Located in the historic centre of Rome, the Grand Hôtel de la Minerve is a monument in itself. It is a classified building, and has been a hotel since the 18th century. It has 4 suites with unique antique decor, and is topped by a terrace looking over the Rome of the Pantheon, of piazza Navona, a district lit up by classified monuments at night and little bothered by road traffic. If the hotel, given its high standing, is out of your budget range, just come for dinner or a drink. However, only do so from April to October, when the panoramic terrace is open.
On piazza della Minerva, in the historic centre of Rome, a five minute walk from piazza Navona. There is no underground stop in the immediate vicinity of the hotel. From Termini (railway and underground station), take buses 40, 64 or 70 and get off at the Largo Argentina stop. The hotel is 492 ft away.
Fiumicino airport is 16 mi away, and Ciampino Airport is 9 mi away. Allow 45 minutes to reach Fiumicino and 30 minutes for Ciampino.
You have possibly already seen the Grand Hôtel de la Minerve at the cinema! It is occasionally used for films, due to its status as a listed building: the building dates back to the 17th century (at the time it was the residence of a large Roman family of Portuguese origin). It became a hotel from the 18th century.
For a view over the square, ask for a "deluxe" room. To have a period stay in a listed building, ask for one of the 4 suites. The most beautiful is the Stendhal suite, its ceiling decorated with frescoes (note the Portuguese influence in the decoration). The other three have panelled ceilings. These are period features, and almost unique to Rome.
As piazza della Minerva is a small square, with no shops, bars, or restaurants (therefore peaceful), the Grand Hôtel de la Minerve is the first building you will notice. You also notice the obelisk perched on an elephant, in the centre of the square. The obelisk is Egyptian (it was brought from Egypt by emperor Diocletian in the 4th century); and the elephant supporting it was sculpted by Le Bernin (the creator of the Triton fountain on piazza Barberini). The work was commissioned by Pope Alexander VII to represent the allegory "rather a well-made than a well-filled head", or to promote the idea of science with a conscience, to parody the reflection of King Solomon inEcclesiastes. Once inside the hotel, linger a little while in the lounge at the end of the corridor. It is elegantly set out, with furniture and decoration inspired by the neo-renaissance. Reception is in a room separated from the sitting areas. Another feature of the hotel is the panoramic terrace, which is transformed into an outdoor bar and restaurant from April to October. As the hotel is in the historic centre of Rome, the terrace looks over the Pantheon (just beside it), piazza Navona, the Quirinal Palace and the cupola of the Vatican. The view is superb, particularly after nightfall, when the monuments are lit up. It is one of the most romantic places in Rome for a drink or dinner!
The hotel has 134 rooms split into "superior", "deluxe" and "suite" categories. It may be useful for families to know that the hotel can sleep one child (under 12) in the parents' room. However, not many of the "superior" rooms can accommodate an additional bed, so you will need to reserve a "deluxe" room (or a suite if that is to your taste, and your wallet can take the punishment). Note that if the child sleeps in the parents' room free of charge, his or her breakfast must be paid for separately (£28.60). Couples (who can afford it) may like to reserve one of the 4 suites with listed decor. They are four to five times more expensive than rooms in the first category but a unique stay is recommended (particularly in the Stendhal suite, with its ceiling frescoes). If you don't wish to spend so much, choose the "deluxe" category for the view (over the square) and the surface area (around 377 sq ft). Stick to the "superior" category if comfort is the most important thing for you (it is guaranteed), and you are not too bothered about the size (from 215 to 270 sq ft) or the view (over an interior courtyard or a small street). The furniture is of a refined contemporary style. The beige or green colour scheme is rather dull, and a splash of red here and there would certainly brighten things up. However, the facilities are those of a large hotel: there is a flat-screen television, telephone, air conditioning, and minibar. The bathroom has a bath (without a detachable showerhead, which makes a quick blow-dry tricky), hair-dryer, bathrobes, and hospitality products (60 ml) displaying the hotel's name.
It is surprising but true to note that the restaurant is fantastic from April to October but mediocre (by comparison) the rest of the year. Indeed, in the warmer seasons, all meals (apart from breakfast, which really is a shame) can be taken on the top floor terrace, al fresco. There are views over the Pantheon, Quirinal, or the Vatican (depending on the side of the terrace), just about the whole of Rome. In addition, as the hotel is in the historic centre, there are no large noisy avenues below, and you can enjoy the views in peace. Given the surroundings, the content of your plate becomes secondary. However, the food is very good here (and quite expensive; a plate of pasta costs £18.45). Choose from a rib of veal with diced bacon fat, scallops in orange sauce, or tortelli pasta stuffed with pecorino cheese... It is also worth eating there in winter, when meals are served in the dining room in the basement (no views outside) with its Venetian decoration (Murano glass chandeliers, light marble panelling on the walls). The breakfast buffet is also served in this room (American style, with hot and cold dishes). You can have your breakfast served in the cosy comfort of your room at no extra charge, if you prefer. However, it will be less varied than the buffet (pastries, rolls, fruit juices, hot drink). As far as the bar is concerned, the panoramic terrace bar is open for drinks in season. There is also the lobby bar inside, in a room adjoining the lobby lounge.
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