Reid's favorite hotels in Rome
A selection of my favorite hotels in Rome, Italy
Reid's top 10 Hotels in Rome
1) Hotel Villa San Pio [€€€€]
2) Hotel Smeraldo [€€€]
3) Hotel Raphael [€€€€€]
4) Hotel Navona [€€]
5) Hotel Mimosa [€€]
6) Albergo Abruzzi [€€€€]
7) Casa Kolbe Hotel [€€€]
8) Hotel Art by The Spanish Steps [€€€€€]
9) Hotel Pensione Papa Germano [€]
10) Hotel Des Artistes [€€]
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Hotels in RomeI've spent more a decade combing the streets of Rome to find the best inexpensive lodgings in downtown Rome—because, truth be told, that's where you want to stay.
Sure, I threw in a few of the best inexpensive options near Termini (in case you're in Rome just for an overnight before your flight or train and want to be close to the train station), but most of these will be in the centro storico, the heart of the historic center.
Here are about two-dozen of my favorites, in every price category. The star designations (from none to three) merely indicate hotels with a little something—great location, value, style, owners, whatever—that makes them special (or extra-special, or extra-extra special, etc.). This is entirely a personal opinion, and has nothing to do with official Italian hotel ratings or categories.
I've also noted the neighborhood in which each is located. There's a full description of each neighborhood on the City Layout page, but in brief: "Termini" means near the train station, "Tiber Bend" means near the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and Campo de' Fiori, and the others are self-evident.
Where to find cheap hotels in Rome
As in many cities, the heartland of cheap hotels in Rome is the streets surrounding the main train station (Termini). Also as in many cities, the streets around the station comprise a boring 19th-century grid a good half hour by bus or subway from the city center and most of the sights.
Still, when the best hotels downtown are full, you're likely to find rooms available around Termini. The streets north/northwest of the station are the nicest and have a better clutch of quirky, fun, inexpensive hotels, while the streets to the south of Termini (towards the church of Santa Maria Maggiore) tend to be a bit seedier and full of bland—if relatively cheap—tourist-class hotels.
This odd arrangement is a legacy of the fact that, 15 years ago, things were reversed: it was the area to the south that was nicer (and therefore filled with cookie-cutter hotels catering to packaged tours and bus groups) while the area to the north was dicier (and hence full of backpacker flophouses, which—since the neighborhood has been cleaned up—have renovated themselves into funky little hotels).
★ Hotel Pensione Papa Germano (Termini) [€–€€] - The impressively friendly and hyper-helpful Gino believes that being a host involves more than just providing beds. Papa Germano is perhaps the most comfortable, cozy hotel in its category, with richly patterned fabrics, TVs, a relaxing lounge with Internet stations, and incredibly low rates. Via Calatafimi 14a... » book
Hotel Fenicia (Termini) [€–€€] - A gem of a hotel amid a slew of budget dives, offering one-star prices for three-star comfort—including TV and A/C (which costs a bit extra to turn on). Spanking new modular units and firm beds rest on modern parquet floors. The bathrooms are (for Rome) remarkably spacious. The hotel is spread across three elevator-less floors: the first (standard rooms), second (classiest digs), and fourth (older, and generally smaller, rooms—except nos. 18 and 20, which are big and newly refurbished and have tiny balconies). Via Milazzo 20... » more
Hotel Colors (Vatican) [€–€€] - This fifth-floor walk-up in the residential Prati neighborhood ten blocks northeast of the Vatican has simple, spacious rooms painted in a supersaturated, whimsical, accident-at-the-Crayola-factory way. Only one room is shared dorm-style, and the largely young backpacking clientele tend to be of a more reserved, mature stripe. Via Boezio 31... » more
Fawlty Towers (Termini) [€–€€] - Early flight? Try crashing around the corner from Termini at this easygoing hotel and hostel that emanates that youthful, friendly, Backpackers-of-the-World-Unite hostel ambience—but without the dismal dorm atmosphere or party-hard agenda. Shared rooms only have four cots, and many rooms come with private bath. Via Magenta 39... » book
Camping Village Flaminio (Outskirts) [€] - The Villaggio Flaminio boasts 80,000 square meters of camping—tents, campers, and RVs—plus 90 self-catering bungalows for rent. It’s actually located within the Parco Regionale Vejo, so there's plenty of greenery to go around, but it's a bit of a haul from the city center. It's also where I lived for two months when I was 12 and my family was between apartments. Via Flaminia Nuova 821... » more
