Looking for the best hotels in Rome? Once a city of polar-opposite accommodation options—exorbitantly expensive luxury hotels on the one hand, cheap pensioni of dubious cleanliness on the other—Rome now has the range of hotels you might expect in one of the most-visited destinations on the planet. But they are, on the whole, considerably more expensive than in other tourist hubs.
At the top of the market, chic boutique offerings with bars, restaurants and even shops attached are creating fierce competition to the large, often soulless, luxury chains, while older-style mid-range hotels and pensioni have been forced to upgrade to keep pace. Small, stylish B&Bs are ever more numerous, and some great deals are to be found in this sector.
Always reserve a room well in advance, especially at peak visiting times, which now means most of the year, with lulls during winter (January to March), and in the dog days of August. If you’re coming at the same time as a major Christian holiday (Christmas or Easter) it’s wise to book weeks, or even months, ahead and expect to pay full whack.
Rome’s best hotels
JK Place is entered via a discreet door Via di Monte d'Oro and is an absolute delight. The decor beams with art deco grandiosity, which runs from the epic foyer, through the glamorous JK Cafe, right up to the four-poster bedrooms. Each room comes equipped with Carrara marble bathrooms, sports and movie channels, a Bose soundsystem and free wifi. And, while there's no outdoor space for guests, JK Place is located right by the Spanish Steps. You can't get much better placed than that.
Looking down from the top of the Spanish Steps, the Hassler remains the grande dame of Rome’s deluxe hotels—aging a little, but still charming. With acres of polished marble and abundant chandeliers, the relentless luxury may make your head spin, but the attentiveness of the staff distinguishes this place from the impersonal service often found at Rome’s top hotels. A stay in one of the 92 rooms includes top-notch amenities (including a spa, Michelin-starred restaurant and several bars) as well as spectacular views over the Roman rooftops.
Dating back to the 15th century, this—management will tell you—is the oldest hotel in Europe. The 32 rooms have been painstakingly restored and are fresh and uncluttered, with tiled floors and frescoes. All bathrooms have whirlpool baths. Ask for one of the rooms at the front for superb views over the Pantheon; otherwise console yourself by seeking out the glorious roof terrace, where breakfast is served al fresco in the warmer months.
American owners Steve and Linda Brenner mix design-icon furnishings with reasonable rates and basic amenities, to create a 'youth hostel meets boutique hotel' vibe with both dormitory beds and private rooms scattered throughout the main building and in equally stylish nearby structures. All have internet access, air-conditioning or ceiling fans and use of the communal areas including the sunny garden with comfy patio. Breakfast (at an extra cost) is served in the hotel's own organic restaurant.
The aristocratic Spalletti Trivelli clan has turned its family home—with views across a little park to the manica lunga of the Quirinale palace—into a sumptuously elegant 12-room hotel with such high-class extras as an historic library with a preservation order, a formal garden where breakfast or aperitivi can be served, and a marvellous spa in the basement. Some of the large rooms can be linked together to form immense suites. Service is charmingly discreet; and there’s a chef on hand to whip up special meals on request. Across the garden, two large and similarly elegant suites offer all the same services plus self-catering facilities and gorgeous private terraces.
Just off piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, the Santa Maria stands on the site of a 16th-century convent. Each of the 19 bedrooms has a tiled floor, colourful decor and a spacious bathroom, and they all open on to a charming, sunny central courtyard planted with orange trees. Complimentary bicycles are available for guests to use for exploring Trastevere’s winding alleys.
A short stroll from Prada, Bulgari and other fashion heavyweights, Crossing Condotti is remarkably central. The owner’s gorgeous antiques are set against a cool contemporary background, and attentive staff are unfailingly helpful. It is more Roman hideaway than fully fledged hotel, though; there are just eight rooms and public spaces are limited to a handy kitchenette with coffee-making facilities and a fridge stocked with (free) soft drinks.
Owned by dynamic Italian-American couple Elyssa and Alessandro, Daphne Trevi sets the standard for inexpensive but stylish accommodation in Rome. The hotel is decorated in modern, earthy tones throughout, and the seven tastefully furnished bedrooms have high ceilings, terracotta or parquet floors and decent-sized bathrooms. Guests are lent a smartphone for the duration of their stay and staff are endlessly helpful. Adjoining rooms can be arranged to create a significant range of family and group accommodation.
Although situated a little way out of the action, the Cavalieri’s majestic position on top of the leafy Monte Mario hill north of the Vatican is worth the extra travel time (there is a free shuttle bus for guests), especially if you like to spend time away from the bustle of central Rome. However, with almost 400 rooms and suites, this is more about palatial extravagance than intimate escape. Amenities are what you would expect from a hotel of this grandeur: three swimming pools, a full spa and fitness centre and Rome’s only three Michelin-star restaurant, La Pergola to name but a few.
The splendid location is really this hotel’s selling point. Most of its 26 rooms have breathtaking views of the Pantheon (specify that you want a view when you book), and all are outfitted in bright white decor with splashes of vivid colour. Guests are provided with a complimentary smartphone with unlimited local and international calls. Breakfast is taken nearby, in a café in piazza della Rotonda.