Rome 2017: Six Hotels to Check Out Now

A well-designed trip to Rome offers the traveler the chance to live history, not just to view it. Six properties in the Eternal City do just that by offering their guests a way to experience the past, while enjoying 21st-century comforts.

Margutta 19, which opened July 1 this year, is Alberto Moncada’s latest project. Under the umbrella of Rome Luxury Suites, Moncada also owns Babuino 181, the suites at Margutta 54, and Mario de Fiori 37; he is also the general manager of the Fendi Suites. Moncada says that Rome does not have enough luxury accommodation; hence, he keeps opening unique local properties in neglected historic buildings. 

Margutta 19 is set in an old palazzo on Via Margutta, the street where the movie “Roman Holiday” was filmed. The Moncada family has lived on Via Margutta since Alberto’s great-grandfather turned the cobblestone lane into what is known as Rome’s “Artists’ Street” — it was home to Picasso, Stravinsky and Fellini, among many others.

Twelve of the eventual 16 deluxe and classic suites are available, with some overlooking the back garden and others the charming narrow street lined with art galleries. A large and private garden suite will be ready in early fall. We visited less than a week after the hotel opened and found a well-run operation with very few glitches. To book or ask questions, contact Manuel Barone ([email protected]; 011-390-632-295-222). Alberto can be reached by phone at 011-393-487-674-600.

Of Moncada’s properties, this is the only one with a full restaurant and bar area (Babuino 181 has a rooftop space for cocktails and breakfast). Operated by Moncada’s cousin, Alberto Gaido, and his partners Luca Burnacci, Leonardo Stabile and Mario Esposito, along with Michelin-starred Chef Angelo Troiani, the Assaggia ristorante and bar have tasting menus that recall the recipes of an Italian nonna (grandmother). Though guests may order full-sized dishes, the tasting menu offers the guest a collection of family-style flavors, including some rarely seen outside a home kitchen. Reservations may be made by calling the hotel at 011-390-632-295-222. 

Much like Babuino 181 and Fendi Suites, the suites at Margutta 19 are decorated in refined neutrals, with a functional partial wall separating the bedroom and sitting areas. A Classic Suite, such as No. 104, sleeps two and has two full-sized French doors overlooking the garden, one with a Juliet balcony. There are wide-screened TVs facing each side of the suite. The six Classic Suites range from 420 to 475 square feet; and face the garden.

Margutta 19’s Deluxe Suite is spread over nearly 580 square feet of space and comes with a king-sized bed and a sleeper sofa.

The Deluxe Suites are slightly larger (529 to 580 square feet) and sleep three between a king-sized bed and a sleeper sofa. Deluxe Suites are available facing either the garden or Via Margutta; ask for one with a terrace with room for chairs. Margutta 19 offers one non-suite room, Deluxe Room No. 403, which has an internal view. A 540-square-foot Garden Suite with its own 430-square-foot terrace will be available in September 2017.

The bathrooms at Margutta 19 are spacious, lined in travertine, and offer free-standing tubs, double sinks and separate showers. 

If Alberto Moncada is the man with experience, Alessandra Di Segni Zarfati is the talented newcomer who has begun her hospitality career with a six-floor Baroque palace overlooking Piazza Navona. The Eitch Borromini (011-39-066-861-425) welcomes guests to sleep in the frescoed palazzo designed by Borromini and renovated for Pope Innocent X Pamphilj (Pamphili) in the mid-1600s. The discreet entrance at Via Santa Maria di Anima 30 doesn’t prepare a visitor for the view from the restaurant and many suites, where the storied piazza is laid out below. (Film director Ridley Scott was expected to shoot from the hotel on the day we visited; “Angels and Demons” was shot around the fountain in front of the hotel).

Like other historic properties in Rome, the rooms and suites are not identical, but use the space available within the bounds of preservation regulations. At almost 1,400 square feet, the Heritage Royal Suite (No. 32) combines five rooms to sleep nine guests; it includes the Orologio Room, a living area where the authentic clock mechanism for the adjacent St. Agnese Church is located. There is a small, private terrace and two full bathrooms. The suite, much of which overlooks Piazza Navona, would work for a family group or group traveling together for leisure or a wedding.

Other suites overlooking the Piazza Navona include the Pamphilj 2 (No. 21), which sleeps four, two in the bedroom and two in the living room (king-sized sofa bed), in a total of about 900 square feet. The Navona Suite (No. 31), which sleeps four in about 500 square feet, also overlooks the piazza. There is a bedroom and double living room with queen-sized sofa bed. Pamphilj Suite 5 (No. 51) on the fifth floor overlooking the piazza sleeps three. The 500-square-foot suite contains a bedroom with king-sized bed, two living rooms (one with a sleeper sofa), and one bathroom with shower.

