The Grand Hotel de la Minerve, (using the French spelling of the Roman Goddess of wisdom) is one of the oldest luxury hotels in Rome, the grande dame of the Centro Storico, or ancient quarter.
The streets alongside the hotel are full of shops selling church vestments and accouterments. It is a bit startling to see shops hawking church wares, and coming and going from the hotel, you are clearly reminded that this is Rome and no other antique city on earth.
Stepping past the church paraphernalia and though the gray travertine stone structures of antiquity, you enter the Grand Hotel de la Minerve and the flow of history. Built in 1620 and a hotel since the late 18th Century, the Minerve was a must-stop destination for those taking the 'Grand Tour' in the 19th Century and has hosted aristocrats, artists, intellectuals and high-ranking ecclesiastics over the centuries.
The reception and lobby welcome you in the manner of a true grand hotel. The lobby is a marvel of light and color. The rich wood and brilliant fabrics are the visual equivalent to an orchestra playing. Once an enclosed winter garden, the liberty stained glass ceiling fills the room with a soft brilliance as the crystal refracts and amplifies every ray of light.
The lobby area is presided over by an enormous statue of the Roman goddess Minerva. Eternally young and yet the one Jupiter trusted most to look after the cosmos when his attention was elsewhere, she is beautiful and noble, which also describes her namesake hotel. The furniture is classic and inviting. If you have a laptop with wi-fi, the lobby is wi-fi enabled so that you could order a cappuccino from the bar and work, if you had to, in high style under her benevolent gaze.
The gods also preside over the grand meeting room, the Salon Olimpo, where statues of the Olympic gods stand under recessed arches around the perimeter of the room. The chandeliers are beautiful and delicate Murano glass that throws a warm glow throughout the grand space.
Renovated in 1990, the hotel has 118, 13 junior suites and 4 presidential suites.
I found the staff at the Minerve particularly helpful. I had a problem with my internet connection code, and the only reason I remember it now is that I still feel gratitude for the staff person's patience and concerned determination as he handled it for me
Breakfast at the Minerve offers a grand buffet of pastries and hot dishes, cereals, yogurt, fruit and pitchers of bright red blood-orange juice. I spooned my fill of succulent fruits over a poached pear and had to have a sliver of several tortes with my cappuccino. The coffee was exceptional and the staff was so welcoming I felt like a valued guest instead of a paying customer.
The hotel restaurant, La Cesta, serves meals inside during the winter but moves up onto the Roof Garden during the summer.
Something no other hotel in Rome or elsewhere can boast is the fabulous roof terrace view from the Grand Hotel de la Minerve. The Minerve's location a means it is surrounded by the cupolas and rooftops that have reflected the sun for two millennia. The Pantheon is so close that the famous dome seems to be little more than an arm's length away.
Piazza della Minerva, 69
Tel: +39 06 695201
Fax: +39 06 6794165
ADSL Internet Connection
Double glazing in all rooms
Guestroom doors with peep-holes
Non Smoking Rooms
Electronic key card security
Tea / Coffee maker
Satellite and Pay TV
Electronic Safety box
Direct dial telephone with voicemail
Wake up call
Bathtub with shower
Direct dial telephone also in the bathroom