Rome's Family-Run Bettoja Hotel Group Embarks on Major Renovationby Maria Lisella /
The more things change, the more they stay the same, goes an old epigram and sometimes that’s just what you want: the same thing only better.
And that includes adding a restaurant and an 11th floor to the Hotel Mediterraneo that already boasts being the tallest hotel in the Eternal City.
Built originally for the 1942 World’s Fair on Esquilino Hill, the Mediterraneo’s 10th floor rooftop bar has up to now been an enviable draw. The hotel is frequently featured in fashion shoots and most recently in The Young Pope starring Jude Law.
Bettoja President Maurizio Bettoja, the fifth generation of the 140-year old family-run Bettoja Hotel Group said, “The 20 million Euro challenge is to retain this family-run business, keep its trademark look and its own soul.”
Indeed, Bettoja Hotels have been welcoming guests since 1875, when the family first purchased the Massimo D'Azeglio Restaurant near the Termini station, and expanded it into what is now the Hotel Massimo D'Azeglio.
In 1895, the neighboring Hotel Mediterraneo and Hotel Atlantico became part of the collection. Today, five generations later, there are 500 rooms among the three hotels, as the Bettojas begin a multimillion-Euro renovation across all hotels.
Additionally, the wine cellar at the Massimo has remained untouched since the 1800s and serves today for a special event space for small groups.
"The Bettoja tradition,” said Bettoja, “has been handed down for generations, evolving its hospitality according to modern needs. 2018 becomes a new starting point, where the location, the usability and flexibility of our offer reflect the values of an all-Italian story."
Working in concert with Bettoja is recently appointed Ciro Verrocchi, “A strong team can take any great plan and turn it into reality,” he said, “we are reinventing our future based on our history."
From the handmade tiles made in Amalfi to the mosaics to the rooftop terrace, to the Art Deco arches from the 1930s, Verrochi says, “The properties have good bones to begin with.”
Verrocchi arrived at the historic group in December, 2017. He has held numerous hotel leadership positions at renowned international companies, including Managing Director for IHI Italia, part of the Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG); General Manager of the Westin Europa & Regina, in Venice; and General Manager of the St. Regis Grand in Rome. While at IHG, Verrochi helped launch Italy’s first IHG Academy program providing hospitality training to professional development.
This month, the Bettoja executives were paying special attention to the travel agencies they work with most often such as several Virtuoso members, AAA, Altour, ProTravel, Tzell, and Valerie Wilson Travel.
Said Françoise MP Rougé President of FRI Inc., a Virtuoso member: “Our clients appreciate the convenient location of the Mediterraneo in particular as well as the consistent hospitality they experience.” While Rougé’s agency specializes in higher-end clients many of whom stay at the Eden, The Hassler, The Mediterraneo suits those on a more modest budget.
Jeanne Piro from Altour arrived at the Bettoja presentation to ascertain whether the renovations would disturb the clients she had booked for the first time at The Mediterraneo, but felt assured their stay would go smoothly.
The complete refurbishment of all three properties will see a more coordinated plan starting with the sixth floor of the Mediterraneo, which will essentially set the pace for the other properties.
The back of the house will include new kitchens, and the front a new dining room for breakfast with the addition of a 1930s mosaic that was salvaged from the San Giorgio, a former member of the group.
Classified as upper end four-star properties, they are set in Central Rome, near the Termini Railway Station, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Forum, Colosseum and the Roman National Museum. The Stazione Termini, convenient for train excursions to Florence or Naples (1.5 hours) or Milan (three hours), is a block away, and has undergone significant improvements during the past few years.