We stayed here for 4 days on a short vacation break. We are pretty hard to impress when it comes to hotels, but i'd say that the Four Seasons in Florence is a gem. I really was not too sure about what to expect. I try to avoid overly fussy "old fashioned" hotels and try to opt for the more modern and clean feel. The hotel decoration is really not the style I personally prefer, but it really did "work" in this very impressive setting. The entrance from the outside is very low key (similar to the FS in Milan) but nothing else was like the FS in Milan - luckily. Service and amenity wise its closer to FS Geneva (which is really the hotel I measure all FS's to) in the sense that everything was very well thought thru. The staff was obviously professionals, and not new to neither high end hotel business, nor the values of Four Seasons. What I was really impressed with was the gardens and pool area. They are in every way the heart of the hotel, and very much very hard to copy in Florence. I know a lot of people here have commented on the location. In my experience the walk from the hotel to the Arno river is 10 minutes. The roads are a bit bleak and dodgy, but also very authentic and in reality very safe. There are amazing buildings, Palazzos, churches and squares, in every direction and Florence is so small, that you will never really get lost. The local restaurants are excellent as well, an very very cheap compared to the hotel venues. (albeit also very "local").
We tried out room service extensively and the eating venues. We had a minor mishap at one of the breakfast servings and another mishap at one of the lunch servings. Considering the fairly simple foods in question, it shouldn't have happened, but everything was rectified fairly quick. The smaller al fresco restaurant by the pool was my personal favourite. Very simple, but also high quality at the same time. Staff there was generally well trained and very easy to communicate with. We did experience a couple of staff members, that were perhaps new or very local, that messed up a couple of minor things, but in the broader perspective, i'd go again without a doubt.
The Pool area itself was for me brilliant. Small,quiet and certainly well maintained. The poolside service was excellent. I like a more personalized service approach, as many of the "scheduled" events such as coffee/icecream mix, fruit, cold towel, sunglass polish (silly), Cold water spray (even more silly) were a bit mechanical. The general layout of the gardens more than made up for any negatives.
The rooms were, as mentioned before, not really in the design style I personally prefer, but I can appreciate the amount of work put into the designs and furnishings. I did experience a couple of minor hiccups. First of all, the carpet in our junior suite was really past its last sell-by date. It had every imagineable spots on it. Of course it was cleaned (multiple times by the look of it), but the stains were pretty obvious. The bathroom also had a few minor issues. The in-wall shower had some sort of drain issue resulting in a very stale smell. Also a couple of the floor tiles were working themselves loose. Cleaning was "OK", but not on a FS:Geneva or FS:Park Lane level at all. As others have mentioned the staff are "hesitant" at replenishing the various soaps and conditioners, which seemed very out of sync with the FS brand. In my opinion the lack of bath-salts, more "complex" luxury bath products, was a bit of a let-down compared to a lot of other FS properties. In my experience the TV/AV system was sub-par. A lot of the UK/US channels had noticeable lag and broke up badly. Others worked fine. The system seemed to be of an older vintage.
I know a few reviews here have mentioned the location difference between being in the Conventino or the main building. In my opinion the main building did have the very tall ceilings, and full service offerings, but also had a very confusing layout and a very large portion of the rooms had little or no sun (ours had none). It did seem that most of the families with children were over at the Conventino. Personally, I would not hesitate to try the conventino location if you can secure a room with some direct sunlight.
Altogether, the FS:Florence certainly has a lot of the important details right. The location is great, the pool area is great. It has the historical cache, and its a professionally run setup. The issues we experienced were minor, and considering that we are in Italy, I was surprised that the FS management was able to execute such high standards. As with most hotels, there is room to improve, however. We will certainly be back.
- 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