The Eden, Rome, re-opened April 1st 2017, after a 17-month facelift, which not only cost more than a small fortune but seems to have caused the GM, Luca Virgilio, to lose his hair. But, says the gal, what was a tired, but beautiful, old hotel is now a ravishing luxury beauty, sumptuous and stylish (opulent might imply bling, and Signor Virgilio is having none of that). Suave doormen still usher you into the lobby, Reception on left, Conciergerie on right, but now, ahead of you, have an absolutely gorgeous bar, complete with pianist on the grand – see the first video below, to tour the bar, and then continue with the story.
Luca Virgilio is back home here – he was deputy for years to his predecessor, Marcel Levy. Now, as big boss of what is after the renovation a 98-room hotel, Luca Virgilio has one of the world’s most elegant hotels in his care. Of course this is Italy, so think style, naturally. Suite 208 has walls and moulded ceilings in creamy white, with amazing icy-white marble (studded with slate-grey shards) for the foyer floor, and framing all doors, and completely lining the bathroom. Want colour? Well, much of the collateral, say stationery folder and pen, is bright sunshine yellow, matching the exterior, and the interior doors, of what is a stunted coffin to hold the minibar (I even had a matching leather wallet, with my initials on it, to hold my key cards).
There is now a proper spa, with Anmin, Santa Maria Novella and Sonya Dakar, and Opi for nails. The gym has risen from have-to-have to proud-to-have, with Citterio-Technogym equipment. And as for the seventh floor rooftop, this is unrecognisable (do yourself a favour, go up there for the sun). One end is now the more-casual il Giardino, where you can sit outside, or inside around a central, real, olive tree – at breakfast there is a most elegant and tasty buffet here, not too much of anything put out at any one time. Whenever you are in Il Giardino, you will want, like me, to run your hands over the silk-smooth wood chairs. Although Bruno Moinard did the rest of the hotel, the restaurants and the spa were designed by Patrick Jouin, working with Sanjit Manku.
The adjacent rooftop area is the dinner-only La Terrazza, and here you are in for a culinary treat. Initially, tables are merely set with a croquet-ball-sized china apple, but then cutlery and other things start to arrive (one server brings tongs and a stack of white and grey napkins, to match the upper grey or under, white, tablecloths – which would I like?). The amuse – shown at the top of this story – turns out to be cherry-sized arroncini lollipops, sticking out of a stone, and phials of orange juice in a big glass pot filled with living grass. Fabio Ciervo’s menus, in a yellow cover, offer three- or five or eight courses, with or without paired wines. Happily, they let me just choose two dishes (seaweed xxxseafood? tartare and Kalamata olives, followed by braised beef with seasonal mushrooms and horseradish.). This is, simply, one of those luxury hotels where you, the customer, are king or queen. I went downstairs to my suite highly satisfied (to see what the suite looks like, SEE THE SECOND VIDEO BELOW)