Hotels in Florence

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Grand Hotel
This opulent hotel, situated on the north bank of the River Arno, is the preferred choice of most business travellers to Florence and appeared in Conde Nast Traveller’s Gold List for 2002. Centrally located, the hotel’s six meeting rooms – the largest seating up to 150 delegates – and a well equipped business centre are the main draws, while an elegant function room, which hosted the first fashion show of Florentine frock guru Emilio Pucci in the 1930s, gives proceedings the desired sense of glamour. All 107 rooms and suites offer air conditioning, mini-bar, TV, radio and telephone – although the style varies between gilt-edged Florentine at the back and something a little more pared down and sophisticated at the front.

Piazza Ognissanti 1
Tel: (055) 27161. Fax: (055) 217 400.
E-mail: grandflorence@starwoodhotels.com
Website: www.starwood.com

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Grand Hotel Baglioni
A short stride from the city’s Exhibition Hall and Congress Centre, the four-star Baglioni offers a perfect base for business travellers to the city. Set in a typical Tuscan 19th-century palazzo, once home to Florentine princes, the Baglioni’s 195 rooms are furnished in dark wood and heavy drapes, to give a cosy, intimate atmosphere. Two recently renovated congress halls come equipped with the latest audiovisual devices and can handle banquets and receptions for up to 400 people. The hotel’s pride and joy is its rooftop restaurant, the Terrazza Brunelleschi, where social events can be arranged in the summer overlooking the evocative terracotta rooftops of medieval Florence and Giotto’s statuesque bell-tower.

Piazza Unità Italiana 6
Tel: (055) 23580. Fax: (055) 235 8895.
E-mail: info@hotelbaglioni.it
Website: www.hotelbaglioni.it

Hotel Brunelleschi
Imaginatively reinvented from a Byzantine tower and a medieval church, the Brunelleschi combines swish modernity with a romantic setting, right in the heart of Florence, just off the Piazza Signoria. Architectural characteristics such as exposed brickwork and wooden beams have been retained throughout the hotel, to give a pleasing sense of history. All 96 rooms, some with views of the cathedral, offer TV, telephone and mini-bar, while the seven executive suites include a private Jacuzzi. The six meeting rooms – accommodating from five to 110 delegates – come equipped with video, overhead projector and Internet access, while video-conferencing and a translation service are available on request. Banqueting facilities for up to 120 people are available in a private dining room, located in the tower.

Piazza Santa Elisabetta 3
Tel: (055) 27370. Fax: (055) 219 653.
E-mail: info@hotelbrunelleschi.it
Website: www.hotelbrunelleschi.it

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The Westin Excelsior
Next door to the Grand Hotel and under the same management, this grandiose establishment boasts seven centuries of Florentine history. All 155 rooms were refurbished in 1998, combining lavish décor with state-of-the-art modem points, cable and satellite TV and air conditioning. A range of suites, from ‘Junior’ to ‘Presidential’, offer spacious living areas and river views. Six meeting rooms are available, the largest seating up to 150 delegates. There is also an up-to-the-minute business centre. The elegant Il Cestello restaurant, redolent with crystal and chandeliers, offers exceptional Mediterranean cuisine from an award-winning chef. Other facilities include a nearby health club, babysitting and private parking.

Piazza Ognissanti 3
Tel: (055) 27151. Fax: (055) 210 278.
E-mail: info@westin.com
Website: www.westin.com or www.starwood.com

Hotel Aprile
Hotel Aprile is a charming family-run hotel, set in a former Medici palace and just a few steps away from Florence’s main station and the dramatic church of Santa Maria Novella. High vaulted ceilings, wooden beams and a secluded courtyard garden add to the charms of this three-star pensione, whose prettily furnished bedrooms are a favourite feature with romantics. All 28 rooms offer TV, mini-bar and bath or shower, plus air conditioning in summer. There are also two suites. In a unique gesture, the hotel also invites a local professor to talk on the art and history of the city every weeknight throughout the year (excluding August).

Via della Scala 6
Tel: (055) 216 237.
E-mail: info@hotelaprile.it
Website: www.hotelaprile.it

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Hotel Morandi alla Crocetta
A cut above the typical Italian pensione, the three-star Hotel Morandi alla Crocetta offers ten eclectic rooms – two with sunlit terraces for quaffing that evening drop of Chianti – and a duplex loft for families, all en suite. Set in a quiet street in the university quarter, the walls of this 16th-century convent, lined with original murals and ornate tapestries, echo with history. This is a family hotel, littered with books and magazines and, in an area buzzing with students, guarantees that home-from-home feeling that can be so difficult to capture in foreign climes. The rooms are on the poky side and can be dark but guests should not miss the chance to sleep in the frescoed former chapel.

Via Laura 50
Tel: (055) 234 4747. Fax: (055) 248 0954.
E-mail: welcome@hotelmorandi.it
Website: www.hotelmorandi.it

Gallery Hotel Art
Florence’s first design hotel stands on a small square not far from the Ponte Vecchio and is already attracting a host of funky young designers and artists. Large by boutique standards, with 60 rooms and five suites, the hotel makes good use of space and light to create cool modern interiors, a world away from the medieval rat race outside. Each room comes complete with satellite TV, fax and modem point and air conditioning, while communal spaces display revolving collections of contemporary art and ethnic accessories. Video conferencing and translation services are available for business travellers. East meets West in the hotel’s Fusion Bar Shozan, where guests can dine on ma-cha tiramisù, while sitting on the terrace under the stars.

Vicolo dell’Oro 5
Tel: (055) 27263. Fax: (055) 268 557.
E-mail: bookings@lungarnohotels.com or gallery@lungarnohotels.com
Website: www.lungarnohotels.com

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Villa San Michele

Villa San Michele
In the surrounding hills near Fiesole stands the luxurious Villa San Michele, the façade of which is said to be the work of Michelangelo. Formerly a Renaissance monastery, any sign of Spartan living is a now distant memory. Comprising 37 rooms, and three suites with a private whirlpool, the hotel provides an opulent bolt hole from the bustle of Florence. The staff operate with military efficiency, ensuring every whim is catered for, and the sights of Florence seem to pale into insignificance beside the swimming pool, as they merely provide a picturesque backdrop to the next dip. A shuttle bus is provided for trips into the city, although it stops running at 1830, leaving stragglers to shoulder a hefty taxi bill.

Via Doccia 4, Fiesole
Tel: (055) 567 8200. Fax: (055) 567 250.
E-mail: reservations@villasanmichele.net
Website: www.villasanmichele.orient-express.com

Tourist Information
Azienda di Promozione Turistica (APT)
Via Cavour 1r
Tel: (055) 290 832. Fax: (055) 276 0383.
E-mail: infoturismo@provincia.fi.it
Website: www.firenze.turismo.toscana.it
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 0830-1830 and Sun 0830-1330.

Other branches are located outside the central station, at the airport, at Via Manzoni 16 and in Borgo Santa Croce, near the church.

 

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Getting to Florence

Situated in the northwest of Italy, surrounded by the wine-growing hills of Chianti, the city attracts rapture and frustration in equal proportions.

When's best to visit Florence?

It is best for visitors to avoid the peak summer months of July and August, when the weather can be unbearably sticky and the prospect of trailing around museums becomes unappealing. Early autumn, when the countryside glows with mellow fruitfulness, is the best time to visit, avoiding the heat and the queues and capitalising on the soft light, empty streets and the abundance of wild mushrooms and just-pressed olive oil.