My wife and I just returned from Italy and spent a few nights at the Hotel Torre di Bellosguardo. It is an amazing property and residence that has been turned into the most unique experience we've ever had traveling. Everything from the hotel itself to the service levels made our stop in Florence the favorite of a total of three (Siena and Rome came next).
The property is a former villa, owned by the family of the current hotelier and his wife. They run the hotel out of love for keeping it kept up and in the family, not for profit. And there's nothing like pulling up to this quiet paradise after a hectic down down in the bowels of Florence with 10 million tourists.
The interior of the hotel looks very original, so everything feels centuries old and creaky (which adds to the charm for me) including the artwork and furniture. Even the floors and windows. We stayed in a suite that came with the most breathtaking view of Florence, day and night right from our corner of windows. I'll never have a better view. Our room had a library that led to the large bedroom. With a painted beamed ceiling, huge fireplace, huge wardrobe, 300 year old bed that I called the "shin bruiser" and huge windows. It's not at all like the Ritz, it's like staying with a long-lost European Duke who invited you to his personal villa. Walk into the main lobby and look up to see a ceiling in the main hall, a view that you've been paying an entrance fee to see down in Florence's museums.
The pool and gardens around them filled up my camera's memory with all the good snapshots. Perfect for drinking some of the house red wine and chilling out, surrounded by flowers, birds, carefully maintained plants/lawn and sunshine. We even got a tour of the other rooms since the hotel was only half booked. We saw the tower room. That is an incredible view but only an option for hearty people without much luggage.
We also took a cooking class with Ana, the matriarch of the hotel. We cooked right in her personal kitchen (the estate apartments next to the main villa). Best lunch we've ever had. Amazing feast and plenty of cooking tips for me to bring back to the states.
As with all Americans, we saw a few nitpicks that we will share with you for planning purposes. First - the wifi is only in the lobby. So we really lost touch with our kids and parents back home. But also - the office, so that's either good or bad! The bathroom will seem very strange to an American, a tub with a spray faucet at waist level and no shower curtain. We found ourselves sitting in a half tub of water trying to negotiate rinsing our hair and top halves without spraying everywhere. I've seen this kind of setup before in a London hotel, so I just think it's the weird old style of cleaning yourself. And it might've just been our room. Wasn't too bad for a few nights, but just be aware. Also, be aware - no restaurant. Expensive breakfast is the only thing they serve. But there are plenty of options a cab ride away for lunches and dinners. You can take a walk down the hill to the town. It's not super close, but nothing a person in decent health can't handle.
Overall, I can't recommend the Torre di Bellosguardo enough. Wow. A 5-star one-of-a-kind experience. It has to be up your alley, though. Stay here to step back in time and chill out and live like 16th century Florentine nobility.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
April 29, 2013
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We so enjoyed the company of you and your wife and the fact that you liked my cooking class fills me with satisfaction. I hope you can apply at home in your country what you learned.
Thank you so much for all your positive comments. I understand very well your remarks about your bathroom. This is an old building and each room is totally different. Some are small and some are large. Where possible we installed showers and bathtubs. We obviously had to adapt to the building. In any case I hope you and your wife will return and enjoy another culinary session.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.