We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
WINNER WONDERLAND
Win Big When You Book on TripAdvisor

“Disappointing drop in standards” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Casa Howard Guest House

Best prices for -
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 4 more sites!
Casa Howard Guest House
Ranked #211 of 638 Florence B&B and Inns
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
39 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Disappointing drop in standards”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 17, 2014 via mobile

This was my fifth visit to Casa Howard, which is a beautifully designed set of rooms near the train station and next door to the wonderful Officina Farmacia Santa Maria Novella.

The rooms are all different and I have had enjoyable days before in the Drawing Room, Library, Fireplace Room and my favourite, the Owner's studio. I have always had excellent service and love the location and aesthetic. This time I booked and prepaid for the Fireplace Room - a lovely room to share, with both a free standing bathtub and a walk in shower. As it was my fifth visit I was told I would receive complimentary breakfast.

On arrival, the first thing I noticed was a rather funky smell in the downstairs lobby area which I had never noticed on previous stays. Once inside the hotel the smell was diminished but it was still a little off-putting every time we returned to the hotel.

I was greeted by one of the two Filipina housekeepers - she tried to charge me again for the rooms and was quite put out when I showed her the confirmation email acknowledging full pre-payment. She then offered me breakfast at 8 euros per night. Again I was able to dig out an email confirming that it was complimentary. And on being shown, somewhat brusquely into the room, I had to dig out my blackberry again to prove that I had asked for twin beds.

Being proved wrong didn't help her mood but her blatant surliness (we didn't get a smile or a civil word from her for the rest of our five night stay) didn't live up to the promises I had made my guest about the excellence of the establishment.

After some rather derogatory and insulting grumbling to her colleague which I only understood in part - my Tagalog being a little haphazard - the initial hiccups were glossed over without apology. Thereafter whenever possible I tried to deal with Mina, who we dubbed "Smily", rather than her colleague "Surly".

Breakfast was actually very good by Continental standards with fresh fruit, yoghurt, a rather sweet croissant, toast, honey, butter and Nespresso coffee with warm milk. On one day when there was no yoghurt it was replaced with a perfectly soft boiled egg. We supplemented it with some sliced salumi and cheeses from the central market and it made a lovely start to each day.

The only issue is that each day you have to write in a logbook the time you want your breakfast the next day. One day we were doing a day trip to Sienna and San Gimignano, so the book was not out when we left at 8:30am. And by the time we got back at about 10:30pm I forgot. I remembered the next day at 6:00am when I heard movement in the pantry next to our room - I am a light sleeper - and I got up to find Surly setting out three breakfast trays. I asked if it was too late to order for 8:00am. I was told that two of the trays she was preparing were for 8:00am so I could have it at 9:00am. (We had had breakfast for the first three days at 8:00am each morning).

Now I said the breakfast was good but it was hardly Heston Blumenthal and cutting up and apple wasn't likely to take an hour. But I wasn't Surly's favourite person so I left it.

Maybe three stars is harsh. I got what I ordered eventually though I had to fight for it. And the apartments are as pretty as they always have been and in the same excellent location.

Perhaps if I had not had such good service on my previous stays, and if the lobby had not smelled like a street sleeper was living in it, I would have given five stars. But I could not in all conscience say that this stay was very good. The apartments are not cheap and in the circumstances it is things like cleanliness and service which make the difference between an okay stay and something better.

I will be looking other options next time I visit Florence.

Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
Helpful?
4 Thank MissT_HongKong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

411 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    214
    105
    50
    25
    17
See reviews for
65
217
18
22
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (50)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
42 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 3, 2014

I booked the Hidden Room for my husband and I for a 3 night stay in April.

The two lovely ladies that takes care of the place were very pleasant and very helpful with everything we needed. The room was extremely tiny with barely any space to store or open up your bags. This was a mission and we actually couldnt wait to leave Venice because it was a rather uncomfortable and unpractical room.

The shower and sunken tub was in the bedroom, the shower had a wooden flooring which is so uncomfortable under the foot, my shower time was rather fast due to this, the sunken tub was right next to the shower and directly in front of the bed, the water temperature was not warm enough to even fill up the tub and enjoy this feature of the room.

The TV was situated behind the tub and on the floor, we couldn't even see the TV from the bed. The toilet was situated as soon as you enter the room on the left, again very tiny and the only mirror situated in the room was in the toilet. Poor lighting in the toilet as well.

Advice to travelers, if you have big luggage or like space, DO NOT choose this room, you will be claustrophobic during your entire stay. Not worth the price we paid.

Room Tip: Choose a bigger room if you have luggage
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Keshnee H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
32 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 29, 2014

We picked Casa Howard be coz of its location. Walking distant to/from Firenze SMN station,don't wanna find the hotel hardly with heavy luggage always. However,10-15 mins to get there but still takes time to find exactly it is. Guest house is on the second floor of a building,it s a little difficult to it find out if u forgot to take a look of their front door pictures...

My husband n I were stay for 2days in a twin room left which is tiny(12 inches from the toilet) but in well decoration.

We both like the location of Casa Howard which is convenient to visit Firenze but room is too small for the price that I paid.

Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank akaJess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 16, 2014 via mobile

We were 2pax and we stayed in the Drawing Room which could really sleep 4pax or a couple with 2kids. We chose it because the pictures showed a beautiful and elegant room. It was indeed. Very very spacious open concept room. 2 large
beds and a living room space.
Wardrobe and vanity area space is a little small, although there are many drawer spaces and small cupboards in the apartment. There is 1 toilet and 1 separate shower area. Very clean apartment. The 2 ladies who take care of Casa Howard are very nice and helpful. There is a lift in Casa Howard too.There is no parking at the apartment tho.
One thing that bothered us was the loud slamming sound you will hear through the walls and floors whenever someone goes in and out of the main gate and door at L1. And it does occur any time through the night. And if you take the first floor room, then get ear plugs.

