|Photo by Freeimages.com/Sharon McKee|
by Nicky Swallow and Lee Marshall, The Daily Telegraph, June 10, 2016
An expert guide to the top luxury hotels in Florence, including the best for five-star service, Arno views, beautiful gardens and opulent interiors, in central Florence near to the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio and Via Tornabuoni.
Built in the late 1860s by Baron Oppenheim, the main villa at the centre of the estate is an astonishing sight, an opulent riot of trompe l’oeil frescoes, stucco-work, huge mirrors, polished parquet floors and chandeliers, in a series of reception rooms that mix styles from Art Nouveau to neo-Moorish. Connected by a tunnel (handy if it’s raining), smaller guesthouse Villino Eugenia houses a third of the hotel’s 46 rooms, as well as the deliciously operatic spa. The large park that surrounds the two buildings boasts more than 100 varieties of rose.
Read the full review: Villa Cora, Florence
The St. Regis Florence
The hotel is located in the heart of prime Florentine luxe-boutique territory, and no distance from the major sights, with Arno views. Its feel is sheer opulence, and the ambience is enhanced by service which manages to be both discreet and affable. All the 100 bedrooms are as luxurious as you’d expect for this level of hotel. In an elegant glassed-in courtyard, the hotel’s upscale Winter Garden by Caino restaurant is overseen by Valeria Piccini, the larger-than-life chef of highly-rated Tuscan foodie pilgrimage restaurant Da Caino.
Read the full review: The St. Regis Florence
Four Seasons Hotel Firenze
As soon as you walk into the lobby – a Renaissance loggia, decorated with original bas reliefs and stuccoes – you realise that this is no ordinary luxe kip. The hotel spreads out between the main building – 15th-century Palazzo della Gherardesca – and a 16th-century former convent on the other side of the eleven-acre park, which is the largest private garden in Florence. With its oil paintings, antiques and slightly Old Parisian décor, it’s all elegantly sumptuous, and in the best possible haute-bourgeois taste. Individually decorated, the 116 rooms and suites are relaxing old-style refuges from the bustle outside.
Read the full review: Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, Florence
With a commanding position on the River Arno, right next to the Ponte Vecchio, the Portrait Firenze is possibly the best located hotel in Florence. The modern Italian designer interiors in greys, creams, whites and browns are elegant and inoffensive. Rugs cover wooden floors and large lamps abound. Clean white walls are adorned with black-and-white 1930s-60s photos of international stars in Florence. The bedrooms are huge; every room has a kitchenette (inside a cabinet) complete with mini-dishwasher. Technology is used extensively but unobtrusively in the rooms, the lifts (take a selfie on the in-lift iPad, or choose the music) and in the foyer.
Read the full review: Portrait Firenze, Florence
One of Italy’s classiest townhouse hotels, J.K. Place Firenze has been much imitated since its launch, but few of the copies match the warm, suave, elegant original. It’s on lively Piazza Santa Maria Novella, just around the corner from elegant, boutique-lined Via Tornabuoni. It's a distillation of Florentine elegance, its classic-contemporary décor the result of a meeting of minds between Italo-Israeli hotelier Ori Kafri and local interior designer Michele Bonan. It all feels a little like you’ve stepped into the house of a classy collector, a rich Florentine uncle who likes to set classical French and Italian antiques off against Moroccan lamps and Chinese lacquered sideboards.
Read the full review: J.K. Place Firenze, Florence
Piazza Repubblica is right outside the door, and the Duomo and the chi-chi shopping street of Via Tornabuoni are both a minute’s walk away. In the courtyard atrium – three storeys high, and topped by a skylight – the handsome austerity of the original space is warmed by relaxed, clubby furnishings. But it’s in the rooms – really the point of Palazzo Vecchietti – where designer Michele Bonan’s classic-modern design sense is most persuasively expressed. Warm and stylish, and very much in keeping with the Florentine setting, the rooms are done out in a bachelor-esque contemporary classic idiom, with lots of framed life studies on the walls.
Read the full review: Palazzo Vecchietti, Florence
If you want to enter into the Henry James spirit of a patrician villa surrounded by acres of well-tended formal gardens in the hills above the city – whose Duomo is perfectly framed in the view from the front terrace – then Il Salviatino will deliver.As much a stately home as a hotel, it began life as a 16th-century country villa owned by the powerful Bardi family. The sumptuous, museum-like interior boasts original frescoes and marble fireplaces, and a Venetian marble sarcophagus discovered during restoration now makes for an unusual bathtub in one of the high-end suites.
Read the full review: Il Salviatino, Florence
On wide, café-lined Piazza Repubblica, the Savoy is close to all the sights, and within easy reach of Via Tornabuoni. Curated by Sir Rocco Forte’s interior designer sister, the design is a sapient mix of contemporary artworks (including several large repeat-pattern ‘fashion’ canvases of shoes or hats) and more classical soft furnishings and antiques. The style might be defined as comfortable, contemporary chic. The 88 rooms and 14 suites are in the same relaxed modern-classic idiom as the communal areas. Bathrooms are done out in Carrara marble with decorative mosaic insets.
Read the full review: Hotel Savoy, Florence
Hotel Lungarno sits right on the river, a duck’s waddle from the Ponte Vecchio. Michele Bonan’s design scheme combines both elements, the Hemingway hint in the masculine, cigar-room décor of the ground-floor lounge and bar, the French touch in the Picasso- and Cocteau-themed photos in the communal areas and some bedrooms, the prominent fringes on sofas and cushions, and the navy stripes and ruched lampshades that dominate the room décor. It has been given the gourmet ticket, with grown-up white-linen restaurant Borgo San Jacopo currently in the capable hands of Peter Brunel, a northern Italian chef of some talent.
Read the full review: Hotel Lungarno, Florence
The best hotels in Florence View all
- Four Seasons Hotel FirenzeFlorence, Tuscany, Italy9Telegraph expert rating
As soon as you walk into the lobby – a Renaissance loggia, decorated with original bas reliefs an... Read expert reviewFrom£626inc. taxCheck AvailabilityRates provided byBooking.com
- The St. Regis FlorenceFlorence, Tuscany, Italy8Telegraph expert rating
St Regis' feel is sheer opulence, and the ambience is enhanced by service which manages to be bot... Read expert reviewFrom£432inc. taxCheck AvailabilityRates provided byBooking.com
- Portrait FirenzeFlorence, Tuscany, Italy9Telegraph expert rating
With a commanding position on the River Arno, right next to the Ponte Vecchio, the Portrait Firen... Read expert reviewFrom£428inc. taxCheck AvailabilityRates provided byBooking.com
This article was written by Nicky Swallow and Lee Marshall from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.