THE TRAVEL FIXER

  • Gaynor Pickard

A Luxury, Romantic, Short Break At The Hotel Eden In Rome



Suggested Outline Itinerary For A Luxury Short Break Stay In Rome

Day One

Upon arrival at the designated airport you will be greeted by a local representative who will assist you with entry formalities and accompany you to your luxury air- conditioned vehicle for the short transfer 9 miles to the city of Rome.


Upon arrival at the Eden Hotel a porter will take your bags to your room where you will have the opportunity to freshen up before heading out for an afternoon of exploring ancient Rome.

The Next Four Nights Will Be Spent At The Eden Hotel - Rome


Rome’s iconic Hotel Eden has reopened after a 17-month renovation. The newly born hotel sets the standard high for luxury hospitality, with its classically elegant and sumptuous decor, magnificent views, high-end restaurants and exclusive spa.


The hotel was opened in 1889 by the Munich-born hotelier, Francesco Niestelweck. He was the first to realize that a new era of Roman hospitality would begin with the development of the train. Sure enough, with the Industrial Revolution hotels started opening in the Ludovisi district where Hotel Eden was situated. Since then, this luxury hotel has hosted a long list of royals, heads of states and actors from the golden age of Hollywood.

Fast-forward to 2013. Dorchester Collection -- which includes The Beverly Hills in LA and the Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris -- purchased this legendary property and revamped it, keeping its Old World opulence with an added modern sensitivity.


Situated between the Spanish Steps and the Villa Borghese (Rome’s third largest park), the location is central but secluded. It neighbours include Villa Ludovisi -- of the Ludovisi family, one of the oldest aristocratic families in Rome -- and religious properties of different orders (Irish monks, Benedictine nuns, among others), and Villa Malta which belongs to the Vatican. Depending on where in the building you are, you can also see Villa Medici and the top of the Spanish Steps.


The designers in charge of the renovation were Bruno Moinard and Claire Bétaille who previously redid the Hôtel Plaza Athénée. With solid experience in residential design -- including Karl Lagerfeld’s apartment -- Moinard's design oozes luxuriousness but feels homey and inviting.

I guarantee, though, that you’ll forget about the coziness for a moment as you walk into the lobby. There’s plenty of gold and marble (sourced from Pakistan but finished in Carrara by expert artisans) to create drama and provide the wow-factor for arriving guests. A few steps up from the lobby is “La Libreria,” a relaxing bar in a sumptuous setting -- the walls are adorned with frescoes and geometric marble patterns are laid on the floor, giving the room a modern touch. This is where guests can relax any time of day with light breakfast or an aperitif served at a “secret bar” with a live piano.


In contrast to the communal area, the 98 guest rooms and suites (reduced from 121 during the renovation in order to create larger spaces) are decorated in neutral hues. High ceilings and large windows let the natural daylight in and, as a result, spaces are airy and bright. The casually mixed and juxtaposed display of antique prints and designer Moinard’s own abstract watercolours depicting various scenes of Rome. This kind of well thought-out attention to detail makes the room feel like you are in your own home, rather than feeling uncomfortable in your rich cousin’s palatial mansion.


A truly modern feature here is the two restaurants led by award-winning chef Fabio Ciervo. As a former athlete, he’s a passionate advocate for healthy eating. La Terraza at Hotel Eden is set to be a new gourmands’ destination with a fresh approach to high-end gastronomic experience that focuses on wellness and nutrition.

For a special occasion, book a chef’s table for up to 8 guests from which you can watch 30 chefs working in the state-of-art kitchen that Ciervo designed. Open every evening (except Tuesdays), La Terraza is one of the best restaurants in Rome for views. No wonder Federico Fellini always came here for his interviews.


Day One Continued

After having had time to freshen up you will be taken on a driven orientation tour (45 minutes) of the city. This won’t be drawn out affair but just enough to give you an insight into the size and scale of this awe inspiring city. After an orientation tour and depending on the weather your guide can drop you at a local rooftop restaurant where you can relax, hopefully soak up some sun and enjoy some authentic local food….but keep it light as you will surely want to save some space for a sumptuous Italian feast this evening. Lunch is usually served until 3.00 pm. This gives you enough time to relax over a cocktail at The Eden then dress for dinner and perhaps enjoy the evening passeggiata stroll along the Via Del Corso (between 5 and 7)


We can arrange a driver to collect you from a central location on Via Del Corso and transport you to a dinner location of your choice.


