A Unique Roman Stay: PiazzadiSpagna9

A centrally located gallery-cum-hotel, with decor that changes regularly, is ideal for the open-minded traveler.

We want hotels to feel like home, with all the familiar comforts. But we want our hotels not to feel too much like home; maybe more adventurous, exotic, or luxurious.

It’s a delicate balance, which is why no one deviates too much. It’s also why the new Piazzadispagna9 feels so different, and daring. That it’s located only a stone’s throw from Rome’s Spanish Steps makes its limitations easier to take: Anyone searching for the familiar has alternatives nearby.

This is, after all, not merely a small hotel—six rooms, each with a different sensibility—but a showroom and exhibition space in what was once a senator’s home. Many of the appurtenances—beds, artwork, mirrors, lamps—were created by owner and designer Stefania Grippo and her fellow designers throughout Europe, and are available to buy. So if the place doesn’t feel entirely like home when you get there, home can feel more like it when you get back. The decor changes regularly, and pieces sometimes disappear altogether: During my stay, a British guest bought the photograph above my bed. 

The hotel includes a spa and a breakfast room, which overlooks its eponymous piazza. My room did, too, and seemed choicest; as a previous visitor wrote in the guest book, “the theatre of the Piazza delights us constantly.” However, the view from the back rooms, of Roman rooftops, is every bit as charming.

Piazzadispagna9 is not for all people and circumstances. If you like desks, even the usual flimsy things with bare drawers, you may be out of luck. There are no obsequious bellhops. Ditto if you like footfalls or buzz or serendipity. When the receptionist has gone home for the night (at 9 p.m.), you may be on your own. Some of these gaps will be filled when, as Grippo hopes, she doubles the number of rooms. 

Rooms from $240; Piazza di Spagna 9; 39-6/6992-1458; piazzadispagna9.it.

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