Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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After years of traveling the globe and visiting many of the most popular cities, it was finally time to see what all the fuss around Rome was about.
What better occasion to do so than to celebrate the 50th birthday of my dearest Aunty Karen?
We’ve had a really close bond since I was born, so we were really looking forward to spending some quality time abroad together, just the 2 of us, for the first time ever!
Sorting the flights was easy: I used up a British Airways companion voucher (known as the Travel Together Ticket in the U.S.) that was about to expire and booked us British Airways Club Europe so Aunty Karen could experience business class for the first time.
Deciding where to stay in a city with such a variety of accommodations seemed daunting at first. However, my search came to a sharp halt when I realized my favorite Marriott brand — the W — had opened less than 2 years prior in Rome.
With my decision made, would the W Rome live up to my high expectations of W hotels? Read on to find out.
My heart was set on staying at the W Rome, regardless of location.
Luckily for me, however, it was perfectly located per my usual preferences: I like to be able to stumble out of my hotel and be right in the heart and soul of a city that I’m visiting for the first time.
The hotel’s home on the corner of 2 quiet side streets is just a few minutes away from the Spanish Steps while inconspicuous enough that the only tourists you’ll find out front are those coming to and from the hotel.
I always book directly through Marriott.com when staying at a hotel under the Marriott umbrella of brands. This is so my Titanium Elite status is recognized and that I’ll earn the relevant points and nights.
We opted for 2 nights in a Fabulous Twin room, with night rates starting at around $585 in low season.
I paid with my U.K. Marriott Bonvoy® American Express® Card, which earned me 6x Marriott Bonvoy points per £1 spent. For a similar annual fee, the U.S. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card earns up to 17x total Marriott Bonvoy points per $1 spent.
As this was a special trip for my aunty, I thought I’d try my luck with a couple of Suite Night Awards (now called Nightly Upgrade Awards). 2 days after requesting, I received the confirmation that we’d been upgraded to a Mega Suite — score!
We arrived in the early afternoon — well before check-in time of 3 p.m. — and were greeted at the door by friendly bellmen who checked our names and tagged our bags.
We were then shown to the main reception area, where we were advised that the room wasn’t quite ready. Even Marriott Bonvoy’s most elite members don’t get early check-ins.
As we had a limited time in the city, we didn’t mind, as this meant we could head straight back out to explore.
We returned around 4 p.m. and were escorted up to the fifth floor to what we thought would be our Mega Suite.
We were left speechless as the door opened, and we set eyes on what we soon came to realize was the best suite and only one of its kind in the hotel — the Extreme Wow Suite.
Speechless didn’t quite cut it when we checked this room’s nightly rate, which can be upwards of $8,000!Hot Tip:
You can earn 20,000 bonus points per stay at the W Rome when staying 2 nights by February 17, 2024.
The Rooftop and Pool
To keep you on the edge of your seat, I’m starting this review off on the roof instead of going straight to the suite.
An inner-city hotel that manages to incorporate some outside space gets bonus points from me — especially if it’s in the form of a rooftop pool.
The sun-kissed space made for an oasis of calm after long days of touristing in the hot September sunshine.
You won’t find many doing laps here. Most guests enjoyed the pool by sipping on cocktails delivered by the wonderful barmen.
The rooftop wasn’t just about the pool: the entire space was landscaped beautifully with plants and flowers.
Better still, the pool was never too crowded as it’s reserved strictly for hotel guests who, from my experience, prefer to be out sightseeing rather than soaking up the rays.
The rooftop pool is open for guests to enjoy from April to October. Times vary annually but are usually from around 10 a.m. through 6 p.m.
From up on the roof to down in the basement, I was delighted to find one of the best hotel gyms I’ve ever used.
The heaviest dumbbells were a hefty 40 kilograms (88 pounds), compared to the meager 20 kilograms (44 pounds) that you find in many hotel gyms.
And there was even a proper squat rack — another rare hotel gym find.
