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Hotel Eden’s Reawakening

The aging Rome hotel closed for a nearly two-year renovation that culminated with a grand reopening last spring. Has the Eden recaptured its former glory?

BY Sandra Ramani | Aug 10, 2017
Images courtesy of Hotel Eden

With a history spanning nearly 130 years, Rome’s Hotel Eden played a key part in the growth of the city’s tourism industry. The property hosted everyone from kings and queens to pop culture icons like filmmaker Federico Fellini, who loved to grant interviews at the rooftop restaurant. But as with many hotels from bygone eras, Hotel Eden, in spite of being part of the prestigious Dorchester Collection, began to show its age—so it closed in November 2015 for nearly two years to catch up with the standards of today’s luxury traveler.

The hotel dates back to the end of the 19th century, when European travelers began ditching the horse and buggy in favor of the Iron Horse—which, in turn, caused development in Rome to shift away from its historic core and toward the Termini Railway station and neighborhoods such as Ludovisi, near the famous Villa Borghese gardens. That’s where Munich-born hotelier Francesco Niestelweck converted a mansion into the Hotel Eden in 1889. The hotel quickly distinguished itself by offering advanced technology for the time, such as an elevator, electricity and indoor plumbing.

When Worth visited the hotel in late April, we found a revitalized property that is helping to define the direction of luxury hospitality in the Eternal City. Understanding the desire among today’s traveler for home-like spaces, Hotel Eden expanded the size of its rooms while reducing the total number from 121 to 98. High ceilings, silk drapes by Venetian firm Rubelli, Bottega Veneta bath amenities and flashes of gold, marble and mosaics elevate the design, while iPad-based room controls, Bang & Olufsen flatscreens and Bluetooth connectivity add modern convenience.

The lobby now features a contemporary design, balanced by traditional elements such as stucco, marble and frescoes. In the library, a wood-burning fireplace invites guests to unwind surrounded by carefully selected tomes, while a full bar hidden behind moveable bookcases adds whimsy. The hotel has also opened a new jewel-toned spa with vaulted ceilings—a nod to classic Roman architecture—and four treatment suites; LA-based celebrity esthetician Sonya Dakar has chosen this hotel for her first European spa partnership.

One of the greatest assets Hotel Eden has had throughout its history is lovely views, including soaring panoramic scenes of Rome. Guests who book the Aurora Terrace Suite—once home to actress Ingrid Bergman—look out at its private garden and have enough space for 10 dinner guests, while those staying in the Presidential Suite step onto balconies that frame views once admired by John F. Kennedy. These views also set the scene on the top floor of the hotel, dedicated to a chic lounge, the relaxed Il Giardino restaurant—an indoor/outdoor spot for cicchetti and lighter fare—and the elegant La Terrazza, where you can savor Michelin-starred chef Fabio Ciervo’s healthful twist on fine dining. Think classic cacio pepe spiced with turmeric, surrounded by views stretching to Vatican City and beyond. dorchestercollection.com

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