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Panoramic exterior view of St. Peter's Basilica near Margutta 19

In a fantastic location in walking distance to the Spanish Steps and PIazza Popolo, Babuino 181 is part of Rome Luxury Suites (which also includes Margutta 54). This trio of contemporary, intimate boutique hotels is the brainchild of Alberto Moncada, whose noble connections include a cardinal and whose family has long served as patrons of artists, from Caravaggio to Picasso. Staying at these special properties immediately transforms a traveler into a local. The entrance of Babuino 181, for instance, is barely marked: a sleek set of sliding glass doors lead from the shopping bustle of Via Babuino into a slender, quiet mansion whose spacious suites feel like well-designed, fashionable and utterly comfortable cocoons. If Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck were to return for a romantic holiday, they would surely check in here (in fact, Via Margutta of Roman Holiday fame is located one street over).

The three-story palazzo has just fourteen individually decorated suites, all of which come with king beds, spacious marble bathrooms and an understated, modern design scheme with beautiful textiles, original works of art and all the high-tech amenities you’d expect (iPod dock, massive flat-screen, Bose sound system).

The location itself cannot be beat: the historic Via del Babuino runs between Piazza di Spagna and Piazza di Popolo, and it abounds with chic boutiques and antiques shops. The staff is charming and helpful (Moncado plucked a few from luxury property Hotel de Russie literally a few paces down the street). Rooms from €325.

WHO SHOULD STAY: Stylish travelers who want a serene, contemporary space to return to at the end of a sightseeing-heavy day.

WHO SHOULD NOT STAY: Visitors who need a lot of hand-holding and amenities like a gym, spa and full-service restaurant.

WHAT’S NEARBY: Such fun, local restaurants as La Buvette, Canova and Babette, as well as such boutiques as Soledad Twombly, TAD, Saddler Union and high-end jewlery store Enigma.

Panoramic exterior view of St. Peter's Basilica near Margutta 19