Opulence meets history in Rome: A review of Bulgari Roma Hotel

LA TERRAZZA rooftop terrace at Bulgari Roma Hotel, Rome
LA TERRAZZA rooftop terrace at Bulgari Roma Hotel, Rome

With that spa, that view, and the kind of ultra-luxury details you would only expect from a designer brand, Bulgari Roma Hotel  is a cosmopolitan oasis unlike any other in the Italian capital

Since the ancient times of emperors, when the Forum was filled with life (and political intrigue), Rome has been known as a city of luxury. No expense was spared when designing its breathtaking palaces and temples, its basilicas and its piazzas. This quest for utmost opulence then extended to the famous fashion houses that call the Eternal City home – like Bulgari, which began its existence in 1884 with a boutique on Via Sistina.

Bulgari extended its reach into the hotel business in 2004, but surprisingly its first iteration was in Milan, not Rome. Since then, Bulgari has opened eight other hotels worldwide in desirable locations such as Paris and Tokyo – but it took over twenty years for the fashion house to finally find its home in its origin city. Now, in 2023, the wait is over. Home for Bulgari Roma was found in a 1940s-era building in the heart of Campo Marzio, on Piazza Augusto Imperatore. Close to the Spanish Steps, Pantheon and Ara Pacis, Bulgari Roma proves that patience is a virtue.

The arrival

With rooms at Bulgari Roma Hotel starting at 1,900 Euro per night (approximately $3,000 AUD), expectations are, naturally, high. Bulgari is aware of this, and the experience begins not from the moment you enter the palatial foyer, complete with a marble bust of Emperor Augustus – part of Bulgari’s commitment to supporting the restoration projects of the Torlonia collection, but as you walk through the piazza. Passing the breezy alfresco space of Il Caffè, Bulgari Roma’s relaxed dining space, your suitcase cruises smoothly along polished marble (the height of luxury after traversing Rome’s cobbled streets), a gentle waft of green tea, the Bulgari hotel signature scent, floating from the hotel doors.

At the entrance, more than one smartly dressed porter will greet you with a warm and welcoming smile, offer water, take your bags and direct you to check-in. This happens in seconds. Service is paramount at Bulgari Hotel, and while the interiors will take your breath away, it is the efforts of staff that make the experience so premium. As executive vice-president Silvio Ursini says, Bulgari Roma is an “oasis in the middle of Rome,” and what is more refreshing than the literal and figurative weight of travel being entirely removed from your shoulders?

In the room

If you have seen images of the hotel online, you have likely also seen the pure cashmere throws emblazoned with the Bulgari name. These, a small note advises, are dry-cleaned daily. The mini bar is stocked full of fresh-pressed juices, Italian beer and wine, premium mineral water and soft drinks, the latter of which is complimentary. If you’ve managed to forget an essential bathroom item, you’ll find it in the amenities provided, which are plentiful, featuring the usual items along with a hairbrush, dental kit featuring Marvis toothpaste, and pumice stone. There is an oversized, sunken bath. There is a turn-down service complete with evening tea. There is a pillow menu – although you won’t need it given the sumptuous king-sized bed is as close to cloud-like as you could get, with buttery-soft Egyptian combed cotton linens. In short, all details have been considered.


The spa

Downstairs is the very talked-about spa. Modelled on traditional Roman bathing, a floor-sized pool is coloured shimmering turquoise thanks to an opalescent mosaic floor by Bisazza, its length dotted with imposing black marble columns. A dual fountain pours from one end, the Bulgari logo glittering in its centre. Poolside, you’ll find oversized padded lounges separated into private sections, cocooning you in solitude. Currently, the hotel caps pool attendance to nine guests at a time, meaning the space never feels overwhelming and always retains its calm.

At the spa reception, helpful staff will guide you through the wealth of wellness offerings, from four-hand massages to ultra-luxe Augustinus Bader facials. However, it’s likely you will struggle to leave the change rooms, which feature a steamy Turkish hammam and invigorating Finnish sauna, a basin filled with constantly-flowing ice chips between them (for those game enough to ice-shower between sessions). Again, everything has been considered – there are plush bath sheets (one side cosy, the other a fast-drying terry), pristine showers with Bulgari products, even a swimming costume spin-dry and Bulgari-branded wet bag for your exit.

The dining

When dusk settles over Rome, it would be a mistake if you were to skip La Terrazza. Rome really does not optimise its incredible scenic rooftop views, but the Bulgari Hotel has made it a feature of its property, situating its dimly lit, seductive bar high up above the city streets, overlooking the city’s historic facades. The oasis theme continues here – La Terrazza is a romantic palatial garden designed to feel like your private terrace, with deep lounges tucked between its hundreds of rehomed potted plants. Signature cocktails are on offer as well as the finest of spirits. If you’re after a perfect martini, you’ll find one here.

Downstairs you’ll find Ristorante – Niko Romito, the epitome of fine dining. The cosy, intimate venue is awash with rich burgundy velvet. Romito is one of Italy’s most celebrated chefs and has brought his love for fresh, contemporary Italian fare featuring seasonal and local ingredients to Bulgari Roma.

Bulgari Roma’s complimentary breakfast forgoes the frenetic energy of a buffet. Instead, expect to peruse page after page of breakfast meals and sides catering to every kind of diner, trying to choose what style of meal you’re in the mood for. Make like the Italians and order flaky breakfast pastries coupled with sharp espresso, or lean into savoury favourites like Eggs Benedict and Shakshuka. Items are modestly sized, so exploring the menu is encouraged.

As elevator doors swish open to reveal vintage Bulgari Serpenti pieces from the 1970s, glittering under the soft foyer lighting, it’s clear that Bulgari Roma has fulfilled its intention – to bring history and luxury together in a cosmopolitan oasis.

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