The best hotels in Florence
You’ll feel as if you’re in the middle of the Tuscan countryside in tranquil Villa Cora, yet it’s only a 15-minute walk from the Ponte Vecchio. Set in a majestic 19th-century villa, this five-star hotel has 44 sumptuous rooms – some more rococo than others – and it’s all within a beautifully landscaped park with a heated outdoor pool and a compact spa. The rooftop terrace bar, where they host champagne evenings, is pure magic.
This sympathetically restored Brunelleschi-designed palazzo is just 10 minutes north of the Ponte Vecchio and in a romantic spot right on the River Arno. St Regis Florence takes you back to the Renaissance in its 99 handsome rooms that are ornate without going over the top. It’s worth upgrading to one of the rooms with its own balcony overlooking the Arno. The spa is an intimate affair, with private hot tubs in each treatment room. The Winter Garden restaurant is one of Florence’s best, where Italian cuisine is given a Michelin-starred gloss.
Head south of the river to the chic waterside Hotel Lungarno, where 40 of the 65 rooms overlook the Arno. Inside it’s discreet luxury, with a more modern look than you’ll usually find in Florence’s five-star hotels. Its location on the south side of the Arno gives you superb views of the city, but you’re away from the crowds. Along with Michelin-starred dining at the Borgo San Jacopo Restaurant, there’s the classy Picteau Lounge Bar with Ponte Vecchio views – not to mention an art collection that features works by Picasso and Cocteau.
Get a taste of languorous Florentine aristocratic life at Palazzo di Camugliano. This 16th-century building is the family residence of a marquis, and its opulent interior is exactly what you would expect in such an exalted place: frescoed ceilings, polished parquet floors, antique furniture, even an adorable hanging garden. With only 10 rooms, it all heightens the cocooning sense of peace you feel, especially as the hotel is only a seven-minute walk west of the Piazza del Duomo but a world away from the city centre.
The Florence outpost of the JK Place collection of Italian hotels is a favourite among couples looking for an elegant bolthole. Its 20 rooms occupy an attractive townhouse by the Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, while inside it’s immensely stylish and contemporary without getting into cold minimalism, with oak parquet floors and antique fireplaces mingling with mid-20th-century furnishings. Join fashionable Florentines during the popular Sunday brunch, and relax on the beautiful JK Terrace where cocktails and light meals are served overlooking the piazza.
A rooftop pool in the centre of Florence is such a rarity that it’s hard to pass up the chance to stay at the Grand Hotel Minerva. Set right on Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, this four-star hotel has 97 contemporary rooms, either in soothing neutral tones or in more vibrant shades of red. The sixth-floor pool – open from May to September – is the star – relax on a sun lounger and gaze at the distinctive cupola of the Duomo in the distance.
AdAstra is a truly special place. Overlooking the largest private garden in Europe, this nine-room hotel is in the buzzing Oltrarno district across the River Arno. The decor harmoniously mixes the decades for a serene look, and some of the rooms have roll-top baths. The mellow ambience is enhanced by a huge terrace overlooking the Torrigianni Gardens, where you can have a lazy breakfast or an aperitivo. Two of the rooms are in the garden, which adds an extra romantic touch to a hotel that’s overflowing with them.
You get more space than you bargained for in the Palazzo Magnani Feroni, mainly because they didn’t mess around with the original room sizes when they converted this Renaissance palace into a hotel. Even the smallest of the 12 suites is enormous, giving you plenty of space in which to enjoy the aristocratic atmosphere. It’s in the Oltrarno district south of the River Arno, which is one of Florence’s most appealing areas. You can savour the views from the rooftop panoramic terrace, one of the most delightful in the city.
Looking like something out of a fairy tale, the Hotel Brunelleschi has been created out of a sixth-century stone tower and a medieval church. And it’s only a few minutes’ walk from the Duomo yet it’s set in a small square. Modern and traditional furnishings mix in the 96 bedrooms, some of which have exposed stone walls and others have lovely views of the Duomo. If you want to splash out, choose the Suite in Florence with a panoramic roof terrace and hot tub.
It’s hard to find a more alluring location than Portrait Firenze – right on the Arno and just steps away from the Ponte Vecchio. The same Ferragamo family that runs the Hotel Lungarno also owns this very swish collection of 37 suites, all of which have their own mini-kitchens. Most of the smart, contemporary rooms have captivating views of the river, which you can gaze at through full-length windows. Top-class Italian fare is on offer at the Caffè dell’Oro, which also puts on Sunday brunch.
There’s a wonderfully stately air to Relais Santa Croce, an 18th-century townhouse that’s a few minutes’ walk from the equally impressive church of Santa Croce. This member of the Baglioni Hotels group has 24 rooms and suites, all with an understated modern elegance that suits this venerable building. If you can’t book the suite that comes with a terrace and views of Santa Croce, you can still revel in the beauty of the huge music room and dignified lounge.