It's the click of your heels on inlaid marble, the whisper of 600-thread count Frette sheets, the murmured buongiorno of a coat-tailed porter bowing low as you pass. It's a rustic attic room with wood-beamed ceilings, a white umbrella on a roof terrace, a 400-year-old palazzo. Maybe it's the birdsong warbling into your room as you swing open French windows to a sun-kissed view of the Colosseum, a timeworn piazza, a flower-filled marketplace.
When it comes to accommodations, Rome offers a wide selection of high-end hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, designer boutique hotels, and quiet options that run the gamut from whimsical to luxurious. Whether you want a simple place to rest your head or a complete cache of exclusive amenities, you have plenty to choose from.
Luxury hotels like the Eden, the Hassler, and the Hotel de Russie are justly renowned for sybaritic comfort: postcard views over Roman rooftops, white linen and silver at a groaning-table breakfast buffet, and the fluffiest towels. But in other categories, especially moderate and inexpensive, standards vary considerably. That's a nice way of saying that very often, Rome's budget hotels are not up to the standards of space, comfort, quiet, and service that are taken for granted in the United States: you’ll still find places with tiny rooms, lumpy beds, and anemic air-conditioning. Happily, the good news is that if you're flexible there are happy mediums aplenty.
One thing to figure out before you arrive is which neighborhood you want to stay in There are obvious advantages to staying in a hotel within easy walking distance of the main sights. If a picturesque location is your main concern, stay in one of the small hotels around Piazza Navona or Campo de' Fiori. If luxury is a high priority, head for Piazza di Spagna or beyond the city center, where price-to-quality ratios are higher and some hotels have swimming pools. Most of Rome's good budget hotels are concentrated around Termini station, but here accommodations can vary widely, from fine to seedy, and you'll have to use public transportation to get to the historic part of town.