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“A wonderful spot in the heart of the Renaissance.”
Review of Torre Guelfa Hotel

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Torre Guelfa Hotel
Ranked #102 of 411 Hotels in Florence
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 26, 2013

We’ve traveled to Italy every other year since 2004, when we found the Torre Guelfa hotel. Located on the Via del Terme, only a short walk from the Ponte Vecchio where the jewelers have set up shop for hundreds of years, the Uffizi, and the Duomo-Baptistery piazza complex, it is what we consider our private discovery and Florence’s best secret. So far it’s our favorite hotel in all of Italy. The rates are reasonable and it would be worth it even if it were much more expensive,
The Torre Guelfa sits on the Via del Terme, right off the Via Por Santa Maria which leads straight into the heart of the city.
Like almost everywhere else in Italy the owners of the Torre Guelfa have found ingenious and attractive ways to fit elevators in amongst the winding stone staircases. All the rooms we stayed in were spacious and beautiful, and the view from the large windows, even those that look out on alleys, was always breathtaking. Some of the bed frames are antique and beautifully canopied.
The one roof-level room that has its own large terrace. The hotel has a large common area with overstuffed chairs, perfect for reading. The owners and staff are terrific. The location couldn’t be better. Within a few minutes you can be in the center of Renaissance Florence looking at Giotto’s “Campanile” (Bell Tower), or entering the Bargello Museum (Donatello, Verrocchio, Michelangelo, and Giambologna all in the same place). Down the street is the Accademia with Michelangelo’s David. We suggest buying a “Friends of the Uffizi’ pass online, which lets you go to the front of the line. No waiting.
A short walk to the Church of Santa Maria Novella will take you past the corner where Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo had an argument about art. Across the Ponte Vecchio is a string of shops leading up to the Pitti Palace
Most of our time in Florence centers on the Piazza del Duomo, around which are restaurants, any of which you will find perfect. An oddity: for American style pizza, we found a place, easy to spot from the northwest side of the Baptistery, where the Via del Cerretani enters the piazza at the Borgo San Lorenzo.
During the late-Middle Ages the wealthy families raced to outdo each other in building the tallest tower. The city government stepped in and set a maximum limit, forcing many families to cut their towers down to meet safety guidelines. Torre Guelfa is the last one standing. On the roof is a two-tiered patio from which the full panorama of Florence can be enjoyed.
Torre Guelfa simply means Guelph Tower. The Guelphs were one of two rival political factions in pre-Renaissance Florence, the other being the Ghibellines. The Guelphs won the contest. This was only one of several spectacular family rivalries.
We will return to the Torre Guelfa in 2014.
John Edwards and Diana Hume George

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank DianaHGeorge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 16, 2013

Pros:
+ Huge rooms
+ Great atmosphere
+ Free breakfast
+ Central location

Cons:
- Bad service
- Old hotel
- Lots of stairs and may be difficult for some (there is an elevator but very slow)

Conclusion: When I first entered my room I thought it would be the easiest 5* review ever. The room is massive and the bathroom itself was larger than some entire hotel suites I have been in. The ceilings are high up and it makes it feel like you are staying in a castle. However, there are pretty serious problems with the staff.

There are simple issues like the breakfast staff not refilling the food - there are 4 or 5 of them, but they prefer chatting to each other rather than making sure there is enough food. We also had a bad encounter with our bathroom flooding. Basically the drain was plugged (somewhat) and when showering water would come into the room. The first night we used the towels and cleaned it up ourself and asked the front desk to fix it the next morning. The next day the same thing happened (was not fixed) and the flooding was even worse. Front desk said someone would look at it "immediately," but the person never showed up. When we called down for additional towels to soak up the water they made it like it was an inconvenience for them. Would have thought they would be happy I was cleaning their bathroom for them..

