Many hotels have staff who are friendly, helpful and efficient. Sometimes, it takes a really exceptional experience to understand the difference between service that is very good and service that is truly outstanding. We were fortunate to have had such an experience at a recent stay in Florence.
To a person, the staff at the Antica Torre were helpful and friendly, but various instances set their service at a higher level than merely very good. One example is the advice given us at reception when we were planning our Sunday schedule with very limited time available to us to see Michelangelo's David (state museums are closed on Mondays and we were slated to leave on the Tuesday). We were advised to try going to the Accademia at 5pm when the daily crowds would be at their lowest, and we would still have 90 mintues to visit the gallery. This was one example out of many in which staff gave very helpful advice during our stay, and is the kind of specific advice one does not always receive. Staff also helped with arranging dinner reservations, train reservations, calling taxis and recommending places to eat and things to see. I have stayed at hotels where such help resulted in a service charge, or where tips were expected, but not at the Antica Torre. Every facet of the staff's work and behaviour was exemplary and made staying in Florence that much better.
The hotel's location is wonderful: across the street from the Arno, and about two blocks from the Uffizi. This in itself is not surprising as central Florence is quite compact, and it is difficult to imagine any hotel in the area being described as poorly located. As with many boutique hotels, trying to find the entrance if you do not know it is there can be a bit of a challenge. That said, its address on the Via Tornabuoni means getting to the hotel entrance does not require too much of an adventure.
We were on a fifth floor room near the back of the hotel, and had a bit of a view over the rooftops of adjoining buildings. Rooms on lower floors would allow even less to look at. That said, the view from the rooftop terrance is spectacular. This is where breakfast is served, and we spent a good chunk of one sunny morning sipping coffee on the terrance. There was construction going on in the road in front of the hotel, and staff seemed to think it was anybody's guess when the work would end. However, the work crews knocked off at a very civil hour each afternoon, so nobody's sleep would have been disrupted by the noise.
Our room was a little plain, and could have used a new coat of paint by a professional painter (the paint job looked like something I would have done myself). That said, the room was spotless, and the king size bed was very comfortable. The bathroom was well appointed although I am still puzzled what it is most hotels in Europe have against shower curtains large enough to keep the water from spraying out onto the floor.
One other word, the elevator is best approached with a bit of a Zen attitude. It is a small, old hydraulic elevator that moves at a speed that is almost surreally slow.
Will we stay at this hotel again? Absolutely. In fact we are planning our next visit to Florence and stay at the Antica Torre already.
- Also Known As:
- Antica Torre Di Via Tornabuoni Hotel Florence
- Antica Torre Di Via Tornabuoni Hotel
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- n the heart of Florence, in a prestigious 13th century building, you will find the Historical Tower "Antica Torre di via Tornabuoni n° 1. The historic building, which belonged to the Gianfigliazzi family until the end of the 18th century, hosted numerous important historical figures. At the beginning of the 20th century, the palace was transformed into a "Piccioli Guesthouse", quickly becoming a favorite residence of the English aristocrats and literati that loved the atmosphere of Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance and the Sweet New Style, with its churches, works of art and unique cultural climate. After the Great War, the Piccioli Guesthouse was closed, but reopened in 2001 under the name "Antica Torre". Thanks to careful restoration work which preserved and brought back to life all of the buildings original appeal, the Via Tornabuoni palace acquired life and warmth once again. The magnificent complex is considered one of the historic "tower houses" of Medieval Florence, and it preserves to this day the original architectural characteristics. It is an admirable example of how man is capable of taking buildings which were once devised for the purposes of war into oasis of peace, culture and hospitality. ... more less
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