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Review: Six Senses Rome: First In

Known for their eco-friendly destination spas and tranquil lush locations, Six Senses takes their relax-and-recuperate ethos to the Eternal City—for their very first urban oasis, Italo-style.


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Why book? With cocooning rooms by star designer Patricia Uriquiola, a state-of-the-art signature spa, and a location smack in Rome’s center, Six Senses has given the city the new word in luxury. 

Set the scene Set back from Via del Corso, one of Rome’s main arteries, this former noble palazzo, the 15th-century Palazzo Salviati Cesi Mellini, was also a bank before its present incarnation. Now the lobby, with its oval bar and piazza-like restaurant, has quickly become a gathering point for well-heeled locals looking for a post work aperitivo. Guests include those already loyal to the Six Senses brand and Missoni clad fashionistas who have heard about the hideaway’s sizeable wellness offerings. The hideaway, while private, feels less formal than some of its competitors, but less nightclub in lobby too: curious Romans wander in to work remotely, meet a friend for an espresso, or to leaf through the property’s sizable book collection—which skews toward materials focusing on Italy and the environment. 

The backstory Six Senses has long been associated with its lush, secluded destinations like the Maldives, Thailand, Bali, Seychelles and Oman’s Zighy Bay, for example. The decision to inaugurate the first urban Six Senses property in Rome was partially driven by the owner’s love of all things Italian and is part of a new drive to bring sanctuaries to bigger cities. 

The rooms Superstar Spanish designer Patricia Uriquola followed a stony path with her primary building blocks for this project, a decision that makes perfect sense considering how the city is filled with beautiful variations of various marbles and San Pietro cobblestones. Here, the backdrop is travertine from local sources, and cocciopesto (a traditional material from ancient Roman times that doesn’t contain plastic or industrial chemical ingredients) for many of the property’s walls, as well as Triclinium marble, all softened by a neutral palate on beds and furniture punctuated by gentle color and geometric rugs.  Filled with light from the large windows, the 96 rooms and suites’ large windows are remarkably quiet considering their location (thanks to the fourth-level insulation), and sleep is sound with organic mattresses, a menu of pillows, and the Six Senses specialized jet lag program with sprays and tonics. If you have the budget, splurge for a suite with a terrace looking over Rome’s iconic rooftops and church spires. Rates from $900 per night.

 Food and drink Sicilian chef Nadia Frisina has been given the reins at the property’s two eateries: Bivium Restaurant-Café-Bar, a Roman piazza style restaurant with upscale “stations” focusing on plant based ingredients and organic local meat that emphasize a farm to table approach.  We love the wine dispenser with key cards highlighting up and coming vintages from Lazio, the juice bar with its seasonal and sustainable fruit and vegetables, and the fashionable coffee bar.  Don’t miss the wood oven pizza like the carbonara topped with egg and guanciale. Notos Rooftop will debut soon too, with beautiful views, fragrant herb gardens, and bars for cocktails and wine tastings, as well as small bites. The spot doesn’t feel like a formal destination restaurant as yet, for now it’s the perfect stop pre or post sightseeing, a quick Roman lunch, or for a tete-a-tete for honeymooners.

The spa Not surprising considering the brand’s longtime wellness focus, the spa here is arguably the property’s main attraction and is geared both for Italian-focused treatments and signature offerings that the brand has honed from its other properties. From aerial yoga to biohacking, meditation to facials with Tuscan brand Seed to Skin, sound therapy to a healing hammam, plus a state-of-the-art fitness room, locals are also signing up for memberships. Even if you skip a treatment, don’t miss the Roman baths set in a modern setting: the three plunge pools reproduce the caldarium, tepidarium, and frigidarium (those smart Romans knew about the benefits of a cold plunge long before anyone else), a ritual for sore and inflamed muscles, and a 60-minute escape that should be part of your stay. Other musts in the cocooning space are the 90-minute full-body scrub with Sicilian raw sea salt, sweet fennel and rosemary in the hammam, the futuristic energy hack with PEMF, hypervolt and LED face mask, the second skin facial (who doesn’t want to leave looking younger?) and body toning sessions using Biologique Recherche. As in many of its properties, the spa also offers detox and sleeping options too to enhance health even on vacation. In fact, if you aren’t careful, you may end up staying in the spa rather than visiting the city monuments.  

The neighborhood/area The first place to make a stop is the adjacent San Marcello al Corso church, a UNESCO site which Six Senses renovated as part of its first sustainability project in the neighborhood, completing restoring its magnificent façade, before launching into the Centro Storico, the historic center, for sites like the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. High end label mavens will appreciate the shopping conduits of Via Condotti, Frattina, and Borgognona. 

 The service Helmed by Francesca Tozzi (we love the burgeoning trend of more female GMs in Italy), the powerhouse General Manager formerly of Capri’s Tiberio and beloved Il Pellicano, has a professional but deeply personal and warm approach to hospitality that has permeated down to the rest of the staff. Insider experiences include a tour of a private palazzo by a prince no less, a painting class inspired by Caravaggio, and a master class in mixing the perfect aperitivo by resident masters.

For families Despite the country’s well-known love of the bambino, not all of the luxury properties actually make children feel welcome. Not so at the Six Senses Rome where special touches include the artisanal ice-cream that can be “purchased” from the gelateria with wood tokens given to kids at check-in, curated workshops at the sustainability-oriented Earth lab (where eco-warriors in training learn things like how to make beeswax cloths to substitute for saran wrap), and a concierge who can suggest a menu of activities perfect for the tots in tow.

Eco effort Six Senses has long held the mantle for being ahead of the sustainability trend and in Rome the property was built to incorporate their ethos. From sustainable custom-made furniture to a 100 percent renewable energy grid, organic herb and vegetable gardens and pesticide free ingredients, Six Senses Rome has come out of the gate as a property that stands up to their green promises. Which is why it’s in line for LEED gold certification. Head to the property’s Earth Lab to learn more about the hotel’s eco efforts as well community initiatives. 

Accessibility From elevators to accessible rooms, Six Senses meets ADA standards. 

Anything left to mention? Don’t miss the fourth-century baptism sanctuary (the oldest in Rome) in the basement of neighboring San Marcello al Corso—the very well-preserved archaeological site comes with a huge tub for the rite. 

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