A converted monastery in the Fiesole hills. A Renaissance villa overlooking the Boboli Gardens. A period townhouse on the banks of the Arno. Luxury hotels in Florence are destinations in their own right. Here’s where to check in for a once-in-a-lifetime stay in northern Italy.
If you want to stay in the heart of the city, you won’t do much better than Hotel Lungarno. This opulent five-star hotel, housed in a period townhouse, sits squarely between Ponte Santa Trinita and the famous Ponte Vecchio, with many rooms directly facing the Arno River. At this, the flagship hotel of the Lungarno Collection – a chain of boutique hotels from the family of Italian designer Salvatore Ferragamo – each room and lobby is suitably stylish, with walls decked with fine art from the family’s private collection. The hotel also boasts a Michelin-star restaurant, Borgo San Jacopo.
For a taste of the Tuscan countryside without leaving the city, Villa Cora is the perfect place to stay. Housed in a 19th-century Renaissance villa, the hotel is situated in the buzzing Oltrarno neighbourhood, just a 10-minute walk from the historic Boboli Gardens. Inside, cloisters and various suites are adorned with trompe-l’œil frescoes, while guests looking to enjoy the Florentine sunshine can explore the surrounding Italian gardens or take a dip in the huge outdoor pool.
Another luxurious property from the Lungarno Collection, Portrait Firenze sits directly across the river from Hotel Lungarno. It’s also only a short stroll from the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo and many more of the most famous attractions around. From the marble bathrooms to the retro photographs, fans of interior design will appreciate the understated elegance of each suite, which are the work of Florentine architect and designer Michele Bönan.
On the northern bank of the Arno lies this Renaissance palace turned grand luxury hotel. Each room is fit for royalty, bedecked with chandeliers, gilt furniture and four-poster beds with opulent canopies. The Michelin-starred restaurant, Winter Garden, plates up gourmet cuisine under a gorgeous stained-glass ceiling, and you can also enjoy the library and Clarins spa. While all the bedrooms are as luxurious as you’d expect, try to nab a river-view room – the vistas toward the Ponte Vecchio are superb.
At AdAstra, you will feel like you’re house-sitting for aristocracy at this palatial bed and breakfast overlooking the Torrigiani Gardens. With only 14 rooms (each with a unique colour scheme and free-standing bath), and the large gardens closed to the public, there’s a feeling of exclusivity here. Venture outside the garden walls, and you’ll find yourself in the lively and trendy Oltrarno neighbourhood.
The Four Seasons is a verdant hideaway in the northeast of Florence. The two buildings that make up the hotel – a Renaissance palazzo and a 16th-century convent – are hugged by the largest private gardens in the city, offering a relaxing breather from the tourist crowds. For a truly decadent stay, opt for the Presidential or Royal suite; both come decked out with antique furniture, chandeliers and frescoed ceilings. Then, eat at the Michelin-starred restaurant, Il Palagio, serving regional classics.
For more options, book at one of the best hotels in Florence, or the best boutique hotels in Florence. Add to your itinerary by seeing these great reasons why everyone should visit Florence, then end the day with a soothing drink at one of the best bars in Florence. Not sure where to eat? Check out this local tour guide’s favourite restaurants in Florence.
Additional reporting by Sheree Hooker.