Can’t stop thinking about the Roman Empire? Same, thank you, TikTok. What started as a trend asking boyfriends, husbands, and partners how often they think about ancient Rome has morphed into 1.6 billion #RomanEmpire views and counting. This got us thinking: Where are all these ruins besides Rome, and where would Julius Caesar stay today if he needed a luxury hotel nearby?
We have a few suggestions…
J.K. Place Roma (Rome, Italy)
The ultimate Roman Holiday begins at one of the most glamorous addresses in the Eternal City: J.K. Place Roma. The award-winning hotel may not be as old as its Roman Empire neighbors—they’ve only been around for 20 years, not 2,000—but step one foot inside, and you’ll be greeted with the same level of enthusiasm one has approaching the Colosseum for the first time, which happens to be nearby. The former architecture school of Rome-turned boutique hotel is also a short drive from the Pantheon and Palatine Hill and sits just off the chic Via Fontanella Borghese block. Thirty opulent rooms and suites are fit for Roman royalty, with four-poster beds, walk-in rain showers, and several feature balconies overlooking Emperor Augustus Square and the Dome.
Hotel Grande Bretagne (Athens, Greece)
After Italy, Athens is high on the list for perusing Roman ruins since the ancient metropolis houses ten archaeological sites that date back to the 5th century (BC). The Parthenon and the Temple of Zeus may get a lot of love, but don’t discount the awe-inspiring Theatre of Herodes Atticus, built by the Romans in 161 AD. It’s next to another acclaimed citadel, The Acropolis, which can be seen from GB Roof Garden Restaurant & Bar at Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel. Located in the heart of the city, the historic hotel seamlessly blends old-world-inspired accommodations with new-world amenities. It features some of the fanciest marble bathrooms we’ve ever seen. While any seat in their 5-star communal spaces is bound to be good, our favorite is on the GB terrace at night for uninterrupted views of the original Olympic Stadium over Greek salads and extra-chilled glasses of Assyrtiko.
Hotel L’Imperator (Nîmes, France)
Nîmes has so many well-preserved relics it’s been dubbed ‘the French Rome,’ after a stroll through their city center, it’s easy to see why. Here, you’ll find the 24,000-seat Roman Amphitheatre of Nîmes, built 20 years after the Coliseum and features an intricate maze of underground passageways used to transport animals and gladiators back in the day. After a day exploring ruins, you’ll be ready for some modern comforts, and luckily, the posh L’Imperator is only a five-minute walk from the temple. The Leading Hotels of the World member oozes quiet luxury, from its 61 rooms to its culinary program by Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire.
The Bath Priory (Bath, England)
While many boutique hotels in the states have incorporated Roman-inspired bath culture into their wellness programming and spa offerings, there’s nothing like visiting The Roman Baths in Bath. Millions of tourists flock to the OG in Italy to marvel at its ruins each year, although the aqueducts dried up ages ago after an attack by the Goths. Over in England, however, you’ll find a safeguarded thermae of mineral-rich water and its surrounding temple and bath house constructed during the first few decades of Roman Britain. Although you can’t take a dip these days, you can at The Bath Priory, a 33-key Relais & Chateaux hotel that’s a 10-minute drive from the Georgian city. You’ll have ample time for a soak with multiple pools, a sauna, an aroma steam room, and The Garden Spa by L’Occitane.
Hotel Albergaria do Calvário (Évora, Portugal)
The UNESCO World Heritage Site Évora is the capital of the Alentejo region in southern Portugal. It boasts many Roman remains, including the Roman Temple of Évora, the Evora Old Wall, also known as “Cerca Romana” which guards the city, and—you guessed it—more baths. Even an old Roman aqueduct named Aqueduto Água de Prata has survived the test of time with its towering arches and Renaissance-style facade. This particular watercourse is also around the corner from the quaint Hotel Albergaria do Calvário, which was once a working olive oil mill in the 16th century. After a day playing excavator, you’ll be thrilled to discover a gastronomic adventure awaiting you on their plant-lined patio at ADC Wine & Food Bar. House specialties like Granny’s bread with balsamic, bacalao (salted codfish) and braised pork cheeks are musts.