Roman Holiday

Studio Marincola Architects blend a historic building’s architectural past with Rome’s present-day culture to create a timeless look for the Elizabeth Unique Hotel in the city’s center.

Designing an homage to Roman classicism that doubles as a snapshot of the modern-day Italian capital requires a seamless marriage of architecture and interiors. Just ask long-time builders Vittorio and Giovanni Curatella, who recently transformed a 17th-century palazzo into a brick-and-mortar ode to a beloved family member. 

Elizabeth Unique Hotel | Studio Marincola Architects | Design Hotels

All photos: Courtesy of Design Hotels

The duo, which hails from five generations of construction, tapped locally based Studio Marincola Architects to bring their vision for the Elizabeth Unique Hotel to life. That brief for the Design Hotels member called for a meticulous restoration of the centuries-old townhouse that would play up the property’s dramatic scale and wide-arched hallways with immaculate materials and handcrafted workmanship, as well as an art collection and site-specific installations curated by neighborhood gallery Russo that would give the hotel modern relevance.  

Elizabeth Unique Hotel | Studio Marincola Architects | Design Hotels

All photos: Courtesy of Design Hotels

Occupying 17,222 sq. ft. spread over three floors, the wood-shuttered Palazzo Pulieri Ginetti building’s exterior melds traditional and contemporary styles. Guests access the boutique through a double-height entrance before taking an elevator or staircase to a refined lobby and library area with a secluded feel. The public spaces are characterized by such neoclassical details as white marble, neutral tones and fireplace moldings. Modern furnishings and fixtures designed by Studio Marincola and custom made by Italian contract furniture company Arredo Design underscore the tailored look. 

Elizabeth Unique Hotel | Studio Marincola Architects | Design Hotels

The hotel’s 33 guest rooms, most of which overlook the Via del Corso, range from 215 to 430 sq. ft. Arched walls crafted from lacquered wooden boiseries act as a modern take on Roman building traditions. Custom wallpaper behind the beds showcase black-and-white replicas of antique prints depicting Roman countryside imagery. Natural oak floors, custom drapery, steel canopy beds, velvet headboards and gold accents emphasize the luxurious ambiance—as do the marble bathrooms and private saunas. 

Elizabeth Unique Hotel | Studio Marincola Architects | Design Hotels

On the hotel’s first floor, the 40-seat Bacharach & Bistrot pays tribute to famed American singer, songwriter and pianist Burt Bacharach with an elegant yet swanky atmosphere. Sage banquets and barstools provide punches of color while contrasting with the venue’s white and gray-veined marble floors, salvia-green chairs and bar framed by walnut paneling. A raised, open-air terrace set within a courtyard ties in with its garden surroundings with earthy materials such as wood and stone. 

Elizabeth Unique Hotel | Studio Marincola Architects | Design Hotels

While preserving a building’s bones is important with any restoration project, it’s doubly crucial when the property is a short walk from the Spanish Steps. Here the designers respected the location’s heritage by incorporating natural materials and architectural details that are both rooted in the artistic mastery of yesteryear and the contemporary creativity of modern-day Rome. The result is a fresh take on ancient design traditions and clean-lined accommodations that target today’s high-end travelers.