If management reads this: you seriously need to shake up the staff at your hotel. The hotel is beautiful in a great area and the tower terrace very special. You should easily be able to charge rates 50% higher, but the poor service is really holding you back.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank CalgaryCanuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TorreGuelfaHotel, Direttore at Torre Guelfa Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 5, 2013

Dear CalgaryCanuck,
We really appreciate your report, we always take complaints seriously in order to improve.
Our staff is the most important added value to our service.
We usually have 2 staff members serving in the breakfast room in the morning, and they always do their best to accommodate 40-50 people at the time.
Concerning your experience with the bathroom drain, the assistance was immediately called after your complaint.
However, it seemed like the issue was not fixed correctly. When you informed the concierge again, at night, our staff provided everything you needed as the assistance was not available overnight.
We can guarantee our receptionist was so sorry about you having the same problem again, and he just wanted to do everything in order to let you stay in the room comfortably. The following day, early in the morning, the problem was finally fixed.
At check-out, since the room was prepaid, to apologize for the inconvenience, we found nice from us to apply a little discount and we didn’t charge you the taxes. Apparently, you didn’t notice it!
We trust you will have the possibility to stay here again, we will be happy to show you how helpful and kind our staff can be.
Best regards
Barbara De Simone

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2013

We took the Italo train from Rome Ostiense to Florence Santa Maria Novella. Upon arriving to the train station we used the directions given to us by the hotel (a map) to find Torre Guelfa. Another person in our party was using GPS which confused us because the GPS spun us in the circle. Use the map and directions from the hotel and you will arrive without incident in approximately 10 minutes. Along the way we had a lot of street peddlers trying to sell us umbrella's (it was raining on our arrival) but we just walked briskly and told them "NO!" Traveling with rolling suitcases was not a problem.

Once we arrived at the hotel, check in went smooth. The gentleman at the desk was very professional and dressed very nicely. He recommended a great restaurant down the street about 2 minutes that became our favorite though we tried others as well.

Our room was on the 2nd floor and called a suite. REALLY, it was just a large square room with two sets of twin beds pushed together facing each other. However, there was plenty of floor space. Our room was hot and we could not get the AC to work but the hotel responded very quickly with a maintenance man who fixed it right away. The beds were awkward since they were twins making a king but we dealt with it. The furniture in the room was beautiful.
The bathroom was small but efficient. If you are a person that uses a lot of space to get ready you will be disappointed. Lotion, shampoo, "intimate wash" (not sure what it really was) bar soap and conditioner were provided. The shower was adequate but small so if you are a large person you may have a little bit of trouble turning around. We had plenty of hot water for 4 showers at about 8:00 a.m.

I suggest making sure you travel with a couple of 220 to 110 electric converters or you will not be able to charge phones, cameras, use hair straitener, etc...

We all slept pretty good but two of us were bit by something while sleeping and kept waking up with more swollen itching bites a little larger than a mosquito would normally leave. The door has to be locked with a key when you are in the room to keep the door from being opened from the outside while you are inside. The keys are somewhat tricky old skeleton keys. Took a bit to get use to.

The second floor smelled like urine but I could not find a source. The rest of the hotel was beautiful and did not smell bad. The hotel use to be a palace of a Constable of Florence so it was pretty cool to explore and also to read about while there.


The rooftop bar was pretty cool. You could see all of Florence from up there but the climb was what seemed like never ending stairs! Well worth it though. If you are a smoker this is the only place besides on the street that you could smoke. On some nights when the weather was good the bar was actually open up here, the rest of the time they open it in the main living room. There was an Italian woman that ran it and she was pleasant, though she did not keep her bar well stocked. She would run out of items. She also frowned on us for having bought some really good wine and taking it up to the rooftop for a night cap one night. She asked my husband to tell us not to open it until 10:00 p.m. when she closes. We ignored it since there was absolutely no rule posted in the hotel that you could not have outside food or drink in. Another night she also made sure to tell my husband that he had not appropriately tipped her which I found rude. Especially for Italy where tipping is not really mandatory and definitely not something that a service provider would demand.

