I was 19 when I first spied the lush green roof deck of the Grand Hotel de la Minerve, just past the shadow of the Pantheon in Rome. Then on a student budget, even the notion of an espresso on the roof deck was outrageous, but the elegance of the hotel and the lush roof deck stayed in my memory. Visit after visit, on my way back to the hostels, I’d daydream of a stay at the Grand Hotel de la Minerve.
A number of years later, I had picked up an 1871 guide to Rome from a bookseller in Tuscany, and delighted to read their description: “Hotel de la Minerva – behind the Pantheon – a very extensive hotel, with some large apartments handsomely furnished. The Minerva is more frequented by French, Germans, and other strangers than English and Americans. It is the general rendezvous of the Roman Catholic clergy and laity from every country during their visits to Rome.”
WELL! That sounds like a perfect place for a weekend in the city, and I was happy to finally have the opportunity on a recent business trip! In April, my girlfriend and I had a whirlwind weekend in Rome focused on antiques and design, after a weeklong visit to the Salone di Mobile in Milan. With less than 24 hours in the Eternal City, we knew we wanted central accommodations and a fabulous cocktail hour. At the end of a long trip, we were ready for some pampering.
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Welcome to Rome!
Arriving in Roma Termini on the Freccia Rosa speed train from Milan, we hailed a cab. We were pulling up to the cobblestone street in front of the hotel just about 10 minutes later. My friend Bridgette gasped when she realized where we were – “everything is right here!”
The Hotel is situated in a 16th century palazzo, in front of the Plaza de La Minerva and the church of the same name. Across the plaza is the back of the Pantheon. Centrally located, indeed!
Art Deco inspired design
Whisked through the doors, we were distracted by the art deco red, green and white glass ceiling of the lobby. We took a few moments to absorb the space. Sumptuous seating, throughout the lobby is perfect for a rendezvous, while the reception and concierge desks are discreetly located off the main entryway. The lovely staff had us checked in and heading upstairs in moments. We were traveling light, but the porter took our bags nonetheless.
Exiting the guest elevator onto the 4th floor, we were pleased with the plush carpets in the arched hallway, muffling footsteps and roller bags. The central courtyard floods light into the walkways, creating a welcoming atmosphere.
Grand Hotel de la Minerve Rooms
Another delight when we were introduced to our Deluxe room: at more than 300 square feet, it’s more than twice as large as my own bedroom at home. Fitted with a plush and comfortable king size bed, a desk, a seating area, a dresser, and closet, it would be plenty of space for a long stay. The bathroom is equally spacious, with a wide vanity, toilet and bidet, and – my favorite – a large soaking tub. After days of walking showrooms and design events, my feet were thrilled at the thought of a long restorative bath; the jewel toned Etro amenities were an excellent added touch.
Back in the main room, Bridgette was looking out the window and sighed: “I feel like a movie star”.
Atop the Grand Hotel de la Minerve
I knew we had the best yet to come: the roof garden! Choosing to forego the elevator, we walked up the wide marble steps through the entry and onto the deck. The staff patiently waited while we marveled at all of the views. Our chilled Frascati arrived in time to enjoy it with the sunset.
Condensation gathering on the glass as we watched birds soar over the Pantheon, circling the dome. The last spears of light illuminated the dome of St. Peters just a mile west of us as the street musicians in the piazza below revved up. The last light lit the white marble of the Altare della Patria, in the center of Piazza Venezia just east. A deep sigh, and we were completely relaxed.
A little something for everyone visiting Rome
The Grand Hotel de la Minerve is a perfect mix of classic luxury and urban energy. Unbelievably accessible and centrally located, it’s great for single travelers, a girlfriend getaway, and families. Spacious rooms accommodate cribs and cots easily. The location allows for easy access to all the highlights of Rome, both for tourists and for work.
Our stay was altogether too brief. I’d love to spend a week at the Grand Hotel de la Minerve, browsing the local antiques and artisan shops, gathering lunch at Campo de Fiori, sketching the views from all the angles on the roof. Until then, I will treasure my memories. The histories of every visitor seems layered into the space – from modern rock stars to 19th century poets, writers and artists, you can understand why this is a high demand hotel.
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Many thanks to Grand Hotel de la Minerve and World Hotels for hosting our adventures. As always, my opinions are my own. When they aren’t you will be the first to know.