The vibe: The centro storico’s first true urban resort
Location: Piazza di San Marcello | View on Google Maps
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The AFAR take
With its focus on sustainability, cultural heritage, and contemporary art and design, Six Senses Rome offers a modern-day urban retreat for both travelers and Romans in the centro storico (historic center). Located along the southern end of Via del Corso, a few steps from Piazza Venezia and the monumental Altare della Patria, the 96-room hotel is the first city resort from the sustainability-minded hotel brand, known for its wellness hotels in rural settings ranging from Portugal to the Maldives. It’s housed in the Palazzo Salviati Cesi Mellini, the onetime residence of 18th-century Roman Catholic cardinal Mario Mellini and, later, the noble Aldobrandini family.
A restoration preserved the original travertine and cocciopesto (an ancient Roman flooring technique), while Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola imbued the interiors with undulating shapes, neutral hues, and natural woods and stone. The hotel’s bi-level spa with three plunge pools is a call back to Ancient Rome’s sprawling centers for well-being, like the city’s massive Baths of Caracalla (its ruins still stand today). A leafy rooftop bar has become a go-to summer cocktail scene. It overlooks Chiesa di San Marcello, a baroque church next door that’s also on view from most of the hotel’s piazza-facing guest rooms. The facade dates back to 1690s but was darkened by years of urban emissions and pollution. Six Senses Rome sponsored the recent restoration of the facade, and it’s finally getting its due attention.
Who’s it for?
Six Senses Rome lies within walking distance of many notable piazzas and monuments, making it perfect for history lovers who want to immerse themselves in Rome’s nearly three millennia of history. Couples or friends traveling together will appreciate the chance to relax on site in the spa or connect either at the rooftop bar or over the organic, locally sourced menu at the subterranean Bivium restaurant. Travelers who seek out responsible hotel experiences will appreciate the brand’s sustainability ethos, including local food sourcing and the elimination of single use plastic.
The hotel is ideal for families who want to maximize their time at the major historic sites but need easy access to a home base. Upon check-in, children under 12 get tokens for artisanal gelato made on site by executive chef Nadia Frisina. Pets weighing up to 22 pounds are welcome.
Situated just off the major Via del Corso thoroughfare in tranquil Piazza San Marcello, Six Senses is ideal for exploring the city’s ancient history on foot. The Roman Forum, Colosseum, and Piazza di Spagna are all a 10- to 12-minute walk away, while the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain are 5 minutes away. Guests can get a taste of contemporary dolce vita on nearby Via del Babuino and Via dei Condotti, home to Italian fashion boutiques and Antico Caffe Greco, Rome’s oldest coffee shop.
Preserving the palace’s original marbles, travertine limestone, and linear ornamental designs, architect Patricia Urquiola carefully evolved the interiors into a 21st-century retreat.
Preserving the palace’s original marbles, travertine limestone, and linear ornamental designs, Urquiola carefully evolved the interiors into a 21st-century retreat. She extrapolated on the palace’s original elements with more travertine, cocciopesto plaster, warm woods, natural light, and muted hues. In the 96 guest rooms, custom-designed pieces, including floor-to-ceiling wooden armoires with rounded edges, bring a softness to the spaces. Organic mattresses and bedding come from the brand’s own Sleep with Six Senses collection. (For those who need help sleeping, the Six Senses Jet Lag program offers meditation, nutrition, low-intensity training, and yoga.) All suites and several guest rooms have private terraces. The artwork in the rooms—paintings, photographs, and sculptures—represents emerging contemporary Italian artists.
The food and drink
Sicilian chef Nadia Frisina oversees the ground-floor Bivium, a restaurant and lounge with an expansive piazza. The menu is pan-Italian, so expect such local specialities as carciofi alla romana (braised artichokes) and Lazian wine alongside Frisina’s favorite Sicilian dishes. For a bird’s-eye view of Via del Corso, head up to Notos, the expansive top-floor garden terrace, which is lined with olive trees, grape vines, and flowering herbs. The cocktail menu centers on botanical-inspired cocktails using Italian-made spirits like amaro.
Staff and service
Born in the Eternal City, general manager Francesca Tozzi is ever-present to guests who want to tap her insider intel. Her team is young, stylish, friendly, and multilingual—and they feel more like friends than staff.
Six Senses meets all ADA standards and regulations. There are five ADA-compliant rooms with barrier-free access and auxiliary and emergency support. The hotel has four elevators and a ground-level entrance with no steps.
Wellness, Roman style
Six Senses’ crowning jewel is the Roman Spa, a two-floor wellness area. One floor offers a range of experiences, including facials, massages, meditation sessions, sound baths, and aerial yoga. There’s a low-lit lounge area with a selection of snacks, including house-made pastries and dried fruits like Medjool dates. The spa products include Biologique Recherche and Seed to Skin.
The ground level focuses on ancient Roman bathing rituals with three plunge pools—a calidarium, tepidarium, and frigidarium (hot, lukewarm, and cold water). There’s a hammam, a dry sauna, and emotional showers (sensory shower experiences with mood lighting, aromatherapy, and water jets). This floor also contains a state-of-the-art fitness room and the Six Senses Alchemy Bar, a corner filled with oils, herbs, and salts where guests can mix their own scrubs and creams.