The massive bulk of the Colosseum stands guard at the end of the quiet, largely residential street where Hotel Celio is found. The quiet atmosphere and the proximity of the ancient arena (plus important nearby remains of the ancient city), make Hotel Celio a prime base in central Rome. Ease of parking (small drive, and a garage nearby), is a bonus, too, and driving in from Ciampino airport is as quick as half an hour on the Via Appia.
The hotel, originally built in 1870, successfully balances sophistication with the traditional comfort of ancient Roman residences. The rooms aren’t large, but they are rather fun if you don’t mind deep red brocade on the walls, and paintings and mirrors created by an artist from Brescia to look at least 200 years older than they actually are. The floors are wonderful: high-quality imitation ancient mosaic, designed by the owner, Roberto Quattrini. There is no lift to the bedrooms, and it is a moderate climb to the roof where guests can sunbathe and where there is a penthouse suite, complete with own roof terrace and views across Rome to St Peter’s. Breakfast is served in fine weather in a courtyard imaginatively roofed in with a tent.