One of our suggestions would be the restaurant at Palazzo Manfredi. If you time your visit correctly you will be rewarded with views directly over the Colosseum which will be bathed in the low light of sunset.

You face a rickety ride in a vintage lift up to the rooftop dining terrace at the luxurious Palazzo Manfredi. Despite its Michelin star, the narrow terrace is unfussy, and lets the uninterrupted views of the gladiatorial stadium do the talking.


Italians never take dinner before eight. It would be ideal to book a slightly later table if possible and then take a lazy stroll through the cities illuminated piazzas and fountains. That’s when I find them at their most beautiful, at night, lit by the moon and practically free of crowds.


End the evening listening to live piano music and a signature cocktail nightcap at Bar La Terrazza, the rooftop bar at the Eden Hotel.

Day Two



This morning take an early breakfast and head off to see the sights of Ancient Rome starting with Palatine Hill and The Roman Forum. You can do this with the help of an audio guide or alternatively a private guide.

Aim to set off early, skip the queues and beat the crowds. Depending on how the availability works out for the Colosseum tour you could have the morning visiting The Forum and Palatine Hill followed by lunch and a tour of the Colosseum.


For me, the star of the show has to be ancient Rome. Although no longer the heart of the city, this is where Rome began, with the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum, Imperial Forums and Circus Maximus (where the chariot racing was held)

The Roman Forum was ancient Rome’s showpiece centre a grandiose district of temples, basilicas and vibrant public spaces. Over time it became the social political and commercial hub of the Roman Empire.

Palatine Hill is one of the seven hills of Rome and previously several emperors established their palaces on the Palatine. There were also a number of temples located here including the Temple of Apollo and the Temple of Mater. Located on the Palatine was the hut of Romulus and Remus. Legend has it that the twins were born around 770bc, the sons of a mortal priestess, Rhea Silvia, and the Roman God of war, Mars. The boys were abandoned at birth and thrown into the river Tiber in a cradle. However, they were rescued by a she-wolf, taken to her cave and lair and raised by her. Later the twins were found by a shepherd and raised to adulthood. Romulus and Remus decided to create a city from the location of where the wolves had raised them. Romulus later fought his brother on Palatine Hill to become the king of Rome and founder of Rome’s military system and senate.


If you love seafood and would like to dine a stones throw from the Colosseum try Tempio di Iside which is an elegant fish restaurant located in the Monti area and is known for its crudi (raw fish and crustaceans) like sea urchin roe, langoustines, oysters and fish carpaccio. The pasta wit with sweet red shrimp and fresh pecorino is excellent.


Monti, is THE neighbourhood for the cool and young, the old and vintage. For those who want a serving of cobblestone, antiques and artisans, with a side order of beauty, great food and the best bars in Rome. Centrally located between Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum, this is The place to while away the afternoon peeking into vintage stores, paging through old books, grabbing coffee in Rome’s chicest cafes, chatting over aperitivo, and people watching at the fountain in Piazza della Madonna dei Monti. A tiny quartiere, it’s a haven between the tourist traps of Via Nazionale and Via Cavour, and much more Roman than the more popular districts like Campo de’ Fiori and Piazza Navona. This is working-class Rome, where older couples maintain tradition, even as young entrepreneurs open trendy galleries.


Its charm, and village atmosphere make Monti it a favourite hangout for locals and expats. Start at the fountain in Piazza Della Madonna dei Monti, the heart of Monti for its beauty and buzz. As you continue, stunning views of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore burst at you from Via Panisperna, and endless ivy walls and ancient relics reflect a Rome from long ago, but never lost. Monti’s character shines from every street, a trendy village, old versus new, both classic and chic at once.

Colosseum Tour




Your guide sees it as his/her mission to reveal some of the last remaining secrets of the Colosseum during this VIP Rome tour. With your expert guide, you'll get the opportunity to experience something that very few visitors get to see, a behind the scenes tour of the Colosseum retracing in the footsteps of gladiators.


Your tour begins inside the Colosseum when a padlocked gate is opened for you. From here you will descend underground into the "Hypogeum", commonly known as the Colosseum Underground or Dungeons. This is where Gladiators and wild animals awaited their fate! You are now standing in an area that was unknown to the tens of thousands of screaming spectators above. Your personal guide will explain how you would have felt at this moment if you were a gladiator - It was dark, you were alone, and you knew that you might be taking your last breaths in this world.


You will get to walk directly beneath the stage and get the best view of what went on behind the scenes, including a model "trap door" used to raise animals and gladiators up to the stage.


