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Where To Stay In Florence: Editor’s Picks
Posted By Cheryl Tucker On October 23, 2008 @ 12:00 pm In Hotels and Lodging | No Comments
When deciding where to stay in Florence, whether you want luxury accommodations with around-the-clock room service or just a clean, quiet place to lay your head after walking all over this beautiful city, the city offers a wide range of hotel options. We’ve compiled a list of what we consider the best Florence hotles, some of which are famous and others that are exclusive insider secrets. Most are located in or near the historic city center so that you can get to most attractions on foot.
The Rocco Forte Savoy
As far as location, opulence, and reputation is concerned, the 5-star Savoy cannot be beat. The location is key: this Florence hotel is situated right on the Piazza della Repubblica, a lovely piazza in of itself but more importantly a central location for some of the best sites of Florence: the Duomo, the Galleria dell’Accademia (where you can see Michelangelo’s David), Ponte Vecchio, which takes you across the river, and the San Lorenzo market, for deals on fine Florentine leather. About twenty years ago, this hotel went through a massive refurbishing and it is now elegantly appointed with luxuriously comfortable beds, marble and mosaic bathrooms, and an eccentric accent throughout the hotel: images of shoes, which pay tribute to Florentine’s artisanal traditions. If you feel like staying in, you can have a glass of prosecco (dry Italian sparkling wine) before dinner at the hotel’s L’Incontro Bar and Restaurant. During the summer you can sit at the outdoor tables and watch the world go by. Room amenities include air conditioning (crucial in summer), a dataport, hairdryer, mini-bar, radio, safe, satellite TV, and 24-hour room service. Services include babysitting, car park, conference facilities, fax, and laundry.
This Florence hotel perhaps has the best view of the Arno. Though it is located on the other side (“Oltrarno”) of the main historical area, this section of town not to be missed, with its Boboli Gardens, Pitti Palace, and lively Piazza Santo Spirito. Also, the Lungarno is very close to the Ponte Vecchio, which takes you almost directly to the Uffizi Gallery. Rooms are appointed with antique furniture and elegant prints. Watch the fading light hit the Ponte Vecchio from the restaurant terrace. Absolutely beautiful. In the room, amenities include air conditioning, a dataport (only some rooms), hairdryer, mini-bar, radio, safe, satellite TV, and room service. Services such as babysitting, a car park, fax, and laundry are also available.
This beauty of a hotel is located within a 15th-century palazzo (palace) and manages to offer old-world charm with modern amenities. The location is excellent: it’s just behind the very central Piazza della Repubblica and it’s also a short walk to the train station for out-of-town journeys. This 3-star hotel boasts parquet floors, antique furniture, a rooftop garden where you can have meals in the summer, and a reading room where you can sit by the fire and catch up on your Dickens in the winter. In your room that’s decked out like a palace chamber, enjoy air conditioning, a dataport, hairdryer, mini-bar, radio, safe, satellite TV, and 24-hour room service. The hotel offers a restaurant and a bar, babysitting, car park, conference facilities, fax, and laundry.
The 19th-century, 3-star Pensione Pendini comes highly recommended from Frommer’s, which is always a good sign. This Florence hotel is, like the Savoy, right on the Piazza della Repubblica, but the advantage here is that the rates are lower. You can stay in one of the 42 rooms or choose to stay in a family suite, with two bedrooms, if you have a larger party. Take advantage of the free wifi in the lobby either using their computer or your own (generally, the “better” hotels don’t offer this service for free.) Breakfast is served from 7:30 to 10:00 and room service is available, but only during that time. Though they don’t have a restaurant, they do have a bar that’s open 24 hours. You won’t, however, need to go very far to find a good restaurant in this area; just make sure you don’t eat right on the square because those restaurants tend to be very overpriced. For amenities, all rooms have a private bathroom, air conditioning, satellite TV, and a telephone with a direct line. Some rooms even feature frescoes on the ceiling. The hotel also offers a (free) safe deposit box, valet service, and assistance with museum reservations. Note that they do not offer laundry service, but laundry and dry cleaning services can be found nearby.
The 25 rooms of this 15th-century palazzo are clean and well-furnished, and the quality of customer service from the owners, the Lombardi family, is top-notch. Not only that, when you walk out the door, you’re only a few steps away from the Medici Palace and the Duomo. This 2-star hotel offers much more than you might expect. Here you can enjoy a meal in the breakfast room, a drink at the bar, and a look at their extensive travel guide collection. There’s also a garden view in some rooms. This is a perfect hotel for people who want to get up and go in the morning to see what Florence has to offer. In the rooms you’ll have air conditioning, a dataport, a fridge (to store your drinks and panini for that picnic), hairdryer, safe, telephone, satellite TV, and room service. The hotel offers laundry service, a nearby car park, fax, and babysitting—in other words, a lot of the amenities offered in “better” hotels.
Alloro Bed and Breakfast
Technically, this is a bed and breakfast, but my experience there last summer was so favorable that I would be remiss not to mention it. The location is superb: you are down the street from the San Lorenzo market, the Medici Chapel, and the Duomo. All the while, this small B&B is situated well off the street. You enter a gated area, then a garden courtyard, then a lift up to the five rooms. One possible disadvantage is that there is no “lobby,” but that is certainly made up for in the convenience, the location, and the service provided by owners Cristian and Renzo. The rooms are elegant and very clean. And then there is breakfast! Simply place a call in the morning and a colazione of croissants, bread, jam and butter, and a large mug of cappuccino (or caffe latte if you prefer) is brought to your room. This is included in the rate, of course. In the rooms there is air conditioning, a private bathroom, hairdryer, fridge, telephone, satellite TV, coffee/tea maker, minibar, and a safe. Laundry services are available as well.
In the northwest quadrant of the historical city center lies Hotel Abaco, an artistically appointed little gem of a hotel. The prices are very reasonable for such a prime location, an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere, and a high quality of service. The owner has named each room after an artist, and reproductions of that artist’s work adorn the walls. Three rooms have a full bathroom, others have just a shower. Breakfast is free if you pay your bill in cash. Note that air conditioning is an extra charge, but in your room you’ll have a phone and TV. Also available are laundry services, a dataport, and a (nearby) car park.
What’s unique about this popular, “budget” hotel is that its on the ritziest street in Florence: via de’ Tornabuoni. Just outside your door you’ll find Fendi, Gucci, Prada, and Ferragamo, so it’s probably wise to stay at Hotel Scoti so you can afford that leather jacket or purse. Not only will you save money, you’ll also be treated to first-class service from the owners who are known to be exceptionally helpful and friendly. Yet another 15th-century palace, this lovely hotel offers an impressive salon for guests to relax in. All rooms are simply appointed, have private bathrooms, and get great light. The room amenities include a fan (no air conditioning), heat, a telephone, and a safe. You can watch TV in their lounge, have a drink at the bar, and enjoy breakfast (by request only). All in all, this Florence hotel offers a good bargain.
We hope this article helped you decide on where to stay in Florence. Be sure to read the rest of our insider’s guides to Florence.
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