Photo: Hassler Hotel

This Five-Star Historic Hotel Has the Best Location in All of Rome

Rome Luxe Travel Epic Stays
by Morgane Croissant Dec 20, 2023

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Unless you get special permission from Rome officials to set up a tent on Piazza di Spagna, one of the most visited pedestrian squares in Rome’s historical center, there’s no better place to stay in the whole of the Eternal City than the Hassler Hotel. The historic establishment is at the top of the Spanish Steps, next door to Trinità dei Monti Church, and it overlooks the aforementioned piazza. Staying at this five-star hotel means that you’ll be within walking distance of the city’s emblematic landmarks, be able to watch the sunrise over the most iconic neighborhood in Rome from an exceptional vantage point, and even get the Spanish Steps all to yourself if you time it right.

View of the Hassler Hotel from the bottom of the Spanish Steps

The Hassler Hotel is the building at the top of the Spanish Steps, behind the palm tree. Photo: Hassler Hotel

That’s exactly what happened to me this past November when I was lucky enough to be invited to spend one night at the Hassler Roma. After a wine-filled evening at the on-site Salone Eva restaurant and an exceptionally comfortable night in one of the hotel’s Deluxe Double Rooms, I got up at an ungodly hour for a Sunday morning and walked out of the hotel to find myself alone on the Piazza della Trinità dei Monti, looking down at the crowd-free Spanish Steps. It is a privilege granted to few — only insomniacs and jet-lagged guests at the Hassler Hotel get to enjoy such a scene. I was so taken by the view that I almost forgot that a cornucopia of croissants and strong coffee was awaiting me inside. Luckily the breakfast room is just five steps to the left, so I made it well before the baked goods were all gone.

View from the Spanish Steps in Rome

Sunrise over Rome from the top of the Spanish Steps, where the Hasler Hotel is located. Photo: Jesse Adams

The Hassler Hotel: The luxurious haunt of VIPs for 130 years

Opened for the first time in 1893, the Hassler Hotel was entirely demolished in 1939 and subsequently rebuilt. Upon reopening in the late 1940s, it quickly became the favorite Roman pied-à-terre of heads of state, royals, and film stars. Today, the hotel is still owned by the same family (the sixth generation to run the place) and VIPs are still choosing the Hassler for their jaunts to the Italian capital. If you’re just as keen to rub shoulders with dignitaries and personalities as to visit the Pantheon or the Villa Borghese, the Hassler Hotel is the place to stay.

Trinità dei Monti Church and the Hasller Hotel. Photo: Jesse Adams
Exterior of the Hassler Hotel. Photo: Jesse Adams
Photo: Alberto Blasetti
Photo: Jesse Adams
Photo: Jesse Adams

That said, for an iconic five-star hotel, the Hassler Hotel is unusually discreet. There’s no golden columns, red-carpeted steps, flamboyant architecture, or extravagant fountains to indicate you’re about to enter one of the top hotels in Europe. The exterior is pretty, but simple, not trying to compete with the obvious gorgeous landmark at its feet and those in the surrounding streets. Inside, it’s a different story – the common spaces are grand, filled with chandeliers, paintings, sculptures, and mosaics, from the lobby to the elevator and the restaurants. The rooms and suites are modern, however, having been renovated recently for travelers to enjoy the latest conveniences and top-notch comfort. (Think huge beds, immense bathrooms, Dyson Supersonic hair dryers, etc.)

Fewer rooms means more space for travelers to rest their weary heads

The Hassler Hotel is not small, but it has only 87 rooms and suites, all uniquely decorated. I stayed in one of the smallest of them, a Deluxe Double Room with city views, yet I had more than enough space to swing a couple of dozen cats. The plush king-size bed, desk, sofa, armchair, dining table, massive walk-in closet, and the enormous marble bathroom (with a shower, tub, double sink, toilet, and bidet) provided much more room than my partner and I needed for such a short stay — a Classic Room, the smallest available, would have been more than adequate.

