We stayed at the Westin Excelsior Florence at the end of March, over Easter Weekend. A very busy time to be in Florence, this hotel seemed to take it all in stride. This is a beautiful, unique property. Originally a monastery, it became a hotel a century ago. Everything about the hotel speaks of authentic, charming, Italian Palazzo elegance.
Rooms: The high-ceilinged rooms are beautifully appointed. We were a family of four, with two rooms. We booked deluxe rooms and they were lovely. However, the first rooms we were given were on the inner courtyard (really just an airshaft!). Unless you like a very quiet room, I don't recommend these rooms as they are dark. Be specific (I thought we were, but apparently not) and ask for a room on the outside of the hotel. We decided to spend more and upgrade to rooms with views of the Arno. This was an extravagance, but well worth it. What magnificent rooms! Ours was, frankly, palace sized. The ceiling was 17-20 feet high. The furnishings were splendid. We had a Juliet Balcony with a full view of the river. All I can say is, Wow.
Service: I must admit that I was upset that we paid for deluxe rooms and were offered airshaft rooms. Mind you, they were gorgeous rooms. Perhaps we were just not clear enough about our wishes. But, the management ended up being very accommodating and we negotiated a good rate to upgrade the two rooms. Well worth it. Once we received our magnificent rooms, all went smoothly. The service at the Excelsior is courtly. Formal, but not stuffy. We loved it as it speaks of a commitment to an old style of service. You won't find anyone among the hotel staff referring to you by your first name. Or, for that matter, introducing themselves by their first name. How refreshing.
Food, Drink, Restaurant: We ordered in room service for breakfast two out of three mornings. We just couldn't bear to leave that view! The third day we ate in the dining room. The food is excellent, perfectly prepared. The service professional, and again, courtly. The dining room is amazing so I do recommend you splurge on a dining room breakfast at least once during your stay -- just for the experience. We ate at the restaurant at the top of the hotel one night. We began with drinks in their famous roof top bar. Fabulous fabulous views. You MUST go up for drinks at some point during your stay. And, at 7 p.m. they serve complimentary antipasti. Beware of the locusts, though! That food disappeared within two blinks of an eye! The dinner at the restaurant was good, but perhaps the dishes a bit too adventurous. Too many flavors layered upon flavor. Great service. If we were to go to this hotel again I think that we would do the drinks but dine elsewhere.
Lastly, there is another elegant hotel across the square -- the St. Regis. We walked in the lobby and looked around. I cannot comment on it other than to say that it SEEMS what I would describe as more carefully composed -- very trendy and boutiquey. The floral decorations are for me a bit too fashion forward, the decor a little too cool for words. The lobby was obviously totally gutted, so it is lacking some historic charm. It gets amazing reviews so i am sure it is a treat the stay there. But, we are so happy to have chosen the Excelsior. It was expensive but not as much so as the St. Regis. The Westin is authentic and elegant and timeless. If we ever go back to Florence we will surely book the Excelsior.
Unless you crave a quiet room, ask for a room on the OUTSIDE of the hotel.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.