As part of the Ferragamo group, it's not surprising this bijoux hotel oozes such style. Traditional check-in is eschewed for a personalised folder with customised tourist information; further details are provided on your in-suite iPad, and the charming “concierge” can pull strings for specialised tours. When the weather's balmy the spectacular roof terrace is the place to be (there's a log fire if it's chilly). Tasteful simplicity in the suites is augmented by a kitchenette, healthy mini bar snacks, Sanctuary recharge systems (to ensure your electronic devices never run out of juice) and hand weights should those Via Condotti shopping bags not give your arms enough of a work-out. Doubles from $1100.
HOTEL DE RUSSIE
This grand, white palazzo flanking Piazza del Popolo is a seamless blend of traditional and contemporary, of five-star service and personal touches you might expect from a boutique hotel. Guestrooms are classically stylish and spacious (although pricey, dodgy internet access is a negative), the lobby floral arrangements are breathtaking and at the luxe spa a "Roman foot treatment" will address any damage done after a day pounding the sampietrini. In summer, there's no better place for an aperitivo than the courtyard bar with its glorious terraced gardens swathed in fragrant jasmine; in winter the plush Stravinskij bar does the honours. Doubles from $815 a night.
The slightly timeworn art deco beauty of this classic hotel is matched with a distinctly old-fashioned Roman charm which keeps regular guests – among them actors, directors and musicians – coming back. Well-priced for its prize position between Piazza del Popolo and the Tiber, there are lovely touches including free bikes and glorious views from the peaceful, sunny roof terrace. Breakfast is served in the ground-level cafe and garden which morphs into a moody bar by night – although service can be chaotic and slow. Rooms in the dependance (annexe) over the road are smaller but more contemporary than in the main building, although a major refurbishment of the latter is under way. Doubles from $167.
Smack in the heart of Rome's glamour shopping precinct, this intimate hotel is only metres from the Spanish Steps and easy walking distance to the Villa Borghese gardens. Attention to detail is its selling point as much as its original timber beams, Sicilian antiques and old masters paintings. With only six rooms, and a kitchen and small lounge/reception area, it's rather like staying in your own private apartment. (They also have a larger self-contained flat to rent nearby.) The personable, knowledgeable concierge will advise on local restaurants so you get to experience the real Rome rather than the tourist traps. Try to secure one of the larger rooms overlooking the street. Doubles from $372.
The converted artists' studios of Margutta 54 offer a taste of the bohemian past of this picturesque street near the Spanish Steps. Stravinsky and Puccini lived here, Picasso painted in the building opposite, Audrey Hepburn had her Roman Holiday with Gregory Peck a few doors down. But while the ground floor suites are a tad dark, there's nothing bohemian about the classy fittings and timber detailing, or the massive bed that could sleep three in Frette linen comfort. The same creature comforts can be found at sister properties nearby: Mario dei Fiori 37 and Babuino 181. The latter's rooftop is a gracious spot for daily breakfast and convivial, complimentary aperitivi. Doubles from $319.
VILLA SPALLETTI TRIVELLI
Staying here is like being part of a rather grand and exclusive house party with its priceless antiques – including 16th-century Flemish tapestries and exquisite oils and engravings – and polite if slightly snooty staff. Each of the patrician guestrooms overlooks a garden and boasts monogrammed linen, huge bathrooms by Roman standards, and all the technology you'd want. Take an aperitivo in the grand salone or on the garden terrace, or try out the spa's hamam and gym. Opposite the Palazzo del Quirinale where the president resides, it's just a short walk to Monti with its excellent eateries and quirky designer boutiques. Romantic Rooms from $487.
The writer travelled with the assistance of Mr and Mrs Smith and Rail Europe.