★★★ Hotel Villa San Pio (Aventine) [€€–€€€€] - Of the three sister hotels on the Aventine Hill (others: Aventino, San Anselmo), the San Pio is the stylish hideaway, two buildings bridged by a magnolia-shaded garden and solarium. Accommodation decor varies widely, some with tasteful modular furnishings on tile floors, others kitted out in grand 19th century style, all with excellent firm beds. The choicest rooms are in the structure beyond the gardens, where especially up on the first floor you're most likely to find the best combination of reproduction furnishings, Persian rugs on hardwood floors, painted ceilings, and ultra-mod baths with Jacuzzis (or perhaps a claw-footed tub). Via S. Melania 19... » more
★★ Albergo Abruzzi (Upper Tiber Bend) [€€–€€€€] - This former student crash pad has been renovated into a comfy three-star hotel with spacious rooms and one enormous selling point: you could open your bedroom window and practically poke the Pantheon with a stick. The view's in all rooms save a few singles—best from the large corner doubles with windows on two walls—but the view over one of the city's most popular piazzas does come with plenty of pedestrian noise that starts early and lasts late into the night. Piazza della Rotunda 69... » more
★★ Hotel Smeraldo (Lower Tiber Bend) [€€–€€€] - Until their prices started rising a bit, this was always the first place I called when I needed a room in Rome. (it's still a steal; I'm just cheap.) You just won't find another classy joint at these prices in the very heart of Rome—three blocks from Largo Argentina, three from Campo de' Fiori. You get burnished chestnut veneers, stone-tile floors, marble sinks, and all the electronic comforts of home (satellite TV, A/C). The fourth-floor patio is perfect for shady quiet (though there is some distant traffic rumble), and the rooftop terrace, fluttering with hotel sheets, offers sun and a panorama of rooftops. Vicolo dei Chiodaroli 9... » more
★★ Hotel Mimosa (Upper Tiber Bend) [€€] - The Mimosa has a golden location between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. It's a comfortable old shoe of a place, everything agreeably threadbare but well cared for, happily offering simple but sizeable, clean, and comfy simple rooms at often laughably low rates. They don't accept credit cards. Via Santa Chiara 61.. » more
★★ Hotel Aventino (Aventine) [€€–€€€€€] - The Aventino is the most downscale of the Aventine's mini hotel empire in converted 19th century villas (the others: San Anselmo, Villa San Pio) but this is a relative thing. It offers nearly as much class and style for 30 to 40 percent less the price. The Aventino is a lovely villa set in its own gardens, and the rooms have parquet or tile floors and eclectic furnishings—but still plenty of antique pieces. No. 346 has long columned balcony overlooking the road and surrounding mansions of this leafy, quiet, upscale enclave in the heart of Rome. Via S. Domenico 10... » more
★★ Hotel Nardizzi Americana (Via Veneto) [€€–€€€] - Nicola and Fabrizio have transformed their hotel into one of the best two-stars in town while keeping the rates reasonable—in part because this hotel is tucked into a corner of the historic center little trafficked by tourists, about halfway between Termini rail station and Villa Borghese park. The style of the hotel's decor is inspired by ancient Rome, with a patterned tile decor giving an inlaid-stone look to the public-area floors, and a narrow terrace where you take breakfast. The rooms now have richly patterned curtains and bedspreads—a few even boast wood-beam ceilings—and new bathrooms. There’s no double-glazing on the old-style windows, so for quiet, avoid rooms on the heavily trafficked Via XX Settembre side. Via Firenze 38... » more
★ Hotel Navona (Upper Tiber Bend) [€€–€€€] - Australia-raised architect Cory Natale and his parents and sister run this great hotel just off the south end of Piazza Navona. During renovations in 2003 (adding private baths, antique reproduction furnishings, and plaster stucco ceiling decorations appeared in all the rooms) they discovered frescoes in two of the rooms. Want more charm? Percy Bysshe Shelley once rented the top floor as an apartment. Despite all this, prices remain modest by Roman standards. The rooms have satellite TV and free WiFi. Via dei Sedari 8... » more
★ Hotel Pensione Panda (Tridente) [€€] - For the best balance of comfort, style, and insanely low prices in the very heart of Rome, the Panda wins, hands down, every time. The owner likes to describe the rooms as "quaintly spartan"—few frills or amenities—but there's plenty of old-fashioned character and the sort of attractive furnishings found at pricier inns. The washboard-vaulted ceilings are frescoed (second floor) or trimmed in stuccoes (first floor) over terrazzo flooring, wrought-iron wall sconces, and firm new bedsprings. Even rooms without private bath have sinks surrounded by antiqued stone tiles. All that and it's just two fashionista-teeming blocks from the Spanish Steps amid Rome's toniest shops. Via della Croce 35... » more
