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The Grand Hotel de la Minerve Review - 5 Star Rome Hotel Goddess

By Susan di Rende

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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 hotel is nestled behind the Pantheon on the Piazza della Minerva, an almost private little square with an curious and beautiful Bernini obelisk supported by an elephant at the center.  The hotel's location is ideal, being only a few steps away is the Pantheon with its magnificent dome and broad square full of restaurants and cafes. All the most famous monuments are nearby: the Piazza Navonna, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain.

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 resplendent lobby with its glass ceiling

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 is wi-fi enabled

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.

Gods watch over the Salon Olimpio

Renovated in 1990, the hotel has 118, 13 junior suites and 4 presidential suites. 

The Superior rooms at the Minerve offer standard modern five-star comfort a big, firm bed, large marble bath, and flat screen television that doubles as a computer with high-speed internet.  The rooms are perhaps a bit generic in design but certainly everything that is needed and expected for a good rest and refreshing bath or shower before heading out to do the hard work of being a tourist.

The Stendhal Suite

The suites have more individual style.  The Stendhal Suite, for example, has beautiful frescoes on the ceiling that evoke the elegance of times gone by.  The bath in the suite includes a giant jacuzzi tub sure to satisfy the sybarite or simply soak tired bones after walking on cobblestones all day.

An excellent staff makes the Minerve shine

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

It is important to note that internet access in Italy is expensive and you pay extra - as much as $50 a day for it even in five-star hotels.  Then again, the internet will be there when you get home.  Perhaps the Italians don't spend as much time in virtual reality when the actual reality is so amazing.  Log off and go down to the lobby for a cappuccino in the bar or wander outside and get lost in the Centro Storico.  After all, when in Rome...

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. 

Breakfast at the Minerve

The hotel restaurant, La Cesta, serves meals inside during the winter but moves up onto the Roof Garden during the summer.

One of the views from the roof terrace and garden

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. 

In summer, the fabulous roof garden serves dinner

As day cools to evening in the hot Roman summer, the rooftop stays open sometimes into the wee hours.  Imagine a typical Italian 'cena' at 9 or 10 in the evening followed by a stroll past the glorious Pantheon  into the glowing charm of the Minerve's lobby and then up on the roof for a drink and easy conversation with the Eternal City stretched alongside you as the eternal stars shine. 

Piazza della Minerva, 69
00186 ROMA
Tel: +39 06 695201
Fax: +39 06 6794165
[email protected]
hotel website

  135 Rooms
  ADSL Internet Connection
  Double glazing in all rooms
  Guestroom doors with peep-holes
  Non Smoking Rooms
  Electronic key card security
  Air conditioning
  Tea / Coffee maker
  Satellite and Pay TV
  Electronic Safety box
  Direct dial telephone with voicemail
  Wake up call
  Trouser press
  Vanity mirror
  Bathtub with shower
  Direct dial telephone also in the bathroom

Published on Dec 31, 1969

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