La Scelta di Goethe

“Only in Rome is it possible to understand Rome,” wrote the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who explored the Eternal City for a travelogue in 1787. Modern visitors can follow in his footsteps with a stay at La Scelta di Goethe (“Goethe’s choice”), a fabulously elegant hotel comprising two luxury apartments in the heart of Rome’s famous Campo Marzio district.

A stone’s throw from the Spanish Steps, with views of Saint Peter’s Basilica, the apartments combine exceptional, five-star luxury with a standard of service that has been called “the greatest hospitality experience in Rome”. “This is a truly unique place,” says Daniel Roman, the hotel’s manager. “We know all our guests by name and we’re completely focused on making their stay unforgettable. From private tours of the Vatican Museums to helicopter trips, we can arrange anything they want.”

The discreet hotel lies behind an unassuming door on the Via del Corso, near the picturesque Via della Croce. Inside, a sweeping marble staircase connects two spectacular attic-level apartments: the Villa Medici and the Trinità dei Monti, each boasting splendid terraces, and furnished with 17th-century antiques and artworks.

The house can be rented in its entirety, or guests can choose one of the two suites. The Villa Medici has a private dining room for 10 people, two bedrooms and a balcony facing the Basilica of San Carlo. The Trinità dei Monti has a library with a fireplace, and a rooftop Jacuzzi from which you can soak up a magnificent 360-degree view. “It’s a very romantic place,” says Daniel. “A lot of guests propose to their partner here and we can help them, by arranging the flowers they want, the music they want. People always say yes!”

The hotel is full of lavish, five-star touches: silk bedspreads handmade in Florence, bathrobes by Frette and organic bath products from Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, the legendary Florentine pharmacy founded by monks in the 13th century. It’s not just the extras that make a stay here so special, though. One guest has written, “It’s like an Italian prince has let you enjoy his palace, with his staff at your service.” Daniel agrees. “Hospitality is the most important thing for us,” he says. “We have a butler service and a personal chef on call 24 hours a day.”

Guests wake up to the peal of church bells before being served a breakfast of fresh coffee and croissants, cheese and prosciutto, and homemade cakes. A concierge can then secure everything from a tailor-made tour of the Vatican Museums, to a table at a Michelin-starred restaurant, to a helicopter ride to the Blue Grotto – a shimmering cavern in Capri’s cliffs. “Everything can be completely private,” says Daniel. “We can arrange for you to visit museums when they are closed or dine in private palazzos. We have plenty of famous guests who expect nothing less.”

It’s no surprise the hotel lives by another quote from its namesake: “The best things are only achieved with the utmost passion.” With a level of luxury unparalleled in Rome, a stay here is an authentic taste of la dolce vita. “We recommend our guests enjoy a one-hour helicopter ride, to take in the sights with a glass of champagne,” says Daniel. Decadent? Maybe. But when in Rome…