Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same goes for hotly anticipated hotel Six Senses Rome, as it still hasn’t flung open its Baroque doors yet. Housed in the 18th-century Unesco-listed Palazzo Salviati Cesi Mellini on a hallowed shopping street between the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon (so, super central), it’s heralded for later this year. But all augurs well, with brilliant Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola enhancing restoration work with a fitting mod look (using swooshy Travertine marbles and cocciopesto finishes), a roof terrace with landmark-packed views, and even its own set of Roman baths. Yes, the wait feels as eternal as the city, but we’re certain of enthusiastic thumbs ups in the future, and we, for one, can’t wait for the empirical experience.
Please note, the hotel is still refining its look, but in the meantime, these CGI images will give you a taste of what to expect.
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A 30-minute foot massage or body scrub each for two
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £890.10 (€1,040), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €10.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates don’t include breakfast, but you get free access to the Roman Baths (sessions must be booked), the Earth Lab for eco-friendly activities and tips, and a Guest Experience Manager to act as a personal concierge.
The hotel’s common areas and some Superior rooms will be accessible for guests with mobility issues.
At the hotel
Spa with Roman baths, hammam, sauna, steam room and ‘biohacking’ room; meditation space; gym; roof terrace; organic fruit and vegetable garden; alfresco courtyard; Alchemy Bar; Earth Lab; boutique; free WiFi. In rooms: Lavazza coffee machines.
Our favourite rooms
The two styles of two-bedroom suite (Lata and Mellini) will have the sort of assets befitting of their Baroque shell, with vast terraces, classically beautiful views, and the odd smattering of antiques or a service entrance for staff to discreetly enter a kitchen. However, the Corner Suites will be a touch cosier and have dual-aspect views – including the Altare della Patria. Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola (who’s many credentials include being awarded the Order of Isabella the Catholic by King Juan Carlos I of Spain) has done a stellar design job, using soothing hues and modern silhouettes to create glamorous contemporary spaces, while paying tribute to Rome’s history, using cocciopesto-textured walls, Travertine and polychrome marbles, and local artwork.
If you’re getting a little stiff in the gluteus maximus, get thee to the spa, which has its very own set of Roman baths (a caldarium, tepidarium and frigidarium) for soaking and soothing. There are also five treatment rooms for therapies using all-natural Seed to Skin and Biologique Recherche products, a roomy hammam, sauna, steam room, solarium and a brisk ice fountain. Plus, if you feel like a gladiator post-tournament, a ‘biohacking’ room will have smart bits of tech to ease any aches. Then, take a philosophical pause in the meditation room, or try your hand at aerial yoga.
With all the wine bottles, bags of pasta, cheeses, meats and more you’ll be bringing back with you, there’ll be little room for much else, but definitely leave the reviled-in-Rome selfie stick at home.
The spa’s Alchemy Bar will have a range of natural ingredients you can use to mix your own shampoos, body washes, scrubs and more.
Children will be able to stay – the two-bedroom suites are family-sized, baby cots can be added to most rooms, and babysitting can be arranged, but this some rooms might be a touch too rarefied for rowdy young ‘uns.
Palazzo Salviati Cesi Mellini – the Baroque 18th-century residence of papal nephews and cardinal-elders – is Unesco protected, and so great pains have been taken in its conversion. Its figure- and column-encrusted façade has been brought back to stateliness, as is the central staircase, and Patricia Urquiola has been true to the locale in her design of the rooms, using largely local materials and traditional methods such as cocciopesto textured walls and Travertine marble in bathrooms. The chief executive officer overseeing the update studied culture and art in Florence and has said: ‘This is more than a building to me. It is a human project’, so it’s guaranteed to be completed with a lot of love. And, the group are sponsoring the refurbishment of the neighbouring Church of San Marcello’s façade too. But it’s not just about the bigger pictures: the hotel will be entirely free of single-use plastics; have a compost machine to recycle waste; use herbs, fruits and vegetables from a rooftop garden to supply the kitchen; install LED lighting; and have underfloor heating in bathrooms. Plus the hotel will re-invest in itself, with 0.5 per cent of profits going towards sustainability efforts – to learn all about it, and pick up some eco-tips, visit the onsite Earth Lab.
We’ll take 360 landmark-laden degrees of Rome any day on the roof terrace.
Toga? Or not toga? Maybe an elegant twist on one.
In Latin, Bivium means ‘a place where two ways meet’ and the hotel’s marketplace-style eatery will very much be a laidback mingling spot for chic catch-ups. Partially supplied by the fruit, vegetable and herb garden on the roof, and Rome’s fabulous producers filling in the gaps, Bivium’s menu will skew mod-Italian, half made up with plant-based dishes (quite unique for Italy). The dining space, spilling into the courtyard, will have a rib-cage of blush-coloured girders, marble-slab tables and niches of cushioned banquettes, plus a riot of green. This will comprise the restaurant and bar, a café, bakery and even a crudité bar.
There will be a bar in Bivium, but who can resist a roof terrace in Rome? Behold the city in all its antique glory, from Notos bar (named for the god of the south wind), while sipping a local wine, Aperol spritz or cocktail made using house-made bitters, tonics and tinctures, amid the fragrant fruit and herb gardens and terracotta-potted plants.
Bivium serves all day, and Notos opens from 6pm to 1am.
Six Senses Rome is in the Centro Storico, sandwiched between the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain, in the very grand Palazzo Salviati Cesi Mellini on the Piazza di San Marcello, just off boutique-lined Via Del Corso.
Both Rome Fiumicino and Ciampino are a 40-minute drive away. The hotel can help to arrange transfers on request.
Rome’s main Termini Station is just a 10-minute drive from the hotel. Staff can send a car for you if needed.
