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“Astounding facilities, but service lacks warmth” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

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Four Seasons Hotel Firenze
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Borgo Pinti 99, 50121 Florence, Italy   |  
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Ranked #6 of 459 Hotels in Florence
NYC
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
58 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
169 helpful votes 169 helpful votes
“Astounding facilities, but service lacks warmth”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2011

High points: the hard product is unbeatable – superb rooms, bathrooms, public areas, and grounds. It’s hard to beat having a garden-set pool within the historic center of Florence.

Low points: fussy and unsatisfying food. Chilly, “In absentia” service that, when it could be found, was just a notch above begrudging, so different from the warmth of FS Istanbul and FS Park Lane. And the beds are so hard (due to a fire regulation requirement for a historic structure in Florence).


I reserved one of the four Gallery Suites, and had specifically requested and received confirmation that I would receive one of the three with frescoed ceilings and period features on the piano nobile. Ours consisted of a spacious, high ceilinged bedroom with a seating area, desk, and chair/ottoman, and then a bathroom of the same dimensions as the bedroom, with a palatial bathtub in the center beneath the frescoed ceiling.

In addition to replenishing a fruit basket daily, there were nightly dessert amenities delivered to the room, as well as bottles of water at turndown. (I only mention this since I was recently surprised by how negligible the turndown service is at Four Seasons Park Lane – no water, nothing but a cloth mat placed by the bed and the runner folded up and put away.)

The public spaces on the ground floor are magnificent – grand yet intimate, historic yet contemporary in comfort and coloration. Of all the features of this hotel, it’s the quality of the design of the public spaces that has most stayed with me – the covered courtyard, now converted into a bevy of seating areas filled with olive green and russet sofas and chairs and hardcover monographs on Renaissance artists. There’s an intimate lounge in a frescoed antechamber, the “business center” in another. And the lounge/bar, also in a former courtyard now glassed over, is similarly breathtaking.

The two-story fitness center in a renovated historic building in the gardens is superb, as good as it gets. Similarly, the spa building is impeccably beautiful, meeting the high standard set by the interiors of the main building. We had three treatments there, collectively, and all were average, despite the high cost.

We spent our first afternoon in the grounds by the pool, an experience that was the first hint that the FS Florence, while beautiful, lacks a heart. There was simply no service at the pool . . . and while that afternoon the pool was quite busy, on other days it was virtually empty, and on 6 different visits to the pool, no service ever materialized. Rather than providing umbrellas for each pool chair, a much more visually appealing – and historically apropos – solution is provided: each lounge chair is framed by a metal frame lined with cloth that can be lowered or raised as desired. The pool itself is concrete, painted a yellow-green, and while it’s easy to understand the motivation of not wanting a typical blue pool to clash with the surrounding greenery of the gardens, it’s also now easy to see why other hotels haven’t made the same choice, as the yellow-green color of the water evokes visual associations with algae and bracken. One wishes they’d invested in a pool tiled with slate or granite or mosaic tile instead of the cheap concrete. But this is a minor gripe, ultimately, as the joy of lounging by a pool after pounding the pavements of Florentine churches and museums is priceless.

But the lack of service at the pool was indeed symptomatic of the property’s overall ethos: I cannot remember a single encounter with any staff person in which I didn’t get the distinct sense that they were bracing themselves for the encounter, hoping it would end quickly or just go away. Curt professionalism was constant, whereas warmth, solicitousness, and helpfulness were constant only in their absence. We went out of our way to stop back by the concierge desk to tell them how much we enjoyed a particular gelateria, and even then we were treated as if we were taking their time away from something more important—and we weren’t even asking for anything. Despite many repeated encounters with the same staff, not once were our names used – which is something that the very best hotels have led me to expect and appreciate.

We ate breakfast there each morning and found the service to be somewhat brusque. There’s a limited menu from which eggs and other dishes could be ordered, but the primary option is a buffet which was of average quality for a luxury hotel. We dined in the formal restaurant one night, and were again plagued by service problems – waits of 45 minutes between courses, for example, and when the food did arrive, it was clear that it had been kept under a heat lamp for a considerable amount of time. The flavor combinations were eccentric and fussy, rather than truly appealing. It’s hard to make Italian classics truly unappealing, but somehow, they have done so. In addition, it seems that in a resort like this, where there is more than one on-site restaurant, it would be ideal to have one of the restaurants be adults only, as we were harried throughout our meal by the small children of other guests, whose parents were only too happy to be free of them, allowing them instead to bring their toys over to our table and play at our feet for a good 30 minutes or so. So between the long waits, other guests’ loud and obnoxious children, and the poor food quality, we finally gave up without ordering dessert.

