Villa Irlanda Grand Hotel "The History" An authentic jewel of elegance and style, set between hills rich with Mediterranean vegetation and the waters of the Gulf of Gaeta, "Villa Irlanda Grand Hotel" provides an exclusive ambient where the ancient world of roman villas meets the modern world of private holidays along one of the most romantic coastlines in the world. The hotel complex, immersed in a park measuring 60,000 square metres is the result of a meticulous restoration, undertaken the family by which today manages it, of five buildings half destroyed by war. The architecture, today brought back to its antique splendour, tells ancient tales and transports one's imagination back to the 1st century B.C. The hotel sits upon the Gulf of Gaeta facing the sunrise in the area known as "Arcella", conveniently reached by the Via Flacca. Just a short walk away, one finds the beach. "The Reception" Passing through the main gateway of "Villa Irlanda Grand Hotel" this is the first building we encounter. Realised by the restoration of an old rural structure, itself built within the walls of an antique Roman villa (1st Century B.C.). In its time this villa belonged to Marco Filippo, adoptive father of the Emperor Ottaviano Augusto. Erasmo Gesualdo, historical researcher of 1700, had no doubt about the origins and ownership of the Roman ruins, and he describes in one of his texts the places now occupied by the hotel's Reception and hall: > The recent restoration works on the ancient building have given birth to the reception and hall or Sala Octaviano which serves as a small meeting room. The guests are welcomed in a bright environment, where the new pavings and furnishing meld seamlessly with the ancient walls of the Imperial Villa. Specialised personnel assigned to the front office are always available for our guests from the moment of their arrival to the moment of their departure. Information is available at the reception on the hotel services, the curiosities worth seeing in town and in the surrounding areas and on how, in general, to best enjoy your stay. At the reception, the hotel provides currency exchange services and the possibility to make payments with credit cards, cash or travellers cheques. Those of our guests that arrive by car can make use of our ample car park situated within the hotel complex. From the reception a ramp leads to the pedestrian area of the hotel, rich in Mediterranean vegetation. Here the gardens and the avenues surround the swimming-pool, the solarium and the other four buildings of the hotel. "The Villa" "The Villa" is a building in neo-classic style built at the beginning of 1900, by Earl Stembock Fermor, a Russian officer of the Cossack Regiment related to the last Tsar and Military Attache to the Russian embassy in Italy. During one of his frequent trips to our country, he was fascinated by the beauty of the Gulf of Gaeta and particularly by the area of Arcella where one could still admire precious traces of ancient Rome. A cultivator of art, antiquity and natural beauty, he decided to settle down with his family here and, between 1907 and 1912, he had The Villa built, according to his own designs, upon the beautiful Roman cryptoporticus which can still be visited and admired in all its particular beauty. Projecting his residence, the Earl took advantage of all his aesthetic and technical experience acquired in many years of travel. For example he ordered the construction of an irrigation system, very innovative for those times, based on techniques already used by the ancient Romans, of which there are still a few traces here and there in the hotel's garden. Villa Marina, as it was then known, represented for many years one of the most significant poles of the everyday life of the time, hosting, with elegant and exclusive parties, the most well-known and well-to-do families of Gaeta and Formia. After the restoration works, thirteen rooms were built in The Villa, floored with parquet, elegantly furnished and - like all the other rooms of Villa Irlanda Grand Hotel - equipped with air conditioning; mini-bar; television with satellite reception; radio and direct-line telephone. Six of the thirteen rooms are representation suites, each of which has two floors, connected by means of internal autonomous staircase. The halls are floored with inlaid marble, as is the room on the ground floor, where Earl Stembock hosted his guests. This room, now called "Sala Goethe", is used as a meeting room able to hold seventy people. Nevertheless, in the summer time, when wedding banquets are held in the hotel restaurant room, Sala Goethe resumes its original function of dining room where the hotel guests can enjoy our menus in an elegant and exclusive atmosphere. "The Convento" In 1930, the Pontifical Irish College, started to