The Lowdown: Rocco Forte’s 122-room palazzo overlooks the Piazza del Popolo just off the Via Condotti, with a lush garden terrace that backs up against the Villa Borghese. Fab décor by Olga Polizzi dresses old bones with offbeat art and contemporary furnishings. Russian oligarchs, supermodels and rock stars (“Ooh, look who’s here!”) flock to the Stravinskij Bar. And the red prawn carpaccio goes great with Champagne.
Best for? Power dining (and drinking).
Insider Tip: Introduce yourself to head barman Massimo d’Addezio and ask for his special Martini. And don’t forget your bathing suit; the spa’s popular saltwater whirlpool is coed.
Caveat: The pillows aren’t fluffy. And Facebook is blocked from the hotel’s complimentary business center computers, so if you need to update your status, bring your laptop. Rates from $592; Via del Babuino 9, 888.667.9477
The Lowdown: Italian owners revamped this 103-room Art Deco diva on the famed Via Veneto just last year. Rooms boast period furniture and lacquered closets. And the new Panoramic Penthouse comes with a private rooftop hot tub and barbecue terrace.
Best for? Service. The bellman, the bartenders, all the way up to the gregarious GM—the best in town.
Insider Tip: The chic Brunello restaurant mustn’t be missed. But beware the sharp nails penetrating the undersides of the tables—ouch!
Caveat: It’s been ages since the Via Veneto was Rome’s most glamorous boulevard. Rates from $502; Via Veneto 72, +39.06.4540.3300
The Lowdown: Originally opened by Cesar Ritz in 1894, the 161-room Le Grand Hotel underwent $35 million in refurbishments 10 years ago, and in 2008 added a flawless three-bedroom Bottega Veneta suite designed by Tomas Maier. Museum-quality antiques and artwork grace every room, and all suites come with 24-hour butler service.
Best for? Rooms. The beds, the pillows, Pratesi linens, high-collared bathrobes—this is as posh as it gets.
Insider Tip: Ask for a view of St. Maria della Vittoria, then skip the wake-up call. Instead, ask the butler to rouse you in person with a gentle nudge and a steaming pot of coffee, followed by the slow opening of blinds.
Caveat: The lobby bar feels dated, but the drinks are stiff. Rates from $634; Via Vittorio E. Orlando 3, 877.787.3447