The Eternal City’s new hotel glitters, tastefully.
In step with an influx of visitors, this summer has brought a spate of high-end hotel openings to Rome – among them, the new Bulgari Hotel Roma. A decade of planning and a complete restoration of a 1930s building flanking the nearly 2,000-year-old mausoleum of Emperor Augustus preceded the opening of the Campo Marzio district hotel. The result, says Bulgari Group executive vice president Silvio Ursini, is “magnificent, grandiose, maybe opulent – but restrained.”
Drawing on the brand’s heritage as a master of colored gemstones, Bulgari incorporated four marble palettes into the hotel’s 114 guest rooms and suites, adding a pop to the otherwise calm, neutral spaces. Handmade mosaics depicting vintage Bulgari brooches accent many of the dramatic bathrooms. In the suites, rounded mirrors and plaster ceiling roundels mimic the shape of the neighboring mausoleum. (If money is no object, there’s the 3,200-square-foot, $38,000-per-night Bulgari Suite, with a fully equipped kitchen and bar, dining and living spaces, and spacious master bedroom and bathroom.)
Throughout the property, design choices emphasize Italian artistry: Venetian terrazzo floors, polished walnut inlay, hand-cut mosaics, and Murano glass chandeliers. Sketches of the brand’s archival designs hang in every corridor, while the ground-floor display cases are filled with glimmering jewels. For serious shoppers, Bulgari’s flagship boutique is a ten-minute walk from the hotel.
The 16,000-square-foot spa evokes the grandeur of Roman baths with a shimmering 65-foot mosaic-inlaid pool. The property is also home to Italy’s first Bulgari Dolci boutique, where Italian pastries and handmade chocolates are wrapped in jewel-box-like packages. A library entirely dedicated to Roman culture is open, by appointment, to the public and students of the nearby Fine Arts Academy of Rome.
Dining options are many and varied. On the ground floor, Bulgari designed the expansive portico of Il Caffè, with its monumental columns framing the mausoleum, as a gathering place for locals and visitors at all hours of the day. “For me, this is the epitome of Roman life,” Ursini says. On the fifth floor, Il Ristorante - Niko Romito serves contemporary Italian cuisine in an intimate space overlooking the historic Piazza Augusto. The Bulgari Bar and The Champagne Bar serve cocktails; the latter, with its tucked-away location, feels like a speakeasy.
The real jewel, however, awaits upstairs at La Terrazza, where a blooming rooftop garden is backdropped by 360-degree views of the Eternal City. It’s the spot to sit back as the sun sets and watch the city lights sparkle like so many Bulgari gems. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 dining or spa credit.