It wasn’t the size of the space or the number of machines that impressed me; it was more the variety of equipment that would appeal to all sorts of gym-goers, no matter their usual workout routine.
Take this punching bag, for example.
With numerous exercise possibilities, the rope pulley machine was the icing on this gym-sized cake.
To burn off the pizza, pasta, and Peroni, there were all kinds of cardio equipment to choose from. Some were tucked away in the alcoves, providing a sense of privacy for those who’d appreciate it.
The gym is open 24 hours.
The Room — My “Extreme WOW Suite”
The wait is over — be prepared to be extremely wowed.
To say that we were spoiled with this room is an understatement. Ironically, this room could have spoiled our entire trip as we wanted to spend every second of our time in it rather than exploring the city.
The Living Space
The Extreme WOW Suite’s front door opens into this stunningly appointed and expansive open-plan living space.
The space felt light and airy thanks to the windows and glass doors onto the terrace. It’s bigger than many an entire New York apartment and comprises a seating area, a dining table and chairs for 6 people, and a simple kitchenette with a sink.
From the quirky chandelier to the art pieces on the wall, the attention to detail in the design of the space was simply impeccable.
I loved the huge curved sofa that dominated the main living area.
Here’s the proof.
We didn’t use the dining area, but it would be nice to have it for larger groups or those who prefer to have room service for breakfast.
The dining table was also home to snacky items that we assumed were part of a welcome gift. We then realized they were included as items on the minibar price list. Definitely watch out for this when staying at luxury hotels, as you don’t want an unexpected charge at the end of your stay!
The majority of the rest of the very well-stocked minibar could be found over at the kitchenette.
Note the menu to the left of the liquor bottles: I’ll be sure to give that a read next time before assuming something’s a welcome gift …
If you’ve not spotted it, I’ll alert you to the Illy coffee machine. When hotels avoid Nespresso and choose Illy (or pretty much any other coffee brand), it’s a huge tick in my book.
Assorted sweet and savory snacks, liquor, glassware, a cocktail shaker, and an all-important Italian moka pot were nicely displayed in the cupboard above the coffee machine.
The fridge was stocked with even more booze, soft drinks, and snacks.
There’s really no risk of going thirsty staying here.
In addition to the rogue snacks on the dining table, these bottles of still and sparkling water on the sideboard were also chargeable items from the minibar.
Now, onto the bedroom …
Walking down the short corridor to the bedroom, there’s a small powder room on the left.
The bedroom itself was also stunningly appointed in a quintessentially W manner while in keeping with the hotel’s location, thanks to little quirks like this over-the-top light shade.
Yes, that is a Peloton in the background. This room has everything you’d need to never actually have to leave.
Cardio is not everyone’s cup of tea, especially while on vacation, so there was also a set of light dumbbells and a Technogym workout kit to burn off all the indulging you may or may not have been doing if you were able to leave this incredible room.
As I was sharing with my aunty, I requested a room with 2 beds. As the Extreme WOW Suite only comes with space for 1 bed, I received an email a few days before checking in to ask if we’d be happy with German-style bedding (2 duvets on 1 bed).
The chaise lounge was an additional “nice-to-have,” though I only used it for my suitcase until I requested the luggage rack in the second bedroom photo.
I’m a big fan of the W’s signature pops of color, which weave into the design of its spaces, such as the bright red bedside table. While I’m appreciative of complementary water, I do wish all hotels would refrain from using plastic bottles.
The En Suite Bathroom
Yet another WOW factor to add to the list of this Extreme WOW Suite: the main bathroom.
Brushing my teeth in the morning and looking out onto the terrace was a fabulous way to start the day.
The area around the sinks in the bathrooms of the W’s highest category rooms always comes chock full of amenities, and the W Rome was no exception.
The vanity was fully stocked with extra towels, robes, a spare roll of toilet paper, and a hair dryer and straightener.
