Did Rome Have Hotels?

By Michael Ferguson

Did Rome Have Hotels?

Rome, the eternal city, is known for its rich history and iconic landmarks. But did Rome have hotels?

In this article, we will explore the accommodation options available to travelers in ancient Rome.

Rome’s Accommodation Landscape

In ancient Rome, there were no hotels as we know them today. However, that doesn’t mean there were no places for travelers to stay.

Romans had various options depending on their preferences and budget.

1. Hospitiums

Hospitiums were the closest thing to modern-day hotels in ancient Rome. These establishments provided shelter and basic amenities for weary travelers.

Hospitiums were usually located near major roads or city centers, making them easily accessible to visitors.

Fun fact: The word “hospitality” comes from the Latin word “hospes,” which means both “guest” and “host.”

2. Insulae

Insulae were multi-story apartment buildings that served as living spaces for lower-class Romans. These buildings were not specifically designed for travelers but could be rented out temporarily if available.

Insulae offered a more affordable option for those on a tight budget.

The Wealthy’s Accommodations

While the common people had limited options, the wealthy class enjoyed more luxurious accommodations when traveling to Rome.

1. Domus

The wealthy elite often stayed in their own private residences called domus when visiting Rome or other cities within the empire. These grand houses featured multiple rooms, beautiful gardens, and opulent furnishings.

2. Villa

Villas were countryside retreats owned by the wealthy Romans. These expansive properties provided a getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Villas were often equipped with lavish amenities such as baths, gardens, and even private theaters.


Although there were no hotels in ancient Rome as we know them today, travelers had several options for accommodation. From hospitiums for the common folk to luxurious domus and villas for the wealthy, Rome offered a range of choices to suit different needs and budgets.

Visiting Rome today allows us to explore the remnants of these ancient accommodations and imagine what it was like for travelers in ancient times.