On September 2012 I was visiting Rome to shoot RetRome, a boutique hotel in Celio neighborhood, few steps away from the Colosseum. The hotel, managed by two Israelis, is unique by its retro and vintage design and furniture. You can read more about it here, in a previous post I wrote about my experience and my impression.
Today, my photographed article about RetRome is featured in At Magazine, January 2013 issue
I must admit that when I travel, I’m being quite picky in choosing accommodation.
Choosing the right place for the right mood and moment, sometimes can make all the difference. This is why I decided to spend my short Rome vacation in the vintage retro chic hotel RetRome, which is just a walking distance from the Colosseum. (a huge plus). Nevertheless, it was a great opportunity to take some pictures of its different eclectic rooms and hear more about it from Moti Erdeapel, its young entrepreneur owner, who I adore for his great drive and vision.
Apparently, both Moti and I grew up at the same city in Israel, but we never met before. So it was only natural not only to hear how he started his business but also to catch up on some familiar childhood memories.
Moti found himself in Rome to study Political Science majoring in International relations. He decided to study abroad as he wanted to experience a different culture and see the world (sounds familiar) and ended up staying. During his studies he was working in a small hotel in Rome and realized he was drawn to this world of hospitality and tourism. He loved the dynamic of the business and meeting people from all over the world. So when he was on the verge of graduating school, it was quite obvious for him that he would try on his own.
How it started:
Moti started his first tiny hotel with a local friend and together they rented a small space next to Rome Central Train Station and due to a tight budget, they bought old furniture in the flee markets and garage sales and ended up restoring them. They decided to name the place RetRome, (for the combination of Retro and Rome) and kept growing. They wanted to do something different that would reflect their personality but also offer their guests a fresh experience and an alternative to what was out there for tourists. After a few years in this location, the RetRome moved to its current location, which is a much bigger space that could offer more comfort and better amenities to their guests, but they kept the same unique design concept of vintage and personal touch to the interior design.
The Vintage Concept:
“Using vintage furniture and objects is a way to create spaces that communicate with the guest via icons and nostalgic pieces that serve as time capsule of a shared cultural memory” Moti shared with me his vintage choices. “We never forget that our mission is to offer a home away from home to our guests so a clean relaxed atmosphere is an important guideline…besides, I think that the value that old furniture can give to a space is by far higher then just picking up everything from the shelf or a catalog. The notion that only new is desirable is slowly passing from the world and I personally am very happy with that.”
Apart from his passion for design, Moti has decided to use vintage furniture also for eco-friendly reasons. He searches and restores old furniture instead of buying everything new (sustainable agenda) and the hotel uses energy saving and non polluting systems for heating, warm water and air-conditioning.A year ago, Moti and his parter Oren Zohar, decided to branch out and opened a second hotel in Barcelona, which is proving to be a great success. He also told me in ‘secret’ that his future goal is to open a third hotel in Berlin. I can only imagine how great it will be.
Meanwhile, here are some of the great and charming vintage articles and furniture in RetRome, Roma.
When you enter the reception, you cannot avoid the two vertical posters of Merilyn Monroe and of Marlon Brando, which served as an advertising to a photography exhibit in 2005. The two great brown leather sofas (you really want to dive into them) were bought in a Rome’s Sunday flee market and Moti completely restored them. The huge space aged white lamp was inherited after a friend left an apartment, and the blue velvety armchair was bought from a friend who is a movie-set designer. There are so many objects and articles that were collected and bought from Rome and Amsterdam’s flee markets throughout the years.
The Blue Room:
I’m obsessed with its gorgeous deep blue flower tiles. As minimalistic as it is, this is one of my favorite rooms. Very sunny and airy with a huge white leather bed that gives a romantic twist. It has an original Art work on the walls of a typical Italian guy on a Vespa. (Art work is by Andrea from Arte 21, one of the owner’s friends). Vintage ceiling lamp and an old clock complete the atmosphere.
The Roma Room:
This room is a tribute to Rome. The color combo of brown and blue is a winner. Floor tiles are the terra cotta ones that go well with the furniture selection; The bed was manufactured in Rome 60 years ago and was recently restored. A Federico Felini’s original poster of the movie Roma sets the atmosphere along with two chairs which were found in the flea markets of Amsterdam.
The Purple Dreams Room:
What can be more retro romantic than sleeping in a bed with an Italian purple velvet back? I think the velvet fabric and the color purple dominates the atmosphere and makes the room a perfect setting for a romance getaway in Rome.
The Movies Room:
This room is inspired by the golden era of Italian cinema. The image of the Kissing couple above the bed is taken from a scene from the movie La Dolce Vita. The 1960’s vintage bed comes with a built-in colorful lights and a radio and the original paintings by the painter Carlo Quatrucci are a true Italian nostalgia to the same era.
Small Retro Double Room:
This room has a beautiful picture of Nina, an Italian 1960’s Icon by Arte 21, and white and orange plastic furniture from the Dutch designer Gispen. All the objects in the room communicates with the colourful tile pattern, which I couldn’t take my eyes of them.
Next time you visit Rome and you are looking for something unique and different, I highly recommend to check in RetRome. Also thanks to its premium location.
When I travel to a new place, there are few things I make sure to look for and find (The rest I leave for serendipity): An area where I can find great graffiti and street Art, an area where I can find people hanging their laundry outdoors and the best view of the city.
There is nothing like walking all day in the streets of a new place and then (usually at the end of the day just before sunset) climbing up a mountain, a hill, a tall tower, a bridge, the 43rd floor (in case of Manhattan) the 6th floor (in case of Montmartre in Paris) or anything that helps you see the city in a whole new different perspective. When you are up, overlooking the city, you no longer hear the traffic in the streets (you just see the cars), you don’t see the people in eye level and you don’t smell the street vendor’s food, the smoke or anything else.
It is a sort of serenity. a state of mind. (and an important addition for a Travel Portfolio)
Here are some rooftops locations from Madrid, Barcelona, Bologna, Rome, Florence, Buenos Aires, Lisbon, Paris and Manhattan. If you have more recommendations, please send me a message.
Few days after I wrote this post, I was chosen by Easy Jet Holidays as one of their Bloggers of the month as they chose to feature this post on their website. Check it out and some other great inspiring bloggers.