The hotel offers a shuttle service to Florence’s center, but we rarely used it since it’s really not a bad walk at all since the hotel is within the bounds of the Renaissance city walls, and just 5 minutes away from San Marco and the Accademia, and is 1 minute away from the Protestant cemetery, which was right outside the city walls, and is where Elizabeth Barrett Browning, among others, is buried. (Not a must see, but worth 30 minutes if you’re interested in 19th century cemeteries or the expat community who lived in Florence then.)

It’s simply amazing what the Four Seasons has done in their renovation/restoration of this palazzo and gardens – making for one of the most remarkable blends of history and 21st century luxury I have ever seen. It would be among the best of the best if they could instill the same sort of care and craft within the hearts and minds of the staff – and improve the food.

Summary: My expectations were very high, and we were paying a lot of money for that Gallery Suite, so yes, I was disappointed overall. But what potential this place has – it is really impressive as a physical property.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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885 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (168)
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Chippenham, United Kingdom
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2011

What can I say!!!! Amazing service.... Great, amazing cocktails by the pool in hot sunny days. What more do you need ???? Plus Beautiful surroundings. Close to town especially SHOPSssss :) Highly recommended A++++++

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
48 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2011

If you have stayed in the Four Seasons anywhere in the world you will know the essence of their hotels. Perfection in every way! Four Seasons Florence somehow manages to push the boundaries of perfect. The suites are perfectly formed and everything you need is within reach. The Royal Suite is without a doubt the most impressive and luxurious suite I have ever seen. Having experienced countless presidential, royal, exclusive suites - This one trumps them all. For business, pleasure or whatever - Four Seasons Florence must must must be experienced.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Los Angeles, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2011

This hotel epitomizes the Four Seasons brand. It is beautiful. It has beautiful gardens in the middle of the city. It has friendly yet very professional staff. It is situated perfectly, allowing one to walk everywhere. If you want to be in the city center, yet feel as though you are in the countryside, I can't imagine a better hotel.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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San Diego, California
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2011

I've wanted to stay at the Four Seasons Firenze for three years and finally got the chance earlier this month. It did not disappoint. Beautiful frescoes on the ceilings, gorgeous rooms, impeccable service that you would expect. And of course none of this comes cheaply. My only minor quibble comes with the add-on charge for Wi-Fi (we stayed in far cheaper hotels in Italy that include it at no additional charge). Breakfast doesn't need to cost 38 Euros a person either. But overall we would love to return to this hotel.

  • Stayed October 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Addison, Vermont
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2011

Spent one night there in mid-October. Truly a wonderful experience. The hotel is a magnificent oasis in Florence. Staff were extremely professional and attentive without being annoying.

Room Tip: The convento building is separate from the main hotel, and is perhaps a bit quieter.
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2011

I am a huge fan of the Four Seasons chain. However, this hotel takes the cake. As a former papal summer home, the grounds were jaw-dropping. We sat at the pool as attendants offered us cold sorbet and reading material. The salt water pool was perfect. The lobby areas were magnificent, as was our very large room. We had one dinner at this hotel, which was truly special. The concierge was so helpful with his recommendations, as well as with sending a few of our purchases back to the US. Everything about this hotel is perfect, from the art to the furnishings to the staff to the spa. This is one of the best hotels in the world.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

Address: Borgo Pinti 99, 50121 Florence, Italy
Phone Number:
Location: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Florence > Florence
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Florence
#2 Business Hotel in Florence
#4 Family Hotel in Florence
#4 Luxury Hotel in Florence
#7 Romantic Hotel in Florence
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Four Seasons Hotel Firenze 5*
Number of rooms: 117
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Four Seasons Hotel Firenze. An enchanted city sanctuary in the midst of Florence, where an art-filled Renaissance palazzo and conventino frame a centuries-old private park. Relax amidst original frescoes and sculptured reliefs, graced by sunlight and airy garden vistas. Sip espresso under majestic trees, lounge by the open-air pool or bask in Italian spa secrets. Wonders of the Uffizi and Duomo are a stroll away. Tuscan hill towns beckon. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
4 Seasons Hotel Firenze
Florence Four Seasons

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