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Rhinoceros Roma, The Beating Heart Of The Ancient City


Hand-crafted, luxury experiences curated by our team—speak to our concierge to learn more

By Lucy Cocoran on 28th May 2024

In a 17th century palazzo owned by a member of the Fendi family, an immersive experience awaits.

Here, creativity thrives and history is celebrated, in a diverse range of suites which feel like liveable works of art.

The History Of The Hotel

Located in the real heart of Rome, Rhinoceros Roma was established by Alda Fendi in 2018, making it a relative newcomer on the hospitality scene. The family name likely sounds familiar, and for good reason. Alda is the youngest of the Fendi family’s five daughters.

Undertaking numerous philanthropic projects, Alda’s endeavours build upon the brand’s desire to make a positive impact in the world. Many of these visions take place in the heart of Rome, where Fendi has had its roots since inception in 1925.  

Rhinoceros Roma was wholly brought to life by Alda and is part of a larger project involving her arts association, Fondazione Alda Fendi Esperimenti. While the venue does offer accommodation in the form of 25 apartments, within its walls you can also find an art gallery, performance space, restaurant and rooftop bar. Housed within a 17th century palazzo in the Velabro neighbourhood, the property pays homage to the historical significance of its location, making it a real treat for tourists and locals alike. 

Each suite, also known as the Rooms of Rome, has been thoughtfully designed by world renowned French architect, Jean Nouvel. His penchant for experimental design can be seen throughout Rhino, with its mixture of classic and contemporary design features.

Interior Design

Given its 17 century standing, Nouvel made the decision to honour the building's ancient elements, while introducing aspects of cutting-edge design. The dream was that here, things like art, architecture and history would have no boundaries, blending together into one. This certainly feels like the case from the minute you walk in. The hotel is essentially a microcosm of Rome’s major attributes, in all their glory.

Rhinoceros’ interiors are incredibly unique but tie together seamlessly. There is a distinct sense of old world architecture which has been cleverly fused with modern, industrial-style fittings. Ornate tile work is contrasted with a high-tech smart system which allows you to control every light in the room from one touchscreen. Old, exposed brick is juxtaposed by stainless steel fittings, again blending that feel of old and new.

The Rooms

We were lucky enough to stay in the Master Suite Apartment, which boasted views over the Temple of Hercules Victor. Natural light flooded the room throughout the day, courtesy of the generously sized windows.

The space was truly wonderful to spend our few days in. We had a huge eight person dining table, separate living room and spacious bedroom and bathroom areas. 

Our bathroom was constructed entirely from stainless steel, which gave it an almost futuristic aesthetic. This design feature extended to the kitchen, which was tucked away behind a wall of stainless steel panelling. One flick of a switch had the top half open up to reveal a fully stocked kitchen with a range of appliances.

The countertop popcorn machine was a fun touch, and we enjoyed snacking on a few homemade boxes throughout our stay. 

The Dining

Rhino’s onsite restaurant, Le Restau De La Galerie, can be found on the upper levels. This upscale venue draws influence and pays tribute to Roman traditions with a menu that celebrates the best of Italian cuisine.  

A continental breakfast can be enjoyed in your room as the fridge is fully stocked with items such as yoghurt, eggs, granola and fresh fruit, which are replenished daily. You can also choose to receive a basket of sweet and savoury pastries each morning, which will be delivered to your door. We loved starting our day right in the comfort of our room, taking in our view at every opportunity. 

Rhino's rooftop bar is the perfect spot for a few pre-dinner drinks with its panoramic view of the city. This was a standout experience for us, as we found the vibe to be really lively and fun. There was a DJ setting the tone with great music, the drinks were flowing (including a glass of Prosecco on arrival) and not long after arriving, a tray of delicious snacks arrived table side. 

The location 

The building itself sits between the Arch of Janus and the Mouth of Truth. Its location is absolutely perfect for exploring Rome. A 15 minute walk in one direction will take you right to the Colosseum, while 20 minutes in the opposite direction will have you standing at the Trevi Fountain. 

Over the Ponte Sublicio bridge is the Trastevere neighbourhood, which we loved spending time in. It is filled with bars and restaurants. The cobblestoned streets and narrow alleyways here are filled with hidden gems, whether you’re looking for a family-run trattoria for dinner, or an outdoor bar for an aperitivo. 

The Amenities 

The ground level of the venue houses a critical part of Alda Fendi's arts foundation, the Rhinoceros Gallery. Every six months, there is a change in exhibition, offering a platform to a revolving door of global talent. 

In 2018, the gallery exhibited a sculpture attributed to Michelangelo Buonarroti, titled the Crouching Boy. This was lent to Rhinoceros by The State Hermitage Museum and was the first time the piece had been displayed in Rome. At the time of our visit, the gallery was showcasing works by French artist Ronan Bouroullec, and was his first solo exhibition outside of Paris. The ability of Rhino to secure exclusive works like these is a testament to its high standing reputation.

On a fun note, the hotel offers a compact electric car known as the RhinoRhide, exclusively to its guests. If you’d care to see a different side of Rome on four wheels, you can book in and take it for a spin at some point during your stay. 

Worthy mentions 

You tend to anticipate more attention at a boutique hotel and we certainly received just that. We would stop and have a conversation with whoever was on the front desk, and they were always eager hear how we were getting on.

The team is available on WhatsApp and can respond to any questions on there —  a nice touch which we found very helpful. That being said, the reception desk is manned 24/7 so there was always someone on hand as we came and went. 

Having such a friendly, thoughtful team there to greet and farewell us really made the world of difference. We checked out with big smiles on our faces having experienced a highly memorable two nights of generous hospitality in a one-of-a-kind venue. 

Rhinoceros Roma 

Address: Via del Velabro, 9, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

Phone: +39 06 678 4467


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