Many hotels have staff who are friendly, helpful and efficient. Sometimes, it takes a really exceptional experience to understand the difference between service that is very good and service that is truly outstanding. We were fortunate to have had such an experience at a recent stay in Florence.
To a person, the staff at the Antica Torre were helpful and friendly, but various instances set their service at a higher level than merely very good. One example is the advice given us at reception when we were planning our Sunday schedule with very limited time available to us to see Michelangelo's David (state museums are closed on Mondays and we were slated to leave on the Tuesday). We were advised to try going to the Accademia at 5pm when the daily crowds would be at their lowest, and we would still have 90 mintues to visit the gallery. This was one example out of many in which staff gave very helpful advice during our stay, and is the kind of specific advice one does not always receive. Staff also helped with arranging dinner reservations, train reservations, calling taxis and recommending places to eat and things to see. I have stayed at hotels where such help resulted in a service charge, or where tips were expected, but not at the Antica Torre. Every facet of the staff's work and behaviour was exemplary and made staying in Florence that much better.
The hotel's location is wonderful: across the street from the Arno, and about two blocks from the Uffizi. This in itself is not surprising as central Florence is quite compact, and it is difficult to imagine any hotel in the area being described as poorly located. As with many boutique hotels, trying to find the entrance if you do not know it is there can be a bit of a challenge. That said, its address on the Via Tornabuoni means getting to the hotel entrance does not require too much of an adventure.
We were on a fifth floor room near the back of the hotel, and had a bit of a view over the rooftops of adjoining buildings. Rooms on lower floors would allow even less to look at. That said, the view from the rooftop terrance is spectacular. This is where breakfast is served, and we spent a good chunk of one sunny morning sipping coffee on the terrance. There was construction going on in the road in front of the hotel, and staff seemed to think it was anybody's guess when the work would end. However, the work crews knocked off at a very civil hour each afternoon, so nobody's sleep would have been disrupted by the noise.
Our room was a little plain, and could have used a new coat of paint by a professional painter (the paint job looked like something I would have done myself). That said, the room was spotless, and the king size bed was very comfortable. The bathroom was well appointed although I am still puzzled what it is most hotels in Europe have against shower curtains large enough to keep the water from spraying out onto the floor.
One other word, the elevator is best approached with a bit of a Zen attitude. It is a small, old hydraulic elevator that moves at a speed that is almost surreally slow.
Will we stay at this hotel again? Absolutely. In fact we are planning our next visit to Florence and stay at the Antica Torre already.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We personally enjoy welcoming our guests, we wish to reinvent the concept of hospitality, and we have the inspiration to provide the warmth of home in every detail. This is how the Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni 1, Florence came to be: a tower-house built in the mid-12th century by the Guelph family of Ruggerini. At the beginning of the 20th century, this palace became "Pensione Piccioli," and quickly turned into a privileged residence for aristocrats and English writers. Closed after the Great War, Pensione Piccioli reopened in 2001, as a Period Residence called "Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni 1." Thanks to attentive restoration to preserve all its original charm, the evocative ambiance of the Palace on Via Tornabuoni has regained life and warmth. This magnificent complex is considered one of the typical "tower-houses" of Mediaeval Florence, and, to this day, it still preserves all its characteristic architectural elements: it is an admirable example of the human ability to convert buildings built for war into oases of peace, culture and hospitality. In this ancient tower, we have created a world of harmony, privacy, and attentiveness to our guests' needs. Luxury, peace, and beauty are all in traditional Italian style, and give the concept of comfort new aesthetics. Almost all rooms enjoy an enchanting view of the city or the Arno River, and all are furnished with the highest in comfort: satellite plasma TVs, DVD players, wireless internet connection, direct line telephone, minibar, electronic safe, air conditioning and heating, private marble bath with tub and/or shower, hair dryer, slippers and shoehorns, and Dr Vranjes scented essences. Some of the Rooms and Suites are decorated with a Renaissance flair: with frescoes, drapes in coloured precious fabrics, bathrooms in red Alcantara or Gold Calacatta marble, and romantic four poster beds. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Antica Torre Di Via Tornabuoni Hotel Florence