There are other rooms and suites with views of the medieval Tor Millina and the Via di Santa Maria dell’Anima. The Donna Olimpia Suite (No. 24A) features a frescoed ceiling and original 17th-century floors, one bathroom with bathtub and shower, and a king-sized bed. It shares an entrance and can be connected to Donna Olimpia 2 (No. 24B), which is also frescoed in the living room and includes a queen-sized bedroom, walk-in closet and bath with shower. 

Note: Some bathrooms in the hotel have tubs, while others have only showers. Ask for your preference.

The Terrazza Borromini on the fourth floor may have the most beautiful view in the city. Open in the warm season, the tables overlook the steeples of the Santa Agnese church and the rooftops of the piazza and beyond. The menu is classic Roman, with fresh seafood, mozzarella di bufala and local produce. The cocktail lounge, which is a floor higher, has a 360-degree view of Rome. In winter, the restaurant serves in several small dining rooms on the same floor. The restaurant (011-390-668-215-459) is open for lunch and dinner.

For information and hotel bookings, contact Hotel Manager Alessandra Di Segni Zarfati ([email protected]; 011-393-335-670-371); or Director of Sales Walkiria Bertuccioli ([email protected]; 011-393-356-352-723). 

Alessandra’s in-laws, the Marco Scaffardi family, have developed another former Doria Pamphilj property (c. 1640) across the Tiber River at Lungotevere Ripa 3 in Trastevere. Abandoned for two centuries, the three-sided walled structure, with its enormous interior garden, is called Borgo Ripa (meaning small Italian village on the riverbank); it includes the Residenza Doria Pamphilj (12 rooms), the Luciano a Borgo Ripa restaurant, and the Hostel Ripa Village (120 beds), a luxury hostel. Within the complex is the historic church of Santa Maria in Cappella (c.1650). For details, call 011-393-314-736-611. 

Borgo Ripa’s Room No. 302 has a bedroom, bathroom, living room with sofa bed, and faces the Tiber River.

Officially opened July 31, the Residenza offers both short- and longer-term stays in the style of the Italian residence hotels. Each room has a small angolo cucina (small kitchen within a credenza). The property is adjacent to the oldest part of Rome, Trastevere, where the restaurants, boutiques, galleries and bars are a favorite of visitors of all ages. 

Director Nicola Bozzato ([email protected]; 011-393-921-000-222) offered a pre-opening preview of the property. The Residenza overlooks the Tiber River and across to the venerable Sant’Anselmo church on the Aventine Hill, with the best view from Room No. 304. It would be possible for a family or wedding group to take Room No’s. 301, 302, 303 and 304 for a large apartment-style stay for up to 15 guests. 

Room No. 303 is the largest, with one bedroom and a living room with sleeper sofa. There are one-and-a-half bathrooms and tall windows. Room No. 302 is also quite spacious, with a large bathroom, bedroom, living room with sofa bed and two windows facing the river. Room No. 301 is smaller, but that is offset by two corner windows and a river view. This room has been designed for handicapped guests. Room No. 304 is similar to the others and includes a large shower. 

There are three floors and each is laid out the same way, with sound-proofed windows for those who wish to escape the noise of Rome traffic in the comfort of AC. On the top floor is an arched salon overlooking the river, which will be used for breakfast and special guest events.

While the term “luxury hostel” may seem an oxymoron, the Scaffardis believe there is a market for travelers who wish a higher level of hostel hospitality. Bathrooms and storage accommodations here are architect-designed to be more spacious and upmarket. The hostel is across the vast gardens from the Residenza.

2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the luxurious and private Villa Spalletti Trivelli (011-390-648-907-934) and we visited for an update. Raimonda Spalletti Trivelli, whose grandparents lived in the Art Deco villa when she was a child, is among the younger generation now managing the hotel. The family, originally from Switzerland, came to Rome with Queen Margherita to serve the Savoy royals and built the villa near the seat of Italian government, the Quirinale Palace

Villa Spalletti Trivelli’s 970-square-foot Campidoglio Garden Suite has outside dining available on a large, private and enclosed terrace, and a seating area.

The Villa Spalletti Trivelli remains one of the most gracious settings in Rome and often welcomes diplomatic and noble guests. Recently, the 15-room property added two garden suites suitable for families, as well as a rooftop terrace with three Jacuzzis, sunbeds and a bar. 

There is also a small Wellness Center with gym and spa treatment rooms, where guests may enjoy massages given by Sachie, the resident therapist.