In the name of sustainability, it’s great to see the W opt for barred soap and Skin Regimen refillable body and cleansing creams. However, it pains me to see any plastic miniatures these days, such as these Jarvis mouthwashes.
Additional amenities like a comb, vanity kit, and shower loofah could be found on the shelves next to the sink.
It doesn’t get more extra than a freestanding tub in a cozy alcove, raised up on marbled black and white steps, with a view over an expansive terrace.
Don’t you just love a tub with a view?
Next to the tub was the huge shower unit with a closing door for privacy.
Inside, you’ll find a loofah, a bar of soap, and refillable MOMO shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner.
The bathroom was also home to 2 huge wardrobes boasting an abundance of storage space.
I’m sure you’ll agree that the inside of the Extreme WOW Suite was incredible, but honestly, I think I loved the outside more.
To have as much private space as this while staying at an inner-city hotel was really quite special.
It looked directly across the street and onto this Swiss Institute in Rome, which glowed gloriously in golden hour against the backdrop of the setting sun.
The terrace was also the perfect place to enjoy a host-service feast with friends or have breakfast alfresco. Again, this was another missed opportunity, as there were only 2 of us, and we loved the atmosphere at breakfast in Giano’s downstairs.
How’s this for a dining setup?
The terrace was about 30 to 40 meters (100 to 130 feet) long. At one end, closest to the bathroom, there were 2 sun lounges with towels.
And at the opposite end was a huge seating area from where you could see across the rooftops of Rome.
In the middle, you’ll find the dining table (as described previously), and another smaller seating area.
Seriously, I could have hosted a party of 100 people out here!
We had access to the terrace from each room in the suite, which helped the space feel linked.
As you can see, this terrace had a lot of free space.
I spoke with the amazing Beatrice Manno, vice general manager of rooms, who told me the hotel has big plans for the terrace of this room and to watch this space for some exciting additions. I specifically requested a small pool, so we’ll have to see what happens …
Food and Beverage
The more I travel and the older I get, the more I appreciate an à la carte hotel breakfast rather than a buffet.
Especially when the setting is in a cute courtyard.
For guests whose nightly rate doesn’t include breakfast, the W Rome offers both to its guests in the form of a combined buffet breakfast plus 1 à la carte menu item for €45 ($48) with the alternative option of paying for individual items from the à la carte menu.
Options include the following reasonably priced dishes:
- Chia pudding €15 (~$16)
- Maritozzo (traditional Roman brioche with whipped cream) €10 (~$11)
- Cream cheese, salmon, and avocado bagel €16 (~$17)
- Eggs Benedict €18 (~$19)
- Organic eggs your way €16 (~$17)
Thanks to my Titanium Elite status, access to the carefully curated breakfast buffet and 1 item from the menu was complimentary for both me and my aunty each morning.
I stayed true to form and enjoyed an egg white omelet with mushrooms. I’m also partial to a chia pudding, so I couldn’t wait to share Aunty Karen’s when it came.
Aunty K also tried the Shakshuka one morning for the first time and offered her compliments to the chef.
The reason I described the buffet as “carefully curated” is because rather than an overwhelmingly large and unimaginative breakfast buffet, perusing the options at the W Rome was more like window shopping at an artisanal bakery and patisserie.
The selection of sweet treats and pastries was exquisite.
And the bread looked (and tasted) fresh from the bakery.
The selection of cold cuts included smoked salmon, baked ham, cured ham, salami, mortadella, cured beef, and turkey: truly something for everyone (unless you’re vegetarian).
Another cold option that caught my eye was these fresh ingredients to conjure up some kind of breakfast tricolor salad.
As someone who likes to start his day with a dose of healthy vitamins, I couldn’t have been happier with the variety of fruit on offer.
The display of each of the buffet items was as carefully curated as the dishes themselves, even down to the fruit stand and its perfect display of apples, apricots, and peaches.
We sat outside in the courtyard each morning to enjoy our breakfast in the warmth of the Italian September sunshine.
