for a Roman hotel.
The Ferragamo family has left an indelible mark on the Eternal City—first, with their timeless fashion designs beloved by celebrities the world over, and now, with one of the city’s most stylish hotels. Despite sitting right on Via Condotti, within spitting distance of the Spanish Steps, Portrait Roma feels far removed from the city center. The 19th-century townhouse lacks any large sign or lobby, so guests can escape immediately to one of 14 guest rooms—a mix of contemporary high-fashion (courtesy of Michele Bönan) with pop culture photographs, pastel throws, and warm wood and leather furniture. While there’s no restaurant, the 7th-floor terrace lounge and bar features a fireplace along with one of Rome’s best rooftop views.
On the upper floors of a 17th-century building near the Trevi Fountain, owner (and restaurateur) Pino Cau fixed up five apartments to suit different tastes. Prefer some color? The pastel suite features a replica of an ancient garden fresco. Is industrial-chic more to your liking? Suite Six features a cement dining table and a balcony accessed via a wardrobe. Used to more luxury? Suite Four has its own Turkish bath and view of the piazza. And what this pied-a-terre lacks in TVs, it makes up for in the food department—kitchenettes are stocked with old-fashioned tableware and bottles of wine, morning deliveries include fresh bread and pastries, and even Cau himself is a dictionary of family recipes you can prepare right in your own abode.
The 15 bedrooms (hence the name) at Fifteen Keys are understatedly charming—in the best kind of way. Pops of color, from canary-yellow bed throws and Fifties-era armchairs to surrealist photographs by French artist Alastair Magnaldo, give guest rooms a retro feel, while parquet floors and brass-and-black lamps add a touch of urban chic. The sunny downstairs bar and breakfast room, with its outdoor courtyard, is a favorite hangout—think house-made pastries and organic coffee—as is the shady terrace, where cocktails keep the crowds buzzing well into the afternoon. Bonus: the location in quaint Monti, just a 10-minute walk from the Colosseum, can’t be beat. Explore it all on one of the hotel’s customized vintage-style Dude Bikes.