Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola, known for her tasteful, intelligent approach at hotels like Il Sereno in Lake Como, set about updating the 18th-century Palazzo Salviati Cesi Mellini with local, sustainable materials like travertine and cocciopesto plasterwork. The suites feel like modern sleepaways inside a space that retains many of the original features designed by original architect Tomaso de Marchis. There are unexpected details for a hotel surrounded by so much urban hubbub, including a diminutive botanical garden and rooftop space that hosts yoga classes.
The centerpiece is the multi-floor wellness space, which includes a Roman bath-style spa with a caldarium, tepidarium, and frigidarium (the Romans understood the health benefits of icy plunges long before they got cool on Instagram).
“We were going for elements of a spa that you don't find in urban environments,” says Francesca Tozzi, the general manager of Six Senses Rome.
By contrast, the reimagined postwar office building that houses the Bulgari Hotel Roma feels like the future for this ancient city. Just off the Piazza Augusto Imperatore, an area in the Centro Storico known for its Ara Pacis tomb, Bulgari's hometown flagship will open this summer with 114 antiques-filled suites and a reading room dedicated to the history of jewelry, becoming the first major hotel brand in this part of town. It's no surprise, given that this is Bulgari, that artisanship is a major theme. A 753-square-foot mosaic from Neoclassical master Ferruccio Ferrazzi covers the southern facade; patterns in the spa pay homage to Rome's Baths of Caracalla, which have inspired Bulgari's signature pieces over the years. Despite their newness, these two lovely hotels are adept in their ability to continually remind you exactly where you are.
BY ONDINE COHANE