construct the building now known as "The Convent" and transformed what once was the residential property of the Russian Earl Stembock into a retreat and school for novice priests. With the outbreak of the Second World War the Irish, who had almost finished the building and already partially occupied it, were forced to leave the area. The buildings, occupied by the German headquarters of 274th Reg. Gran. and by a military hospital, were half destroyed at the end of the hostilities by the Allied forces. At the end of the war, the Irish priests began once more to frequent the once splendid buildings which, together with their beautiful gardens, had so stimulated their concentration before the conflict. Their spring and summer visits lasted until the 1960's during which time they tried to restore the damage the war had caused. For over twenty years the buildings and grounds stood derelict before being taken on by the family which now owns them and whose intention was to restore the buildings to their former glory as a tourist location.. The restoration works which followed brought to light the mural paintings on the internal walls of the old chapel dedicated to Saint Patrick today known as the Sala Ciborio. The paintings created by the religious students in retreat have allegorical meanings. The peacocks, painted on the upper part of the ciborium and on the panels of the side walls, refer to the soul's immortality; the vine-branch, to the branching of the Christian religion; the letters Alpha and Omega which hang from the Celtic crosses, represent the beginning and the end of terrestrial life; the thirteen sheep on the old choir baluster are the Saviour with the twelve apostles; the hooked crosses painted along the upper border, although originally used in pagan symbolisation by the ancient Mesopotamia civilisation, when their opposite rotary direction indicated on which side the sun would arise or set, in this religious context converge towards the image of an anchor, symbolising the soul's salvation. On the ground floor the restoration included the replacing of the wooden ceiling of the chapel; the laying of stylish marble flooring; the construction of arcades in the old refectory; the remodelling of the old choir and kitchen spaces with skilfully placed walls creating suggestive, fascinating environments. Thanks to the intense restoration works the dining halls on the ground floor are now used for banquets and meetings. The first floor, where once the students had their lodging, now boasts another, small meeting room, which can hold thirty people. The remaining space on this level is occupied by thirteen rooms with panoramic views over the Gulf of Gaeta or the mountains and Mediterranean groves. "Swimming pools and Pool bar" The swimming-pools, built recently, are surrounded by a large solarium and by a park planted with trees in a vast space overlooking the Gulf of Gaeta. Centrally placed in relation to the hotel buildings the immense blue sheet of water of the pools reflect the facades of the buildings hotel and like a piazza become the meeting place of the whole hotel complex where the guests almost inevitably converge to socialise and to spend relaxing and peaceful moments. Of the two pools one is rectangular and of Olympic proportions and mainly used for swimming. The other sprouts off from the first and is of a shallowness ideally suited for small children. A wide, curving stairway in this pool provides seating for the hydro-massage. A small island, containing two well-grown olive trees, visually separates the two pools. Alongside the main pool is the Pool Bar whose original function, before restoration, was that of a refuge for tame animals. Nowadays it serves as our pool bar during the summer months where breakfast, buffet lunches and of course refreshing drinks are served. During August evenings the bar serves wonderful cocktails to enjoy with the relaxing music of the live piano bar. "The Sister Residence" "The Sisters' Residence" was a building used by the colonists when the land belonged to Earl Stembock and by Irish nuns when possession passed on to the Pontifical Irish College. Like the other buildings, it was left to ruin from the period of the last world war until the beginning of the restoration works when it became part of the hotel. Made up of fourteen rooms "the Sisters' Residence" has ceramic pavements and tiling, hand-painted with decorations and colours which differ from room to room. The furnishings are in pastel colours and create a fresh atmosphere, typical of the ancient Mediterranean houses. "The Orange Residence" "The Orange Residence" situated in the most inner part of the gardens of the turistc complex. In liberty style it preserve an original "dovehouse" and the serene atmosphere of the ancient country houses.