We spent nine days in late November/early December at the Plaza Lucchesi Hotel in Florence. We have stayed there numerous times, most recently two years ago, also in November. We reviewed the hotel previously, but wanted to provide an updated review for anyone seeking lodging in Florence.
The location is perfect-right on the Arno, with wonderful views of sunrises and sunsets for those who request a river view. We were three this time and reserved one of the duplex rooms. This type of room has a half bath on the main floor and a full bath with tub and shower off the bedroom in the loft area. Plenty of closet space both above and below, a safe, and a mini-bar that we used to refrigerate items. We often left the huge window slightly ajar at night as the hotel tends to be toasty warm and we like things a bit cooler. There can be noise from the street below and people leaving watering holes in the early morning hours, but this can be mitigated completely with ear plugs. The beds are deliciously comfortable, even the cot that was made up in the main level for our third person. Upstairs beds are twins that can be made up as twins or a king. We each had a luxurious terry bathrobe. Plenty of plush towels and excellent maid service. The main level has a television, love seat, chair, desk and chair, and coffee table, so it is quite comfortable for relaxing, reading, etc. And there is a television on the loft level as well. Even though we were out much of the time exploring Florence and environs, the room was welcoming and spacious enough that we never felt closed in.
The Lucchesi recently underwent a change of ownership and we felt the changes were quite positive from a guest perspective. The emphasis on customer service seems to be quite intense. We have always enjoyed our encounters with the staff there, but this time they appeared to have a renewed focus on customer care. They were very kind when I attempted to communicate in my clumsy Italian. (You will have no problem if you do not speak a word of Italian, as everyone speaks English and often several other languages as well. I just wanted to practice my Italian.)
As an aside, one thing Americans need to consider when traveling abroad for the first time is that culturally Americans tend to be friendly to everyone, while Europeans are a bit more reserved and this holds true for people you encounter in every walk of life and every European country I have ever visited.
The staff at the Lucchesi are business-like but wonderful. Lots of humor and a sincere desire to help. They also handled a very demanding and unpleasant guest beautifully. Michele, the chief concierge, arranged a driver for us for a day visit to San Gimignano and Siena (we couldn't take the bus tour for a variety of reasons). The driver was wonderful and we were able to design the day exactly as we wanted it. Better than renting a car and dealing with Florence traffic and the Autostrada. And although expensive, a pretty good value if you consider the cost for three for a standard bus tour.
The hotel restaurant, La Serra, is open from 7 am to 10:30 am with a reinvigorated buffet. Scrambled eggs, quiche, sausage, bacon, a variety of rolls, croissants, fresh fruits, juice, coffee, vegetables, cheeses, deli type meats, and desserts will please the most discerning of diners. The restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner, but we did not eat there this time except for breakfast. Our experience in the past, though, has been that these meals are wonderful. And the restaurant itself is lovely, with river views.
The hotel lobby is beautiful as well, and spacious, although we rarely spend any time there because of the seating area in our room. There is free wi-fi in the rooms, which is a big plus.
It is about a ten-minute walk to the Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi and the heart of the city. The hotel is in the Santa Croce neighborhood, three blocks from the church of Santa Croce and its piazza. There are many wonderful restaurants within a few blocks, several small convenience stores where you can purchase drinks, snacks, etc. and a take out pizza place (pizza to die for) is just two blocks from the hotel near an ATM. Stores abound, both off the piazza and in the streets leading away from the piazza going towards the Ponte Vecchio. Our favorite is a gift shop just steps from the hotel which offers a variety of items. This store is owned by a wonderful couple. You can wend your way from Piazza Santa Croce to Piazza della Signoria and then to Piazza della Repubblica.
Florence is definitely a walking city. Advise excellent walking shoes for the cobblestones (I like Merrills best) and a plan that allows you to start at the farthest point and work your way back to the hotel. We took a taxi one day to the farthest point and then walked back, stopping at our other points along the way. A wonderful feature in Florence is stone benches at each of the major piazzas, which can be quite helpful if your back or feet need a rest. Taxis can be found at a few points in the city, mostly near piazzas, but you cannot hail a cab as you can in many U.S. cities. Your hotel and restaurants can call for taxis for you, as well.
We were there again for the German Christmas Market in Piazza Santa Croce. This market features vendors from a variety of European countries offering food, drink and products for purchase. There is music and Florentines gather to eat and enjoy the scene. I particularly enjoyed the jazz trio one afternoon-set up just in front of the church on a cloudless sunny day playing wonderful music against the backdrop of the market, the church and the statue of Dante. Divine.
We are already planning a return trip to our favorite city in the world. That return trip will definitely include the Plaza Lucchesi.
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- Also Known As:
- Plaza Lucchesi Florence
- Hotel Plaza Lucchesi