11 one-of-a-kind boutique hotels in Rome that make me feel like I’ve been handed the keys to my most stylish Italian friend’s home

  • Some of Rome‘s best hotels are its intimate, design-forward, atmospheric, boutique properties.
  • Consider these unique hotels over the traditional ones you usually book for a more authentic stay.

Growing up, I spent my summer vacations in Roman piazza. My cousins ​​lived all over the city, so our days were spent shuffling from one home to the next and one neighborhood to another. I played in pretty much every rione, or neighborhood, and it helped me figure out where I wanted to live as an adult when I moved to Rome permanently.

Now, after two decades and five different neighborhoods, I can easily say that my rione, Regola, is my favorite. It’s a town within a city, charmingly provincial and local once you scratch the surface.

Likewise for visitors, the neighborhood and hotel you choose for your hotel in Rome can set the tone for your entire trip. You could, of course, opt to stay in a big-brand hotel in the thick of things with standard, traditional rooms and you’ll be perfectly comfortable.

But to channel a stronger sense of authenticity, I suggest booking a more intimate, character-filled boutique hotel that is as atmospheric as the rione surrounding it. My favorite hotels in Rome are found close to archaeological sites, Baroque churches, and posh palaces, and range from large, historic lodgings to intimate inns with epic views.

It’s easy to fall in love with Rome, but all of these hotels (which I’ve personally been to) ensure it will happen from the moment you check in.

The Hotel Vilon’s mix of design influences makes this one of the coolest places to stay.Riccardo De Luca for Insider

Hotel Vilon

Hotel Vilon feels like a hideaway, starting with its nondescript side-street address off Via del Corso. Vilon’s style is also unabashedly sexy; architect and designer Giampiero Panepinto designed playful spaces that mix rococo with 19th-century decadence, midcentury modern, and 21st-century cool. The 18 rooms are smartly styled with velvet sofas, mahogany floorboards, dark-blue curtains, marble bathrooms, and oversized showers, and most look onto the gardens of Palazzo Borghese. My best tip is to book the Melangolo and Borghese suites for the delicious terraces.

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Donna Camilla Savelli

This sanctuary of Baroque beauty and tranquility is the opposite of modern, in my opinion. The enclosed, fortress-like 16th-century monastery, Donna Camilla Savelli, transports you to yesteryear with original architectural details like frescoed ceilings, period furniture, a manicured courtyard, and a labyrinthine layout. Whenever I’ve been here, I find it to be a peaceful surprise in the heart of Trastevere.

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11 one-of-a-kind boutique hotels in Rome that make me feel like I've been handed the keys to my most stylish Italian friend's home
The Hotel Chapter Roma feels like a work of art.Riccardo De Luca for Insider

Hotel Chapter Roma

Hotel Chapter Roma has what is perhaps the greatest location, straddling the line between the historic Ghetto and bustling Campo de’ Fiori, and is just a short walk to most of the sites and neighborhoods you’ll want to visit. Part of the recent trend of edgy, community-space-focused hospitality, Chapter is also a work of art. Traces of the late-19th-century building’s origins can be seen in the exposed brick and inset arches that serve as backdrops to custom murals and pieces by acclaimed street artists. The 47 spacious rooms take a more minimalist attitude with custom iron-rod furniture and bespoke rugs.

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Kolbe Hotel

For those who want to be in the thick of ancient history while staying in the wings, I think Kolbe Hotel is the place. Formerly a Franciscan monastery dating back to 1625, Kolbe has gone through many evolutions but shares its history through high ceilings and exposed brick walls.

Located just 100 meters from the Roman Forum, it’s more than just history-adjacent — Kolbe is epic, nestled in one of Rome’s oldest neighborhoods. I always choose a room with a view when I travel, but especially here, as guests can peek into the Roman Forum through their window, or gaze at the ancient churches and structures on the Palatine hillside. The hotel’s inner courtyard is a tranquil garden that makes me forget that I’m in the epiccenter of one of the world’s busiest cities.

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11 one-of-a-kind boutique hotels in Rome that make me feel like I've been handed the keys to my most stylish Italian friend's home
The Fifteen Keys is a full-service townhouse that makes you feel like a local.Riccardo De Luca for Insider

The Fifteen Keys

When my friends tell me they dream of living in Rome, I always tell them to stay at The Fifteen Keys, a full-service townhouse in the middle of Monti. The retro-chic spot is both homey and stylish, and its Monti location is a beloved rione full of cafés, restaurants, and independent boutiques. Fifteen luminous bedrooms are painted in the most vivid colors and decorated with midcentury modern pieces, surrealist artworks, and custom lighting.

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Villa Agrippina Gran Melia

At the base of the Janiculum Hill in Trastevere, and just a few steps to the Tiber River, Villa Agrippina is a palatial palazzo and resort built on the site of an ancient estate. It’s where I send friends with children when they want to visit Rome in the summer for its lovely pool (with excellent bar service). Elegant, spacious, and contemporary in style, Villa Agrippina is within walking distance of the Vatican, Piazza Navona, and Campo de’ Fiori.

Book Villa Agrippina Gran Melia

11 one-of-a-kind boutique hotels in Rome that make me feel like I've been handed the keys to my most stylish Italian friend's home
Lounge on the scenic terrace or feel pampered at the underground spa at the Parco dei Principi.Ackab Photography/Shutterstock

Parco dei Principi

When I want an urban resort, I choose Parco dei Principi in Villa Borghese. This is one of those mid-20th-century iterations of a classic grand hotel. It’s large and bombastic, with classic period references. The views from the second floor and up are fantastic, but I’m often found lounging at the ground-level pool with a magnanimous terrace, styled with striped towels and cabana loungers that give off a very Gatsby vibe. The enormous underground spa is a bonus, with indoor pools, saunas, treatment rooms, and a gym.

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Portrait Rome

When money is no object, Portrait Rome is a 14-room luxury residence with the best address in the city. Just a few steps from Piazza di Spagna on Via dei Condotti, Portrait is in the center of Rome’s luxury shopping, near Gucci, Prada, Max Mara, Buccelati, and, of course, Ferragamo stores. In fact, Portrait is owned by the Salvatore Ferragamo family and is part of the Lungarno Collection.

Michele Bonan designed the Roman bolthole as the bastion of luxury with high-end fabrics and custom furniture. A dedicated lifestyle team fulfills your every wish, and I especially love Portrait’s private, guests-only rooftop.

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11 one-of-a-kind boutique hotels in Rome that make me feel like I've been handed the keys to my most stylish Italian friend's home
The W Rome references 1970s Italian glamor.W Rome

W Rome

I like big hotels when they honor where they are, and W Rome, just off Via Veneto — Marriott’s latest venture in the Eternal City — epitomizes la dolce vita. Its sultry design is ieri, oggi e domani (“yesterday, today and tomorrow”), paying homage to 1970s Italian glamour with a 21st-century twist. There are 162 rooms across a double palazzi complex that also includes a restaurant, lounge, gardens, plunge pool, and rooftop bar. W Rome is the hotel I recommend to friends who love their points and are not accompanied by children.

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Elizabeth Unique

I love how Rome boutique hotels own their history as well as their contemporary present. Elizabeth Unique is a gorgeous, design-forward hotel in a historic townhouse, just off of Via del Corso. With exquisite midcentury décor, couture fabrics, custom design pieces, and contemporary art throughout, I always feel like I’ve been handed the keys to my most stylish Italian friend’s home.

Book Elizabeth Unique

11 one-of-a-kind boutique hotels in Rome that make me feel like I've been handed the keys to my most stylish Italian friend's home
The hospitality at Hassler Roma is better than any other hotel in the city, in my opinion.Riccardo De Luca for Insider

Hassler Roma

Hassler Roma wins me over every time for its view alone. Sitting atop Piazza di Spagna, the top floors take in the entire Roman cityscape. If I could, I’d permanently take over the seventh-floor Medici suite, with its contemporary design, bold colors, and incredible terrace. But what the Hassler does better than any other hotel in the city is hospitality, with proper old-world, white-glove service that is polite and never misses a beat.

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