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In Rome, a hotel that dates to 1889 — such as Hotel Eden — is considered relatively young.
Even so, Dorchester Collection closed Hotel Eden for 17 months following its purchase of the property in September 2013. During that time, the building underwent an expansive refresh that has protected its status as a beloved and storied luxury property in Rome.
Interior designers Bruno Moinard and Claire Betaille created a fresh yet classically Italian look by commissioning various local craftspeople to riff on traditional influences.
For example, both the front and concierge desks are made from single slabs of delicately sculpted marble resembling Rome’s Ara Pacis Augustae altar. While the desks look like well-preserved ancient artifacts, they’re newly commissioned pieces. (Behind these counters, highly skilled staff spend a good portion of their day pointing out to guests that the walk from the front door to the top of the Spanish Steps takes less than 10 minutes — something most folks don’t realize due to the hotel’s tucked-away surroundings.)
If clients choose instead to stay inside, they’ll find the mixed-use La Libreria lounge, which features marble floors decorated with bold geometric shapes inspired by the Pantheon. And the ceiling’s gilded paneling takes a cue from the homes of noblemen, according to Fabiola Balduzzi, the property’s communications and marketing manager. As she walked alongside the lounge’s walls, Balduzzi revealed the space’s secret bar, embedded behind glass doors and surrounded by illuminated shelving.
Indeed, the hotel is not all serious. While the color scheme tends toward neutral tones, designers skillfully employed eye-catching features — such as a blood-red velvet couch — to keep the visual experience here interesting. The chromatic balancing act is also on display in the light-filled guestrooms, which are generously sized due to the renovation, which decreased the room count from 121 to 98.
My 926-square-foot Prestige Suite — the top category before the four Signature Suites — featured a spacious living room area with its own bathroom and a minibar stocked with complimentary snacks; a walk-in closet and vanity; a marble bathroom; and a bedroom that, like the rest of the suite, reflected the refined-but-modern Italian aesthetic on display throughout the property.
Uncluttered and bright, all rooms at Hotel Eden feature doors and walls bearing decorative white molding, white-on-white linens, marble tables and baths, off-white carpets and lightly upholstered furniture. Against this subtle palette, artisanal Italian items — such as ornately patterned curtains and glass-blown lamps and drawer knobs — pop, as does bling (gold-rimmed mirrors and mirrored tables) and color (such as the burgundy hue used in my open-door closet and velvet bedroom bench).
Even the smallest accommodations have luxurious bathrooms, making the primping portion of the day a complete delight. Inspired by the Roman baths, restrooms — like those lobby desks — seemed carved from a singular piece of marble. In my room, a soaking tub occupied top real estate in the center of the bathroom, while the walk-in rain shower and toilet were at opposite ends behind closed doors.
One could get away with staying in a bathrobe for hours. An elevator just steps from my room delivered me straight to The Eden Spa, a cavernous space that offers facials, massages and signature body treatments in three candlelit suites.
My choice, the two-hour La Dolce Vita treatment, turned out to be a cure for jet lag and nascent cold symptoms thanks to its combination of a vigorous scrub, a relaxing massage (with an extra-long scalp treatment) and the healing aromatics of the citrus scent — applied liberally via Mei-brand oil and cream. Midsession, I enjoyed slices of orange doused in sweet orange oil — much more potent than an Airborne tablet — and when it was all over, I was given a glass of chilled Prosecco.
When in Rome, there’s no time for tea — unless it’s a jasmine tea syrup used to sweeten a gin and limoncello cocktail at Il Giardino Bar. In addition to delicious cocktails such as La Grande Bellezza — a signature drink made with rose vermouth, tamarind and mezcal — the hangout offers Italian soul food such as arancini, stuffed zucchini blossoms and bruschetta. The bar is a popular meeting point for visitors and locals alike thanks to its refined decor and panoramic views of the city. (On warm days, the bar’s picture windows open for a true alfresco rooftop feel.)
Il Giardino Ristorante — a great spot for pasta and pizza — and Michelin-starred La Terrazza also offer beautiful food set against the skyline of the Eternal City. From up here, vis-a-vis Rome’s finest buildings, Hotel Eden’s legacy feels secure.
Hotel Eden is part of Dorchester Collection, which has ties to the sultan of Brunei, an enforcer of Sharia law. However, brand representatives state that inclusion, diversity and equality are core values of the Dorchester Collection and its 3,630 employees, who represent 67 nationalities.
“The recent events are upsetting, as we do not tolerate any form of discrimination at Hotel Eden or across the brand,” said Fabiola Balduzzi, communications and marketing manager for the property, following the March 2019 actions of the sultan. “We have a strong culture of diversity and have been deeply touched by the tremendous support we’ve received from so many loyal guests, long-standing business partners and employees.”
The DetailsHotel Eden www.dorchestercollection.com