Photo: Jesse Adams
Photo: Jesse Adams
Photo: Jesse Adams
Photo: Jesse Adams

Travelers for whom the price tag is of no consequence should book the Villa Medici Penthouse or Hassler Penthouse. The views from the panoramic terraces are wild and the decor goes beyond what you’d expect, even from a luxury hotel.

Bathroom in the Hassler Penthouse.
Terrace of the Villa Medici Penthouse at the Hassler Hotel.
Living room in the Hassler Penthouse.

No matter what type of accommodation you opt for, request city views rather than courtyard views – waking up to Rome’s seemingly countless domes, spires, and tiled roofs never gets old.

If you can’t afford a penthouse, there are other ways to enjoy panoramic views of Rome

Spending the night in the Villa Medici Penthouse or the Hassler Penthouse comes at a price, but you don’t have to empty your pockets to enjoy the views from high up in the Hassler Hotel. Imàgo is a Michelin-starred restaurant serving contemporary Italian cuisine on the sixth floor of the hotel, where the city views are incredible. It’s also one of the chicest restaurants in the city, so dressing up is a must if you want to blend in with Rome’s notables. And if Imàgo does not float your boat, just revel in a glass of wine or a cup of coffee on the seventh floor panoramic terrace — it’s cheaper yet just as gorgeous.

Imàgo Restaurant
Salone Eva Restaurant at the Hassler Roma.
Dessert served at the Salone Eva at the Hassler Hotel. Photo: Jesse Adams

If you do want to indulge in the amazing food served at the Hassler Roma, but would like a more casual dining experience, book a table at Salone Eva, a living-room-like restaurant where live piano music accompanies breakfast, lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea. The ambiance is elegant yet relaxed, so don’t fuss. During my visit, I was treated to a fantastic four-course vegetarian dinner that was specially made for me, and served some phenomenal wines. Never have I tasted such refined food, or been waited on with such care and attention. In summer, you can opt to dine in the Palm Court, the outdoor garden.

The Hassler Hotel abounds with opportunities for relaxation

These days, every five-star hotel offers wellness and beauty treatments, and the Hassler is no exception. The Hassler’s Amorvero SPA, located on the third floor of the hotel, is the place for massages, facials, and body treatments. To compensate for the lack of a pool, there’s a sauna and a steam bath which guests need to book to enjoy privately. Of course, the Amorvero SPA also provides its guests with what the Hassler Hotel does best: knee-buckling city views.

The terrace of the Amorvero SPA at the Hassler hotel.

The terrace of the Amorvero SPA at the Hassler hotel.

There’s also a fitness center for those who feel bad about having baked goods for breakfast. Needless to say, I don’t have the slightest idea what it looks like.

Get out of the hotel, even if it’s the best one in the city

It would be easy to come to Rome and stay in the Hassler Hotel for your entire vacation. After all, you can see the Eternal City from your bedroom window, the spa, or the restaurant — no need to leave the bubble of luxury you’re enjoying so much. But, of course, that would be a huge mistake. The Hassler is so close to the city’s landmarks that you won’t have to exert yourself to see the best of Rome.

View of the Hassler Hotel from the Piazza di Spagna at the bottom of the Spanish Steps

Photo: Hassler Hotel

The Spanish Steps, the Trinità dei Monti Church, and the Piazza di Spagna are just outside the hotel’s door, so those are easy must-sees to cross off your list. The Villa Borghese is a 12-minute walk, the Trevi Fountain is a 17-minute walk, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona are just 22 minutes away, The Colosseum is a little further away (1.7 miles), and so is Vatican City (1.9 miles), but still very feasible on foot through the lovely streets of Rome.

If you’re keen to blend in with the Romans, hop in the orange line of the metro (line A). The Spagna station is at the bottom of the Spanish Steps and there’s an elevator by the Trinità dei Monti Church (about 20 seconds from the hotel’s entrance) to get you there even more easily.

If you prefer traveling around Rome in a private taxi, the hotel’s concierge will arrange it all for you in a cinch. Much like everything else at the Hassler, all you need is to ask and you’ll get what you want without lifting a finger.

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