I feel blessed to have experienced life as a true Roman in the Eternal City. While most people visit Rome as a tourist, my wife and I had the opportunity to find out what it’s like to live and work there for several years – like locals.
Although the city has such an abundance of historical and cultural wealth, and you could easily spend your entire life exploring all its facets, we did manage to cover quite a bit in the four years we lived and worked there.
One of the things we enjoyed doing was being hotel guests in our own city. Here are five hotels we particularly liked – the kind of special places that give you a true Roman experience.
Hotel Raphael – Relais Châteaux (pictured above)
My wife and I went on a real treat – the grandeur of this real Roman 5-star boutique hotel, with luxurious rooms with marble bathroom and parquet floors, is hard to forget. Located a stone’s throw away from the stunning Piazza Navona and the antique avenue of Rome Via dei Coronari, the hotel offers one of the best roof terraces in town, an awesome spot to dine or enjoy a cocktail at sunset.
Surrounding the hotel you’ll find numerous places where you can satisfy your taste buds. There’s Gelateria del Teatro, one of the best ice cream shops in town. Or our personal favorite – Sangallo restaurant, which has an outdoor heated terrace, one table seating per evening, and a menu from local produce with matching wines to die for. I think we ate there more than 12 times!
Neighborhood: Navona & Pantheon
VOI Donna Camilla Savelli Hotel. This is a great place from which to explore Trastevere’s maze of cobblestone streets where local craftsmen showcase their ware. Wander around and you’ll find a range of bars, pizza places and a wonderfully picturesque piazza with Trastevere’s Basilica of Santa, one of the oldest churches of Rome.
(Another) 4-star hotel
Visconti Palace Hotel. A year ago, my wife and I went back to Rome for a weekend – a trip back to memory lane for us. Although we wanted to stay in the historic center, we decided to opt for the luxury of a 4-star hotel in the quieter area of Prati, keeping an eye on our budget at the same time. We heard good things about Visconti Palace hotel. It offers spacious rooms, fitness facilities, a roof terrace which we both really liked, and a delicious breakfast. While the historic center and Vatican City are all within walkable distance, the hotel did offer free rental bikes when we were there. Cycling through the historic medieval part of town – something we had not tried before – was amazing. We were able to get everywhere, experienced touring Rome in a different way, and felt very safe throughout.
Hotel Albergo Del Senato. Where I spent my first night in Rome. I open my window in the morning to be greeted by the Pantheon, arguably the best-preserved and most influential building of ancient Rome, with at its doorstep the wonderful Piazza della Rotonda. This is a 3-star hotel with true Roman character, its best feature without a doubt its central location, and it’s surrounded by the best coffee places in town.
Turn left behind the Pantheon and you’ll find the famous Sant'Eustachio Il Caffè, turning right a block further will get you to La Casa Del Caffè Tazza D'oro – perhaps even more famous. For a coffee buff like myself, these places are an absolutely divine experience.
Vanity Hotel. Vanity is one of my favorite budget places. It offers modern rooms, all with private bathroom, free wifi and a nice but simple breakfast, and is super centrally located. You can stay there already for just over EUR 100 ($107) per night and be a couple hundred meters away from St. Angelo Bridge and Piazza Navona. A short walk gets you to one of my other favorites, Piazza della Pace (pace = peace). Cafe della Pace on the corner is a perfect place to zip a coffee or an Aperol spritz (a typically Roman cocktail) and watch the people pass by.
Neighborhood: Navona & Pantheon
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