The Hoxton, Rome.

On a recent trip to Rome, I went to see a just-opened hotel a block from where I was staying. Great location, gorgeous facade and an interior that through the window looked promising, but as I went to cross the threshold, a doorman held out his arm. Are you a hotel guest? No, I’m staying around the corner and was hoping to take a quick look at the hotel on my way to dinner. Do you have a reservation? No, as mentioned I was just hoping to have a quick look as I’m on my way to meet friends for dinner. A second doorman arrives. Are you a hotel guest? Do you have a reservation?

Bedroom, The Hoxton Rome

The episode might have been forgotten had I not returned to Rome a week later to stay at The Hoxton – the tenth property in the portfolio of the much-loved British boutique hotel brand, and a vibrant departure from the somewhat conservative Roman norm. Outside, the hotel straddles two of the city’s most elegant neighbourhoods, Parioli and Salario-Trieste. It’s miles from the tourist hordes but just a ten-minute walk to MACRO contemporary art museum, the neoclassical masterpiece, Villa Albani Torlonia, and the abundance of Caravaggios and Berninis at Galleria Borghese. Inside is equally eclectic, with lines blurred between lobby and bar and restaurant and terrace (think private London club without the private) in a sumptuous Rome-meets-Hollywood setting. Cool tunes and free wifi make for a relaxed crowd: one taps away at her Macbook on what looks like a university paper; another sips a spritz as she waits for her ride; two guys huddle, discussing what might be a startup; small groups linger on the terrace after lunch.

Inclusiveness has been central to the Hoxton brand since Sinclair Beecham (Pret A Manger co-founder) launched the hotel in London’s Shoreditch in 2006. This was then acquired by hospitality mogul Sharan Pasricha of Ennismore in 2012, who refined the ‘open house’ formula into its now faultless template and rolled out a series of quirky, design-driven hotels across London, Europe and the US. Rome opened its doors in May 2021 – senza menacing doormen.

“Our philosophy is born of the idea that everyone is welcome, a place to meet and enjoy the best of the neighbourhood but at the same time, live the international spirit,” general manager Diego Di Gaetano tells The Pursuit Of. “Here in Italy, it’s not very usual for locals to use the spaces inside hotels but the atmosphere here at The Hoxton has been incredibly successful with Romans, from coffee in the morning, remote working throughout the day and drinks at night.”

Not that Hoxton Rome looks or feels in any way formulaic. Identity wise it’s Italian with a Californian twist – a spirit unique to this outpost – although timber panelling speaks to its British roots. Ennismore Design Studio collaborated with the London firm, Fettle, on the hotel’s ground floor, a pared-back riot of palms, mid century and jewel-coloured velvets. Lighting is layered and flattering, and comes in the form of Murano chandeliers, rescued when the building, a former hotel from the 1960’s, was renovated; alongside bulbous, Amalfi-esque table lamps and wicker ‘Chinese Hat’ floor lamps by Paavo Tynell. The director of Ugo Ferranti Archives, Maurizio Faraoni, curated the modern and contemporary art dotting the panelled walls, all for sale, adding gallery to the hotel’s multilayered oeuvre.

A suite at The Hoxton Rome

Guestrooms are compact but sanctuary-like and surprisingly chic for such a well-priced hotel. The single-bed ‘Shoebox’ is 13m2, solo travellers only, while the 19m2 ‘Cosy Up’ has a king bed, perfect for couples. ‘Roomy’ (23m2) and ‘Biggy’ (28m2) have super-king beds and sleep two adults and a child. All rooms are dog friendly; some come with a balcony or terrace. Murano lamps flanked a shapely, mohair-velvet headboard in my Cosy Up room, grounded on a geometric rug with a generous pair of 50’s armchairs to the side. Bathrooms are tight but elegant, with Perrin & Rowe tapware and dispensers of toiletries (no single-use plastic), and overall rooms come with a decent amount of storage for such a tight and design-centric space. There’s no coffee machine although two fabulous bars, a restaurant and a terrace are just a lift ride away.

Cugino is the casual go-to for espresso and artisanal pastries through to negronis at the end of the day, while the California-inspired Beverly is a fresh counterweight to the city’s pasta scene and a drawcard for Romans wanting a taste of the West Coast. Staples such as DIY tacos with pulled beef (or roasted cauliflower) and the Beverly BBQ make way each month as the restaurant hosts pop ups with the likes of Camillo dal 1890 and, serendipitously during my stay, a collaboration at the Beverly Bar with Stockholm legend Tjoget. Where else in Rome can you find three strapping Swedes mixing a delicious Italian Margarita on a Monday night? Not to mention the Eternal City’s most civilised check out: 12.00 midday.

From a story originally published in WISH