★ Hotel Marcus (Upper Tiber Bend) [€€–€€€] - The Marcus is handily one of Rome's best upper-end budget hotels—a smartly updated pensione in an 18th-century palazzo with high ceilings and the odd marble fireplace (in larger rooms) to give it character. It's that perfect inexpensive hotel that focuses on the important things: Salvatore and his wife are friendly as can be, the beds are new and firm, the bathrooms are decent, and there is the occasional touch of class, such as art deco lights, Persian rugs on patterned tile floors, or the odd antique furnishing. Via del Clementino 94... » more
★ Astoria Garden (Termini) [€€] - The prices are fantastic for the level of comfort and style at this late 19th-century palazzo, where the stuccoed ceilings of the bar and dark oils in the sitting room conjure an Old World atmosphere. The real selling point: a gravely garden shaded by palm, banana, and orange trees with a glassed-in verandah for breakfast year-round. Garden rooms enjoy the most quiet and the best view, and there are several bungalow-like accommodations across the garden for optimal tranquility. Manager Francesco Cusato is a nice guy, willing to work a discount if you're staying for a few days. Via V. Bachelet 8... » more
★ Hotel Des Artistes (Termini) [€€] - Trust me: if this place were located closer to the heart of town—rather than north of Termini train station—prices would be double, if not triple. It manages a great deal of comfortable class at a surprisingly low price, ensuring a mix of backpacking students and budget-minded families. Some of the large rooms can sleep up to six—perfect for families or a small group of friends. The beds are orthopedically sound, and the arte povera furnishings are among the nicest I've seen. Those rooms with stylish private baths also come with A/C (bathless rooms get a fan to help cool down). Via Villafranca 20... » more
★ Hotel Pensione Parlamento (Spanish Steps) [€€–€€€€] - The Parlamento has long offered that Holy Grail of hostelries: four-star class at two-star prices. It's sandwiched between the Corso (Rome's main drag) and Piazza San Silvestro (a major city bus terminus), but don’t be put off by the heavy street traffic. The hotel went ahead and installed double sets of double-glazed windows, which are pretty effective in dampening the noise. It's also a primo location. Walk any direction from the front door and within ten minutes you'll come to some major sight: the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Piazza Venezia, Via Veneto, or Augustus' Mausoleum. Via delle Convertite 5 at Via del Corso... » more
Villa delle Rose (Termini) [€€] - This family-run hotel offers an agreeable bit of faded grandeur in an 1870s villa set amid modest gardens less than two blocks from Termini. The threadbare rugs and frescoed ceiling of the lounge set the tone for the rooms, some of which have high coffered and stuccoed ceilings and Oriental rugs. Most accommodations are more basic, with bland modular units (which infest even the more nicely styled rooms) and older baths. Rooms overlooking either the flagstone sitting terrace or small, overgrown gardens are marginally quieter than those facing a street (plus, some have terraces).Via Vicenza 5... » more
Hotel Sole al Biscione (Lower Tiber Bend) [€€–€€€€] - This is Rome's oldest hotel, and I'd swear some of the rock-hard pillows, sway-backed cots, and peeling wall linoleum date back to the day it opened in 1462. But, really, that's the only downside—and that's by far not typical. Many rooms are in far better shape, with nicely-tooled, old-fashioned wood furnishings, and you get to pick your size: none are miniscule, but you can always trade up to a larger room for a bit more cash (and it has to be cash; credit cards are not accepted). The windows are double-glazed, but that does little against the nighttime noise pollution from revelers spilling out of the bar-lined piazza at the end of the street (this joint is just a block up from Campo de' Fiori); I'd request a room overlooking the garden courtyard. Via del Biscione 76... » book
Fraterna Domus (Upper Tiber Bend) [€€] - If you don't mind monastic simplicity, tiny bathrooms with curtain-less showers, and a decor that begins and ends with the small crucifix nailed above the bed, this hospice just north of Piazza Navona run by a lay sisterhood may be the ticket. The beds are firm, the tile floors kept next-to-godliness clean, and the price heavenly. The bad news: there's an 11pm curfew. They also offer excellent full, family-style dinners for a paltry €13 in the basement's communal dining room. Via Monte Brianzo 62... » more
