The best boutique hotels in Rome for unique charm in the Italian capital

With its abundance of classical treasures, historic churches and Michelangelo masterpieces, not to mention the designer stores, manic traffic and men dressed as gladiators, Rome isn’t always the most relaxing city to visit. With so much to see, it can be easy to fall victim to sightseeing fatigue.

This is where boutique hotels come into their own: chic retreats that are small enough to offer a personal service but with the comforts of a much larger hotel. They provide serene spaces where you can unwind and often take advantage of a spa treatment, before returning to the fray. Thankfully, Rome is teeming with such establishments, ranging from friendly, family-run establishments to restored palaces offering five-star luxury.

So, whether you’ve spent the day touring the Colosseum, craning your neck to marvel at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or casting coins into the Trevi Fountain, here’s our pick of the boutique places to stay in Rome.

The best boutique hotels in Rome are:

Neighbourhood: Piazza di Spagna

The sitting room of the Roma suite at Hotel de la Ville

(Hotel de la Ville)

Set in an 18th-century palazzo perched at the top of the Spanish Steps, the Hotel de la Ville has recently had a major revamp. It’s larger than most boutique hotels, but has both individuality and style – think strong colours, rich fabrics and bold designs in the bedrooms. The superb spa uses organic skincare products from Sicily and offers everything from Kneipp foot baths and a salt inhalation room, to a hydropool and 24-hour gym with Technogym equipment.

Neighbourhood: Centro Storico

Enjoy a different view of the city from Boutique Hotel Campo de’ Fiori’s roof garden

(Hotel Campo De’ Fiori)

There’s a real feel of old Rome at this family-run hideaway, just a few paces from a colourful fruit, flower and vegetable market. It’s an oasis of calm with ivy-clad walls and atmospheric bedrooms with features such as coffered ceilings, frescoes and antiques. After a day’s sightseeing, you can head up to the little roof garden, snuggle up in a comfy chair and watch the sun set over the city.

Neighbourhood: Monti

Nerva Boutique Hotel: chic interiors at a reasonable price point

(Nerva Boutique Hotel)

For uncluttered urban chic at a reasonable price, the Nerva takes some beating. Situated across the road from the Forum di Nerva, which was the smallest of the imperial fora, it once housed a temple to Minerva. Rooms are modern and comfortable, decorated in muted shades enlivened with pops of colour, sleek pendant lights and contemporary artworks. If you want to luxuriate like an emperor, go for the master suite, which has a marble bathroom with a Jacuzzi.

Neighbourhood: Piazza di Spagna

(Booking.com)

If you like your accommodation curated rather than merely managed, opt for one of these super sleek suites. The seven elite residences are set in a grand palazzo above Fendi’s flagship store on the Via dei Condotti, the smartest shopping street in Rome. Rooms ooze exclusivity with soft neutral decor, designer pieces by Fendi Casa and platinum prints by Karl Lagerfeld.

Neighbourhood: Villa Borghese

Work up a sweat at the First Roma Dolce before relaxing in the contemporary rooms

(First Roma Dolce)

This contemporary bolthole in a 19th-century palazzo near the Piazza del Popolo is among the latest additions to Rome’s hotel scene. The atmosphere is that of a stylish residence, with carefully chosen books on art, cuisine and design in the bedrooms, as well as black Italian marble in the bathrooms. Two suites have loft fitness areas, equipped with up-to-the-minute Technogym equipment, and there’s even the option to book a personal trainer for in-room workouts, enabling you to hone your bella figura before indulging in the sweet treats on offer in the hotel’s pasticceria.

Neighbourhood: Piazza Monte Grappa

(Booking.com)

Stuccos, marbles, exuberant frescoes – this stylish villa on the left bank of the Tiber dates back to the 1910s and perfectly evokes the elegance of the era. Restored to its Belle Epoch glory by a member of the Fendi family, it now combines period features with contemporary comforts, modern artworks and a Michelin-starred restaurant. The villa makes a secluded base from which to explore Rome and is within easy walking distance of Vatican City.

Neighbourhood: Trastevere

Hotel Santa Maria is located in the heart of lively Trastevere

(Hotel Santa Maria)

A friendly atmosphere and lashings of character more than compensate for this hotel’s lack of cutting-edge style. Rooms are set around a charming courtyard filled with fragrant citrus trees and jasmine – a reminder that the building started life as a convent in the 16th century. Step outside and you’re in lively Trastevere – for centuries, the city’s distinctive working-class district. Its narrow streets and picturesque squares are now filled with bars and restaurants, and it’s just a short walk across the Tiber to the heart of imperial Rome.

Neighbourhood: Monti

The deluxe blue room at The Fifteen Keys Hotel

(The Fifteen Keys Hotel)

This cool townhouse, just a short walk from Termini station, has everything you want in a boutique hotel. It’s not too big – just 15 rooms, as the name suggests – and makes a sophisticated retreat in which to unwind. Bedrooms are chic and unfussy with tasteful colours and retro fittings, and there’s a pretty courtyard where you can enjoy breakfast in the summer.