Classy convenience at Grand Hotel de la Minerve

The Grand Hotel de la Minerve is in the Piazza di Minerva. Photo Credit: Sergio D’Afflitto
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Rome's Grand Hotel de la Minerve is as beautiful and elegant as the name would suggest. The 135-room, five-star hotel is a converted palazzo belonging to an aristocratic Portuguese family that dates back to the 17th century. It became a hotel in the early 19th century, changing over the years, of course, and going through an extensive renovation in the 1990s.

The Minerve, a member of Worldhotels, sits on a relatively quiet plaza, Piazza di Minerva, with its Bernini-designed Egyptian/Baroque obelisk/monument. The property is only about 150 feet from one of the most famous spots in Rome, the nearly 2-millennium-old Pantheon; that's the nearly 2,000-year-old, domed building with the hole in the roof. The hotel's location is ideal for easy walking to such places as Trevi Fountain (currently undergoing extensive renovation), the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona and Campo de' Fiori; the Vatican is across the Tiber River slightly more than a half-mile away.

The simple but very classy entrance to the hotel leads into the front desk/concierge area where all details are handled. The main staff speaks flawless English, and all of the important literature is multilingual (meaning Italian and English). And it's a great place to stay to immerse oneself in things Italian.

The public areas are a comfortable, luxurious and functional combination of features with a refined art deco touch. The main floor, which contains the front desk and concierge area, a large sitting area for guests and visitors, the bar and restaurant and meeting rooms (for 10 to 125), is really lovely; the sculptures, artwork and ceiling are museum-quality. But by far the prettiest spot is the rooftop bar, lounge and restaurant. It has lots of chairs, tables and sofas, and its seventh-floor view encompasses a huge expanse with views of the Pantheon, St. Peter's Basilica even the wedding-cake monument to Vittorio Emanuele II. This is the place for breakfast and evening drinks.

A Classic Room at the property, a member of Worldhotels.
A Classic Room at the property, a member of Worldhotels.

Guestrooms come in essentially five categories: classic (194 square feet), superior (269), deluxe (322), grand deluxe (377) and then five different suites (from 430 to 807 square feet). All rooms come with a double or king-size bed (or twins), flat-screen TV, free WiFi, double-glazed windows, minibar, safe, makeup mirror, Travertine marble bathroom with shower, bathtub as well as a phone and toiletries from Milan.

Naturally, the bigger the room, beyond just space and more closets and drawers, the more amenities that come with it, such as wine and chocolate, bottles of water and guaranteed late checkout. The largest, the two-bedroom Alfieri Suite, can hold four adults and a child. Of course, the higher the floor, the better the view, especially the rooms at the front of the hotel, which have a gorgeous view of the Pantheon. A small gym (no charge) has five machines to keep guests busy.

Prices in early September range from about $300 per night for the Classic Rooms to $1,270 for the largest of the suites. The hotel website and res system is easy to navigate. Visit grandhoteldelaminerve.com.

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