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6 Fantastic Boutique Hotels To Experience In Rome

Mar 21, 2024

The accommodation someone chooses when traveling is part budget restraints — or, if you are lucky, lack thereof — part personality, part attitude, and part style. There is nothing wrong with staying in a luxury palace-like hotel that treats you like royalty, nor is there anything wrong with camping or staying in a hostel on the outskirts of a city. Accommodation is a very individual thing, and it is often ingrained in someone, be it from childhood travel or through growing up.

One type, the boutique hotel, is one that can straddle all types of accommodation, even sometimes camping, if it strays into glamping. Personally, it is my favorite type of hotel. Boutique places tend to be smaller, with fewer rooms and as such fewer people, but also fewer amenities. They can be quirky, or arty, often located in a historic setting that has been reinvented, quite often in the older parts of a city, and, sometimes, but not always, a little cheaper than other luxury options.

While I love being pampered in a fabulously glamorous hotel, I tend to search out boutique stays for the individuality and personality of the owner, which usually shines through.

Rome does “boutique” very well, with so many old, historic buildings in the center having been given a new lease on life and turned into great places to stay. Here are some of my favorites.

The Palm Suite is the sister property of the Palazzo Manfredi I mentioned in my luxury hotels in Rome article. They’re at pretty much the same stunning location, steps away from the Colosseum, embracing the history of the building and the amazing surroundings. A tiny place with just five suites — a true boutique — the suites are decorated with style, fun, history, and art in mind.

There are exposed brick, adobe-style walls, mismatched furniture, and pieces of art and décor you are bound to try and find again when back home. Palm Suites features a tranquil inner courtyard and a rooftop terrace with amazing views. Each suite is very individual, ranging from a place under the slanted roof to a duplex two-bedroom suite, to the suite that gave the place its name: the Grand Palm Suite with views across the Roman Forum.

Pro Tip: There is no restaurant on-site, but there is a bar with snacks, and, for a treat, you can book yourself into the sister property’s Michelin-starred rooftop Aroma restaurant, which is close by and offers one of Rome’s best dinner views.

The HiSuiteRome is where I stayed during my most recent visit to Rome, and, no, no freebies were received. Located in a medieval, narrow, cobblestone-paved street between the Tiber and Piazza Navone, this beautifully burnt-orange building felt very authentic and is literally three or four steps away from superb cafes and restaurants.

The owner, Laura, not only lives next door, as does her mother and son, but she tries to make these small apartments like a home in Rome for visitors by being available on WhatsApp whenever you need her. The accommodation ranges from a suite to various, different-sized self-catering duplex apartments with comfortable bedrooms, large bathrooms, and a very tiny kitchen area.

But then, you have restaurants all around you to eat out, and the kitchen is simply for the morning coffee or the odd brief snack. A small supermarket is conveniently just across the street. The apartments are modern and functional, with windows looking out onto the narrow street, in which the Italian voices echo at times, making you feel like you are truly living in Rome. And you are, for a while.

Pro Tip: Make use of Laura and her local knowledge. She knows where to eat, what to eat, what to see and do, and can help with everything.

My friends, whom I went to Rome to meet, stayed in the boutique Hotel Ponte Sisto, and I was quite jealous. It has a great central location, just around the corner from Campo Fiori with its fabulous market, and by the Sisto Bridge, which gave the hotel its name and crosses the Tiber leading off to bustling Trastevere. They had found it by chance on a previous visit, and it is quite a find.

Hotel Ponte Sisto has a superb rooftop bar, an atmospheric courtyard that is simply too picturesque for words, and a selection of great rooms that have French doors opening to the garden and onto balconies. But do note that this is a four-star property that offers a range of rooms, some a lot less spectacular than others, but all at a good rate for Rome. It is worthwhile splashing out a little to get a bit more space and those big windows, even if you have the roof terrace and the Campo nearby.

Pro Tip: Normally, I do not ever suggest taking the room rate which includes breakfast, but my friends were so impressed with the breakfast in the courtyard that they only wanted to meet us after breakfast and left us to nibble our cornetto (croissant) alone at our street corner cafe.

Slightly up the hill from the Colosseum in the neighborhood aptly called Monti, the Roma Luxus Hotel is in a great location with views across the Forum and to rooftops, churches, and everything Roman. The rooms and suites are comfortable, decorated with splashes of color that harmonize with the quirky interior of the hotel, such as flamingos residing in an old archway in the lobby. The quirkiness gives the hotel a charming and homely feeling that is also echoed in the lounge downstairs, complete with cozy seating and a library full of Rome books and leftover international tomes.

Some of the rooms and suites have the loveliest little terraces, private but with grand views, making it feel much more like a home than a hotel. What makes this smaller hotel stand out a bit among others of this size and in the heart of Rome are the facilities: There is the library, a spa with a sauna and Turkish bath, and other again rather quirky options such as an “emotional” shower. Some rooms even have a jacuzzi, making this more a hotel than boutique stay, but on a small, comfortable scale. There is also an onsite restaurant with an outdoor terrace.

Pro Tip: The hotel not only offers airport transfers, but also special sightseeing tours in a Maserati for that luxury oh-so-Italian treat.

Just steps away from the stunning Piazza Navona lies the G-Rough Hotel, completely inconspicuous yet inviting. In a building dating to the 17th century, the interior is more modern with a few leanings toward retro. 10 suites and apartments offer a lovely blend of a historic building, like the atmospheric beams on the ceiling, and contemporary perks such as walk-in showers. The result is a melange of the best of both worlds: Old Rome and modern comforts.

Some rooms have warm wooden floors, others colorful mosaic floor tiles, some have velvet sofas, and others elegant concrete walls. It is difficult to choose a favorite. Well, actually, it is not, if you have the budget. The Penthouse Suite is a duplex on the upper two floors with Murano chandeliers, cozy furniture, stunning art, and a private terrace with views across the neighborhood. 750 square feet of living space and 160 square feet of terrace allow you to get a bottle of a nice red from your supermarket around the corner and just sit back and enjoy your private piece of Rome.

Pro Tip: G-Rough, like so many of these boutique hotels, does not have on-site restaurants, but organizes bespoke in-room dining for you instead. You tell them what you’re in the mood for, and they source and deliver it to your room.

Did you notice the address in the name of this boutique stay? Piazza di Spagna 9 is right on the Spanish Square by the Spanish Steps in the very heart of Rome, with an address that could not be more iconic. Located in an 18th-century city palace, the six suites are unfussy, ultra-modern with design in the foreground of the entire concept, and it makes for a stunning juxtaposition of old and new, inside and outside.

The space also functions as a contemporary art gallery, with the suites playing host to some select pieces of art. There is a breakfast lounge with views across the piazza, that offers coffee and pastries throughout the day for guests. With the suites located over several floors, some have beautiful rooftop views, some have balconies, while the Landmark View Junior Suite opens up with views over the square.

Pro Tip: If you have the budget — maybe for a special occasion — the whole property is available for private use, so you would have the entire city palace to yourself with family or friends in all six suites.

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