The Arena Floor -Next, your guide leads you into the heart of the Colosseum, as you walk under a great archway known as the "Porta Libitina" or "Gate of Death" and out onto the reconstructed Arena Floor, where gladiators once fought for their lives. From this gate, only the dead passed through because this was the direction to the Gladiator district. Picture the scene, up to 80,000 screaming, baying, Romans all eager to witness the spectacle of gladiator against gladiator, or gladiator against wild beast. Have your camera ready as this is the best place in the Colosseum for a photo opportunity. I also think that this is the best part of the tour and one that is restricted to all but a few.


The Colosseum - After all the action, you'll visit the first and second Level of the Colosseum with our guide. From these areas, you'll get some great views down onto the arena floor as our guide gives you plenty of time for pictures and explains more about the legends and stories of games that were once inside the Colosseum.


The Third Tier section of the Colosseum is not accessible to the general public, only to a select few who book a special private/semi private tour. The third tier is definitely worth doing as it offers you incredible views.

All of our guides are experts in archeology and history and are extremely passionate about sites like the Colosseum. We don't want to give away all the secrets, but you will learn that the "Colosseum" is just a nickname, why women didn't sit with men and that there was a very "modern" device to make sure that everyone was protected from the sun!

By the end of the tour your guide will have created an excellent picture of what life was like during the 1st - 4th century A.D. as well as create a timeline of events through Roman history. You can leave knowing you have really conquered Ancient Rome and the Colosseum!


A dinner this evening will be recommended by our team on the ground. If you would like specific dinner reservations making then the concierge team would be happy to do it for you.


Day Three

Start the day with breakfast at the Vatican Museums. With the Vatican Museums still closed to the public at large, early risers can enjoy delightful breakfast served subject to weather conditions in the evocative courtyard of the Pine Cone or the spacious restaurant area. This special experience will then culminate in an open tour, with exclusive guide of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.


You will also get to see the Raphael Rooms which are a series of papal apartments frescoed by Raphael with the school of Athens and other masterpieces.


The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to explore St Peters Basilica, Villa Borghese Gardens. Alternatively indulge in a spot of shopping and lunch around the Trident/Spanish Steps area. The star here being the Piazza Di Spangna which attracts Romans and tourists alike to idly sit on its celebrated Spanish Steps. Some of Rome’s most upscale shops fan out from here including via Condotti.


Evening at leisure


Day Four

Breakfast at leisure


Rome wasn’t built in a day as they say so today you can do just as much or as little as you please. If the weather is hot you may wish to take a day pool side at the Aldrovandi Hotel. A day pass will cost you E55.00 pp.

Day Four Continued

There are miles of ancient Christian Catacombs under Rome but most companies visit the same one. We go the extra distance to visit the best and quietest of the Rome catacombs, the Catacomb of Santa Priscilla. One of Rome's first underground Christian cemeteries (dating back to 150 years before Christianity was legalized), this site has extraordinary ancient frescoes, eerie tunnels and the world's single oldest depiction of the Virgin Mary.


The Roman catacombs are pretty cool but we visit another site that could be even better – the Capuchin bone crypt, a cemetery literally built from bones! The chambers are decorated with the remains of some 4,000 friars. For kids, it’s a fascinating lesson in anatomy and for adults, a moving reminder of what we’ll all become. The message at the end of crypt says it all: “What you are now, we once were. What we are now, you will be.” Strangely enough, the monks didn’t intend the site to be a morbid one – but you’ll learn all about that from your expert guide when you visit one of Rome’s most memorable sights.


Other Things To Do Rome


Villa Borghese Gardens

Rome’s most famous park is a great place to enjoy an oasis of shaded walkways, verdant corners and excellent museums.


A Night At The Opera

Get Out Into The Countryside

Its stunning!

Day Five

After breakfast and at a time convenient to you the driver will collect you from the hotel for the transfer back to the airport.


Further Personalisation Of Your Itinerary

Of course, it's my job is to create itineraries and opportunities that you would not have access to yourself. So, it goes without saying that I can tailor-make an itinerary to suit your exact needs and desires. For example, I can include to visit a renowned fragrance house where participants can create their own bespoke signature fragrance. Alternatively, we can arrange for you to visit the cavern of an artisan working jeweller who will tutor you in creating a special piece of jewellery, afterwards join him for a cold glass of champagne and marvel at the creation of your dream wedding/engagement or special occassion ring. For the fashion focussed I can arrange a shopping trip for vintage couture or for a behind the scenes fashion tour with a high profile fashion designer.

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