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Rome’s dazzling new hotel jewel

Mar 15, 2024

A suitably opulent flagship for the Italian luxe maestro, says Simon Kurs

Hit the roof to escape Rome’s crowds

itting on the Bulgari Hotel Roma’s roof terrace, glass of fizz in hand and eyes closed, it’s almost possible to imagine that you’re lounging in quiet solitude by the waters of Como.

So serene is this spot, shaded by a verdant assembly of Mediterranean foliage – pink teucrium and fragrant thyme, vibrant bottlebrush and olive trees - that the parping mopeds and thronging crowds of Italy’s capital could be several hundred miles away, rather than just seven floors down.

It’s no mean feat, given that Rome can be, how shall we say, a little hectic. In the summertime, when visitors arrive in their millions to soak up the exotic glamour and marvel at the impressive history, crowding the city’s wide avenues and expansive piazzas, the noise and energy can be unrelenting.

But up here, you can escape it all for a moment – enjoying what is surely one of the best views in the whole of the Eternal City, courtesy of Bulgari’s newest hotel opening.

Where is it?

A stone’s throw from Via del Corso – Rome’s equivalent of Oxford Street - and just a little further from popular sights such as the Spanish Steps and the Trevi fountain, the 114-room property is well placed for tourist box-ticking. Yet despite the enviable location, directly across the Tiber from the Vatican, the immediate vicinity feels more like a well-heeled local neighbourhood than city-centre hotspot, with townhouses, antique shops and up-market boutiques lining the cobbled streets.

Architects ACPV have transformed a former 1930s government building into a paen to Italian style


Let’s be honest, understated is not a word you would ever use to describe Bulgari and its new Rome flagship, built in the city the luxury jewellery brand was founded in 1842, is certainly something to behold. Occupying a former government building from the 1930s, Hotel Roma is almost museum-like in its scale, but Milanese architects ACPV, the same firm behind all of Bulgari’s nine hotels and resorts, have done a fantastic job of softening the edges of the vast Mussolini-era structure.

Their vision is a paen to classic Italian craftmanship. Naturally, marble plays a big part, both outside and in (we loved the red marble in our bathroom), but it’s the interplay of different materials and textures – fabric drapes, light-wood flooring, silk carpets, Murano glass and gilded metal meshwork - that really lends the personality in both the public and private spaces. It’s all very lavish, but also extremely tasteful.

Enjoy Niko Romito’s signature classics with a classic Roman view

Food & Drink

Bulgari regulars will instantly recognise the menu at Il Ristorante - Niko Romito, eponymously named after the multi-Michelin starred chef who oversees dining in all Bulgari properties. Romito’s signatures, including his version of vitello tonnato (wafer-thin veal with a dusting of tuna on top), linguine with lobster and red prawns, and suckling pig with orange caramel sauce, can be all found in hotels from Tokyo to Paris. But take it from us, enjoying them on the restaurant’s 5th floor outdoor terrace, with a panorama of Rome extending in all directions, takes some beating. Elsewhere in the property, you’ll find an all-day dining room, a stylish champagne bar and Italy’s first Bulgari Dolci chocolatier and patisserie.

Bulgari Hotel Roma boasts an impressive indoor pool


As you’d expect, the spa is pretty special. Stretching out over three floors, it includes eight treatment rooms, a small but perfectly formed gym and possibly the most impressive pool to be found in a city-centre hotel anywhere. At 20m long, you can easily swim lengths should the fancy take you, though most guests will prefer simply to marvel at the marble columns rising from the water and the eye-catching mosaics on wall and floor.

The Bulgari’s rooms are comfortable yet luxurious

Which room?

Of the 114 rooms, 48 are suites of differing stripe, from the 51 sq.m junior to the monster 300 sq.m Bulgari Suite, which occupies the second floor. Despite the manifest opulence – marble is an ever-present in every bathroom - there’s a surprisingly homely feel to the bedrooms with their vintage Bulgari posters on the walls and comfortable mid-century furniture and fittings. Think of it as relaxed luxury – a suitable place to unwind after a day out in the city.


From the hipster hotspot of Pigneto to the gritty but slowly gentrifying Testaccio, every one of the city’s 22 districts has a personality of its own. Follow the Tiber south for just 10 minutes and you’ll reach Ponte, a warren of narrow, cobbled streets and piazzas, where crumbling churches and ancient palazzos sit side by side. It’s here you’ll find Chiostro del Bramante, a fantastic art museum with one of the city’s best coffee shops inside.

The adjacent district of Regola is notable not just for the Campo del Fiori – the picturesque square that’s home to arguably Rome’s most famous outdoor market – but also for one of its finest places to eat. Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina looks more like a deli than a restaurant (in fact, it’s both) but the queues of people snaking out onto the street everyday are testament to the modern Italian cooking found here. They also do a mean Negroni, so it’s the perfect destination for an aperitvo before you head over the river to Trastevere – the bohemian and buzzy district that’s our pick for a night out (think of it as Rome’s equivalent of Soho).

Best for…

Living La Dolce Vita for real.

Booking details

Superior rooms start at €1,330 + VAT per night. For more information, visit

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