Definitely take time to get up early one morning and watch the sunrise from the Hotel Rooftop Bar. You will NOT regret it. Simply wonderful! The breakfast was pretty good and was located on the 3rd floor in the Breakfast Room. Large selection of bread, three meats, cold cereal, cheese, boiled eggs, yogurt and fruit. They also had juice, water, coffee and tea. Enough to keep you going until lunch.

The location of the hotel was perfect for walking to every attraction. We also did the bus tour which was awesome because it took you further out to places that you may not actually walk to and being able to hear the history of Florence and what the different sites were was wonderful.

The streets were extremely clean compared to Rome and I did not see even ONE beggar. It was nice after seeing so many in Rome.

Throughout the day you could hear the different church bells which was really wonderful. The people of Florence were much friendlier than in Rome and really wanted to tell you all about their city and its history as well as try to teach you some more Italian! I only had two 1/2 days in Florence and could have easily spent a week there. There is A LOT to see and do. The Galileo museum was fantastic! You can also go to the Santa Croce Basilica and see his tomb as well as Michelangelo's! A MUST. The basilica is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

Hotel Torre Guelfa was a nice gem in a fantastic location. You would not regret staying in this hotel at all due to location and it's history.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank ike7101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 14, 2013

My family just returned from Florence and the Hotel Torre. We had a total of three rooms - each different than the other and all very comfortable, clean and nice. The staff was wonderful - they made restaurant recommendations and reservations, helped with planning our day, gave us umbrellas when it was raining (did that a lot!) and were overall charming. When our taxi driver picked us up at the train station he said the Hotel Torre was one of the nicest, old charm hotels in the city - he was right! The hotel serves a complimentary breakfast every morning with ham, cheese, cereal, fruit, croissants, bread, juice and coffee. It is located one block from the Ponte Vecchio and within a 10 minute walk to the Duomo. One of the neatest features of the hotel is that it has a mid-evil tower that offers one of the highest viewing points in all of Florence; the hotel serves wine in the evenings (weather permitting) there and the wine and views are wonderful!

One more thing - I am a big fan of Rick Steve's tour books and was surprised that his Italy Tour was actually staying at the hotel while we were - what an endorsement!

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank SATX2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2013

The room was clean and the staff was very accomodating. The rooftop bar is an excellent place to relax with some wine, complementary snacks (think pretzels and peanuts) and among the best place to watch the sunset in all of Florence. We loved the location of the hotel, as we were always close enough to go back and relax if we wanted a break. The room was clean, but this hotel bed more than any others (and they are all this way in Italy in my experience) had a noticeable point between the two matresses. I dont know if they were of different ages, or they just dont get any closer or what but it almost made it truly feel like my wife and I were sleeping on two separate beds that were "pushed together." Its not a deal breaker. I'd stay here again if I'm ever in Florence. We rubbed that pigs snout, so that means we'll return, right?

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Mark984
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2013

Stayed here September 2013 and a great find. Hotel is on a quite street close to the main piazza where the Uffizi is and also very close to the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio ect... all within minutes. Hotel has a terrace on the roof with a full 360 view of Florence. Room wasn't the most modern but very clean and spacious. Definatley

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank David V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2013

This place and nice rooms but the real treat here is the rooftop bar. Amazing view of Florence and wonderful wine served by a really nice woman who climbs the stairs repeatedly to bring up the drinks. I would definitly stay here agin, just for tha amazing view. Rooms were nice, small but efficient and great showers!

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank AngelaFairfield
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Torre Guelfa Hotel

Address: Borgo Santi Apostoli 8, 50123, Florence, Italy
Phone Number:
Location: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Florence > Florence > Uffizi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#40 Family Hotel in Florence
#75 Romantic Hotel in Florence
#84 Business Hotel in Florence
Price Range: $80 - $287 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Torre Guelfa Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 31
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Safety box Minibar ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Torre Guelfa Florence

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