★★ Hotel San Anselmo (Aventine) [€€€–€€€€€] - The San Anselmo is the posh, showy centerpiece of a midget hotel empire consisting of a trio of hotels on this quiet, leafy residential district atop one of Rome's famous seven hills (others: Villa San Pio and Aventino). Of the three, the San Anselmo has more consistently classy accommodations (though the best rooms at the friendlier San Pio definitely outshine). The public salons and halls are fitted with Oriental rugs, chandeliers, embroidered drapes, and other accoutrements of the 18th and 19th centuries. The bedrooms feature antiques or reproductions, embroidered headboards, rich wall fabrics, modernized baths, firm beds, and marble panel or stone tile floors. Third floor accommodations also have air-conditioning. Piazza Sant'Anselmo 2... » more
★★ Casa Kolbe Hotel (Ancient Rome) [€€€] - The Kolbe seems a world away from the craziness of the city, on a quiet, forgotten side street lost between the Tiber River and the ancient Roman Forum. In fact, the back entrance to the Forum is just a few hundred feet away—cool, huh? The Kolbe exudes that somber quiet that only a former monastery can muster, but it's comfy. It was recently renovated into a plush four-star hotel with a stylish modern look crammed with amenities, from plasma screen TVs and internet to mosaicked baths with Jacuzzi tubs. Those rooms that don't open onto the peaceful courtyard's palms and orange trees look instead across a little-trafficked street onto a romantically overgrown, semi-excavated portion of the ancient Palatine Hill. Via San Teodoro 44... » more
★ Hotel Campo de' Fiori (Lower Tiber Bend) [€€€–€€€€] - The location is primo: just off Campo de' Fiori, though since that has become one of Rome's top nightspots (lined by bars, pubs, vinerie, and late-night pizza parlors) the streets can stay noisy until quite late—like 2am—so be sure to request a room off the front. However, your opinion of how great a hotel it is depends largely on which room you snag. Some are blandly modern and carpeted while others sport brick arches and rustic wood-beam ceilings. Most are big enough, but there are a few cramped quarters barely big enough to fit the bed. I'm partial to room 602 for its views across the domes and rooftops of Rome. Everyone can enjoy the panorama from a communal roof terrace. Via del Biscione 6... » more
★★★ Hotel Raphael (Upper Tiber Bend) [€€€€–€€€€€] - Even from the outside, you just know this place will be special: an ivy-covered palazzo snuggled into the tangle of medieval, lightly-trafficked streets just off elegant Piazza Navona. I passed by it for years, gazing at that mighty ivy wall covetously, before I finally nabbed a travel writing assignment that allowed me the luxury of booking a room and spending the night. I was not disappointed. The Raphael does, indeed, make for an excellent plush choice, with well-appointed contemporary bedrooms and a terrific view from the roof terrace. It has amenities and facilities galore (including a fitness room), but be warned: a few of the rooms are quite small. Other guest quarters, on the other hand, have columns dividing them into multiple rooms, as if you were staying in your own, private Roman flat. The Raphael was worth the wait. Largo Febo 2, just off the northwest corner of Piazza Navona... » more
★★★ Hotel Art by The Spanish Steps (Spanish Steps) [€€€€–€€€€€] - The post-modern boutique hotel has arrived in the heart of ancient Rome—and what better place than the art gallery–filled Via Margutta, a quiet alley just a few yards from the poshest shopping streets around the Piazza di Spagna? The columns and vaulted ceilings of the entrance lobby speak of Italy, but the space is strewn with George Jetson furnishings and space age pods containing the reception desks. In the rooms, organically angular wooden furnishings and tall minimalist lines give a hint of Asian flair while lamps hanging from curling silver twigs, plush beddings, hardwood parquet floors, and avant-garde chairs and sofas show off contemporary Italian design. This funky joint is definitely not everybody's cup of cappuccino, but if you dig whimsical, futuristic design and elegant appointments and want to stay in the heart of the action (and the heart of Rome's best high-end shopping district), the Hotel Art is a memorable choice. Via Margutta 56... » more
★★ Grand Hotel de la Minerve (Upper Tiber Bend) [€€€€–€€€€€] - The Grand Hotel della Minerva has a killer location right on Piazza della Minerva, just off the southeast of the Pantheon. This five-star property overlooks the tiny square where Bernini's playful sculpture of a baby elephant balancing an obelisk on its back sits in front of Santa Maria sopra Minerva (a highly underrated Roman church, with works by Michelangelo and Filippo Lippi inside). And hey: we haven't even peeking inside the hotel yet, where the large rooms are fitted out with elegant modern furnishings, sometimes under ancient wood-bead ceilings. If you've got the scratch, The Minerva is a most excellent choice, enjoying one of the best, most central locations in all of the historic center. Piazza della Minerva 69... » more
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This material was last updated February 2011. All information was accurate at the time.
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