The Bettoja Hotel Chain in Italy – A Family Legacy

March 20, 2006

The Bettoja family’s restaurant and hotel adventure began with the acquisition of the Restaurant Massimo d’Azeglio, named after the Italian writer, statesman, aristocrat, and painter, Massimo Taparelli, marquis d’Azeglio. After 130 years, Massimo d’Azeglio is still one of Rome’s leading restaurants.

As the area around the restaurant developed, the family bought the rest of the building and transformed it into the Hotel Massimo d’Azeglio. The Bettojas acquired their second hotel, the Hotel Mediterraneo, in the 1930’s. Between World War I and II, they added the Hotel Atlantico and Hotel Nord Nuova Roma to the chain. All four hotels are in Rome. The most recent addition in 1989, the Hotel Relais Certosa, is located in Florence, bringing the total hotels in the family chain to five.

The Five Bettoja Hotels

The Hotel Relais Certosa was built in the 1400s as guest quarters for the Certosa dei Galluzo Monastery. One of the most important monasteries in Europe, this destination is still occupied by Cisterian monks and historical works of art. The sixty-three rooms and six suites in the four star hotel have been renovated and decorated in Tuscan style. The Relais Certosa is surrounded by fifteen acres of park-like ambience to ensure quiet and harmony. To satisfy your culinary appetite, try a Tuscan dish in the one of the hotel’s two well-known restaurants, La Terrazza or La Veranda.

The Hotel Mediterraneo is the highest building in Rome’s historical centre and is decorated in Forties Art Deco. The geometric Italian style represents the architecture typical of the period between the First and Second World War. Valentino loves the location for fashion shoots and the hotel attracts movie and television scouts. Design and architecture buffs will love this ten-storey, 266-room work of art. It has all modern luxuries including interpretation services, hydro-massage bathtubs, soundproof rooms, and an on-staff masseur. The Hotel Mediterraneo has fulfilled its goal of becoming a grand hotel in European style.

A 1936 building houses the Atlantico Hotel. The décor matches that era including precious wood and marble floors. Sixty-nine rooms on five floors include modern comforts. Conference rooms of varying sizes are available for those in Rome on business. The Atlantico Hotel is connected to the Hotel Mediterraneo via an internal stairway so guests can easily take advantage of the Mediterraneo’s Ristorante 21 and other amenities.

The Hotel Nord Nuova Roma boasts a stunning glass elevator and a modern fitness centre on the top floor. It is decorated with traditional dark wood, rich fabric colours, and classic patterns. All 155 rooms are soundproof and boast the most up-to-date comforts while preserving the hotel’s 1930s tasteful style. Guests love the wireless Internet access in all rooms and the televisions with international channels.

The Hotel Massimo d’Azeglio, the first in the Bettoja Hotel Group, has held onto its late 19th century style and ambience. Its façade looks like it did when King Umberto ruled Italy in the late 1800s while the interior has been regularly revamped. The lobby is filled with priceless art works representing people vital to the Italian unification movement. A portrait of d’Azeglio and three of his drawings hang near the bar. The hotel is comprised of five floors – one devoted to nonsmokers – and 197 rooms. Conferences can be held in the “Sala Azzura” which holds up to 180 people in air-conditioned comfort and high-tech luxury.

All four of the hotels in Rome are either next door, across the street, or around the corner from one another. You are within walking distance of the Coliseum, the Opera House, the Fountain of Trevi, Imperial Forums, the new Archeological Museum, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, and the Via Veneto, all of which draw visitors from around the world. The Termini Railway Station is 200 metres away. The two family restaurants service the four hotels and two rooftop garden eateries serve lighter fare while offering a panoramic view of Rome.

Bettoja Cooking

The Breakfast Rooms in the Bettoja Hotel Group serve an international breakfast buffet with a variety of cereals, fruit, juices, pastries, cold meats and cheeses, among other items. The Hotel Mediterraneo’s breakfast buffet is even more elaborate with items such as a variety of cut to order fresh baked breads and breakfast salads.

The Bettoja family recipes are served in both restaurants and rooftop gardens and continue to be improved upon by Jo Bettoja. Jo opened a cooking school in 1976 and went on to publish three Italian cookbooks. She has incorporated Georgian cuisine – her birthplace – with the best of Italian dishes and their guests benefit from her culinary genius. Favourites include Fruit Spamone, Pollo a la Romana, and Uova Fritte all’ American (American style fried eggs). Popular classic family recipe menu choices include Cognac-flambéed tournedos, Grand Veneur venison sirloin, pink ravioli, trenette with turbot fillet, and Provencal-style scallops. The menu changes daily and with the seasons. Guests in any of the four Roman Bettoja hotels can visit either of the restaurants and charge it to their room.

La Cantina, the wine cellar that started in 1875 with a few dozen bottles, now holds over 30,000 bottles of wines from around the world. Rare bottles include Chianti Brolio Ricasoli from ’18, ’23, ’29, and ’43 and an 1875 Malaga Conte Alvarez de la Castilla. The wine cellar hosts wine tastings and romantic candlelight dinners, popular events in Rome.

Today Angelo Bettoja runs the chain while Jo continues to perfect the family recipes. Their two sons as well as many other relatives work in the Bettoja chain in many different capacities from Marketing Director to hotel managers to decorators. The over 1,000 rooms are regularly updated and modernized while maintaining their traditional feel.

With Florence and Rome being the two top European destinations according to Travel and Leisure, why not try out a Bettoja hotel the next time you are in Europe? All five hotels have their own unique identity and the Bettoja family’s personal touch.