Rome finally gets the modern hotels it deserves


While Rome's charms may be, as they say, timeless, it has never been a city particularly prized for its hotels. Until recently, luxury accommodation in the Italian capital usually meant an ostentatiously decorated pile meant to evoke the city's palaces of the 16th and 17th centuries, replete with gilded furniture and vague nostalgia. Over the past year, a whole new generation of luxury hotels has emerged, paying homage to the modernist architects who remade much of Rome in the rationalist style in the early and mid-20th century. The Bulgari Hotel, for example, opened last summer in a massive 1930s government building designed by the prominent Trieste-born architect Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo. And the Edition hotel moved to a bench attributed in part to Marcello Piacentini, the architect responsible for the EUR district, the neighborhood of enormous buildings built under Mussolini. Other notable new offerings draw inspiration from 21st-century Scandinavian style, skillfully combining northern design aesthetics with Italian Renaissance art and Roman artifacts. Here, a closer look at five new accommodations that break with tradition.

Six Senses Rome, the first city hotel from a company best known for its health resorts and spas, opened last spring in a historic palace on Piazza San Marcello, just steps from the Pantheon. Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola oversaw the design, maintaining the elegant lines of the original structure and transforming it into a contemporary refuge bathed in light. She housed the reception and lobby bar in a glass-covered atrium, filling the space with giant potted plants. In one section of the lobby, the glass floor reveals an ancient underground baptismal pool that belongs to the neighboring church. For the 96 rooms, Urquiola finished the walls with cocciopesto plaster, a type of lime made from crushed bricks, a building material as old as the city itself, while the furniture, in muted pastel tones and rounded shapes, is unmistakably modern. Then there's the spa, in many ways the centerpiece of the hotel. Awash in travertine marble, it includes five treatment rooms, a yoga studio, a series of indoor pools, a hammam and a space dedicated to biohacking treatments, such as pulsed electromagnetic field therapy and LED light masks, for when all the well-being ancestral Remedies are not enough. Rooms from about $1,200 a night.

In the 1960s, Luigi Moretti, the Roman architect who designed the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., transformed Palazzo Ripetta, a 17th-century Catholic school for poor and orphaned girls, into a residence and hotel. The property has remained in the same family since then, but the 78-room property underwent a complete renovation in 2022. The highlight of the newest iteration is the San Baylon restaurant, which reinterprets traditional Italian recipes. Here, for example, the classic vitello tonnato is served as a block of marbled beef over a dollop of foamy tuna sauce. The rooms also offer a clever twist on old conventions. The rooms, by Fausta Gaetani, the designer behind the Le Sirenuse hotel in Positano, have a slightly different style but follow a similar theme: pale walls with classic moldings, brightly patterned upholstery, abstract art and a rainbow of Italian lighting fixtures. Murano glass. Rooms from about $600 a night.

Since last June, the former headquarters of the Italian social security agency now houses the new Bulgari hotel, a subsidiary of the luxury jewelry brand. Milanese architects Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel retained many of the decorative features found in the original Morpurgo building, including mosaics depicting Roman myths scattered several stories high along the façade. The décor of the 110 rooms draws on the company's heritage, adopting jewel tones such as peridot green and topaz yellow for their color scheme and reproducing some of the historic home's most treasured settings in mosaic form above the bathtubs. of marble, a nod to the images of Morpurgo on the exterior of the building. As for dining venues, guests have several to choose from, including a restaurant and chocolate shop by three-Michelin-starred chef Niko Romito and, in warmer months, a rooftop bar overlooking the brick mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Augustus, located just across the road. Rooms from about $1,750 a night.

Tucked away from a quiet residential street just behind the elegant Via Veneto thoroughfare, a tranquil garden filled with shady green foliage shields the new 112-room Rome Edition from the city at large, making its entrance beneath the 20-foot-high ceilings. of the cavernous hall. Feel even more dramatic. Inside, the coziest spaces are decidedly intimate. There is the Jade Bar, which seats 14, in the lobby, furnished with velvet sofas and clad in emerald stone. And close, hidden behind an anonymous Door, is the speakeasy-style Punch Room, with a fireplace carved from Rosso Levanto marble. The rooms follow a neutral palette, with walnut paneling and parquet floors, white Carrara marble in the bathrooms, and layers of cream-colored textiles that beautifully capture the morning sunlight. Rooms from about $1,750 a night.

When Patrizia Albano, a lawyer, and her husband, Carlo Mazzi, former president of Prada, first conceived of the Palazzo delle Pietre, an eight-room hotel just off Piazza Navona, they imagined it as an extension of their own home. The linens are by Frette and the dinnerware is by Richard Ginori, just like theirs, while fragments of ancient sculptures and carved Corinthian columns from his private collection are placed almost randomly throughout the property. The hotel has been around since 2016, but last summer it opened an extension called Appartamenti La Corte, two elegantly decorated apartments, one with two bedrooms and the other with three, located on the upper floors of a neighboring building. Both are equipped with full kitchens, Italian-made furniture, and some of the owners' architectural artifacts. The larger of the two apartments, measuring almost 1,300 square feet, also offers a rooftop terrace and a private sauna. Rooms from about $650 a night; A two-night minimum is required.

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