The 860-square-foot Palatino Garden Suite has a spacious enclosed private terrace with dining and seating; it sleeps four in a king bedroom and queen sofa bed in the living room. There are two full baths, one with both tub and shower. There is an open kitchen area, where guests may make coffee or a full meal. The villa will provide a chef or room service for both suites upon request.

The Campidoglio Suite (approximately 970 square feet) sleeps five and contains a separate kitchen. Outside dining is available on a large private and enclosed terrace, as well as a seating area. The suite features a double bedroom, a single room with en suite bath, a sofa bed in the living room and a second full bathroom.

Inside the main villa, on the other side of the formal gardens, the rooms are large and sumptuous — as are the public spaces. The villa is entirely furnished with original paintings and furniture, giving the public spaces the ambiance of a noble house. The formal gardens are a popular spot for weddings and private events. 

The Spalletti Trivelli family offers guests a Friday evening wine tasting, as well as day trips to their Umbrian winery, Pomario. There is a small restaurant in the hotel, which is open to guests and their visitors. Contact Raimonda ([email protected]; 011-39-338-113-697 or 011-39-064-826-019) for more information or questions.

Pepoli 9 (Via di Villa Pepoli 9) is a contemporary boutique hotel nestled on one of Rome’s seven hills, with a view of an iconic site, the Baths of Caracalla. Opera lovers will enjoy the proximity to the ancient ruins of the baths, home of the famed outdoor summer opera season; enjoy either as part of the audience or while sipping a glass of wine on the terrace of one of the suites. 

Owner / manager Alessandra De Lorenzo also owns the five-star Mezzatorre Resort & Spa on the island of Ischia. For Pepoli 9 ([email protected]; 011-300-693-374-254), her designs for the nine rooms and suites (including two junior suites) were inspired by Roman women and their varied personalities, making them an inviting combination of mid-century modern, Art Deco and contemporary.

Pepoli 9 is a boutique hotel located on one of the seven hills of Rome. Shown here is a suite in the hotel.

The key to the Grand Suite is the private terrace overlooking the Baths of Caracalla, the ancient spa where Imperial Rome went to relax and gossip. Two double window doors open to the wide terrace from the bedroom /living room. There is a baldicchino (teester) king bed and sofa, as well as a table and chairs and large armoire. All the colors are neutrals —  black, white and gray — popped with accents of purple and fuschia.

The Milena Suite continues with neutral colors — brown and white — as the base, but this time lime green is the accent. This suite also has a terrace overlooking the Baths of Caracalla, with centuries-old cypress trees adding the feel of a formal garden. There is a king bedroom and an alcove living room, with sofa and table. The bathrooms at Pepoli have a French feel, with black and white striped walls and black marble countertops. Some have double showers.

Also overlooking the Baths is the Camilla Suite, whose color scheme mirrors the Grand Suite. The junior suites, Caterina and Tiziana are smaller versions of the suites — smart, black and white bathrooms with large showers, neutral colors with bright accent colors, with plenty of light coming from the adjacent park and green space.

Crossing Condotti (Via Mario de’ Fiori 28) is a charming hideaway on one of those Roman streets with a colorful past. According to legend, Via Mario de’ Fiori in Rome’s historic center was once the street of case di tolleranza (literally, houses of tolerance, i.e., brothels). Today it is a chic location in the city’s designer shopping area, with beamed ceilings, sleek bathrooms, fine linens in light neutral colors and original paintings. 

The top floor of the boutique hotel can be made into the Penthouse Suite Borghese by combining the Vittoria Master Room and the Sistina Double Deluxe. With almost 900 square feet of space, the suite has room for six guests. There are two queen bedrooms, a sleeper sofa in the living room, two kitchenettes, two en suite bathrooms with chromatherapy showers and another bath with a steam bath wellness cabin. Each room may be booked separately.

The Junior Suite Margutta is on the ground floor and has a separate private entrance and small courtyard. At 375 square feet, there is room for a walk-in wardrobe, small sitting-room and bar-kitchenette. The bathroom includes a Turkish Bath with chromatherapy.

Among the double superior rooms, the Spagna is decorated with a draped queen, while the Condotti is designed with twin beds. All of the superior rooms have tall windows; the bathrooms in these rooms are fitted with tubs and showers.

Crossing Condotti will arrange a variety of Rome-based adventures for its guests. In addition, the hotel has an arrangement with the Antonelli winery in Umbria to provide wine for in-room tastings or day trips to the cantina.

For more information, contact Lifestyle Hotel Manager Davide Cannata, or Francesco Bevacqua ([email protected]; 011-390-669-920-633; fax 011-39-0 69-295-469).