Door to Door

by Danilo Brunetti

Filly di Somma gets to know the doormen and women of Rome’s luxury hotels.

The doorman is the very first enounter a guest will have inside Rome’s five-star hotels. Welcoming weary travelers, helping them with their luggage, and escorting them to their rooms are just some of the duties on a doorman’s checklist. Other essentials include a charming personality, professionalism, efficiency, courtesy, and, of course, an excellent level of English. Besides greeting new arrivals, he or she is also the last to bid farewell to guests, a final impression of their stay in the Eternal City. Fun fact: the role of doorman can be traced back at least to the time of Plauto in the Republican age, called a iānitor (from iānua, meaning “door”).

“Hospitality is the most important value,” shares Francesco, the doorman of five-star Hotel Eden. “Welcoming a guest is an art, and by extending the warmest welcome possible with a sincere smile that makes them feel immediately at home, and an unforgettable goodbye, we know they’ll come back soon.” Cesare, at the helm of the legendary Hassler, serves as the hotel’s “ambassador,” decked out in a brilliant white uniform and a warm smile. His cheerful welcome greets guests beyond the magnificent hotel’s revolving doors. Cesare doesn’t just receive clients, but also advises them on where to go, what to see, and what to eat. He also frequently poses for photos with guests who want a snapshot with the most elegant guy in the neighborhood.

Luca, doorman of the Grand Hotel de la Minerve, affirms with a touch of pride that he plays a fundamental role in the hotel’s image. “I like to welcome guests, making them feel important, just as they would in an aristocratic dwelling. In its essence, the role of doorman is that of making the guest feel at home the moment they come through the doors.” He often comes across celebrities or people of note as guests, and stresses that it’s important to be professional and discreet at all times. He recounts a charming anecdote: “A long time ago I had a very extroverted guest with whom I chatted and took a photo. Only afterwards through Facebook did I find out that he was the prince of a foreign country.”

Recently, women are also beginning to take on this traditionally masculine role. In the Eternal City, the only hotel with a female doorwoman so far is the Pantheon Iconic, where Inna Kelep is the perfect ambassador of elegance and savoir faire, welcoming privileged guests at one of Rome’s newest exclusive hotels.