I was given the gift of a two month sabbatical from my job. When you have the luxury of disconnecting from the work world for a while you have to be thoughtful about where you spend that precious time. I've travelled in France but this was my first trip to Italy. After two weeks running around Rome and Venice (which were fantastic), I wanted my time in Florence to be more of a 'soak it in' experience.
First, let me say that when I researched hotels I was particular about this stop. I knew that I might spend more time in the hotel itself rather than full-time sightseeing, so I wanted to make sure that it was a really nice. Second, if you're going for a nice hotel in Italy (or anywhere in western europe) you know you're going to pay dearly for it. So I wanted to make sure that it was worth what I was paying - wasting money on brand names is stupid, but never more so than when it concerns a hotel, if you're paying a premium to the going rate, the place should stand out in some category that is meaningful to you.
This hotel fulfilled my highest expectations and, in many aspects, exceeded them. Here are just a few of the impressions that might help you, the reader, know what makes this place special...
The location is very close to the town center but is sufficiently removed that you feel that you've truly escaped. It is quiet and peaceful, the grounds are gracious, there are many places that invite you to sit and take in the beauty. There are several shuttles that run into the heart of the city. The only downside was that they didn't run very late, but, honestly, if you can afford to stay here, you can afford the occasional taxi ride.
The hotel staff is amazing. When you arrive you are 'assigned' a concierge, but this isn't someone just sitting at a desk. Whenever, you use the number they provide you, they find you and help with whatever you need. One night I was sitting out on the patio and it was getting too cold to stay out. I got up to go grab a sweater from my room and my concierge was alreay approaching us with a blanket. That's what it's like here and its like that in almost every aspect.
The food was incredible. We had a breakfast included in our room. If you're considering that option; opt in. You can choose to have the breakfast in your room or at the restaurant but either way it is an experience. Months later we were still ooh'ing and aah'ing over it whenever we talked about the place.
The hotel itself is also beautiful. The guestrooms are nicely appointed, the building and grounds are interesting and fun to explore. You will feel like you have an Italian manor (almost) to yourself.
The only complaint I had was that checkout didn't run smoothly. We moved up our departure time and it seemed to catch the staff off guard (the only time there was a downside to not having an actual checkout desk).
Overall, an incredible spot that I would love to visit again!