portraitsuites2-resize.jpgThe Eternal City, where awesome antiquity meets sleek modernity, is one of my favorite places, a maze of incredible sights filled with hundreds of hotels ranging from five-star gems set in former palaces to familiar chains offering trademarked bedding. During two recent visits, I chose to change things up a bit and check out four of the city’s growing number of boutique hotels. Intimate and chic, they offer a design-centric experience and modern amenities. Each also has an aura of romance – be it via its locale or special features.

Portrait Suites Style surrounds you at this meticulously designed 14-room townhouse on Via Bocca di Leone owned by Italian footwear family the Ferragamos (their store is right next door and other top shopping is steps away). Shoes – original sketches, glossy magazine photos and whimsical paintings – work their way into the subtle yet striking décor, done in calming tones of pale gray with pink, yellow, and green accents. All studios and suites are spacious with luxurious linens, a marble bath, and a fully equipped kitchenette (there is no restaurant but continental breakfast is served in your suite or on the rooftop terrace and room service is available). Come early evening, watch as Romans enjoy their passeggiata (nightly stroll) down Via Condotti to the Spanish Steps from a comfy perch in the rooftop lounge (shown above) with its 360-degree views. From $557, including breakfast.


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Hotel Fortyseven It’s hard to feel any closer to the city’s ancient heart than at this cheerful 61-room property on Via Petrocelli near the Roman Forum. Artwork spanning centuries lines the hallways, a quiet interior courtyard is a fabulous place to sip cappuccino, and rooms are light-filled with pale wood furnishings and marble baths (to fully appreciate your surroundings book a Deluxe Double with a panoramic view – shown above). Head to the stylish rooftop bar/restaurant to toast your Roman holiday as the sun sets over millennia-old ruins and Vespas buzz across Ponte Palatino to trattoria-lined Trastevere. Three-night summer special, from $705, including breakfast and 70 euro food voucher.

stgeorgedeluxe-resize.jpgSt. George Roma Rome is meant to be walked, so after a day of pounding the cobblestones it’s a joy to return to this 64-room hotel located on Via Giulia near the Tiber River not far from Piazza Navona – and soak your tired toes in the subterranean jetted Roman Baths or have them massaged in the spa. Afterwards, you can sip Chianti on the welcoming rooftop terrace (open late May to October), with its leafy cupola views. The minimal-chic marble lobby, featuring a small library with fireplace, and adjacent bar and restaurant are decorated in hues of pale gold and chocolate brown, while the contemporary rooms (choose a Deluxe – shown at right – for added space) are done in soothing cream tones with soft lighting and jewel-tone mosaic fabric accents. From $378, including breakfast.

hotelart-resize.jpgHotel Art by the Spanish Steps With its winning location near Piazza di Spagna, this 46-room property is a collage of contemporary meets classical. Housed in a former college on quiet Via Margutta and a member of Small Luxury Hotels, it dazzles with a white-marble-and-pebble entry corridor and a dramatic lobby with a soaring cross-vaulted white-and-blue ceiling (shown at left) that once was a chapel. Hop the elevator to the guest floors and you’ll be wowed by the glow of one of four vibrant colors: blue, orange, yellow or green. That color is carried over as an accent (bed pillows, bathroom tiles) in the compact, white-on-white rooms with their leather headboard and minimalist furnishings. Note: Street noise isn’t an issue, but wooden floors amplify footfalls from above, so request a room on the top floor. From $288, including breakfast, with two-night minimum.

For more trip-planning information, see our Rome Travel Guide.

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