Inside, the Giano Restaurant provides an equally enjoyable dining setting, should guests prefer.
The title of the hotel’s magazine sums up the precise feeling I felt while indulging in breakfast each morning.
Zucchero X Fabrizio Fiorani
One of the things I was most excited about this trip to Italy was the coffee culture. Italians just get it right. Every. Time.
I had high hopes for the coffee served at breakfast at the W Rome, and they were exceeded.
The coffee is made at renowned pastry chef Fabrizio Fiorani’s first boutique café and patisserie, Zucchero X Fabrizio Fiorani, which made its first home at the W.
My Illy espresso was made each morning with the latest in espresso-making technology.
However, those with a sweet tooth like me should avoid Zucchero at all costs — the pastries and sweet treats on display here looked like works of art!
Currently closed for the winter season until April 2024.
Love pizza? Then you absolutely must check out Seu Pizza — even if you’re not staying at the hotel.
The rooftop restaurant was the brainchild of Chef Pier Daniele Seu, who is best known for owning Seu Pizza Illuminati, which Time Out says serves up the third-best pizza in Italy!
Not only is the pizza up there with the best you can eat, but the views of Rome from atop the sixth floor are to die for.
You’ll get the best sunset view of the city from the first table of 2 on your left as you walk into the restaurant.
Chefs were hard at work tending to the pizza oven.
The 2 delectable pizzas we shared, accompanied by a glass of Aperol Spritz, were the perfect way to spend our last evening at the W Rome.
It wouldn’t be a W hotel without a W Lounge.
You’ll find this on the ground floor between reception and the outside terrace of Giano Restaurant.
Given our limited time in the city and the glorious weather, we didn’t pop in here for a drink. I imagine it would be a great location for a pre-dinner drink or cozying up with something delicious on a colder evening.
I’ve come to regard customer service as one of the most important differentiating factors when visiting a hotel, and the W Rome excelled beyond expectations.
My best memories are from breakfast, where we were greeted by the lovely Jessa, who always had a beaming smile despite her painfully early breakfast shift.
Also, you can expect to meet Melinda, the assistant restaurant manager, at breakfast. She’s in charge of breakfast and brings her high morning energy levels and fun personality to help get your day off to a great start.
Word spread from the conversations I’d had with Melinda at breakfast about my love for Italian coffee, and I got back to my room to find this lovely gesture, complete with a personalized note.
In addition to the lovely customer-facing team, Carmen Slodczyk, director of sales, and Beatrice Manno were kind enough to take some time out of their busy schedules to meet with me and answer any questions I had about the property.
I left Rome with a heart full of gratitude and beautiful memories that will last a lifetime, almost entirely owing to my wonderful stay at the W Rome.
I cannot guarantee you’ll be so lucky to be given the Extreme WOW Suite when using an upgrade award, but I would certainly take that chance again during my next visit to the W Rome.
For me, the hotel ticks every box: the location, the breakfast, the rooftop pool, the design, the gym, and, of course, the team of fantastic people who work there.
The only downside is the high price point of the hotel. However, even if you can only stretch your budget to stay here for 1 night during your visit to Rome, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Fino alla prossima volta, W Roma.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy® American Express® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
Featured Image Credit: Daniel Ross. All images credited to Daniel Ross unless where otherwise noted.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the W Rome in a good location?
The hotel is less than a 10-minute walk from the Spanish Steps and within walking distance of many of Rome’s main tourist attractions.
Does the W Rome have a pool?
A rooftop pool on the sixth floor of the hotel is reserved only for guests.
What are the dining options at the W Rome?
The hotel has several food and drink options: Giano Restaurant, Seu Pizza con Vista, W Lounge, and Zucchero X Fabrizio Fiorani.
How far is W Rome from the Colosseum?
Walking to the Colosseum from the W Rome takes approximately 31 minutes, or the drive is around 13 minutes. You can also take the Metro, which would take 17 minutes.
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