The second you walk into the hotel (which is right in front of the Fiume Arno), it smells as if you are walking into a spa. The front area has several scented diffusers, much like a spa would. The decor in the lobby is contemporary, but welcoming.
We first landed in Florence and had a very unpleasant experience with our rental car (DO NOT rent through Budget at the Florence airport), so we were a bit worn out by the time we got to our hotel. We were greeted by Roberto, who was not only very friendly and helpful but really funny as well. After our rental car experience, it was awesome to have such a warm welcome. He recommended a great restaurant to us (forgot the name, but it was delicious!) which we walked to on the way to the Michelangelo Piazza. He actually gave us a map and circled all the major sightseeing spots, which was incredibly helpful.
The Hotel itself, in my opinion, is in a great location. It is a 7-10 minute walk to the main sites and city center, but great because you don't have to deal with the large crowds and noise of being closer to the center. The room itself wasn't huge (who really spends that much time in the room anyway?), but it was redone with nice furniture and nice decor. The entire bathroom was done in mosaic tiles. Everything was really clean and the location wasn't sketchy at all.
Breakfast was right on time.. there were fresh pastries, cereal, coffee, meats and cheeses. The wi-fi internet was free, you just need to ask for the password. And as far as our car, we parked in their valet for $25/day (outside parking was around $10/day if you are lucky enough to find a spot).
Overall, very impressed. The staff were all very helpful. Hotel River is a charming and quaint hotel, right on the river and in this price range I definitely wouldn't stay anywhere else in Florence.