Rooms are beautifully appointed. Stayed in a Deluxe Suite with 2 balconies overlooking the Arno. Breathtaking to stand outside on the balcony at night. Equally awesome on a sunny morning. (Interestingly, if having double sinks matters, skip the balconies and get a slightly smaller room configuration. Balcony room only had a single sink.) Seems that rooms with separate showers aren't easy to come by, but we were lucky. Tubs all have a hand-held shower spigot with good water pressure in any case.
Through a series of mishaps--which the staff handled as best they could--we were given a room upgrade (after some mild insisting) and that accounts for the knowledge base being shared here with fellow travelers.
As such, I found the pillows (which were new) to be less comfortable than the pillows from the prior room. Direct requests make the most sense to the hotel staff. Can someone get the pillows from the old room (not in service to anyone) and bring them to my new room? Why, yes. King size beds and linens were very comfortable, though the twin top mattresses caused a noticeable sag in the middle which can make cuddling slightly haphazardous because the smaller body (me) can get crushed from falling into the crevice created by the separating mattresses. So, we had to scoot from one mattress top to the other and it felt like the width of my college dorm room bed. But, for sleeping, the comfort was maximal.
Rooms were very clean, though the housekeepers were inconsistent. Sometimes there were 2 bidet towels, other times none. Sometimes, 2 very large bath towels, sometimes just one paired with a smaller version. Who wants to keep calling (and tipping) for these things while on vacation? Not me.
In fact, we tipped generously to all. The average worker in Florence makes about $800 USD a month according to our guide. Florence (and its outskirt suburbs) are not inexpensive places to live. And tourism is the #1 source of income here.
English speakers at the hotel were quite fluent which was a relief since this was our first trip to Italy.
Hotel is located far from the crowded streets and noise, but close enough to all manner of shopping and restaurants. Bring comfortable walking shoes! On one day out, we wandered so far from the hotel, we had to cab it back. Public transportation very reliable, no need to rent a car. Besides, you see more on foot and I think it's easier to find parking in Manhattan, New York. Learn to say Piazza Ognissanti to the cabbie.
A visit to the Excelsior's roof restaurant is highly recommended for the vistas, especially at night. Dress was more formal up there (as were the prices). Food was kind of chi-chi experimental (you don't always know what you're eating from the looks of it). But the service was wonderful. On warmer days, you can sit outside, too. Such a romantic setting, too.
Took a sneak peek at the St. Regis. Different vibe altogether. Modern decor sensibility. Subtlety was emphasized (is that an oxymoron?). We preferred the antiques and chandeliers in the Excelsior's bedroom to the modular furniture and oversize picture books guests could peruse and borrow in the St. Regis lobby. Certainly, the location/views were not different (they're across the Piazza Ognissanti facing each other.)
We really enjoyed our stay at the Excelsior. Check-in and check-out were simple and expedient. The hotel supplied umbrella was a nice touch since it rained most of the days we were in Florence. No worries. Rain wet streets made our photos look like a Hollywood film set.
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- Also Known As:
- The Westin Excelsior Florence Hotel Florence
- Westin Florence
- Florence Westin
- Westin Excelsior Florence