We don’t recommend driving in Rome, getting to grips with the laws of the Limited Traffic Zones is as complicated as keeping track of Jupiter’s affairs, and parking spots in the Centro Storico so mythical they could have been written by Ovid. However, if you’re road-tripping across Italy and need somewhere to stash your wheels, the hotel has a carpark and valet service.
Worth getting out of bed for
Via del Corso dates back to 220BC, so it’s seen quite a few of the Centro Storico’s ancient treasures emerge over the years and winds its way between two of the biggies: the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain (both about a block away). In the 19th century it became famous for horse-riding, however, it’s become better known in recent years for its boutiques. Many of the biggest names are here: Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Moncler… And the list continues on its neighbouring streets – Condotti, Frattina and Borgognona, all of which are very well-heeled and may cost you a fortune. But, your journey into Rome’s past begins just next door – the San Marcello al Corso church is a rich trove of statuary and paintings by Italian past-masters, which the hotel is helping to conserve. Then, go throw a coin or three in the Trevi Fountain (it all goes towards a homeless charity, so you can spare a few Euros), marvel at the Pantheon’s optical-illusion domed ceiling, and then go a little further to another former racecourse: Piazza Navona to sit by its trio of fountains swarmed with buff mythological gods and anthropomorphisms. In the other direction lies the Palazzo del Quirinale and its neatly arranged gardens, and Vicus Aquarius, an ancient part of the city buried nine metres underground. The massive archaeological park containing the Forum and the Colosseum is about a 20-minute walk south, and the Spanish Steps a 10-minute walk north. If you’ve seen as many pallid statues and exquisitely rendered biblical scenes as you can cope with, then rent a Vespa and head over the Tiber to Trastevere, a charming cobble-laned neighbourhood that’s recently become a hipster hangout for its craft-brewing scene and thriving nightlife. Mooch about in Piazza di Santa Maria people watching, marvel at frescoes by the likes of Raphael in the Villa Farnesina, climb up the Gianicolo hill, then reward your exertions with a slice of wood-fired pizza. Back at the hotel, you can soak achy legs in the Roman baths then head up to the roof terrace for aperitivo hour. And, keep an eye out for any upcoming events, the sociable ground floor is built for drama, music and more.
Sure, a lot of good things have come out of Rome: education, sanitation, civilization… But, have you tried cacio e pepe? Along with amatriciana, carbonara, deep-fried artichokes, veal saltimbocca and single serves of pizza, food is definitely one of Rome’s greatest gifts. It would take as long as the capital took to build (i.e. much longer than a day) to eat your way through it, but here are our pared-down picks. Pierluigi, close to Piazza Navona, is a staunch favourite that’s hosted presidents, celebs and CEOs; but, most importantly, serves stonkingly good food. For starters try an elegantly flavour-paired carpaccio or tartare (amberjack in melon sauce with ginger, red prawns in strawberry gazpacho); for primi, perhaps fusillone with asparagus, saffron and burrata; finely-sliced Florentine steak to follow and – of course – the tiramisu. Book way ahead for Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina, a deli-cum-eatery in which the walls are stacked with delicious things and you’d probably murder a cat if you tried to swing it. Dishes are fairly simple – mortadella with parmesan curls and bread, Cantabrian Sea anchovies with vanilla and yuzu butters, courgette flowers stuffed with oxtail stew and fondue – but everything is exquisite. Also big on provenance is Colline Emiliane, which sources from giga-gastro region Emilia-Romagna. Demolish meat and cheese platters, slurp up meat dumplings in a rich broth, and drink down the creamy zabaione mousse. But, back to that cacio e pepe – Felice a Testaccio is a bit of a schlep from the hotel, but it’s believed to be the best, with tonnarelli tossed tableside in drifts of parmesan and pecorino.
Peckish? Head for Pizzarium, an immensely popular by-the-slice joint close to the Vatican City. Toppings change frequently, but all are assuredly gourmet, and while it’s a fairly low-key joint, you can also get champagne to pair with your slice. And, picnic fixings rarely come finer than at La Tradizione deli.
The Eternal City turns it up after dark, with dressed-to-impress crowds and a chic cocktail scene (and molto wine). Start on the hotel’s roof terrace then head to Il Goccetto, where iron chandeliers hang from the mediaeval painted ceiling, and bottles are piled high. Seek out the Jerry Thomas Project, a Twenties-style speakeasy, which only serves house spirits (the Vermouth del Professore is a strong source of pride), swing by Chapter Roma’s art-clad drinkery for hip young things, then finish at Drink Kong, which – as the name suggests – is styled after Eighties video games.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this gloriously pompous palazzo in the Centro Storico and unpacked their bag of handmade tortellini and slab of vacuum-sealed porchetta, a full account of their one-of-the-classics break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Six Senses Rome…
Rome might need to change its ‘Invicta’ motto, because the Six Senses group is coming to conquer it. For their next city stay, they’ve taken residence in the Baroque 18th-century Palazzo Salviati Cesi Mellini, once home to Pope Paul II’s nephew and high-ranking cardinals. With some artful nips and tucks they’ve given it a facelift and restored its grand staircase, but otherwise there’s a contemporary look for the modern side of the cosmopolis, created by coolly creative avant-garde-ss Patricia Urquiola. And, while some aspects hark back to the ancients: Roman baths, a kitchen garden, Travertine marble flourishes, the decorated-to-the-nines San Marcello al Corso church right next door, this is a stay that lives in the now with a market-style eatery serving a half plant-based menu, a rare romantic roof terrace with views all around (ideal for crepuscolo selfies), and even steps into the future a little bit with a ‘biohacking’ room in the spa. A stay that – when it opens (stamps feet impatiently) – promises to praise the best of the past and embrace the most alluring of the present. Rome, consider yourself overwhelmed.