You could get in-room bfast served at your preferred timing at an extra cost or you could go to the many cafes and restaurants along the same street.
There is also Halal food across the street called The Grill Restaurant which serves kebab, briyani, rice dishes. We had meals there too and it was good. €8 per pax on average. The restaurant does not serve alcohol.

We love Casa Howard for its very convenient and accessible location, its proximity to food and its beautiful rooms. Oh the sign 'Casa Howard' is a small plaque on the wall. A more prominent sign would be helpful esp if one arrives at night. Anw, use your phone's google map, it will locate it precisely ;)

  • Stayed April 2014
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank vintageroses
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 8, 2014

If you are lucky enough to have one of the 8 rooms in the guest house. The staff are so generous with their attention to detail and their ability to accommodate our requests. It is a very special place and this is because of the wonderful people who are taking care of you during the visit.
Amazing service.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank wendy o
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 2, 2013

Casa Howard is a gem. As they remind guests, Casa Howard is not a hotel. It's a guest house that would be most appreciated by those who place a premium on design and discreet service. Travellers needing the full scope of hotel services (bellmen, restaurants, a large staff, etc) may want to look elsewhere. But independent travellers looking for a well-situated, apartment-like setting should strongly consider Casa Howard.

A few experiences stand out from my stay. First, the Hammam (Turkish steam bath) down the hallway from my room was an absolute delight, and such a departure from an ordinary hotel experience. The staff were helpful and courteous, and provided expert guidance on restaurants, directions, and the like when needed. A lovely sitting room with espresso and free internet access was a welcome service.

I can't say enough good things about this hotel and its sister properties in Rome (via Sistina and via Capo le Case). I look forward to future repeat visits to the Casa Howard guest houses in both cities.

Room Tip: The Casa Howard web site offers periodic specials (advance booking discounts, etc). We stayed in th...
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Colin T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helsinki, Finland
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 27, 2013

If you are looking for something special for your trip in Florence, check this place. It's not a hotel (as they mention on their web page), but it's much more. We loved our staying there and we will go back one day, if possible.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Heidi323232
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Travelers also viewed these Florence hotels
Santa Maria Novella
Domus Florentiae Hotel
Domus Florentiae Hotel
#189 of 422 in Florence
4.0 of 5 bubbles 337 reviews
Santa Maria Novella
Hotel Club Florence
Hotel Club Florence
#150 of 422 in Florence
4.0 of 5 bubbles 676 reviews
Santa Maria Novella
Palazzo dal Borgo Hotel Aprile
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
Santa Maria Novella
Adler Cavalieri
Adler Cavalieri
#78 of 422 in Florence
4.0 of 5 bubbles 774 reviews
Santa Maria Novella
Croce di Malta Hotel
Croce di Malta Hotel
#167 of 422 in Florence
3.5 of 5 bubbles 674 reviews
Santa Maria Novella
Bellevue House
Bellevue House
#18 of 638 in Florence
4.5 of 5 bubbles 477 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Casa Howard Guest House? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Casa Howard Guest House

Property: Casa Howard Guest House
Address: 18, Via della Scala, 50123, Florence, Italy
Location: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Florence > Florence > Santa Maria Novella
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Room Service Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #211 of 638 B&Bs / Inns in Florence
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Casa Howard Guest House 4*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
CASA HOWARD Guest Houses – Rome and Florence The Art of Hospitality. Casa Howard Guest Houses are not hotels. Each Casa Howard is a beautiful private house, in an outstanding location whether an apartment, palazzo or farmhouse, which gives personal service, and where some typically "hotel" ideas, methods and services have been borrowed. With uniquely designed, cosy rooms it’s like staying in a very relaxed, stylish friend’s home – as guests you get the keys of the house, you enjoy the original furniture and objects, you feel the atmosphere of the house. A mix of quality-to-price ratio, uniqueness of location, private home heritage and introduced guests approach deserved Casa Howard many featuring on the international press. Last but not least, CH are now in the bestselling 1000 Places to See before You die !!• A SENSORIAL EXPERIENCE : how different is the feeling of spending some days in a real private house rather than in a public grand hotel, in the top art city of the world! LUXE: we may not define CH a luxury place, rather a true exclusive place (nonetheless we are featured on most of the luxury guidebooks in the world, like the LUXE city book of Grant Thatcher or the LOUIS VUITTON guidebook). Casa Howard (Florence) is located close to Santa Maria Novella, Casa Howard (Rome) close to the Spanish Steps – the ideal spots for accessing the city’s profusion of architectural treasures and shopping! Urban chic close to the action. Suave and surprising, the Casa Howard is located close to the Santa Maria Novella – an ideal spot for accessing the city’s profusion of architectural treasures. This is a Guest House, it is not in the hotel category (e.g. they do not have a concierge, nor do they provide porters etc); it is a private family’s houses partially opened to introduced paying guests. Former guests have a priority booking channel. A mix of quality-to-price ratio, uniqueness of location, private home heritage, and introduced guests approach deserved Casa Howard some awards and many many featuring on international press. It is an intriguing mix of private mansion and hip hotel, providing guest accommodation in stylish apartments. Eco attitude : see down *All the original floors and ceilings have been maintained, there are flourishes of pure silk taffeta at the windows, and many love the chic designer touches such as the occasional black silk sofa, sunken marble bath, full-wall padded bed head, mosaic inlay or 18th century French writing desk. For relaxation after a day’s exploration along the Via Tornabuoni, unwind in the hammam. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Odigeo and Cheap Tickets so you can book your Casa Howard Guest House reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Casa Howard Guest Houses Hotel Florence

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing