When considering concepts like luxury, indulgence and grandeur through a historical lens, the Roman Empire certainly secured itself a starring role on a global scale. In fact, it really outdid itself.
From over-consumption to excessive gratification, very few knew how to ‘do decadence’ quite like the Ancient Romans.
Famously, their level of commitment to the cause ultimately contributed to the Empire’s eventual downfall, so while the city’s modern-day nod to opulence – which comes in the form of luxury hotels in this case – is more reserved, it’s certainly no less worthy of investigation!
Small luxury boutique hotel in the centre, or 5-star resort in the hills?
Whether you’re planning a trip to Rome and eager to see what the Italian capital has to offer in terms of 5-star accommodation, or you’re planning a staycation and simply indulging a decadent daydream, we have you covered.
From Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s recent choice of hotel (the sumptuous Hotel Vilon – more on that below) to some iconic urban retreats, the Eternal City definitely delivers when it comes to comfort, splendour and opulence.
Here we look at Rome’s small luxury hotels as well as its grander resorts for when you do decide to throw caution to the wind and – dare we say – do as the Romans do.
So folks, whether you’re actively planning a trip to the Italian capital or simply fantasising about an upmarket getaway in the Eternal City, let’s take a moment or two to step inside some of Rome’s most luxurious hotels.
Plush rooms, palatial suites: Top picks in Rome
For tastemakers: Hotel Eden
Hotel Eden, which is on the cusp of its 130th birthday, blazed a trail in the Italian capital at the end of the 19th century as the first hotel in Rome to boast an elevator, electricity, heating and running water upon its opening in 1889.
Part of the iconic Dorchester Collection, it describes itself as a ‘radiant hotel, alive with the stories of a legendary city and the hospitality of its remarkable people’. This description somewhat belies its grandeur however, with plush reception rooms, opulent suites and a Michelin-starred restaurant a clear indication of its high-end status.
Located close to Via Veneto Street, Hotel Eden, which provides panoramic views of the capital, is walking distance from Villa Borghese Park, the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain.
For royalty: Hotel Vilòn
Hotel Vilòn (main image and above) made international headlines last month when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spent two nights in the boutique hotel’s Borghese Suite.
Once home to the Borghese family, the hotel boasts 18 rooms – some of which include private terraces which allow guests to take in views of the Borghese Palace Gardens from the comfort of their own suites.
Elegant yet understated, the hotel is located in Rome’s historic centre, and – following the Sussex’s recent visit – gives a snapshot into what it really means to relax as a royal in Rome!
For fashionistas: Fendi Private Suites
This next hotel is every fashionista’s dream.
Why? Well, visitors who come to Rome to indulge in a little retail therapy can actually lay their heads in the home of fashion behemoth; Fendi, which also happens to be one of Rome’s newest hotels (and the house responsible for the most recent restoration of the Trevi Fountain – while House of Bulgari took on the Spanish Steps nearby).
Yes, that’s right; not only can you pursue your sartorial passion by shopping at Fendi’s flagship boutique on the Via dei Condotti, you can now spend a night (or more) in style heaven by actually staying there!
The third floor of Palazzo Fendi has been transformed into the world’s first Fendi hotel – Fendi Private Suites – and you can’t say more fashion-fabulous than that!
For cultured couples: The Westin Excelsior
Put very simply, The Westin Excelsior is a modern-day manifestation of the Eternal City’s old-style elegance.
A tasteful mix of marble and chandeliers in the entrance lobby gives way to a collection of bedrooms furnished with deep carpets, floor-length curtains, and beds just made to breakfast in.
Coupled with exquisitely decorated living rooms and the launch of their newly renovated Villa Cupola Suite, this hotel is every Instagrammer’s #DecadentDream.
Think old-school opulence, think the Westin Excelsior, people.
For minimalists: Portrait Roma
Understated and effortlessly elegant, Portrait Roma’s aesthetic appeals to anyone in search of a tranquil atmosphere in the midst of an international city.
The hotel’s tasteful decor favours neutral shades and achingly stylish Scandinavian-inspired furniture, with splashes of colour provided by perfectly-positioned greenery and strategically-placed accessories.
A mere 300 metres from the Spanish Steps, Portrait Roma is counted among the most luxurious hotels in the Italian capital.
For indulgence seekers: Aldrovandi Villa Borghese
This hotel encourages its guests to ‘bask in the old world glamour’ of their surroundings – something most of us would happily do in a heartbeat!
With the Borghese Gardens as a view, Aldrovandi Villa Borghese provides a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of a city positively pulsating with life, despite its close proximity to some of Rome’s most iconic attractions.
The urban retreat is home to more than 100 luxurious guest rooms, a spa and wellness facility, and the opportunity to avail of a cooking class led by the chef of the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Assaje.
And as difficult as it might feel to leave the Aldrovandi Villa Borghese during your stay, why not make time to see one the city’s greatest art collections – with moving works by Bernini, Caravaggio and Raphael – on a tour of the Borghese Gallery?
For art lovers: Palazzo Naiadi
Three words; Neoclassical. Roman. Palace.
If your mind conjures images of an awe-inspiring building, complete with grand columns and vast archways, you’re on the right track when it comes to the Palazzo Naiadi – an art lover’s sanctuary in the city.
Suspended over the ancient (AD306) Diocletian Thermal Baths complex and with an opulent interior (including a rooftop pool and terrace!), the 5-star hotel connects its guests with ‘the soul of the past and the spirit of the present in a city that has mastered the art of living’.
Excavations from the baths are on show throughout, from the octagonal fountain in the Michelangelo Hall, to the large mosaic floor foyer and the exposed wooden trusses in the Clementine Wing, while modern art peppers the walls, giving guests an intimate overview of Italy’s past and present.
And yes, we truly are sold.
For romantics: Hotel de Russie
Nestled between the Piazza di Spagna and the Piazza del Popolo, Hotel de Russie is known for its private garden and terraces, which provide guests with a much-needed source of tranquility in the midst of a bustling capital city.
Inside, the focus on serenity continues, with soft furnishings and neutral shades taking precedence in the overall aesthetic.
A 5-star hotel, Hotel de Russie is considered a much-loved oasis in the heart of Rome.
Read more: 12 alternative things to do in Rome