There's much more to brag about than proximity to the Colosseum at this chic boutique hotel set in an 1870 mansion. Each of the small guest rooms is named after famous Italian painters like Tiziano, Cellini, and Michelangelo, and the decor in each suggests the work of its namesake artist. All are sumptuously frescoed and have French windows and elegant, marble-tiled bathrooms (some with Jacuzzis). The hotel is wonderfully situated on the romantic Celian Hill, just a stroll from the Santi Quattro Coronati Church and the Villa Celimontana park. Other perks include the rooftop terrace, where breakfast is served in warmer months, and a fitness center.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The hotel claims to have a pool in the summertime, but it's little more than an inflatable wading pool that is not frequently refilled.
Rooms have recently been renovated in a beautifully romantic Baroque style. Each room has a Renaissance theme, so you'll be directed to stay in the Tiziano, Cellini or Michelangelo. Wallpaper is regally intricate and period oil paintings or frescoes cover the walls. Bed and pillows are quite flat, but lovingly covered in decadent gold and red bedspreads. Rooms come with cable TV, minibar and safe. The Pompeian Suite has a private rooftop terrace with a sweeping view of the Colosseum.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Most of the rooms don't receive a lot of sunlight, and the hotel can get noisy at night.
Although bathrooms run small, they are clean and provide a variety of toiletries including shampoo and shower gel as well as a wall hairdryer. The larger suites come equipped with a Jacuzzi bathtub.
The lobby is in classical Roman style with high wooden ceilings, tiled mosaic floors, rich fabric wall hangings and pillars throughout.
YOU SHOULD KNOW You'll need to go up a small flight of stairs to reach the lobby.
There's a small hamman in the hotel basement, with walls elegantly decorated in celestial mosaics. And the hotel's beauty center, e-Wellness, is just across the street, where you can do your nails or get a facial or massage.
Depending on the season the hotel may offer free services at e-Wellness with your reservation.
A tiny gym room holds a few cardio machines and weights. The walls are decorated with beautiful Italian film icons, if you need some inspiration for working out.
Continental breakfast is served on the roof terrace. While the coffee is good and strong, food options are the bare minimum.
You're in the center of it all and major attractions can be reached on foot. You'll also be well-connected via bus and metro lines, with the Colosseo metro stop a 7-minute walk away.
At Crab (2-minute walk) you can choose your seafood, a lot of it freshly caught that day, before it goes to the grill. It's fine dining at reasonable prices. The menu at Michelin-starred Aroma (4-minute walk) focuses on sustainable dishes. But chances are you'll be more focused on the view overlooking the Colosseum.
Shamrock (1-minute walk) is a popular dive bar decked out in green walls and lighting with a slew of beers on tap. British tourists flock to Camden Town (2-minute walk), an Irish bar which plays an amazing 80s playlist whenever a game isn't on.
WHY WE LIKE IT
This friendly hotel is in a prime location for sightseeing. Hotel staff go out of their way to accommodate visitors. It's a great deal for what it is, with beautiful details like mosaics and frescoes throughout the hotel. While in some regards the hotel is trying too hard, with an inflatable kiddie pool trying to pass off as a rooftop pastime, the hotel has more amenities than most hotels in its range. The small gym and wellness center seem to be an afterthought, but get the job done. With each room being unique in design and decor the Celio is one-of-a-kind.