Review: the W Rome hotel, with W’s new ‘grown up’ design
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This is our review of the W Hotel in Rome.
It is one of the newest W Hotels to open and part of the big brand expansion in Europe. Other recent Ws to open include W Algarve which has had good reader feedback. W Budapest and W Edinburgh are due to open later this year.
Crucially, the W Rome showcases a new, more sophisticated design language as the brand starts to grow up in its mid-twenties. Whilst this isn’t an official change, it quickly becomes apparent if you have stayed at older W hotels.
Whilst W Rome has still retained the vibrancy and personality of the W brand, overall it is done with a bit more panache and classiness, versus the glossy (and occasionally gaudy) aesthetic of the 2000s.
The W Rome is my 7th W Hotel and, personally, I like where it is headed! We wrote a feature on the history of the W brand last year – see here.
Thanks to Marriott for arranging my stay for review purposes.
Where is W Rome?
Right in Ludovisi, an upscale neighbourhood in the northern part of the city centre.
It is the home of numerous luxury hotels, as well as embassies and upmarket residences. In fact, Villa Aurora – Caravaggio’s only ceiling fresco – is just next door (and on the market, if anyone is interested!).
This is largely a pleasant and fairly quiet neighbourhood, definitely out of the hustle and bustle of the touristic areas, although its location does mean it is slightly off-centre. The closest attractions are the Spanish Steps and the Villa Borghese. Walk a little further and you can reach the Pantheon (20 minutes) and the Roman Forum (25 minutes).
Conveniently, Barbieri Metro Station is served by the A train and is just two stops away from Rome Termini station. There are also a number of rental car companies down the road, if you need some wheels.
Inside the W Rome hotel
Whilst the majority of W Hotels are in new builds, the W Rome is the first I’ve stayed at where it has been integrated into the historic fabric of the existing buildings. I was keen to see how the W worked when confined by these limitations.
As it turns out, the most visible changes are that public spaces tend to be smaller compared to the sprawling lobbies of the W Barcelona or W Dubai The Palm. Immediately inside is a small lobby lounge:
You’ll find the concierge here, whilst check-in is done in a little room to the left:
I was checking in very early – around 9am – fully aware that the room was unlikely to be ready but that I could leave my bags. However, they did offer to email me when the room was ready which and promptly did so at 11:30am, much swifter than I was expecting.
Rooms at W Rome
As always with W Hotels, the rooms have a slightly confusing naming system consisting of ‘Wonderful’, ‘Fabulous’, ‘Fantastic’, ‘Sensational’ rooms and more. I can never quite tell which is meant to be better than the next.
The rooms aren’t huge, and indeed the difference between the entry-level Fabulous room (23sqm) and the highest non-suite Sensational room (25sqm) is just 2sqm. I suspect the biggest difference is down to the aspect and view you get, with lower-tier rooms closer to the bottom.
I was given, I believe, a Sensational room on the fourth floor, with just one level of guest rooms above me. Immediately to the right is a set of wardrobes, with a clothes steamer, safe, robes and the usual bits.
To the left is a bathroom clad in contrasting black and white marble:
There is just one wash basin which is slightly overcrowded with amenities. Under the sink is a Dyson hairdryer.
Behind this is a toilet and bidet, whilst the shower is behind a fluted glass door:
Toiletries are the usual W Hotels ‘MOMO’ toiletries which I have a real soft spot for. I love the green colour and the subtle scent:
It is not, admittedly, the biggest bathroom, but it does manage to squeeze a lot in. The only thing missing, for me, was more hooks by the shower to hang towels and robes.
After the bathroom is the room itself. It features a large king bed:
Opposite the bed is the TV. There’s also a single chair and small round table:
Underneath the TV is the mini bar, inside the vibrant cabinet. As is standard for W Hotels this is fully stocked including small bottles of spirits. An Illy coffee machine as well as a kettle are also provided.
The room also had access to a small balcony overlooking the courtyard:
Due to the shape and location of the building I doubt any of the rooms have real ‘city’ views – the majority must overlook the courtyard whilst some will face the street.
Overall, whilst not the biggest, I like the way the rooms have been designed. Although subtle, there are playful nods to the history of the building in the way the wood panelling has been fitted, such as how some of the borders go round corners.
One thing I would’ve liked to have seen is a more obvious spot for a luggage rack, as the room was fairly crowded with furniture. I ended up putting my suitcase on the floor in the corner, but it could get quite difficult with more than one as there is no real space to put them.
Rooftop pool and gym at W Rome
Undoubtedly one of the selling points of the W Rome is the rooftop pool and bar, located on the sixth floor. This is a relatively small space – you certainly won’t be swimming more than a couple of metres in the pool. This photo was taken after the lounger cushions were removed – don’t worry!
There can only have been 15 sun loungers or so. I imagine it gets quite busy in the summer, when the pool is a pleasant spot to cool off.
Around the courtyard, on the other building, you’ll find Seu Pizza con Vista, the rooftop restaurant/bar. Again, this is not huge – maybe 20 covers – but it does have some spectacular views over the Swiss embassy:
…. as well as over the city as a whole. You can clearly see the Altar of the Fatherland and the roof of the Pantheon:
Down in the basement is the maze-like gym which was surprisingly big. With mirrored walls everywhere and the historic foundations it was slightly disorienting.
Breakfast at W Rome
Breakfast is served on the ground floor in the Giano Restaurant, with the courtyard next door also available. For €30 you have your choice of the buffet and one a la carte item – or you can just order from the a la carte menu.
Since there are a la carte options the buffet isn’t huge but it does cover the basics, including a wide range of pastries and breads:
Cold cuts included slices of ham, turkey and beef:
There’s fruit, cereal and various grains and seeds:
…. plus yoghurts and fruit juices, although the orange juice definitely wasn’t fresh real orange juice which was a shame.
I asked for eggs royale. Unfortunately they had run out of salmon, so I had to make do with bacon:
I liked W Rome a lot, but in some ways it was the least W Hotel I’ve ever been to. It felt far less party-focussed (and had far more families staying) than any other W I’ve seen. It was generally much more laid back.
The heritage buildings meant it felt cosier than some of the biggest W sites but the design team did a good job in using the spaces smartly – I always like a hotel that has a bit of character and doesn’t just look like another cookie-cutter clone.
Rates at the W Rome start from €485, with redemptions from 80,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. You can find out more, and book, on the hotel website here.
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