Recently, for a one-night layover in Rome, rather than book a touristy hotel by the Spanish Steps, I took the recommendation of a friend who is something of an Italy connoisseur. She suggested La Scelta de Goethe, adding that I shouldn’t be put off by the website, which doesn’t do justice to the restored former home of the German poet, writer and statesman. I briskly booked online and was intrigued when we pitched up outside the unassuming front door on Via del Corso. After being buzzed in and warmly greeted by one of the staff, our party of five piled into a tiny lift.
Spilling out on the fourth floor, we were escorted through the doors of this former pied-à-terre, now “an elegant attic” with some 260sq m of exquisitely furnished rooms, as well as balconies and terraces that afford 360-degree views of the city’s historical centre.
La Scelta di Goethe is actually comprised of two separate apartments – the Villa Medici Suite (€2,200; sleeps four), with its sprawling, high-ceilinged sitting room (first picture), and the slightly smaller, duplex Trinità dei Monti Suite (€1,600; sleeps two), with additional terraces, an outdoor hot tub and views toward Villa Borghese, Villa Medici and Trinità dei Monti. When the two suites are combined (for a total cost of €3,800 per night), as was the case during our stay, the effect is a magical space enlivened by 19th-century furnishings in gorgeous Florentine fabrics, elegant fireplaces and mosaic-tiled bathrooms (with state-of-the-art showers and Santa Maria Novella amenities; I do love a stay that includes luxe toothpaste). There is also a well-stocked library and a private dining room (second picture).
A butler is on hand 24/7, and ours was prepared to go the extra mile – literally – as he offered to suit up and accompany me on my 7am run, so that I wouldn’t get lost in the surrounding labyrinthine streets.
After one of the best – and, surprisingly, quietest – sleeps I’ve had in a long time, I woke to La Scelta de Goethe’s pièce de resistance the next morning: Continental breakfast taken on the impressive terrace. The stacks of pancakes, cereals and yogurts, choice of meat, cheese, fruit, cakes and pastries, not to mention excellent coffee, added up to one of the finest spreads I’ve seen; any and all eggs can be made to order as well. What made this meal particularly unforgettable was a chance to meet the owner Mario Angelini, who is often at his other property in Tuscany, San Buono, but just happened to pop by that morning, taking a genuine delight in educating us about the property and all its sumptuous finishes.
A truly chic and memorable, if fleeting, stay.