“A car cannot go there,” said my bewildered taxi driver when I gave him the address of Umiltà 36, the boutique hotel named for its location on Via Umiltà that opened in Rome in August. He assumed anything that close to a major landmark like the Trevi Fountain would be blocked off. (He was wrong.) Instead, it’s tucked away on a narrow side street off the major thoroughfare Via del Corso. And as is the trademark of its new but growing hotel company Shedir Collection, it’s an intimate, highly designed, cozy home away from home like its two other siblings in the city and the next one to come online: Palazzo Roma, next spring.
There’s a wow factor as soon as you walk into Umilta 36, directly into the high-ceilinged Grand Hall through an archway with natural light filtering in from a skylight. The lobby is a café/lounge/bar broken up into smaller sections and ablaze in color—pink, gray, gold and green chairs, a red print carpet juxtaposed with one in shades of blue, walls of paintings displaying the entire spectrum, intricate gold wallpaper with green leaves. The furniture is midcentury modern down on the main level and upstairs in the 47 rooms, suites and longer stay apartments where wood paneling, Liberty wallpaper and pops of color are the norm.
Right now, the all day Dandy Café on the main floor is providing the food service, a mix of pasta classics, fish dishes, salads, a burger and exceptionally high quality offerings for the Continental Breakfast. The fine dining restaurant, the Argentine El Porteno is scheduled to open in October. The roof terrace bar/café Terrace Flores is scheduled to open next spring providing the rooftops of Rome view that are so popular in town. In the meantime, across Via del Corso, the Singer Palace Hotel, the former headquarters of the sewing machine company in Rome converted to a sophisticated hotel in 2018, has an expansive roof terrace with gorgeous views—including of another hotel in development in Rome’s energetic upcoming hotel scene: Six Senses Rome.
Two blocks away from Umiltà 36, another Shedir Collection hotel, Maalot Roma, also has a spirited design but skews younger and brighter colored with a location that would have validated my cab driver’s prediction. Via delle Muratte which leads straight to the Trevi Fountain is a virtual sea of tourists, some stopping for a burger at McDonald’s across the street, some to the outdoor tables of Maalot Roma’s restaurant Don Pasquale for drinks and classic Roman dishes.
It’s a totally different scene at the group’s Vilòn Roma near Via dei Condotti on the practically deserted street Via dell’Arancio. It is entirely possible to pass this 16th century house attached to Palazzo Borghese without noticing the door or that it’s an entrance to a hotel. Opened in 2018, the 18 room hotel really feels like a private house with sharp décor and modern art. It also has the restaurant Adelaide, named for the Princess Borghese, and it’s worth visiting even if you’re staying on the other side of town. Chef Gabriele Muro from the southern island of Procida creates extremely flavorful classic and modern dishes both Roman and of the south that are actually works of art in visual composition. (Two recent examples: the specials gnocchi with pumpkin and porcini and red prawn carpaccio.) In nice weather, the restaurant also has a small leafy, quiet patio behind the hotel—perfect for a respite from fighting the crowds now that tourism is roaring back to Rome again.